Have You Heard?
I have to make a confession. I follow the crowd once in a while. Sometimes I get swept up with the rest of the lemmings and rush off a cliff and drown in the ocean.
It isn't easy unlearning all the things that we were indoctrinated with as a children. Social Studies is just the Americanized version of what Joseph Goebbels called Propaganda. Society tells us what to believe, and we tend to believe it because we don't know any better. Young minds are basically made of Play-Doh.
For some reason, Americans want to believe that there are conspiracies. There are things going on that we can't know about. We are suspicious, we are fearful, we have anxiety. This is something that the media likes to play upon. It sells more anxiety medication and firearms. If you are scared, it is easier to talk you into parting with your money. That is Marketing-101.
I have been caught perpetuating these American myths. They are called Urban Legends. They have been around for a long time, but with the advent of the Internet, they have started to become a force to be reckoned with regarding the direction of our stampeding populace. Once the buffalo are on the move, the earth shakes, and they aren't very easy to control.
While I consider myself pretty skeptical of most things I hear or read, every once in a while a friend of mine will send me some e-mail with some shocking story in it that I (for some stupid reason) assume to be true. My conspiracy theorist comes alive and I chuckle to myself and think it probably has some logic to it. I end up forwarding it on to others, thinking they might be enlightened as well, if not amused. Then I realize that I have been a pawn in the ongoing game of dis-information of the masses.
You have all probably seen these at one time or another;
Mr. Rogers was a US Navy Seal Sniper
The Clinton Death Count
The Federal Government Taxing E-mails
Treasure Trove of Old Cars Found in an Abandoned Barn
Stealing Body Parts In Las Vegas
Gangs Initiation by Flashing Headlights
The list is endless. Most are documented on a website called www.snopes.com. Looking back over all these various urban myths, it got me wondering. Why are we so willing to accept this macabre, evil side of life is lurking right outside our door? Instead of questioning why, what is it that makes us so willing to believe something that when looked at in the harsh light of day looks obviously ridiculous. Worse yet, who starts these things? Do they arise out of our collective conscious or are they planted by people with more sinister motives?
In his documentary film, "Bowling For Columbine", Michael Moore touched on this issue concerning the inherent fear that Americans have and how it has fostered a growing gun culture. There are other indicators of this 'American Anxiety' in society. Hummers, Home Alarm Systems, Fear of Foreigners. They have all been thrust upon us as something that we 'need', but do we really, or is it just fear marketing?
Like I said, it is hard to unlearn the things that we were told are true. And by the way, that whole lemming thing mentioned in the first paragraph, it is fiction, Lemmings don't really drowned themselves in the ocean. The lies are always with us. Like the title to my Blog says, we have to question everything, sometimes even I forget to do it.