Tag Archives: media


24 Jan


L. Stewart Marsden

An Opinion


According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of the word “binge” is an unrestrained and often excessive indulgence.

One can binge on food or drink, for example. A favorite dessert (Rocky Road ice cream comes to mind), or to catch up on a made-for-TV series. I binged on Sons of Anarchy to my regret. Twelve billion people were shot, stabbed, blown up or otherwise massacred on that bit of “entertainment.”

Binge is also a party. It’s possible to have a binge binge, where everyone binges on something at a party. Like Rocky Road ice cream, or Sons of Anarchy.  This “party” is not necessarily to be understood as a political one –– but if the shoe fits …

As an eating disorder, binging often morphs into bulimia nervosa  — not considered normal. In point of fact, I’m not sure the word binge is ever considered normal. Not binge-drinking, not binge-eating, not binge-watching. 

Yet it seems to me America is binging, and has been for some time. We binge on the news, and on information gleaned from social media and other bingey sources. It has become the bane of technology — again in my opinion.

We binge on whatever news slant brings us that temporary euphoria and escape from reality. Feed Me! we cry out to the blurred entities behind the supply of information. 

“And how would you like your eggs this morning?” 

“Over-easy with a slab of country ham and grits ‘n red-eye gravy with a mug of hot coffee. Pile them up and keep them coming, ‘cause I’m famished!”

“A slice of melon with a pirouette of dark chocolate swirled onto the plate, plus a croissant with a dab of blackberry preserves.”

“Tofu,” if you are vegan.

Like the Belushi food fight in Animal House, or, just maybe, like the caged chimpanzees at the cheap zoo, we fling our food and more at each other, emboldened by the anonymity of not really being anywhere close by as we spar and attack and dodge and dig in. As I’ve said before, the beaches are filled with lines drawn in the sand that wash away with the tide of opinion.

Most of the other types of binges come with hard and fast consequences –– as well as regret. This kind of binging is nefarious. None of us sees the widening gap or the hardening of resolve that separates us. Don’t get me wrong, we need resolve for many situations. But not the immutable stances that are really more like quicksand than not.

Binge. An unrestrained and often excessive indulgence.