Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Consider the Odds

I was surfing the Artful Quilters Web Ring and read Tall Girl's blog which is listed quite near mine [I'm now 160 - things get changed every so often, i was 181]. She wrote on Earth Day that she felt she was doing all she could to reclycle and be eco-aware but then read an article saying that the cords to all our electronics emit carbon and should be unplugged when not in use, including TVs and such. I tired to leave a comment when AOL seized up as it tempramentally. But since this is a peeve of mine, I'm writing about it.

The media are very good at scare tactics, pretty good at reporting odd staistics and lousy at putting most things into context. Two examples besides Tall Girl's concern occurred today. I went into a deli and heard a young man order an egg white omelet. "What do you want in it?' ask the guy behind the counter. "Nothing, just egg whites." I looked at the slender 30ish guy and thought Why? No one can convince me that egg whites alone taste good. He doesn't need to lose weight, he's probably too young to have serious conerns about heart disease. But he read something saying egg yolks are bad for you. That's why. At work I transcribed a woman journalist talking about anorexia and bulimia, looking for why young women want to be thin and obsess about their weight. The journalist, who is 27, had no historical perspective beyond her mother who is probably 50. and she, feminist that she proclaims herself to be. She had no political perspective at all. She had looked only at media images and the "perfect girl" idea -- but not where it came from, beyond the mother's need to be supermom. She seemed to be a very ingtelligent woman, perhaps in 30 years she'll be able to look at society with a wider lens and wonder why society at this time needs to portray women as stick thin -- boyish of figure. Certainly not Valkuries or Amazons. Look at the arguably most powerful woman in American Sect. of State Rice ... A smart woman, a talented woman [whose politics I dislike] but does she look like someone who can throw her weight around? All 110 pounds of her?

That's my soap box: The well meaning smart young or not so youing media people who glom onto a few statistics, but cannot see beyond, often, their own economic class, almost never beyond the American culture. So all become more and more parochial, and grab onto "facts" which are rarely put into any useful context. Another example: not an hour ago, I heard a health report saying that a new study says that people who eat a lot of flavaoids have 23% less pancreatic cancer. Where can you get flavaoids: Cabbage and spinach is all they said. What's the incidence of panreatic cancer? No information given, who should care about this "information"? It was presented as if we all should, after all they used the big C word. Really -- is this news? Is this really information? How much cabbage did you eat this week?

Let's go back to Tall Girl's concern about all those electical cords in her house. What is the possible carbon emmission, if it's true that there is? How does that compare to the carbon emmission of the power plant that generates her electricity? How does it compare to the haze of Beijing or Los Angeles or even tiny Kathmandu? Does she need to go around unplugging things when not in use, can't she do something truly positive with her time? Can't that guy with the egg whites spend five minutes in the morning actually enjoying his breakfast -- what if he at half a cantaloupe with some cottage cheese? Flavor, protein, calcium, caratinoids and tasty. We have one life to live, we aren't responsible for saving the world, we are responsible to ourselves not to waste the precious life we have.


Brenda said...

But where is your Artful Quilters Web Ring button?!

Brenda said...

Hi again June - I tried sending you a reply to your e-mail but it bounced. Please let me know your correct e-mail address and I will try again.