AND Laugh at Scary Things

October 26th, 2014

In this week of Halloween masks, goblins and ghosts, perhaps we could look at the delight children, and many adults, find in scary things. We visit haunted houses, watch scary movies, and go on amusement rides to experience the thrill of being scared and overcoming that fear, laughing about it as the victor. Halloween has become a time of dressing up and having fun while soliciting and eating an inordinate amount of sugar…nothing really scary about it.

In a world where we create crises and make data points into huge stories to scare ourselves into action, perhaps Halloween week is a good time to remember that we need to remember what is real and what is concocted. We can be rather dramatic, some even taking pride in labeling themselves “drama queens.” We may find ourselves taking one part of our lives or one world event and making it into something that it is not, scaring ourselves and other people along the way.

Ebola has taken central stage as a crisis. It may have the potential to be a crisis, if not addressed. Our friends and families in Africa may indeed be in crisis today. However, four cases of the illness in the US does not an American crisis make. And the same could be said for any of a number of manufactured, headline-getting, stories meant to instill fear, dispose people to a particular, often political, viewpoint, and galvanize resources.

We, in this country, have the opportunity to step back, pause, ask ourselves who we want to be and what we want to stand for, before investing our emotional and mental energies in media-created, whether televised, radio, or social, crises that scare people beyond the point of common sense.

So, this Halloween, let’s enjoy the scary masks, children’s squeals as they trick or treat or otherwise dress in costumes, and laugh at the apparently scary things. It helps us restore perspective on what is real and worthy of our energy.

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