Erik Hagerman did not take the election of Donald Trump well. However, rather than using his disappointment as an occasion to effect change in himself — by, for example, running for office or taking up a liberal cause — he has instead taken up the life of a “hermit,” the Daily Mail reports. He’s retreated to a quiet life on a pig farm, and has cut himself off from all news in an attempt to keep himself from hearing about the daily horrors of the Trump administration.
Prior to November 8, 2016, Hagerman, 53, was a high-powered corporate executive, working with Nike in their online division. However, after Trump’s election, Hagerman was so devastated that he made a life-changing decision. Rather than life his daily life, exposed to news (on TV, on the internet, via word of mouth) that would undoubtedly involve Trump, Hagerman retreated. He put aside his suit and tie for a quiet, rural life on a pig farm.
He’s also imposed a strict radio silence on himself, which he calls “the blockade.” He avoids social media at all costs. Friends and family are forbidden from talking about news, current events, or politics when they’re around him. On the rare occasions when he watches TV, which he only uses to watch sports, he keeps it on mute to avoid hearing anything news- or Trump-related from the announcers or commercial breaks. When he goes to his favorite coffee shop, he keeps noise-canceling headphones in his ears.
Ignorance is bliss for the news hermit https://t.co/hG1fkBkLXN
— LongHen (@HenningDraeger) March 13, 2018
Has it worked? Mostly. Hagerman admits to “bouts of boredom” sometimes. But in general, he says, the experience has been a positive one.
“I am now emotionally healthier than I’ve ever felt… left wondering why I ever bothered with the news in the first place.”
Not everyone is thrilled with Hagerman’s choice, however. Trump supporters accuse him of burying his head in the sand. Surprisingly, so do some liberals. According to a follow-up Cleveland Plain Dealer report — which Hagerman has almost certainly not read, due to his media blackout — local newspaper editor Tyler Buchanan took the hermit to task for his approach.
Buchanan points out that, though Hagerman lives in one of the poorest parts of Ohio, Hagerman’s comfortably middle-class lifestyle has enabled him to avoid the daily struggles that his neighbors have to live through. He’s also avoided hearing about Trump administration news that directly affects his part of Ohio, such as Trump’s tariffs on solar panels.
“While he enjoys a fun ‘experiment’ of ignoring the world around him, his fellow residents of Glouster, Athens County, Ohio & beyond are living in the real world.”