Tuesday, October 27, 2009

cynicism for breakfast, flu for lunch?

I think it’s safe to say that we’re all paying a bit more attention to our health these days; how could we not? So as I sit here at my desk and eat my fries for breakfast, I can’t help but consider the overall picture of my health; especially because my co-worker pointed out to me this morning that, because of my age, I am more at risk for the current media-hyped-illness known as H1N1. I have a post in the works, for my own satisfaction, where I’m hoping to get some FACTS about H1N1 into the hands of my friend group, instead of the hype that permeates the day. But it’s taking a lot more research (and therefore a lot more energy) than I have time for. So for now I’ve chosen to gripe about the lack of clarity and the overabundance of sensation in today’s news reporting.

The news media reminds me a lot of a guy I went to school with. The guy was a hilarious flirt, and if you name a girl I went to school with, you’d more than likely be naming a girl that crushed on him at some point (whether they admitted it or not- my giftings from the Lord knew the truth), and you’d especially be naming a girl that had reasons X Y and Z why so-and-so liked her. But when it came to girls he actually liked, none of us could tell the difference. There was no range in his behaviour between his girlfriends and his girl friends and his girl aquaintances and girl strangers. When it was really important to him, it wasn’t obvious. And if I recall correctly, he confused a lot of people in the meantime – and lost their respect, too.

So, news media, as you dance around and play with fear and flail your arms about at every drop in the dollar, every disease or mosquito bite, you’re really just losing the attention of most of us. Oh, we notice you alright (as one would notice a giraffe splashing around in a kiddie pool full of pennies). But we certainly have stopped paying attention (or is it just me?). Coverage loses credibility when it turns out that it’s been sensationalized for the sake of higher ratings or a larger crowd. When something important comes along, how are we ever supposed to tell the difference between that and the latest money-making “scandal”?

A culture of confusion and apathy has been sparked by poor delivery of facts, especially in regards to H1N1. Nobody knows what to do, who to trust, or why it matters. And many of those who are getting The Vaccine are doing so because they are afraid, and not at all because they are educated.

I still can’t decide if I should get The Vaccine. On the one hand, I believe that God’s plan for my life won’t be thwarted by a disease. If I’m supposed to die next week I will, whether it is by flu pandemic or a gunshot wound or getting hit by a bus. But on the other hand, I don’t want to be stupid and make poor decisions that risk my life. I’ve never gotten the flu shot and I've never had the flu (that I know of) – what is so different about this one? That is the question that I can not find a common answer to.

I’m going to end off with a quote that was just given to me this morning, by my boss actually. I don't actually know who it's by, but it seems to sum up the idea in my head right now. It's an encouragement for the days ahead, no doubt.

Nothing ever stays the same.
You can't build fences around life.
It's an ongoing process.
All you've got to do is keep paddling.
There's always going to be another wave coming.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...


Thanks for this post. I feel the exact same way. Who do we believe? What's real? What's not? It's soooo confusing...

I, like you, tried to dig into where the truth lies about H1N1 and came out more confused than before...so now i'm left feeling a bit helpless. There's so much information, but who's right?

I look forward to what you're able to find out about this crazy H1N1 :)

Love your blog and your honesty!