Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ebola: And Other Stuff You Probably Shouldn't Be Afraid Of

Unless you live in a cave, you probably know there's this disease called Ebola. It's very dangerous and often lethal. If you watch television news or have any Facebook friends who do, you've probably heard all sorts of dire warnings about the great threat that Ebola poses. (Side note: If you or any of your Facebook friends watch Fox News, then you've also likely heard how President Barack Obama is somehow singlehandedly responsible for the Ebola epidemic.)

Well, here's something you're not likely to hear on the television news shows: good news. If you have not been to West Africa recently and if you are not a medical worker who has come into close physical contact with an Ebola patient, then your chances of contracting this disease are slim to none. This, however, is not nearly as exciting as the threat of a deadly epidemic and so the television news shows continue to play their dramatic music and do their best to terrify their viewers.

Look, here's some nice non-scary flowers. Take a deep breath, relax. It's going to be fine.


I don't scare easily. Let me clarify that. If I'm watching a movie that has even a hint of suspense I'll close my eyes, hide under a blanket, leave the room or perhaps do all of the above simultaneously. If somebody comes up behind me and shouts "Boo!" I'll jump sky high and scream my fool head off. If a television newscaster tells me the end of the world as we know it is just around the corner, I'll roll my eyes and switch the channel to something far more entertaining, say, a documentary about watching paint dry.

Right around this time, two years ago every newscaster along the Eastern Seaboard was warning us about some hurricane that was all but guaranteed to obliterate the entire Mid-Atlantic Region. People began running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I, of course, rolled my eyes and watched paint-drying documentaries.

A few days before the storm that was supposedly going to end life as I knew it, I dressed up like a witch and went to a Halloween party. As you can no doubt tell from this photo I was in mortal fear and preparing for the apocalypse.


As it happens, the newscasters (for once) were right about that whole hurricane thing. It was called Sandy and they decided it was too big to be deemed merely a hurricane so they made up the word Superstorm (One can only assume that insurance companies worried about all those claims from people with hurricane insurance were behind this name change.) Technically, it didn't obliterate the entire Mid-Atlantic Region, though you'd be forgiven for thinking so if you happened to watch any news coverage of the storm. In my own neck of the woods, we lost power for a week and none of the gas stations had gas. For the second year in a row (the previous year snow knocked out power) the kids didn't get to have Halloween and we were forced to eat the food we had in our pantries and all that Halloween candy we'd stocked up on. It was annoying and frustrating, but still something short of the end of the world scenario that had been forecast.

Here's my great-grandfather with some giant bugs. They're fake like most of what you see on television, so you don't have to be afraid of them, either.


The blatant fear-mongering that the media engages in is a not so subtle form of mind control. Those who succumb to the fear that the news shows are peddling will find that their thoughts and their actions change as a result of what they have watched. If you're reading this you didn't die of the Swine Flu or Bird Flu epidemic that was supposedly going to wipe us all out. You didn't die as a result of the nuclear bombs that North Korea or the Taliban never actually dropped on us. Granted, there are scary things out there, but most of the time the stuff the news shows get all alarmed about probably doesn't pose much of a threat to you.

People don't think clearly when they're afraid, and maybe that's why the media seems so determined to cause mass hysteria. Less afraid people might ask rational questions like, is having a healthcare system that's controlled by insurance companies a good idea? Or why do we still have above ground power lines in areas that are full of trees? Or maybe even why am I watching this ridiculous television news, surely there's a documentary about paint drying that I could watch instead?

5 comments:

  1. I think we all know which article more people are going to click on:

    10 Household Products That Could Kill You and Which You Probably Have in Your Cupboard Right Now!

    10 Reasons You're Probably Not Going to Die Today

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  2. I need to watch more paint-drying documentaries! Alissa, let me know the next time it is on. :)

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  3. Alissa, I love you! This is awesome. And Jen, so true! Why are so fear driven??

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  4. Jennifer: WHERE IS THAT ARTICLE ON HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS? Just kidding. Sort of. ;)

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  5. EEP! Ebola! *packs gas mask and sterile gloves, flees*

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