Gmail has a wonderful spam filter. In Google Reader, you can set various blog feeds to go into different folders by topic or any other classification you want (such as a folder I call "whenever," which is basically a grouping for items that I may get around to reading eventually). In Outlook, you can set up filters to direct incoming mail to various folders by sender. Leafing through EW, you can skip any articles that pertain to reality TV, the latest precious hipster music or Twilight. On my DirecTV channel grid, I can customize it to hide all the channels related to home shopping, mythical deities and the children's programming consumer industrial complex. The point is, there are many ways to filter out the things you loathe or are not interested in.
However, to be culturally aware and stay up to speed on things that you are passionate about, there's a certain amount of chaff that's never going to get separated from the wheat, and that will still make it through your filters and penetrate your defenses. For example, say you can't stand the president (the current one, or the former one). There's no way to stay abreast of the national and global news without hearing more than you want about him. Or say you despise a certain canine-slaughtering, STD-spreading, receiver-missing QB. You can't possibly watch or listen to or read any sports news without getting Ron Mexico overload. So no matter how well you try to insulate yourself, some signals are just going to be received, dammit.
Here are the 6 things I'm sick to death of hearing about, wish would vanish from the earth, but can't really avoid:
- Tim Tebow
- Michael Vick
- Death Panels
- Paula Abdul
- Baseball and steroids
- Reality "stars" (Kardashians, Spiedi, JSimp, Anyone associated with the "Hills," Jon and Kate, etc.)