Friday, June 02, 2006

About the Fear Blog

Heard the bad news? Sure you have. It’s everywhere. You can't turn on the TV or read a newspaper (paper or electronic) without coming across THE BIG SCARE. It varies from week to week - global warming, bird flu, terrorism, world hunger, rapidly-depleting oil reserves, and what have you - but it's almost always guaranteed to ruin your day and make you consider stockpiling food and weapons in your basement.

Ever heard the phrase "culture of fear?" Probably. It's usually applied to politics, for example by claiming that the powers that be are deliberately trying to manipulate the citizens with a series of boogeymen. There's probably some truth in that, but the culture goes much deeper than mere political scaremongering. It's in the everyday conversation of the scared-shitless John Q. Public. It's in every online forum thread dedicated to the oil crisis, or some new disease, or the environment. It's in every locked car door in a crime-free suburb. It's in every parent with a vague uneasiness about the world their children are going off into.

People are genuinely scared, and fear loves company.

The media certainly have something to do with it - they're the ones who tell us about all the new things to be afraid of, anyway, to keep us glued to the screens in stark terror - but they won't admit it. That's why I started the Fear Blog. Here I share the bad news, collect the scary stories, and speculate on the coming apocalypse and various dubious conspiracy theories. No attempt will be made to hide the fact that I'm a completely paranoid pessimist. Scaremongering or no, all these dire predictions about the future have gotten to me. I'm worried about the environment. I'm worried about where our energy is going to come from. I'm worried about war, I'm worried about terrorism, I'm worried about disease. Hell, I'm even worried that the ravings of the crackpot conspiracy fringe might be true.

And that's the theme of this blog - dread and paranoia. It's not so much about scaring you, the reader, as it is about sharing my own layman's-eye-view of the fear culture. It's about my own nervous panic, and those dark thoughts that come up whenever I turn on the TV news. And I think some of you will probably share my concerns, because I'm one of you. I'm just a regular guy with a knot in my gut and a lump in my throat.

I'm as scared as you are, but I'm also fascinated by this neurotic culture. So come on, and explore it with me.