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Pre-Digested Information

Posted by Tom Benedict on 29/12/2011

Earlier today I was watching a video on Youtube in which Emma, a person with a tic disorder, set out to answer some common questions about her tics, and about tic disorders in general. She made a really good point in the video that got me to thinking about news and media in general.

In the video, Emma points out that coprolalia (uncontrolled swearing) really only occurs in 10-15% of the people with Tourette’s Syndrome. I knew this statistic before watching the video, but then she went on to point out that the reason people associate TS with uncontrolled swearing is because it is the most glaring, obvious, and easy to make fun of characteristic of TS. So it’s the one that’s covered the most thoroughly by popular media, at the expense of actually covering “typical” TS.

That’s something to think on! Take a condition like Tourette’s Syndrome. The best that our news and reporting services can do is cover a tiny percentage of the population with the condition, and play that up as “being” TS? Wow! Way to go, guys.

Now think about any of the other news stories you’ve heard over the past few months or years: Our kids are failing in school; Schools are failing our kids; Our communities are overrun by sexual offenders; Stop buying beef because it’s contaminated with mad cow disease or e.coli or salmonella; Cities are inherently dangerous; Concealed handguns keep us safer; We need tighter gun control to be safe; A supervolcano / megatsunami / mega asteroid will destroy all life as we know it; We’re doomed.

See a pattern?

Unfortunately I can’t offer any sort of alternative because the only real alternative is to do your own research. And where do you go for that? Video. The printed word. The Internet (oh boy… save us…) Everywhere you turn to find information, someone has already pre-filtered it for us. It’s practically inescapable.

So the only real solution is to be a skeptic. Not a cynic, mind you. A skeptic. Look for the holes in the logic. Ask the questions that beg asking. And be aware when you’re really getting an answer and when you’re being fed a line of BS. Form your own opinions.


– Tom

P.S. Nope, I don’t have coprolalia. When I swear at someone, it’s because I think they need to hear it.


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