2016 was rough. Like many of you, I want to be optimistic of 2017, but there are some good reasons to worry that things are just going to get worse. So as the world around us seems eager to roll back the clock to 1939, how can we maintain some level of positivity regarding the human condition? Well, here are my 5 things keeping me sane as we press forward into 2017.
Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown
I was late to the party on this one, but if you haven't shown up, you need to right now. With 6 seasons on NetFlix, as of writing this, Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown is a love letter to humanity. Using the art of food and fellowship as a common thread across all cultures, Anthony reminds us that we all have the same struggles and virtues, just in different flavors.
It could even be said that watching this show is your duty as a human being, especially if travel is beyond your current resources. With all the hyperbole and stereotyping in the news, Part's Unknown is a constant reminder that the best of humanity remains in the harshest of places. Never has anything simultaneously made me so soberly aware of all the problems in the world and hopeful about our humanity at the same time. Watch this show!
Neil deGrasse Tyson and his Super Science Friends battle the forces of evil and ignorance every week across the Interwebs! Ok, that's a bit much, but it is how I feel. In truth, StarTalk is a regular show across multiple mediums that hosts today's best scientists and researchers as they bring us up-to-date on human progress with a sense of humor and sharp wit.
From pop-culture, to art, to music, and more, StarTalk proves that science is part of every aspect of our lives. As we move into this strange dystopian post-truth area where people believe reality will conform to whatever the loudest people want it to be, StarTalk is a wonderful dose of anti-venom to have on hand.
In God We Trust, everyone else bring data. While once thought of as a conservative-leaning source of practical in-depth coverage of the global economy, The Economist's fact-based, data-centered, and critical coverage of global events has found it the enemy of the modern far-right nationalist movement. Otherwise, no party, affiliation, or ideology is safe in The Economist. Speaking truth to power, and data to delusion is the proud tradition of this uncompromising publication.
Another tradition of the Economist is their knack of finding the most articulate and adversarial letters from readers to include in their following issues. You will never be left with a one-sided view with The Economists prolific and passionate reader base. Beyond all this, is the global perspective offered as no continent or economically-active island is left uncovered.
NPR, and their family of public radio producers like APM, WNYC, and PRI, put out the best in auditory content. Listening to NPR is the best way to learn about people, places, and ideas from all over the world to expand your thinking. The only downside of listening to NPR is that you may get the misleading impression the world is full of intelligent, thoughtful, and inspired individuals.
If you haven't gotten into podcasts yet, or have and now you are in way too deep, NPR One is the perfect solution. Podcast are a kind of "on-demand" radio, where you can listen to audio shows for free, anytime you want. NPR One, however, requires no curation. You just open it and it starts playing, but it learns from your feedback what you like best. It's your own personal radio companion to counter all the mundane mediocre input we get from daily life.
Last but not least is the show I credit for my first emerging ounces of sanity and perspective. Joe Scarborough, the boisterous conservative narcissist, and Mika Brzezinski, the lovely liberal elitist, show that we can all get along and debate ideas without attacking each other. You never doubt for a moment that Mika and Joe are sincere individuals who respect each other, and their guests.
Joe helps me feel not-so-bad about my reckless conservative youth and is an anchor for my blooming liberal sensibilities. Whenever I feel myself slipping into political hyperbole Joe and Mika are there to pull me out. Last, but not least, all their guest provide the most informative insight into today's political events. Thanks, Joe and Mika!
What is Keeping You Sane in 2017?
Let us know where you go to hold onto your sanity in the comments!