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Last August, America experienced a total solar eclipse which spanned fourteen states, and was seen as a partial eclipse in most of the rest of the country. The media seized the phenomenon and dubbed it "The Great American Eclipse." I heard commentators say this was the greatest event of its kind in American history. As a result, millions of Americans got caught up in the event and paid good money to wear some cheap sunglasses to watch the eclipse. It was a welcomed diversion from the political woes normally reported on television. However, I couldn't help but wonder what all the hubbub was all about. After all, we have witnessed plenty of eclipses over the years, but this one seemed to capture the fancy of the media.
Shortly thereafter we entered hurricane season, where the Caribbean and Southern states were pummeled by Harvey, Irma, and Maria. We were told by the media these were the fiercest and most destructive storms in history. In reality, they were bad, but there have been more severe storms over the years.
In September, earthquakes struck Mexico, killing hundreds of people and destroying several buildings and homes. As bad as it was, it paled in comparison to the 1985 Mexico City earthquake where several thousand people perished.
Then, in October, we heard of the many fires plaguing California. Again, this was labeled by the media as the "worst natural disaster" in memory. Yes, the fires were certainly destructive, but the worst? Hardly.
I find this labeling by the media interesting. It tells us more about the hyperbole of the press than in does of the phenomenons themselves. It appears the media wants to make everything historic in one way or another, thereby giving people a sense of achievement, e.g., "I survived the wrath of Irma." I do not want to demean the destruction caused by the hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires, but I also believe that using such adjectives as "the greatest," "the worst," "the fastest," or even "#1" tends to conjure up images that leads to viewership and panic. I certainly saw this here in Florida during Hurricane Irma, where my surrounding area was completely shut down, something I have never witnessed before.
I have survived many hurricanes much more powerful than Irma. I also lived through a record snowfall in Chicago during the winter of 1967. I have also seen the destruction caused by riots during the late 1960s, I watched the first man on the moon, the first president resign from office, the Big Red Machine, Jimi Hendrix, and a remarkable horse named Secretariat. However, these events are now poo-pooed by the media today as meaningless, and the only thing that matters is today's events.
One could conclude this is indicative of our diminishing sense of history, but I believe it goes beyond that. It seems the media is counting on people to forget the past, and only relish today. They want to give the populace a sense of purpose in order to manipulate them. If people believe what they are doing is unique, or even groundbreaking, they will embrace it more readily than if it wasn't. This is one reason why we have people demonstrating and marching, people like Antifa promoting anarchy, and other political movements. In other words, people want to be part of something meaningful, if not historical, particularly in their youth.
The truth, though, is all of these "greatest/worst/biggest/fastest" events have all been played out before, and at larger scales, and all of this is nothing more than history repeating itself. It also means the media will go to any length, say anything, in pursuit of the almighty dollar, regardless of whether it's factual or not.
Keep the Faith!
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Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.