Bowling for Columbine (which I have yet to see) has put Michael Moore back in the limelight, and he’s using the opportunity to represent on fear-mongering in our culture. Fear sells, and so the media give us plenty of it. Issues that are statistically peripheral are put at the forefront when juicy. We end up thinking the world is about to implode, making ourselves sick (literally) with worry and paranoia. Example:
In the late 1990s the number of drug users had decreased by half compared to a decade earlier; almost two-thirds of high school seniors had never used any illegal drugs, even marijuana. So why did a majority of adults rank drug abuse as the greatest danger to America’s youth? Why did nine out of ten believe the drug problem is out of control, and only one in six believe the country was making progress? Give us a happy ending and we write a new disaster story.
Moore is currently featuring a lengthy excerpt from Barry Glassner’s book “Fear” (from which the above excerpt comes) on his web site. Scary stuff. Or not.
Update: It appears that Michael Moore has been dipping his fingers into the revisionism jar — in an article on his site, he had predicted victory for Dems in the recent election. But rather than eating crow when everything turned out wrong, he took the essay down, vanished without a trace. Critics are having a field day.