In addition to being a tragedy, Whitney Houston’s death is lurid and sensational. Naturally the media are all over it. But complaining over the fact that our digital devices are overloaded with this news seems ridiculous.

Peter Vallone is a New York City Councilman who complained on Facebook that the last three NBC New York “breaking news” updates on his phone are about Whitney Houston and, “did i accidentally subscribe to TMZ?? this is NOT breaking news, and frankly i dont care. there are MUCH more important things happening in NYC.”

I agree with Mr. Vallone. But whether he considers reaction to Whitney Houston’s death “breaking” or not, I’m bothered that the councilman is taking time from his presumably busy schedule to respond to this triviality.

Among the councilman’s responsibilities are chairing a hearing on the NYPD’s inconsistent and allegedly negligent handling of traffic enforcement and resulting tragedies. It’s scheduled for 10am tomorrow. As a board member of a New York City bicycle club (shameless plug here), this is an important issue to me. My wife and several friends in the bicycling community will be there.

As a taxpayer, I would want to see Mr. Vallone more focused on the Wednesday hearing than Facebook complaints about how many Whitney Houston news alerts his device is getting. I’d like to think that Mr. Vallone, who seems to ardently defend NYPD actions with consistency, will be prepared to hear other points of view tomorrow.

I didn’t intend to pick on Mr. Vallone exclusively. My point is that everyone in the 21st Century seems to have become addicted to their devices, myself included. Perhaps Mr. Vallone should change his device settings, use his staff to prioritize his time better, or stop paying so much attention to those pesky phone updates. And you know what? Except for the staff part, the same is true of too many of us.

Advertisements