The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things
The Culture of Fear Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things Author:Barry Glassner In late 2002, Barry Glassner appeared in Michael Moore's Academy Award-winning movie, Bowling for Columbine, to discuss The Culture of Fear. The reaction to Glassner's appearance, and the message of his book, were overwhelming. As Glassner describes, the American public remains fascinated by the specter of fear in their lives. Be ... more »it the proverbial dark-faced bogeyman, or a more recent epidemic of child snatchings, Americans allow their lives to be affected by a perceived and recurrent onslaught of tragedy, death, and fear. A national bestseller, The Culture of Fear explains why Americans are afraid, exposing the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit off our anxieties: politicians who attempt to win elections by heightening concerns about drug use and crime; advocacy groups that raise money by exaggerating the prevalence of particular diseases; and finally and perhaps most perniciously, the media that peddle new scares each week in desperate attempts to garner ratings. Written in a vivid, entertaining style, The Culture of Fear does more than debunk prevalent myths of impending doom, it also asks us to reconsider our participation in the national charade of fear and suspicion which, according to Glassner, is eroding the trust necessary to truly ensure safety in the public square.« less
Kristin P. (~kristin~) reviewed The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things on
Helpful Score: 7
Reading this book was an eye-opening experience. Just finding out that no one had ever actually been poisoned by a stranger with Halloween candy really opened my eyes to how Americans are inundated with messages about fearing things that aren't real threats while we don't hear anything about the things that are real problems in our society. This book is a must-read!
botias - reviewed The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things on
Helpful Score: 2
I had heard pretty good things about this book but was disappointed in it (and actually gave up on it with about 60 pages to go.) The chapters each cover different subjects but they all are making the same point: media plays up a new fear periodically by bending statistics and using sensationalized reporting. Even with new subjects the theme was repetitive.
Also, the author does have his own pet fear: he is afraid of guns. And he is willing to use the same type of incomplete (and/or discredited) statistics he accuses media of using in other subjects in an attempt to inspire his fear in readers.
Needs a major revision after September 11th. When I read it (not sure if it was this version), he claimed to have updated the book (it was written in 1999), but he hadn't really changed the information.