Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things
by Barry Glassner
-A run-through of the big media panics of the past few decades, and what's the deal.  Turns out people don't check the facts, believe what they want to hear, love a scary story, and distract themselves from looking directly at the real problems because it's too uncomfortable.  Pro-gun conservatives come out looking particularly bad.  Actually, conservatives in general come out looking pretty bad in this book, though I wouldn't say the book as a political agenda.  I suppose it makes sense; the conservative attitude tends to be fearful.  (I speak from past experience.  And certainly not every fear is misplaced)  The second group that comes out looking foolish and dangerous are, of course, journalists.  Their environment selects for stories of outrage and danger...  The hero is the skeptic--patient, thorough, sensible.