Minnesota MusingsOp-ed (ish)

The New Boogie Man

By May 12, 2020May 20th, 2020No Comments

With so much information coming from so many sources nobody really knows the truth. I know the narrative has gained so much momentum saying anything to the contrary is met with lashing out and anger.

I have been listening to a number of level headed experts in the field of pandemics and disease. These are people at the top of their field. The overwhelming consensus, the response from many countries has been too harsh. The one reality, most governments were ill-prepared and had no game plan. So the only plan, draconian measures to placate the masses by fear with the US leading the charge.

Give an American something to be afraid of and they latch on to it like a dog to a bone. The mainstream media knows this making things worse. I am reminded of a media course as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota in which we were asked to compare the narrative framing between Isreali/Palestinian conflict. While I will not get into details, I will say that a photo even a phrase influences viewers and readers. It is subtle and powerful.

Recently, as an exercise, I compared the use of adjectives and phrases between the New York Times and the Japan Times in reference to the corona virus. Nearly every headline in the NY Times used words such as, worst, plummet, uncertainty deep, concern and faint hope, to name a few. In the Japan times, adjectives were not part of the headlines at all. They simply reported the news.

Starting from the above premise over the last number of decades America has always needed a boogie man (an ism if you will) and so they conjure them up. First it was communism which lasted three decades resulting in an ever increasing military budget with direct and proxy wars. After the fall of the Berlin wall and the Soviet Union, there was no longer a boogie man. Where would it come from?

In the 90s we started seeing sightings like sasquatch in the woods, a new boogie man. It wasn’t until 9.11 that this new one took shape in the form of terrorism. The result an even more bloated military budget, longer wars, more drum beating and fear.

What the masses don’t realize, there is no end to these “ISMs.” As a consequence, fear permeates all aspects of American culture, TV shows, commercials and the mainstream media to name a few. With terrorism abated we now have a new one.

The new boogie man is literally in the air and terrifying they say. The over the top response to placate the masses through fear has been hugely successful. Rather than admit that the government is unable to take care of you, are ill-prepared and have in fact cut budgets to departments meant to help in the case of something that is occurring now, they have to amplify fear. I don’t mean to downplay the severity of those that have gotten sick, though most have recovered.

Here is where the problem lies. Fear up until now has never really been on US soil. Sure 9.11, but that was an anomaly. The reality, terrorism and communism were over there, not over here. Now the pandemic is here. As long as the boogie man was there, Americans could continue to be free to live there lives. We had to defeat terrorism and communism so Americans could continue to remain free. With the pandemic on American soil, and the draconian measures implemented, American freedom is being infringed upon.

Freedom will win out and people, as we have begun to see, will take to the streets. It would not be as scary had their been a game plan and a United States operated as their name implies, united. People are mad and demand answers. Over time, they will no longer trust the government and the media and this where things could become truly sinister with a real life boogie man.

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