December 05, 2006

Ignore That 800 lb Gorilla in the Corner

On the plane ride to Vegas, I read this article in Time magazine: "Why We Worry About The Things We Shouldn't... ...And Ignore The Things We Should." Basically, it tries to explain why we worry about things that probably won't kill us, like, say, Bird Flu, or Mad Cow Disease, or plane crashes, and ignore the real "risks," like driving.

And, oh how the article finds reasons. Reasons after reasons, including: Part of the problem we have with evaluating risk, scientists say, is that we're moving through the modern world with what is, in many respects, a prehistoric brain. We may think we've grown accustomed to living in a predator-free environment in which most of the dangers of the wild have been driven away or fenced off, but our central nervous system--evolving at a glacial pace--hasn't got the message.

Which, you know what? Fine. I'll give them that as a possibility. Okay. But you know what? In that entire article, that entire article meant to explore why people worry about the things they do, one thing was never mentioned. Hell, it wasn't even hinted at. And, in my mind, it's probably about the biggest, most obvious reason in the world for why people excessively worry about stupid shit that probably won't kill you. Can you think of what I'm referring to?

THE MEDIA! Excessive media coverage about stupid shit that doesn't matter! Sure, no one has actually DIED from Mad Cow disease, but you'd certainly think so.

But, never mind me. I'm just sayin'.

Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker.

Posted by Ryan at December 5, 2006 12:52 PM | TrackBack

totally agreed. Bird Flu makes the front page news while no one says anything about the fact that your average tap water contains toxins, or that most of the consumer products on the shelves are terribly unhealthy and toxic. you don't have to be a tinfoil hat wearer to note this blatant effort at distraction from things that actually affect us every single day that we live and breathe, paid for by your sponsors, Febreze and Coca Cola.

Posted by: amy.leblanc at December 5, 2006 02:31 PM

Actually, I'm pretty sure people have died from Mad Cow Disease.

But yeah, the fact is a simple, direct (and totally rare) threat ("Carjacking!") makes exciting copy in a way that, say, rising rates of breast cancer does not.

This, by the way, was a central thesis of "Bowling for Columbine." So now you are agreeing with Michael Moore. Burn!

Posted by: flamingbanjo at December 5, 2006 05:40 PM

Even a broken clock. . . and the sun shining on a dog's ass. . . and like that.

Posted by: Ryan at December 5, 2006 06:50 PM

I am, however, pretty sure people have been killed by Britney and Kevin's divorce, or Lindsay Lohan's partying.

Posted by: DG at December 6, 2006 09:04 AM

No one's ever died of Mad Cow, other than cows. Some scientists believe that it's possible to contract CJD from eating Mad Cow tainted beef, but there's no direct evidence of this at all. They just assume that because they are similar diseases, they must be transmittable.

Posted by: Sean at December 6, 2006 10:12 AM
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