|—||A One Man Dam|
The Issue: There’s probably a little bit of blame to go around for everyone involved in the recent hubbub surrounding the two students who were on the receiving end of some “severe” sunburns - the mom, the teacher, the school, and the state. But the biggest perpetrator is the media for once again turning a less-than-minor issue into a national calamity.
Call to Action: There’s probably nothing to do or that we can do. I just wish the media would stop making mountains out of mole hills.
The news that’s been out for the last week about the two students who got sunburned on a field trip highlights the ridiculous state our society has reached, and everyone involved is to blame - the media in particular.
The Mom. Lady, you know your kids are sensitive to the sun, and if this fact is something that scares you, then always keep your kids’ backpacks stocked with sunscreen and a note from their doctor so that they are allowed to apply it. Further, the biggest travesty here is the media’s insane level of coverage of this non-event (I’ll get to that in a minute). Well, who told the media in the first place? The mom. My sisters and I got sunburns when we were kids. You know who our mom told? Our dad. Not the neighbors, not county officials, not 60 Minutes. Her husband. Going forward, please keep news of your kids’ lives confined to your backyard.
The Teacher. I know your school/state has a policy not to apply sun tan lotion to students for fear of allergic reaction, but please, use common sense. When you see two little tater tots roasting before your eyes, lube them up with some Coppertone. I don’t care if bouncers and carnival ride operators just “do what they’re told”, but you’re an educated, free-thinking teacher for god’s sake. Exercise some judgment and free will.
The School and the State. Are you kidding me? You passed a law forbidding the application of sun tan lotion so as to prevent allergic reactions? I haven’t looked at any statistics lately, but I’m going to guess that the odds of suffering a life-threatening allergic reaction at the hands of Hawaiian Tropic falls somewhere between getting abducted by aliens and death by chocolate. New rule for our society: if something has less than a 0.01% chance of killing us, we’re not allowed to set up a legal framework to protect us against it.
The Media. You motherf*ckers. You lazy, incompetent motherf*ckers. You lazy, incompetent, fear-mongering motherf*ckers. There’s not enough storage capacity on tumblr for me to fully go into why the media is one of the most harmful forces in American society today. So I will keep it short.
As we all have heard a thousand times, the proliferation of news outlets and the 24/7 news cycle has led to a need to fill the air with more content than ever before. Since the world does not contain that much important, relevant information, the media needs to manufacture newsworthy events by turning non-problems into epidemics.
If simply creating useless news was the end of the story, I probably wouldn’t have a big issue with the media - I would simply continue to not watch it. However, much of the news they manufacture is fear-based. When people are shoveled mouthfuls of “be afraid of [fill in the blank]” all day, every day, they become afraid. And because 99% of these news items have almost no chance of ever happening to anyone, the media creates a society of people who are fearful of things they have absolutely no reason to be afraid of. Moreover, in this particular case, not only are they helping to perpetuate a deathly fear of our own sun, but they are also making mildly incompetent people and institutions seem like war criminals.
To quote George Jetson, “Jane, stop this crazy thing!”