Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fear Reading

I have been reading a lot lately. Some fiction and some non-fiction.

But I just picked up a book that I bought the summer of 2000.

It's a very interesting book that you should all pick up and at least skim through.

The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things, by Barry Glassner.

It is pretty much about the facts behind the media's scare tactics.

For instance when you hear about how many people have this or how many times this happens, aren't you curious where they get their numbers?

Glassner basically looks into all of that and tells you about it.

He looks at different things that scare us and than makes reasonable explanations.

Here is an example:

"In 1996, Bob Garfield, a magazine writer, reviewed articles about serious diseases published over the course of a year in the Washington Post, The New York Times, and USA Today. He learned that, in addition to 59 million Americans with heart disease, 53 million with migraines, 25 million with osteoporosis, 16 million with obesity, and 3 million with cancer, many Americans suffer from more obscure ailments such as temporomandibular joint disorders (10 million) and brain injuries (2 million). Adding up the estimates, Garfield determined that 543 million Americans are seriously sick - a shocking number in a nation of 266 million inhabitants. Either as a society we are doomed, or someone is seriously double-dipping, he suggested."

Ridiculous. I bet you never even really thought about the figures you read in newspapers and hear on the news.

All you think about is how bad it sounds.

But you don't consider anything behind it.

Another example:

"Studies of the general population - both men and women - find that large numbers of people who believe they have symptoms of cancer delay going to a doctor, often for several months. When asked why, they report they are terrified about the pain and financial ruin cancer can cause as well as poor prospects for a cure. The irony of course is that early treatment can prevent precisely those horrors they most fear."

People are so sure of their information that they ignore common sense.

Instead of just getting up and going to the doctor they delay because there is no way anything can get better so why go.

Isn't that ridiculous?

I just picked up the book this morning and started reading it again and I read both of those parts today.

The rest of the book should be just as good.

It's something that this country needs to realize....there isn't as much to be afraid of as people think!


So@24 said...

I really hope people start to wise up to these scare tactics.


GM said...

so@24 - Absolutely! The problem is that it keeps getting worse. Look at all the talk of recession lately and the market problems. Everyone just reacts to what they hear instead of what they see and know.