The Culture (of Fearing For One's) Life

Criticlasm sent an email today, announcing a new project:

"I was talking with friends last night about the current culture of fear --
the news pushing paranoia, the government pushing legislation
through fear, etc. I saw a teaser for the news the other day saying
"Could you possibly be exposed to GYM GERMS?!", and I thought,
"Now, it's just ridiculous." My friend, who is a mother, was talking
about paranoid emails she gets forwarded to her about everything
from toys to bottles to car seats being dangerous according to this
or that study, but no background to how the study was done or what
the actual conditions or reason to worry are."

Criticlasm's sent out a call, inviting submissions (of any kind of writing) that address "how constant overload and paranoia are affecting our lives." Innersting project...Got StinkyLulu to thinking about an incipient fear that's been threatening lately...

See, just a couple weeks ago, while visiting a Premium Outlet Mall just outside of Palms Springs, StinkyLu picked up a kicky pair of new summer sandals (in brown, not black). Anyway, ever since, StinkyLulu's become reacquainted with the always surprising and often quite painful experience of static electricity -- almost exclusively when getting out of the car. So, StinkyLulu got to wondering: Is it the shoes? Will removing the carpet floor mat on the driver's side help? Is StinkyLulu's stubborn addiction to air-conditioning while driving to blame? Will StinkyLulu spontaneously combust while pumping gas?

But here is where StinkyLulu's experience of the "culture of fear" might be a little off. StinkyLulu tends not to succumb to paranoia overload, despite being an essentially fear-driven creature & being totally enmeshed in contemporary media culture. Rather, it's as though -- on the crowded playing field of fears that is StinkyLu's brain -- the attacks by inchoate Panic or Hysteria are block tackled by the all-star defensive team of Cynicism, Malaise and Denial before getting anywhere near the end zone. (To use an ill-crafted football metaphor -- football itself being a long-standing source of fear for StinkyLulu.) Which means that -- in the case of StinkyLulu's fears of static electricity causing an explosion at the Pump'n'Save -- said fears don't arrive to the front of StinkyLulu's fear registry brain-screen until StinkyLulu's well into the process of pumping gas. Which would be so totally way too late to prevent a fireball fatality. Which begs the question: Are StinkyLulu's gas pump anxieties symptomatic of our contemporary culture of fear, or are they the feelings of one who suffers from an emerging condition affecting many in today's society -- Putative Experience of Near Immolation Syndrome, or P.E.N.I.S. StinkyLulu's unnerving P.E.N.I.S. encounters remain to be fully understood, awaiting further P.E.N.I.S. studies by expert P.E.N.I.S. researchers.

Whatever the ultimate diagnosis, it does seem to StinkyLu that Criticlasm's project is certainly a worthy one & something that promises all kinds of interesting tidbits. (Like the revelation that the color-coded terror alert system is all a big scam perpetrated by the Republican noise machine. 'Magine that.)


criticlasm said...

I think I'd be most interested if the news did a story on your static-y shoes, followed by a commercial for an anti-static spray (ass) for your shoes. Then possible legislation against the shoemakers and or wearers. That seems to be the trend. Oh, and against the gays, too. They're always on fire.

criticlasm said...

oh my God, my last post was at 3:33! Half the number of the beast! Oh wait--I heard yesterday that the number of the beast is actually 616, and has been mistranslated over the years. Whew--narrow escape.