Age? Paranoia? Fad-in-news?

I am (by my own definition) an inferential scanner.  I tend to ‘scan’ information and then derive knowledge or even opinion from that very human, subjective, faulty, biased data processing operation.  It’s like scanning a dance floor to find the love of your life when you are 19.  It’s even a bit like reading the book jacket, a few pages here and there and maybe a synopsis on Amazon and considering yourself having ‘read’ the book.  Of course, I don’t do that with books but I tried numerous dance floors when I was young.  And I have resorted to doing that with professional sports as well – I just watch the last five minutes at the very most and deduce from that all I needed to know.  That is so much true for me now, I don’t even watch the last five minutes of anything except maybe the highlights of the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup.  The whole season is right there in the executive summary of the ‘year’s highlights’.

It’s how Trump thinks but he doesn’t even know any of the games. Not really (silver spoon in the way). Perhaps Liar’s Poker.  I, at leas,t played hockey and played football and many other sports (it’s why I can watch golf but not curling or trout fishing).  You need to have had some REAL experience to see the brilliant one-handed catch by NY Giant’s wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr, to know that it is, in fact, a bloody brilliant miracle catch!

But that is not my topic………here it is:  Is my scanner off-base?  Am I seeing or am I NOT seeing an uptick in the violent madness that makes up our world these days?  I sense that the violence, murder, shooting, bombing, mayhem and even governmental heavy-handedness has increased markedly in the past year, maybe 18 months.  Do you think so?

I have taken to asking a few friends and the answers are ‘Yes, but….’ and what they mean with the ‘buts’ is that maybe it is all just being reported on more…..or social media is more on-the-spot than conventional media used to be……or maybe it is just that the new news simply follows the old news premise that ‘if it bleeds, it leads’.  No one knows, of course. We are not real data processors.  We are not hungry readers of stats.  Most of those I know don’t live in any ghettos, France, Turkey or Ferguson, Missouri.  We don’t know.

But it feels like it is so. I would suggest a 15% increase based on nothing rational, logical or researched at all.  Just my gut.

And, if it is true, what does that mean?  More specifically, what does that mean for us? Those of us NOT living in ghettos?

So, unlike my usual posts where I pontificate over some idiotic issue or wax poetic about ravens, this is really just a question.  Are we living in a crazier more violent world that is trending worse?

Or not?

15 thoughts on “Age? Paranoia? Fad-in-news?

  1. Yeats wrote in 1919,
    “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    The world has had bouts of “…passionate intensity…” for millennia. Witch burnings, ‘hanging, drawing and quartering’, flaying and other medieval tortures seem to be some what reduced in the 21 first century in favour of car batteries and jumper cables, water boarding, rendition(sending to a country with less rigorous regulations for the humane treatment of prisoners), Guantanamo or ‘gitmo’ and various ordeals of mental cruelty through character assassination via innuendo. On the violence front things seem little changed over the millennia. In the past the under-classes had little reason to hope…so they mostly had only crushed dreams but today many folks have swallowed the big lie of “trickle down economics or a rising tide lifts all boats.” or ‘only I can solve your problems’. In medieval times such promises were the stuff of fairytales, sadly today many Millennials and others will be rudely disabused as the ‘catfishers’ have their way again. Basically it’s SSDY.

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    • So, same ol’, same ol’, eh? Different year……DC thinks so, as well. I would have thought so, too……except……..well, inferential scanning is suggesting otherwise……I have some trust in the gut……from the lizard brain end….it feels like it is a bit more than that……..but………..honestly, I am ‘asking’ NOT arguing. So, I’ll ask again…….you sure? Or is that just YOUR gut talking?

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      • The latest narrative on how the economic pie is divided remains the same. You will recall “Ba Ba Black sheep,” and the three bags of wool. The division was one for the master and two for the Dame and none for the little boy who cries in the lane. The poor are being catfished when they are told, “I am the only one who can solve your problems!” Serf, slave, proles, working poor over the ages these members of the under-class have taken the gas pipe. It may seem that things are worse an ever. Worse than ever is a hard case to make. Generally things are consistently odious over time. It is disturbing that today a slice of America is buying the false hope peddled by Mr Catfish. ‘I will solve your problems’ is a Goebbel’s type propaganda claim Is an oligarchy a building again?

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      • I appreciate your answer…I really do….I am NOT convinced but I appreciate the answer. Feel free to try harder……

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      • With reference to the kleptocracy extant. What has changed today? How did the common people lose control over their lives, their liberty and their purses. In a word it was trickery. How can some one earning $7.50 an hour chant ‘USA’at a Catfish rally? Year in and year out the con man fools some of the people. How is it more intense in 2016 when compared to 1919 or any other mometious era in history? Tell me Lucy.

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  2. ” Are we living in a crazier more violent world that is trending worse?”

    Statistically…….No.

    But the perception seems to be the opposite……….perhaps things bother us more at our age?
    Boomer angst at things that go “boom”?

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    • So, you think NO? But you are using stats and they do not cover the world. They do NOT seem to cover Surrey and Missouri. I am NOT arguing YES but simply wondering……how do you measure the Trump angst and buffoonery? How do you measure the Libyan bombing against ISIS? Do you count the increase in sales for Smith and Wesson? Even the cops-shot-in-Dallas is a hard-to-factor-in anomaly.
      So, I am prepared to say NO as well but on what basis?

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      • Well, statistically speaking there are fewer murders, rapes and assaults in North America than at any time since the collection of stats.
        AND the conviction rates are higher for the people that commit those crimes.
        I think its the relentless, instantaneous reporting of crime on tv, internet, phones, etc. 24/7.
        What used to take several days or even weeks….is posted in mere minutes…..Check out the Reuters website for instant news…..its crazy. A butterfly farts in the deepest darkest Amazonian jungle and CNN is choppering in a crew to give you a synopsis, with interviews of the witnesses and family……….
        Does it create dread, angst and a feeling of looming disaster? Sure. Thats why so many are envious of the OTG lifestyle…..”getting OUT of the ratrace”
        But. That being said.
        Are there more wackos per capital in the deep, dark, OTG woods than the big city( present company excluded of course)? Methinks yes. You just dont have the 24/7 video/telephones to show it.
        Michael Crightons’ dreadfully bad novel “State of Fear” followed the premis that govts. , the media, the police, etc want us to be scared because then they get to “protect us”……..
        Which is fairly easy to do when the “threat” or “enemy” is our own fear.
        Then again , dont let North Korea get a missle sized nuke.

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      • More whackos out here? Here? Ya think?!
        Abso-bloody-lutely there are more whackos – but here does NOT have more violence. Nobody shoots or blows anyone else up out here. Hell, they just walk away 99.99999999999999% of the time. Maybe yell or mumble under their breath and then, later, gossip. Tolerance (much tested) is the name of the game out here in the boonies – we have the space for that. Everyone tolerates everyone.
        Even me.
        I read that novel. It was bad. A rant, really. But, in retrospect, he may have had more of a point than I appreciated then. I think there is credence to the message that danger-as-news is good for business.
        The lower NAmerican stats are simply because the boomer generation is getting older. The ‘pig’ in the python is greying. But ISIS and cop brutality are NOT measured. Mexico and drug highway is not measured. Neither is the US bombing in Libya. Hell, China is even sword rattling.
        Jus’ sayin’…….

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      • Yeah . I hear ya.
        I have more of a chance getting hurt on the commute to work than I do anywhere else in my daily “grind”.
        My biggest fear these days is an economic meltdown in China and, in order to get the seething middle class from blaming the corrupt leadership, …….the leadership will whip everyone there into a nationalistic frenzy and the public in China will be screaming for blood over those stupid rocks in the South China Sea…….. Not like an unpopular govt to get the plebes thinking about something else other than the real issues.

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  3. I guess…..China used to be docile….police, if not GOOD were at least just bureaucratic, not dangerous….politicians did not stump hate….. automatic weapons were only in armies….greed was not good nor excused nor celebrated. Wars were big deals….mass killings rate….few used drugs….buffoonery was not normal…..and 1/3 of the world were not seen as enemies. It just seems crazier to me. Jus’ sayin’…..

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    • Yep.
      China is definitely a “threat” environmentally, economically, and militarily unlike yesteryear when they were announcing 5 year plans about rice production….
      The police used to be respected not feared.
      Politicians, while somewhat mistrusted, weren’t universally despised .
      Firearms were used for hunting for dinner not people.
      Banks were conservative money managers not speculators and flim flam artists. And the govt kept them on a short leash.
      And the media used to actually have testicular fortitude and reported vigorously on incompetance, corruption, and stupidity of our fearless leaders……
      Now? They give us “cat up a tree stories, dog stories, paroled pedophile living in your neighborhood stories, …basically visceral sensationalistic pablum that doesnt offend anyone in the top 1% of the population with money or power…….. nothing to see, move along.

      Interesting times.

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  4. Is it a more violent in some areas of the world…? Historically no but our era is a time period characterized by greater alienation in some countries caused by a decline in the usual supports of a unified society such as an extended family or attainable dreams and goals. I realize that we still have extended families but many do not have that support. One substitute for the family, for some. is the amount of face time spent with electronic devices facebooking and using other electronic means of communication to fight isolation. We still have tribes but they are twitter tribes, or political ideology tribes or religious tribe. We sometimes protect our tribes in ways that seem to be lacking in civility. At times we act in ways that display a deficit in social intelligence. We look for unity by seeking out mostly illusory goals, or by seeking what our tribe wants, or what is trending on social media or seeking out the most banal of activities such as Pokémon Go. Our appears to be an anxious society seeking some chimera.

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