All The News That Scares

Where do most Americans get their news? Be careful here. It’s a trick question. It’s a trick because of the premise, but where did your mind go right then? If you suffer from a sluggish mind, dwelling mostly in concrete thinking, you might go to the usual suspects. But then, you wouldn’t be reading this. Assuming you have some imagination, and awareness that the first answer that pops into your noggin might be wrong, you might take a look at the culture and think, social media. And you’d be close; we’ve probably all heard that most people get their news from Facebook, for example, and the dangers therein. It’s a trick question because most people don’t pay attention to the news. They can’t help but see it, most of them, but they don’t pay attention. They don’t read the stories, only the headlines. If they click, it’s for the most lurid, the most sensational, the most provocative. Often the most fake. They believe what they read because they’re drawn to carefully crafted stories that push their buttons and confirm their world view. But mostly they don’t pay attention. And even if we forget about 2016 and broaden our brush, it’s always been the same. Or at least “always” in the sense of “in my lifetime.” Which, as we know, has been going on for a while. So this week has held no surprises. A heat wave, threatening our remarkably mild and perfect summer here in the Pacific Northwest, has hit the rest of the country, at least when it comes to headlines. Seattle, which has had exactly three days of 100 degrees or hotter (record: 103) in the past 150 years, was staring at an Armageddon of heat. No one has air conditioning! People will die! Maybe everybody! Meanwhile, a person who lives in the region (check) and cares about the weather a little (check), enough to follow the models and meteorologists (yup), would have seen that the forecasters were backing off the scary numbers a bit, downgrading the End of Time to, y’know: Warmish. Maybe low 90s. Uncomfortable because, again, we don’t have air conditioning. Deadly, sure, to some, always. Today is supposed to be the peak of hotness, although we don’t look to be cooling down much for a bit. I’m guessing that here, at my house, we barely crack 90. Hot, for here. No humidity, but in our well-insulated homes with (once more) no A/C, it can be no fun. But that’s not going to sell copies of The Washington Post or a dozen other media organizations that seem to be hyping this all the way to the bank. And there we have modern life. If we can’t scare you, we’re not doing our job. … Movie night went fine yesterday. Everyone seemed to enjoy Heaven Can Wait, as I figured they would. We might be experiencing diminishing returns, as the crowd was somewhat less, or some may have been scared off by (once more with feeling!) a sanctuary without air conditioning. We stayed cool and collected, though. Next week we’ll try Singing in the Rain. That should cool things down…

Where do most Americans get their news? Be careful here. It’s a trick question.

It’s a trick because of the premise, but where did your mind go right then? If you suffer from a sluggish mind, dwelling mostly in concrete thinking, you might go to the usual suspects. But then, you wouldn’t be reading this.

Assuming you have some imagination, and awareness that the first answer that pops into your noggin might be wrong, you might take a look at the culture and think, social media. And you’d be close; we’ve probably all heard that most people get their news from Facebook, for example, and the dangers therein.

It’s a trick question because most people don’t pay attention to the news. They can’t help but see it, most of them, but they don’t pay attention. They don’t read the stories, only the headlines. If they click, it’s for the most lurid, the most sensational, the most provocative. Often the most fake. They believe what they read because they’re drawn to carefully crafted stories that push their buttons and confirm their world view.

But mostly they don’t pay attention.

And even if we forget about 2016 and broaden our brush, it’s always been the same. Or at least “always” in the sense of “in my lifetime.” Which, as we know, has been going on for a while.

So this week has held no surprises. A heat wave, threatening our remarkably mild and perfect summer here in the Pacific Northwest, has hit the rest of the country, at least when it comes to headlines. Seattle, which has had exactly three days of 100 degrees or hotter (record: 103) in the past 150 years, was staring at an Armageddon of heat. No one has air conditioning! People will die! Maybe everybody!

Meanwhile, a person who lives in the region (check) and cares about the weather a little (check), enough to follow the models and meteorologists (yup), would have seen that the forecasters were backing off the scary numbers a bit, downgrading the End of Time to, y’know: Warmish. Maybe low 90s. Uncomfortable because, again, we don’t have air conditioning. Deadly, sure, to some, always.

Today is supposed to be the peak of hotness, although we don’t look to be cooling down much for a bit. I’m guessing that here, at my house, we barely crack 90. Hot, for here. No humidity, but in our well-insulated homes with (once more) no A/C, it can be no fun.

But that’s not going to sell copies of The Washington Post or a dozen other media organizations that seem to be hyping this all the way to the bank.

And there we have modern life. If we can’t scare you, we’re not doing our job.

Movie night went fine yesterday. Everyone seemed to enjoy Heaven Can Wait, as I figured they would. We might be experiencing diminishing returns, as the crowd was somewhat less, or some may have been scared off by (once more with feeling!) a sanctuary without air conditioning. We stayed cool and collected, though. Next week we’ll try Singing in the Rain. That should cool things down…

Chuck SigarsComment