Category Archives: not bought

the things one didn’t buy

newspapers and other traditional media

I never buy newspapers even if they lure me by advertising some topic that might interest me in LARGE LETTERS, such as headlines confirming that it’s so hard to find an apartment in Munich.

There are many aspects to the public media, such as the question, whether there is something called the free press at all. I am getting more and more convinced that the information presented in commercial media is mostly advertisement or manipulation of opinion by parties in power to do so 1, 2, 3. Advertisement can also be considered a form of manipulation, as per Elias Erdmann‘s essay – Methoden der Manipulation, and per other authors, hence the two information categories can be merged in to one, and public media is primarily a tool for manipulation. A person informed on the subject might tell you, manipulation is not intrinsically bad, and everybody has to manipulate somebody else at some point in time. Nevertheless, if you try to live by your own rules, filtering and then double-checking the information sources before taking action is good practice.

If you live in Germany, you’re being confronted with doomsday’esque headlines daily, such as on the pictures below, that are all around town:

tz - horror, chaos, inferno

tz – no translation necessary


tz - crackdown on gynecologist with guns

tz – crackdown on a gynecologist with guns

Critiques such as this rant are being often accused of cherry-picking of the rant object – a tabloid or  a middle-market newspaper. It is, however, easy to check that other press categories suffer from the same deficits. The publishing houses and media moguls usually keep a broad portfolio of media, targeting various audiences. It is to be expected that while the form or the selection of the information in a ‘higher-quality’ paper medium is indeed of higher quality, the underlying goal of opinion formation or attention distraction may be the same for the two media.

Concerning information quality, experience shows that traditional media is slow with respect to the information spread speed, achievable by today’s other means, such as the internet and its social media. The headlines of today’s papers are yesterday’s exaggerated yawns on the internet. One can also find a lot of examples of wrong (deliberate or not) interpretation of press announcements, total humbug, such as astrology, and photographs or video clips totally unrelated with the news being presented.

To conclude, it’s not just more cost-effective not to buy traditional public media, such as newspapers, magazines and TV sets and related content subscriptions, but is generally good for one’s information inflows. As good alternative are social media and the internet. While they are too, susceptible to manipulation, disinformation and poor quality, the response times are so much shorter, that you have quite a good basis for making a weighted judgment.

As an example, you’ll never get a better impression of a certain places on earth while sitting in your cozy apartment, than on personal travel accounts, such as Artemy Lebedev’s travel reports.

P.S. in case you don’t understand any of the languages used in the links, either Bing Translator or Google Translate, while not being perfect translators, can be of great help.



Baby Carrots

image source

I didn’t buy “manufactured” baby carrots for a healthy after-lunch snack today. My limited experience with these cute plant creatures has been that of a friendship gone sour – almost literally. A couple of years ago I found those on shelves of supermarkets in plastic packaging and bought them eagerly without actually thinking, what I was eating. A couple of times the carrots did not have a perfect carrot taste – they looked translucent and tasted of nothing. Another time they smelled slightly sour, and eating just one upset my stomach. Then I’ve started to notice the visual difference – the more vapor there was inside the plastic packaging, the more rotten the contents were. Recently, I haven’t been seeing good quality manufactured baby carrots, so I’d rather even seize check the vapor in hope of a good specimen.

The same sadly applied to pre-cut salads, so now before buying one for lunch I’d check the vapor at the bottom of the container – if the drops start to coalesce, I’d rather not buy it. That’s quite unfortunate that the logistics of the pre-cut salads are so fragile, otherwise I’d lunch off them every workday.

Berlin in the 20’s

I haven’t bought the book “Berlin – Die 20er Jahre: Kunst und Kultur in der Weimarer Republik 1918-1933” because I have plenty of books waiting to be read, plenty of  photo albums to be carefully inspected, and really little time to read at home.

image source

I wanted to buy it because it describes an era full of graphical detail, beautiful architecture and beginnings of modern art. It contains many pictures that appealed to me while I had the book in my arms at Hugendubel in Berlin.

The Stendhal syndrome was brooding inside my chest, but then I thought to myself: I’ll find more on Google Image Search. With a relatively large monitor, I’ll be able to zoom into pictures in case the original allows for it, and search and bookmark facts. All – for no extra cent. In case I really want it, I can still buy it later.