The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things

The Culture of Fear Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things In this eye opening examination of a pathology that has swept the country the noted sociologist Barry Glassner reveals why Americans are burdened with overblown fears He exposes the people and organi

  • Title: The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things
  • Author: Barry Glassner
  • ISBN: 9780465014903
  • Page: 115
  • Format: Paperback
  • In this eye opening examination of a pathology that has swept the country, the noted sociologist Barry Glassner reveals why Americans are burdened with overblown fears He exposes the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit from our anxieties politicians who win elections by heightening concerns about crime and drug use even as both are decliniIn this eye opening examination of a pathology that has swept the country, the noted sociologist Barry Glassner reveals why Americans are burdened with overblown fears He exposes the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit from our anxieties politicians who win elections by heightening concerns about crime and drug use even as both are declining advocacy groups that raise money by exaggerating the prevalence of particular diseases TV news magazines that monger a new scare every week to garner ratings.

    One thought on “The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things”

    1. I couldn't even get through this book. The information was poorly organized and it just wasn't very good reading. It was recommended on Michael Moore's website a while back.The premise of the book sounded interesting to me and Michael Moore's heart is in the right place, but the book is just utter rubbish. It's not for serious thinkers who are looking for something insightful and revealing about US culture. Bad Michael, I'm disappointed in you.

    2. The thesis of this thoroughly researched and lucidly written book is that the media trumpets scares that are not based in reality, created with ulterior or subconscious motives to distract the public from real and much more difficult to face problems. Faceless villains in nursing homes are killing our grandparents; we don’t have to think about the troubling conditions and egregiously low funding we set aside for our oldest and most vulnerable citizens. We should worry about nuts shooting up th [...]

    3. Tell me something I don't know. The media sensationalizes whatever they can for ratings and statistics can be twisted to show whatever someone wants them to show.Consider the source when you get your info. Who funds them? What do they have to gain? Is there another way to read a statistic? Then, take your Paxil and crawl back into your basement bunker with your guns.

    4. The book itself hasn't dated as much as I expected. While the discussion is still sketchy and simplistic it's true these same topics are still being fearmongered: child abduction, the medicalisation of life, race, youth. However what I really wanted to read was the new chapter on the post 9/11 world. Sadly this is as shallow as the original book. There's a great quote from Dan Rather on page 234, regarding how, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, to question government became tantamount to treas [...]

    5. This is a terrific non-fiction book about how special interests, news organizations, and the government manipulate the populace through fear tactics. Researching social epidemics such as airline safety, school violence and road rage (among many others), Glassner pretty effectively illustrates how we are fed a diet of fear by trumped up "experts," and people who have a stake in keeping us afraid. This second situ is what was appalling to me. If your livelihood is consulting and giving speeches ab [...]

    6. I give this 4 stars not because it was necessarily super well-written, though it was clear and concise, but because I thought the subject matter was remarkable. I would have never, ever picked this up as my own volition. Ever. Ever, ever, ever. These types of books never appeal to me. However, my older brother is very into economics, social studies, etc. etc. and he wanted me to read this. I found the abridged audio version, which is what I am reviewing and figured I could handle dedicating 4 da [...]

    7. The Culture of Fear truly and aggressively insinuates that America is trapped in a culture that feeds off fear mongering by corporations, public officials, experts and mostly media personnel. Glassner brightly examines the phenomenon of fear mongering, which ultimately it creates a shallow society. Americans are brainwashed by the information provided by the media, which instinctively and distinguishably misinforms and misguides Americans. Yet, the blame doesn’t stop at the media; public offic [...]

    8. This book really opened my eyes to the manipulations of the media, and the politicians. The whole point is "Be afraid, give us money" which my BF and I say whenever we see it happening.If you watched "Bowling for Columbine", He sites this books and suggests it, and when speaking to Marylin Manson if you had a moment of "Holy crap he has a brain," or any minor epiphany because of the points that come up in that interview segment in the movie, then you need to read this book.Actually everyone who [...]

    9. An excellent read, reassuring on many counts. It's ok to be fearful, but Glassner points out many ways in which the media & all manner of special interests befuddle their audience & create / exaggerate dangers. Plenty of statistics to back up his points and 46 pages of notes. Also a nice reading group guide - why don't reading groups cover more books like this instead of the latest Grisham?In the final thoughts section, Glassner presents a valid comparison to the hysteria resulting from [...]

    10. I would be interested to see how this book would be updated given that it's almost 20 years old. Very provocative concept. Makes me want to read so much deeper into news sources.

    11. I found this book less interesting as it went on. I think this is because Glassner is making essentially the same point, albeit with well written prose, over and over again with a number of different fears to illustrate his point. All of this is spot on, but I couldn't help feeling that he was rather stating the obvious. Personally I have a pet peeve when people blame anything on some vague force known as "the media". Problem with society? Oh, it's the media. Soccer violence? Must stem from the [...]

    12. Glassner's book has a provocative title, and it's filled with well-researched numbers and a clear view of reality. It's also got a terse but powerful style that reads quickly, despite being packed full of statistics and meticulous research. As a result, Glassner is convincing when he points out that fear is a powerful force, oversold by our culture to point us at the wrong problems. It's also a salient point that misallocation of fear causing us to spend a ridiculous amount of resources trying t [...]

    13. It was an over all ok read; i would love to see an updated edition, "Fear revisited" or something of that nature with updated statistics and new information. In the book they reference soldiers as having GWS (Gulf War Syndrome) which is now umbrellaed along with the term "post traumatic stress syndrome." Little things like that would make a, "2nd edition" an even more enthralling read for today's somewhat aware generation. Its a very good read for those who have some suspicions that the things t [...]

    14. I love the premise of this book: Taking popular media scare tactics and debunking them with facts, both statistical and otherwise. However, the execution of this premise was lacking and the political bias was obvious. In regards to the latter, I am in agreement with Glassner but still found it disconcerting to see fingers pointed at guns, government, and other metaphorical boogey-men, when he is supposed to be dismantling the fear, if you will, not advocating his political agenda.In the beginnin [...]

    15. Glassner discusses the cultur of fear which is prevalent in the news media today and shows how various topics are continually presented, not for their accuracy but for their sensationalism. The problem with this is many of the stories, such as airline accidents, or middle-age heroin addicts that the media reports on are false. Scientific and statistical studies have found that on these topics the media is overplaying the anomalies. I appreciated Glassner's research and insight for clearly bringi [...]

    16. Glassner makes a solid argument, but the main thing missing here is a real exploration of what these "fears" truly represent. Glassner seems to delve into numerous, well-researched examples of the fears, but does not examine them as thoroughly as he could in terms of their larger social context. This is an important book for it's time; the recent release of the 10th anniversary addition which includes almost 30 extra pages of new material and "fears" makes it a bit more relevant to contemporary [...]

    17. A look at a very scared America. It was written before 9-11 and Columbine so many of the fears are dated, but the idea is still relevant. It has lots of examples of irrational fear-mongering, like George Bush the First having a speech written on the dangers of crack cocaine in which he held up a bag of crack confiscated across the street from the White House. This required a bag of crack, which they couldn't find in a park across the street, so the DEA paid a drug dealer to come to the park wher [...]

    18. I only got through a little more than half this book before the skimming began. Glassner's Gospel of Food is dead-on; he has his finger on the pulse of food/diet issues in America. But this? Culture of Fear sidles up to the progressive/social justice/welfare warriors of our time leaving conservative gun-owning hard-workers in its wake. Glassner wholly devalues a Christian ethic and fails to see the need to return to a set standard of godly morals in our society. The foundation of fear he purport [...]

    19. Barry wrote this book in 1999, so it a whole different social landscape of fear than we have now. However, one can see the parallels between our worlds and a somewhat belabored book could be summed up in a handful of points. Let me see if I can do this.People begin to see the things that they fear. Perhaps, we are all hypochondriacs at some level.I have laughed at myself at this weakness, but I think we all have it. When exposed enough to an idea (fear), we will believe it.Trust but verify.Sex s [...]

    20. Barry Glassner's exposition of the modern media and the public fear it feeds on is both eye-opening and (ironically, given the title) terrifying. Not afraid of calling out the people that make this pathology possible, Glassner crafts a well-written narrative that is still deeply rooted in fact - one that is guaranteed to leave the reader disturbed. Highly recommended reading for everyone.

    21. I really like the ideas presented here, but I didn't realize this was written pre-9/11, and I would have liked to hear his thoughts on the current fear-mongering going on.

    22. Could your child be a ticking time bomb?Will you die in a horrible plane crash that could have been prevented?Will your child be killed in school?Will you be killed by a disgruntled co-worker?Answer: No.At least, it is very, very, very unlikely. But chances are those scenarios make you feel the tiniest bit afraid. Why? Why be afraid of plane crashes when you're far more likely to be injured or killed in your car? Why be terrified of being killed by some random criminal when violent crime rates p [...]

    23. What might have been.The premise of this book is compelling, and in a few chapters of the book, the author does hit the mark in exposing the way many Americans are be (mis)lead into fearing the wrong things.One is example is the “fear of flying” and the way the airline safety records are many times ignored. Glassner exposes the media and quite a few “celebrity” journalists for their grandstanding and misleading journalistic reports.Glassner also does well in reporting on the “War on Dr [...]

    24. I wish I'd read this back when it came out / or there were an updated version (I'll do some searching for something along those lines). I can imagine using some of these essays to teach about media in the classroom though--some of it might feel obvious to a more seasoned reader or viewer, but these pieces unpeel things that might feel more fresh to one who is learning to be critical of source material.

    25. This book is as important today as it ever was, maybe even more important today when we have an executive branch of the government that spreads fear, lies, and anger. The media is a huge part of the problem but they are also an enormous part of the solution. This is a well researched, well written look at how powerful and hurtful a culture of fear can be.

    26. Excellent subject and well researched material that gives insight into current events and trends. Very dry read, a good choice for the subject matter (sensationalism). I felt grounded and armed with knowledge after reading this, but wished it gave a more concise solution to the problem on a micro and macro scale.

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