Yesterday, I finally watched Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine. It’s been on my list to watch for a while. What a great film! He does such an excellent job of telling the story of American’s love of guns and the fear behind it. It is so clear to me, and this morning, driving home and listening to the Canadian institution, CBC Radio (1560 am where I live), the differences between our countries were driven home to me. The host of the show was speaking about an event happening today in Hawrelak Park in Edmonton, to inform and educate people about Emergency Preparedness. He interviewed the city of Edmonton’s director of Emergency Preparedness, Bob Black, who seemed like a very level-headed, ordinary Canadian. Bob spoke of “just taking a few minutes to prepare” and how easy it is, and that the most common misperception about emergencies is that people will panic. He said people really don’t panic, and by far, people are remarkably calm and use common sense when an emergency happens. Gosh, that makes me proud to be Canadian!
So do Americans panic more? Hard to say. But there’s no question that those who do make it on the 6 o’clock news, and the more graphic, the better, as far as news agencies are concerned. I won’t preach Michael Moore’s sermon for him — if you haven’t seen Bowling for Columbine, rent it — but it’s clear to me that our neighbours across the border are bombarded with much more sensational news and heavy-duty fear tactics than we are. If I were American, I’d cut myself off from TV completely, or at least, the news. Would my life suffer from not knowing what’s going on? Nope. I don’t watch any news now and I am not suffering. I hear the big stuff from people I interact with, and I sometimes look on the internet for real news (from a better variety of sources) to find out for myself what is going on in the world. This is my way; perhaps you can’t imagine living without the news. That’s fine, but be aware of what might be behind the message they are sending, or what emotions they are trying to create in you. This is also an interesting exercise when watching commercials — what is this ad really trying to say? And I know I’ve talked about this before, but what do you think it does to our collective consciousness when thousands or millions of people all think the same thing at the same time? “Oh, there’s so much crime out there!” I think it puts quite a slant on things… but the good news is, positive collective thoughts have more power.
We are more susceptible to the messages we receive than we realize. Those messages seep down, if we aren’t careful, and affect our thinking… and that affects everything else in our lives. And we send more messages to those around us than we realize, especially with our body language. But that’s a blog for another day.
Enjoy the sunshine and fresh air!