After writing all the depressing things that I have about the media lately, it’s time to mention something quite good. In the case of the Romanian media, that which is missing is fear. My little experiment is over but not one television news channel, not one newspaper, not one blog, not one major source of information and awareness here in Romania ever over indulges in promoting fear. And that’s really a good thing.
Throughout all my years in Europe I’d say this is not just a phenomenon in Romania but fairly widespread throughout the continent. It is getting worse sometimes in countries like France, Holland and Austria but overall neither the government nor the mainstream media regularly and thoroughly tries to scare the shit out of the people on a constant, regular basis.
Notice I say “continent” because quite frankly Britain is far worse in this regard. But the absolutely all-time most timid, afraid and frightened people live in the United States of America. Nowhere on the planet will you find more people who are more afraid of more things and it can be everything from odors to foods to religions to political parties to music to germs to sexuality and everything else in between. Everyone in America is deeply afraid of something. Everyone and everything is either an enemy or a potential enemy.
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, let’s look at USA Today, one of America’s most popular and well-read newspapers. Fear is literally everywhere on these pages. Mind you I am only sampling articles from one day (February 16) because you could pick any newspaper (or any TV news) from any day of the year and get almost the same thing.
Hold your breath because here we go!
You think washing vegetables is good? Wrong! You fool! The vegetables were washed down at the factory, you stupid idiot! And those chemicals are cleaner than anything that’s in your kitchen (a real quote from the article, btw).
Iran is waging a covert campaign of terrorism – Run for your lives!!! Of course it’s all complete and utter bullshit but be afraid! Iranians could be hiding under your bed and kill you at any time (not a literal quote).
22% of children live in abject poverty and those numbers are increasing. Yikes, scary because it’s true.
He says he doesn’t see his future diminished because of his family’s situation. “Sure, there’s no money to go to college, but my future will be fine,” he says. “Just because my mom was laid off, it doesn’t mean it will happen to me.”
That’s the way to think positive, you poor deluded bastard.
More car drivers are dying – Everything is going to kill you!
The medicine from your pharmacy is counterfeit – Aaah! And it costs so much as well. Oh well, sorry you got cancer!
Industry experts also say a combination of big profits and low penalties has made drug counterfeiting an increasingly attractive business for criminals in the U.S.
The government is attacking your freedom of religion – Damn Obama he won’t let me pray like I want to! Oh wait, that’s just the scary title. This is actually pro-Catholic propaganda and is largely dead wrong.
Had enough? Wait, here’s some more!
Your sandwich could kill you! See what happens when you eat vegetables? Fool!
Are you walking slowly? It could be because you have dementia! Slow walking = bye bye brain so better pick up the pace, Grandpa!
The smell inside a new car is killing you! Aww *sadface* and you just paid so much money for it and now it’s releasing a steady stream of poison chemicals into your body. Enjoy that drive into work every day!
And on and on it goes. I really wish there was some way to post one of the television nightly newscasts* because they are jam-packed with stories like this.
Using a simple algorithm on Google News, here’s what we get beyond just USA Today.
People are cooking up drugs in backpacks! Oh shit! Watch out for people stealing your car at gunpoint! And definitely watch out for people calling you on the phone! Wait a minute, be afraid of other people calling you too! Oh yeah and even SMS will trick you too! Hey, remember that education that you had to pay so much money for? It was fake and you lost all your money! Guess you don’t be so educated as you was thinking you was :( But you can trust the police, right? Nope! Be afraid of them too because it’s just people in fake uniforms! Not afraid yet? What if I told you there’s poison in babyfood? Your kid’s going to be retarded now. Ahhhhhhhhh!
Thankfully, as I said, in Romania and most of continental Europe this constant indulging in fear doesn’t happen. Yeah people complain and moan a lot but it isn’t like they are genuinely afraid. Romanians don’t arm themselves to the teeth afraid that everyone is a threat. The government doesn’t talk about a growing and looming menace at every opportunity and the only color-coded warnings are about the weather, not some ambiguous “terror threat”.
But reading all those links above, just imagine what it’s like when every single day of your life there is always someone warning you that some food or some neighbor or some foreign country is going to kill you at a moment’s notice and just think of how stressed that would make you. And if you’re Romanian (or continental European), be glad you live in a mostly sane world.
* – The only “American” news channel in Romania is CNN and this isn’t even American. The CNN International (which is what you see here) is completely different than the CNN broadcast in America. CNN International is an okay television channel. CNN in America is heavily tilted towards “ordinary” fear mongering.