March 13, 2018 12:27:00by

Critics condemn 'entitled' news former Nike exec turned news hermit

Critics condemn \'entitled\' news former Nike exec turned news hermit

For Erik Hagerman, ignorance really is bliss - since the election of Donald Trump he has retreated to an Ohio pig farm where he lives alone, unplugged from the news.

Being a news hermit is the only way the former Nike executive, 53, said that he can cope with 'the devastation' of  President Trump's November 2016 victory.

His course of action has been condemned by some critics who say that his 'bury- your-head-in-the-sand' attitude is selfish when he could be following the path charted by other disappointed liberals - who either run for office or organize protests against the President.

But Hagerman argues that it is much better for his mental and spiritual well-being to remain blissfully unaware of the turmoil of Trump's White House, the scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein, the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School or even who won the Oscars.

His news blockade is now 'draconian and complete', he told The New York Times, and it has now been more than a year into in which he has known almost nothing about American politics, diligently remaining 'shockingly uninformed' during some of the most eventful chapters in modern U.S. history. 

He has taken elaborate measures to ensure his social media and news blackout, which he calls the blockade, remains in force. 

They include listening to white noise through headphones on his daily visit to his favorite coffee shop and watching his beloved Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team on mute. In addition he has implemented a self-imposed ban on social media and requested that friends and family never speak to him about current affairs. 

But his isolationism has not earned him widespread acclaim. One critic described him  as 'the most selfish person in America' because of his refusal to engage with the world, while the editor of his local newspaper accused him of ignoring the suffering of his neighbors in one of the poorest communities of Ohio.

Others say he is only able to enforce his blackout because his middle class status exempts him from having to deal with problems less fortunate people - such as an illegal immigrant facing deportation - cannot escape with such ease. 

It is not clear whether Hagerman is aware of such criticism because of his news blackout, but whatever the case he appears to have few regrets over his decision. 

'I am now emotionally healthier than I've ever felt... left wondering why I ever bothered with the news in the first place,' he said.

 He admits to having the occasional bouts of boredom but argues that he had not in fact been paying attention to the news for decades. 'I never did anything with it,' he confessed.

His new life is a far cry from only a few years ago when he was a corporate executive at Nike working with teams of engineers on online shopping. Before that, he had worked digital jobs at Walmart and Disney.

'I worked 12-, 14-hour days,' he said. 'The calendar completely booked,' the bachelor said.

But three years ago, he decided he had saved enough money to move to a farm, breed pigs, make sculptures and eventually opt out of the national conversation entirely.

Even when he ventures from his farm into the outside world - such as a recent visit to his twin brother in San Francisco - strict arrangements had to be made to ensure the blockade remained in place.

The Sunday newspaper was kept out of sight, the TV was switched off, his teenage niece and nephew under special instructions not to discuss items on the news.

'The bigger challenge was when we would have friends come over and visit,' said his brother, Kris told The New York Times. 'We had to have Erik not be there, or we would give them a heads up that Erik has this news blockade going and we gave them the guidelines.

'They were always a little bemused by it. And to some extent a little envious,' he said. 'The prospect of just chucking all that for a period of time felt somewhat appealing.'