Disappointed by the news that Donald Trump had become president of the United States, a former Nike executive decided that ignorance truly is bliss, so he retreated into his pig farm in rural Ohio and completely cut himself off from all news.
The last news that Erik Hagerman heard was that Donald Trump was the new president of the United States.
That shook him so hard that he decided he just didn’t want to know anything about what was going on in America or the world, anymore. It was supposed to be a temporary “blockade”, but over a year since the end of the US general elections, Hagerman remains completely oblivious to what’s bee going on around him.
He claims that after paying attention to the news for decades with nothing to show for it, he now feels emotionally healthier than ever before.
“It’s not like I wanted to just steer away from Trump or shift the conversation,” Erik Hagerman told The New York Times about his decision to filter out news completely. It was like I was a vampire and any photon of Trump would turn me to dust. It was draconian and complete.”
Even living on a farm in Ohio, maintaining a total news blockade for over a year has proven to be quite a challenge for the former corporate executive.
He doesn’t read newspapers, has given up social media completely, he’s had to tell all his friends not to talk to him about any kind of news, sometimes repeatedly because they didn’t take him seriously, and he plays white noise into his headphones whenever he goes into his local coffee shop.
To make sure he doesn’t accidentally hear any news, Hagerman only watches the weather and sports games on mute.
Last winter, when Erik visited his brother in San Francisco, special arrangements were made to ensure that his Blockade was not accidentally breached. The newspaper was kept out of sight, the TV was turned off, and his nephew and niece were given instructions on what to talk about in his presence. When other people came over, Erik either made himself scarce, or they were told about his wishes and asked not to bring up the news.
“They were always a little bemused by it. And to some extent a little envious,” Erik’s brother, Kris, said. “The prospect of just chucking all that for a period of time felt somewhat appealing.”
Erik Hagerman’s news blockade has not been perfect. One time, he saw a picture of Kim Jong-Un at the local coffee shop, which told him something important was going on with North Korea, and another time, someone mentioned Obamacare while he was walking by, so he knew healthcare was in the news again.
Then his brother had to mention the Equifax scandal, for his own protection. But for the most part, his plan to completely filter out news has been working remarkably well.
It seems almost impossible to believe, but Hagerman doesn’t know anything about topics we hear about literally every day, like the Mueller investigation into Russia’s meddling, any of Trump’s multiple scandals, the travel ban, the border wall, the recent mass shootings, any of that stuff. And he seems to like it that way.
Ever since news (sic) of Erik Hagerman’s Blockade went viral online, it has sparked a heated debate on whether the former executive is smart to distance himself from the world around him or just selfish.
“Erik Hagerman is living pretty close to my dream,” Twitter user Ty Bianucci wrote.
“I’m starting to think the only smart person is Erik Hagerman,” Twitter user inatwit posted.
However, not everyone agrees with their views. Some consider Hagerman selfish and privileged.
“Erik Hagerman is doing exactly the wrong thing. I’m all for mental health breaks, especially with this @Potus – but willful ignorance helps no one,” writer Jamil Smith said.
“I’m not offended when people choose not to read my newspaper. I’ve also learned to accept that people read the paper for different reasons — some only for comics, some for the classifieds. That is totally fine,” Tyler Buchanan, the editor of a newspaper in Glouster, Ohio, wrote. “But it does rattle me that someone CHOOSES to ignore the news. On purpose. Solely because the world around them is too harsh or the election results too unfavourable.”
“The NYTimes could have spent its trip to our area focusing on those concerns. Instead, the focus is wasted on a man with the privilege to cover his ears to shout ‘LA LA LA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!’” Buchanan added.
Two years ago, we wrote about a man who managed to remain ignorant to the result of the US presidential elections for about two weeks. I thought that was impressive, but Erik Hagerman is on a whole other level.