Monday, November 29, 2004

Fear is big business

Love does not make the world go round. Fear does. Some people have woken up to that and have exploited this fact. Others have remained oblivious to this and have ended up victims.

Fear has been instrumental in retaining the stability of a society, since time immemorial. People are God Fearing, not God loving. This fact was observed by a section of the society - and they decided to use this 'fear' to their advantage. Irrationality was induced into the society in the name of the divine. Institutionalized cruelty was thus born. Religion, the greatest rip off in the world, was born thus. Honest and humble musings of saints and wise men were misinterpreted left right and center - to suit massive religious cartels. A fear, nay, a phobia was induced among the gullible.

But I digress. Fear. Fear is a good advertisement. News stories such as those of killer diseases act as viewer magnets. A lot of television programming is dependent on fear. So much so that ordinary (happy) channels just cannot sustain themselves- owing to competitive forces that draw people into watching worrisome current affairs. As a matter of fact, it becomes necessary from an economic point of view to pander to the eternal demand of fear.

Say for instance current warnings on Avian flu. They are making headlines in almost all online sites, from google to BBC. Why? They contain the magic words: "You might end up dead". Feed it to the people. They are eternally hungry for such information. Of course, when they do get to read the article, they do the following:
  • Panic
  • Go to a doctor
  • Get a Vaccination
  • Keep track of the news on TV and other modes of communication such as the internet
  • Tell a lot of people to get vaccinated
Money is involved in all the steps, right from going to a doctor to keeping track of the news. Large medicine companies cash in on this paranoia. Transportation companies transport the vaccine. News stories are created. High TRPs. Lots of targeted ads are placed in the space. Lots of money changes hands. Fear is big money.

I have a copy of Windows XP (besides Linux) on my computer that does not have a service patch. I do not use any antivirus software. I am connected to the internet all the time. The computer has not given any problems as of now, despite the fact that half the internet sites that I visit tell me a crash is imminent. I am not going to attach that obtrusive service pack!

People scare you about examinations, from the Public Boards (the correction is biased!!) to the J.E.E (If you don't study for 25 hours a day, you're going to fail) to the End Sems at IIT (This prof grades hard!). Fear intimidates you, prejudices you.

If I were to trust half the sites on the net I would be sure the have the following diseases:
  • Skin Cancer
  • Throat Cancer
  • AIDS
  • Testicular Cancer
If there's a small lump on your skin, go, see a doc. It could be cancer. The doc, of course will charge a fee......

But of course, it could be cancer. Just check for a lump on your skin -- something on your arm, say. It could be cancer.

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