The election of Donald Trump had a profound effect on a lot of people. Some talked of moving to Canada, others decided to run for local office.
Erik Hagerman decided to just stop knowing anything at all about world events. The former Nike executive had moved to lightly populated southeastern Ohio. After November 8. 2016, he decided to just stop reading, watching or discussing anything related to the news. Hagerman, who is profiled as “The Man Who Knew Too Little” in today’s New York Times, doesn’t know what a Scaramucci is or anything about the progress of Robert Mueller. His sister lives in Charlottesville, which he knows as a pleasant little college town in Virginia.
The project is called “The Blockade,” and it means that all the 53-year-old retired executive knows about are local weather, real estate listings and the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Did LeBron shut up and dribble in his mind? The reporter, sadly, did not ask about this.)
“It was draconian and complete,” he told the Times. “It’s not like I wanted to just steer away from Trump or shift the conversation. It was like I was a vampire and any photon of Trump would turn me to dust.”
He says it’s pretty great.
“I’m emotionally healthier than I’ve ever felt,” he says.
Hagerman accomplishes this by living on a 45-acre pig farm that’s a 30-minute drive from Athens, home of Ohio University. He listens to white noise tapes at the coffee shop where he drives every morning, and the baristas all know not to talk politics with him. He watches Cavs games on mute.
Predictably—and understandably—Hagerman is getting called out on using all the privilege of wealthy middle-aged white man to cordon himself off from this hellscape.
“Not everyone gets to be ignorant. People whose families are being torn apart by the deportation tactics of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents don’t get to be ignorant. People who are affected by gun violence don’t get to be ignorant. People who require health care to live past the end of the month don’t get to be ignorant,” writes a critic from Mashable.
Even his sister, Bonnie Hagerman, is a little jealous-slash-annoyed.
“We all would like to construct our dream worlds. Erik is just more able to do it than others,” she said.
But Hagerman will never know about his sister’s words or about the Mashable piece. The entire internet could spend the afternoon dragging him and he’ll wake up tomorrow and get himself a triple-shot latte with whole milk.
Go Cavs, Erik Hagerman. Go Cavs.