By any measure, this came along just in the nick of time: “Spiking Health Problems in U.S. Millennials May Make Them Poorer“. Since we seem to be catching on to The Four Hs of Climate Change — Hyperbole, Hysteria, Hubris, and Hypocrisy — our knickers were in sore need of something with which to get them in a twist. And here it is, not a moment too soon:
More millennials in the U.S. are suffering from chronic health problems, potentially restraining the lifetime economic potential of a generation of young adults [according to Moody’s Analytics, which prepared a report using Blue Cross Blue Shield data] … The new report didn’t provide a precise estimate for the effects of worsening millennial health on U.S. economic output.
Nothing, of course, says first-world navel-gazing like getting lathered up about something that hasn’t been quantified and likely can’t be. Good on us.
Media Is As Media Does
None of this can or should be surprising. We have access to the most fantastic information. By fantastic, I mean of fantasy — conceived or appearing as if conceived by an unrestrained imagination; odd and remarkable; bizarre; grotesque; fanciful or capricious; imaginary or groundless in not being based on reality; foolish or irrational; extravagantly fanciful; marvelous; incredibly great or extreme; exorbitant; highly unrealistic or impractical; outlandish. That access is unchecked. It’s immediate. It’s constant. It neither invites critical reflection nor allows time for it. It presumes it will be accepted as reality without question. Most often, it is.
What’s more frightening is the fact that every crank with a theory, a keyboard, and an inclination to contribute to cyberspatial pollution can spew into that illimitable stream of intellectucal impoverishment to which we all too willingly and gullibly grant the status of information. That’s the gift and the curse of electronic media. Electronic media just is. It’s everywhere, all the time. It’s an infinite free-for-all. Recipients beware.
Panic Is As Panicked Does
Whether we like it or not, whether we intend it or not, and whether we know it or not, we’re raising the FUBAR, kids. We’re falsifying, obfuscating, complicating, overstating, and tolerating more than we could ever dream of. And we’re falling for stuff we couldn’t imagine in our worst nightmares.
In our pathological need to panic, we’re reaching new heights in lowness.