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The culture of fear :why Americans are afraid of the wrong thingsby Barry Glassner
Synopses & Reviews
There has never been another era in modern history, even during wartime or the Great Depression, when so many people have feared so much. Three out of four Americans say they feel more fearful today then they did twenty years ago. The Culture of Fear describes the high costs of living in a fear-ridden environment where realism has become rarer than doors without deadbolts.Why do we have so many fears these days? Are we living in exceptionally dangerous times? To watch the news, you’d certainly think so, but Glassner demonstrates that it is our perception of danger that has increased, not the actual level of risk. The Culture of Fear is an expose of the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit from our fears: politicians who win elections by heightening concerns about crime and drug use even as rates for both are declining; advocacy groups that raise money by exaggerating the prevalence of particular diseases; TV newsmagazines that monger a new scare every week to garner ratings.Glassner spells out the prices we pay for social panics: the huge sums of money that go to waste on unnecessary programs and products as well as time and energy spent worrying about our fears.
Book News Annotation:
In the wake of his popular Career Crash and Bodies, Glassner (sociology, U. of Southern California) describes fear as a pathology that has swept the country. He exposes the people and organizations that manipulate perceptions and profit from anxieties, among them politicians shouting crime to win office, advocacy groups that raise money by exaggerating the prevalence of particular diseases, and television programs that dig up a new scare per week to maintain ratings. The Martians, he says, are not coming.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 211-257) and index.
Table of Contents
Dubious dangers on roadways and campuses : how fears are sold — Crime in the news : tall tales and overstated statistics — Youth at risk : faulty diagnoses and callous cures — Monster moms : on the art of misdirection — Black men : how to perpetuate prejudice without really trying — "Smack is back" : when presidents and the press collude, the scares never stop — Metaphoric illnesses : how not to criticize the establishment — Plane wrecks : small danger, big scare — Final thoughts : the Martians aren't coming.
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