As is patently obvious to anyone who reads this blog, I have fun with fear. I like the rush of a good scary story, but even more, I like the potential a good scary story has to enlighten and educate. And perhaps because I was so afraid when I was a child, I have taken the mission to overcome my fears a little too much to heart.
That said, though, we do need to take care not to let fear control our lives. Especially as a believer and follower of Christ. We have not been given a spirit of fear. And fear is one of the best and easiest ways to control a populace. Thus the quote “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” If you give someone the power to scare you, you have geven them the power to control you.
The advertising industry discovered this back in the sixties.
“…you're watching television, you're watching the news, you're being pumped full of fear, there's floods, there's AIDS, there's murder, cut to commercial, buy the Acura, buy the Colgate, if you have bad breath they're not going to talk to you, if you have pimples, the girl's not going to ---- you, and it's just this campaign of fear, and consumption, and that's what I think it's all based on, the whole idea of ‘keep everyone afraid, and they'll consume.’” –Marilyn Manson
Manson is crazy, but he isn’t stupid. It is true that the media has been using fear to control the culture for decades. “If your teeth aren’t pearly white, everyone will hate you!” And today this has become pervasive in a way that is almost perverse. 24 hour news channels have to skew things into their most dire interpretation lest you tire of their incessant repetition and change the station. They don’t exist to inform, they are there to sell advertising. And with mobile devices and inescapable coverage, we are almost hard wired into the messenger that whispers horror stories into our day.
A horror movie can be OK because when you walk out of the theater you won’t seriously worry about zombies or sharks, or even serial killers in most cases. But for some reason we can’t watch the news and realize that we are being fed a narrative that is less fact and more fly-trap.
This time of year in particular it would probably be great advice to turn off the news and head down to your nearest cinema.