Why we love scary news stories, just as children like candy

Reposted from the Fabius Maximus site

By Larry Kummer, Editor / 6 Comments / 6 November 2019

Summary: A new chapter has begun in the climate wars. The reason why reveals something about America – about us – that we must know if we are to steer America to a safe and prosperous future.

“I want doomster news stories in this newspaper, and plenty of them!”

pexels-photo-1586996

In 2017 a new phase in the “debate” about the public policy response to climate change began with publication of “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells in New York magazine – “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak – sooner than you think.” It is typical alarmist propaganda – exaggerations, misrepresentations, with little context about the odds of these horrific things happening.

This has been the Left’s primary method of influencing Americans since the early 1970s. They have predicted the end times from pollution, resources running out, global famine, and other dooms long forgotten. The Right also uses this tool, with their scary stories about crime, national bankruptcy, evil minority groups, and terrorism. Why do they do it? This new chapter of the climate wars shows the answer. NYMag published a follow-up article that opens with what is most important to journalists, and explains why they love doomster stories.

“We published ‘The Uninhabitable Earth‘ on Sunday night, and the response since has been extraordinary — both in volume (it is already the most-read article in New York Magazine’s history) and in kind.”

So they expanded it into a book: The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. This was followed by many others. The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink by journalists Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (2018). “The five ways the human race could be WIPED OUT because of global warming” by Rod Ardehali at the Daily Mail, a promo for Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben. “Planet Earth Is Doomed. How Do I Go On?” by Liza Featherstone at The Nation. “Where our New World Begins: Power, politics, and the Green New Deal“ by Kevin Baker in Harper’s, May 2019 (debunked here). The latest is “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency” in Bioscience (a friendly outlet for climate doomsters).

These are weakly sourced, and have only a slight resemblance to anything published by NOAA or the IPCC. But science be damned. Fear sells. What counts in the real world are clicks, and the advertising dollars and political power that flow from them. Today editors across America are banging on desks, demanding that their reporters write stories about the very certain death to everybody coming very soon. Special interest groups from coast to coast are preparing press releases about the looming disasters requiring that we give them money and power.

Today climate activists are popping Champaign corks, convinced that the public’s interest in climate doomster stories means more support for their political agenda. Are they right?

Janet Leigh in "Psycho"

Why we love doomster stories

“The key to a great story is not who, what, or when, but Why?”
— Eliot Carver, media magnate in Tomorrow Never Dies.

These stories have seldom succeeded in changing US public policy (see Focusing on worst case climate futures doesn’t work. It shouldn’t work). But why do we love alarmists propaganda, yet not act upon them? Peter Moore gave a clue in the March 1987 issue of Playboy (yes, it also had great pictures): “The Crisis Crisis”. The opening tells the tale.

“America today is suffering an epidemic of nation-sweeping events unseen since the Biblical plagues in Egypt. In the attack of the killer trends, we are terrified on Monday by a crisis we scarcely knew existed the previous Friday, and Monday’s dark portent, in turn, gives way to the next week’s hysteria.

“In horrific succession, herpes anxiety is overtaken by the plague of AIDS, which is followed by the shocking specter of Third World debt. After a brief but chilly nuclear winter, we are threatened by our own national-debt crisis and devastated by starvation in Ethiopia; then it’s back to our leaky ozone layer. Terrorists are suddenly in our midst, then the homeless – until all is swept away by crack mania.

“The problems appear, the alarms sound, the cover stories and the special reports proliferate. Then the media lose interest, and it’s on to the next disaster. The phenomenon is so pernicious, it’s worthy of a cover story all its own. Call it the Crisis Crisis.”

This shows the key to understanding these outbreaks of fear: we don’t change our behavior in response to these crises because they are entertainment to us.

This explains American’s odd disinterest in experts’ past record of failed predictions and bad advice (e.g., Paul Ehrlich on the Left, Larry Kudlow on the Right). We do not care if what we read about the world is accurate, since we have no intention of using this information. A collector of maps doesn’t ask if the maps are correct; they want pretty old maps – with colorful dragons on edges. Only those navigating to a destination demand accurate charts.

Most media firms target America’s outer party – the large body of Americans interested in current events and with the income to attract advertisers (e.g., professionals, managers, business owners). They understand what we want, and so provide a mirror in which we can see ourselves. We want simple exciting stories that provide entertainment and catharsis. Horror stories does this well, whether about natural disasters, man-made disasters, or disasters caused by supernatural evil. We love them all!

So special interest groups manufacture visions of doom, hoping to gain attention to their cause. Journalists turn them into exciting stories for our entertainment. The 1% watch and laugh. Politically ineffectual, we want to believe ourselves engaged. So we read this “news” to become well-informed and write posts or comments (21st C letters to the editor) — fun, easy citizenship! See details about this process here. Look to the past to clearly see it how it works.

Visions from 1971 about the wrecked world of today

"Los Angeles: AD 2017" by Philip WylieAvailable at Amazon.

On 15 January 1971 Americans watched the TV show “L.A. 2017”, an episode of The Name of the Game. Directed by the 24-year old Steven Spielberg, it described a horrific world 46 years in the future (2017), after pollution destroyed the Earth’s ecology and forced the remnants of humanity underground. For more about the plot see this. It was written by Philip Wylie, who novelized it as Los Angeles: A.D. 2017. See a review here.

In 1971 we read about our horrific future of 2000 AD in a serious journal, the New Scientist: “In Praise of Prophets” by Bernard Dixon.

“If current trends continue by the year 2000 the United Kingdom will simply be a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people, of little or no concern to the other 5-7 billion inhabitants of a sick world. …If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

— Paul R. Ehrlich speaking in London at the Institute of Biology.

Ehrlich also predicted worldwide plague, thermonuclear war, death of the seas, “rocketing” death rates, and ecological catastrophe. Dixon reported that “the audience loved it and gasped for more”. Just like today, as we applaud and cry for more doomster stories about the climate armageddon.

These scare tactics accomplished nothing. The first of great laws regulating air and water pollution were enacted in the 1960s, before these tactics became widespread. The EPA was created in 1970. These stories seemed powerful because they extrapolated past trends into the future, ignoring countermeasures that had already begun. Just as today’s climate doomsters ignore the replacement of coal by cleaner sources and the even better sources under development (details here).

Then and now, scary stories are fun. But a people who take them seriously, even as guides to public policy, are to be pitied.

No Fear

Conclusion

Special interest groups manufacture propaganda to fool us. We fool them by enjoying it, furiously debating it amongst ourselves, crying in fear – but not acting upon it. This is a pitiful story. It is the behavior of peons, not citizens. The solution lies in our hands, becoming citizens interested in truth and assuming responsibility for America. Rationally assessing threats and acting on them as boldly and decisively as needed.

  1. Important advice: Learning skepticism, an essential skill for citizenship in 21st century America. About “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”.
  2. We live in an age of ignorance, but can decide to fix this – today.
  3. Remembering is the first step to learning. Living in the now is ignorance.
  4. We face too many threats. Let’s respond rationally! – A simple first step.
For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information about this vital issue see the posts about the keys to understanding climate change, about fear, and these posts about fear

  1. Spreading the news: the end is nigh! — An assortment of peak oil doomster predictions.
  2. Today’s conservative doomster warning (ludicrous but fun) — Paul Craig Roberts sees the End.
  3. Requiem for fear. Let’s learn from failed predictions to have confidence in ourselves & our future.
  4. Threats come & go, leaving us in perpetual fear & forgetful of the past.
  5. Dreams of apocalypses show the brotherhood of America’s Left & Right.
  6. Collapsitarians and their doomster porn.
  7. A new survey reveals American’s top fears, showing our true selves.
  8. Before we panic about Trump, see the Left’s past warnings.

The United States of FearAvailable at Amazon.

A book for our time
The United States of Fear.

By Tom Engelhardt. See his website!

From the publisher …

“In 2008, when the U.S. National Intelligence Council issued its latest report meant for the administration of newly elected President Barack Obama, it predicted that the planet’s “sole superpower” would suffer a modest decline and a soft landing fifteen years hence.

“In The United States of Fear, Tom Engelhardt makes clear that Americans should don their crash helmets and buckle their seat belts, because the United States is on the path to a major decline at a startling speed. Engelhardt offers a savage anatomy of how successive administrations in Washington took the “Soviet path”—pouring American treasure into the military, war, and national security—and so helped drive their country off the nearest cliff.

This is the startling tale of how fear was profitably shot into the national bloodstream, how the country—gripped by terror fantasies—was locked down, and how a brain-dead Washington elite fiddled (and profited) while America quietly burned.

“Think of it as the story of how the Cold War really ended, with the triumphalist “sole superpower” of 1991 heading slowly for the same exit through which the Soviet Union left the stage twenty years earlier.”

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33 thoughts on “Why we love scary news stories, just as children like candy

    • I guess what makes these scary stories even scarier is the very fact that irrational pogroms and inquisitions followed by heretic torturing have occurred and are capable of occurring again given the nature of information travel speed regardless of its veracity.
      Rather aptly we call fast moving memes “viral” as they move almost in almost epidemiological fashion. The spread of dangerous pernicious “viruses” of this sort have devastating consequences from academic oustings to economically crippling strictures. Unfortunately the only “vaccination” we have against stupid ideas is better ideas and truth.

  1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has the words “Don’t Panic” helpfully emblazoned on its cover. Perhaps these scare stories could come with a similar opening title

  2. We fool them by enjoying it, furiously debating it amongst ourselves, crying in fear – but not acting upon it.

    Except that we are acting upon it, we have thousands of wind mills and various governing bodies around the nation are passing laws in the name of climate change. This isn’t some silly movie we can forget about. This is being pushed by real people who want the power to tell us how to run our lives. At the moment these people hold all the cards and are giddy with the prospect of presiding over a world government of their making.

    • steve case

      I totally agree, they are winning, wind generators are horrific to look at, and a few days ago I read that Germany cut down a 600 acre forest to build seven, just Seven wind generators 😐 XR has had more media attention then any real factual scientist who could show proof that the global warming/climate change agenda is a scam. We laugh at them while they are winning, even greta, she has travelled all over Europe and the usa/canada met with obama, Leonard di DiCaprio, and speaks on a main stage, all while we are Stuck on blogs and web sites…

    • Not so sure. Yes, we have all this “green” technology crap which doesn’t really work. On the other hand, no-one is giving up, or going to give up, their cars or their meat. Whenever the crunch really comes, people vote against the hysteria. When the Aussies were told their last election was the Climate Change Election, they voted against the CC hysteria parties. In France, the Yellow Vest rebellions began as a fight against a new “carbon” tax. Even the greenies I know don’t really believe the AGW bullshit – they all have bigger cars than me, bigger houses and more frequent foreign vacations. Even dumb pols know that if they try to really implement this stuff, their heads will be on pikes.

  3. Even NPR.org news has a reporter there who apparently is on the beat to write click-bait doomster-ism stories.

    http://apps.npr.org/ellicott-city/

    The reporter at NPR – Rebecca Hersher is writing a junk trash stories week-after-week there on the Climate Scam.
    Her last week’s story on Trump pulling out of Paris was full of blatant, factually-checkable lies:
    https://www.npr.org/2019/11/04/773474657/u-s-formally-begins-to-leave-the-paris-climate-agreement

    Her previous beat apparently was writing about Puppies for NPR and other hard hitting topics.
    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/07/541644280/coddled-puppies-make-poor-guide-dogs-study-suggests

    Ms Hersher should stick to puppies. At least she won’t have to lie to support the Left’s propaganda narratives.

  4. Here is why they must keep ratcheting it up:
    https://www.nationalaffairs.com/public_interest/detail/up-and-down-with-ecologythe-issue-attention-cycle

    The alarmists are jumping back to Stage 2 each time we get to Stage 4 by ratcheting up the “terror” of not doing what they command

    “2. Alarmed discovery and euphoric enthusiasm. As a result of some dramatic series of events (like the ghetto riots in 1965 to 1967), or for other reasons, the public suddenly becomes both aware of and alarmed about the evils of a particular problem. This alarmed discovery is invariably accompanied by euphoric enthusiasm about society’s ability to “solve this problem” or “do something effective” within a relatively short time. The combination of alarm and confidence results in part from the strong public pressure in America for political leaders to claim that every problem can be “solved.” This outlook is rooted in the great American tradition of optimistically viewing most obstacles to social progress as external to the structure of society itself. The implication is that every obstacle can be eliminated and every problem solved without any fundamental reordering of society itself, if only we devote sufficient effort to it. In older and perhaps wiser cultures, there is an underlying sense of irony or even pessimism which springs from a widespread and often confirmed belief that many problems cannot be “solved” at all in any complete sense. Only recently has this more pessimistic view begun to develop in our culture.

    “3. Realizing the cost of significant progress. The third stage consists of a gradually spreading realization that the cost of “solving” the problem is very high indeed. Really doing so would not only take a great deal of money but would also require major sacrifices by large groups in the population. The public thus begins to realize that part of the problem results from arrangements that are providing significant benefits to someone—often to millions. For example, traffic congestion and a great deal of smog are caused by increasing auto¬mobile usage. Yet this also enhances the mobility of millions of Amer¬icans who continue to purchase more vehicles to obtain these advantages.
    In certain cases, technological progress can eliminate some of the undesirable results of a problem without causing any major re¬structuring of society or any loss of present benefits by others (except for higher money costs). In the optimistic American tradition, such a technological solution is initially assumed to be possible in the case of nearly every problem. Our most pressing social problems, how¬ever, usually involve either deliberate or unconscious exploitation of one group in society by another, or the prevention of one group from enjoying something that others want to keep for themselves. For example, most upper-middle-class whites value geographic separation from poor people and blacks. Hence any equality of access to the advantages of suburban living for the poor and for blacks cannot be achieved without some sacrifice by middle-class whites of the “benefits” of separation. The increasing recognition that there is this type of relationship between the problem and its “solution” consti¬tutes a key part of the third stage.

    “4. Gradual decline of intense public interest. The previous stage becomes almost imperceptibly transformed into the fourth stage: a gradual decline in the intensity of public interest in the problem. As more and more people realize how difficult, and how costly to them¬selves, a solution to the problem would be, three reactions set in. Some people just get discouraged. Others feel positively threatened by thinking about the problem; so they suppress such thoughts. Still others become bored by the issue. Most people experience some combination of these feelings. Consequently, public desire to keep attention focused on the issue wanes. And by this time, some other issue is usually entering Stage Two; so it exerts a more novel and thus more powerful claim upon public attention….”

  5. From the article: “The Right also uses this tool, with their scary stories about crime, national bankruptcy, evil minority groups, and terrorism.”

    There you go again, trying to equate the Left with the Right, as if they are the same thing. The Right doesn’t use scary “stories”, the Right uses scary facts. I don’t see anyone on the Right talking about “evil” minority groups. Got any examples of that? And do you deny that terrorism is real or is that just a scary story?

    The Right is nothing like the Left. Polar opposites.

    And I don’t read all this climate change scaremongering because I like it or it excites me. It’s a study in human psychology. And I don’t think Leftwing news organizations are writing all this climate change BS for clicks, I think they have a definite agenda, and money is not at the top of the list. Witness CNN driving itself into obscurity with its singular focus on undermining Trump and the Right through the constant telling of lies and distortions. CNN’s rating are in the basement and going lower but they don’t care because they have an agenda that they consider more important: Getting rid of Trump.

    • O wad some Power the giftie gie us
      To see oursels as ithers see us!
      It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
      An’ foolish notion:
      What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
      An’ ev’n devotion!

      Robert Burns To a Louse

  6. “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
    – H. L. Mencken

    I would add that this also serves to distract people from the real issues/questions.

    • “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” ― Groucho Marx

  7. “If current trends continue by the year 2000 the United Kingdom will simply be a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people, of little or no concern to the other 5-7 billion inhabitants of a sick world. …If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

    — Paul R. Ehrlich speaking in London at the Institute of Biology.

    Let’s examine this prediction.

    It is obvious that the UK IS a small group of islands. Many people, particularly left-wing politicians, would argue that the vast bulk of the people are ‘impoverished’. Certainly they all get hungry from time to time.

    70m is a good guess for the UK population, as is 5-7bn for the World. It’s quite true that people take less concern about what the UK is doing than they did in the 1960-70s, especially since the UK joined the EU. And, of course, if the UK (or England) remained part of the EU, it would indeed cease to exist as a political entity.

    I reckon that that prediction was pretty spot-on….

    • More doom from England…

      “Oh papa you are coughing again.”

      “Don’t worry my dear, Doctor Sharpsaw says its only dropsy, and has prescribed me some new leeches. He says the old ones were getting lazy.”

      “Oh papa I have heard some news that is causing me the utmost distress. My friend Christobel is friendly with the vicar”s son Gordon. Gordon must be very intelligent because he has spent over four years studying at the parish school of Saint Greta the Martyr, in Marsh under the Bog.”

      “(Cough cough) I thought Gordon was a bit soft in the head. Didn’t he get a blackcurrent stuck up his nose?”

      “I fear he did papa, it was shortly after he put his sister’s puppy in the bee hive in the hope of breeding a flying dog, but Gordon is a year older now and he has recently been on a visit to the north with the Reverend Thunberg, and what he saw there will chill you to the bone.”

      “I can’t be much colder luv as we’ve only got one log left to see us through the winter.”

      “Christobel said that after a long and arduous journey during which their coach was attacked by starving rapscallions, and a wheel broke off causing Gordon to dislocate his collar bone, he and his father arrived in a dismal place called Darlington . They had traveled there to visit an aged aunt from whom the Reverend hoped to inherit some candles, a walking stick and a springed postillion.
      On the day following their arrival, Gordon heard a tremendous noise from the other side of town. He decided to investigate, and in so doing fell more than once in horse manure, but on arriving at the commotion, he could not believe the amazing scene he witnessed.”

      “Well, what was it girl (cough, splutter)”

      “Dearest father, I have to relate that he saw a huge metal monster that belched smoke and fire, a machine bigger than a thousand kettles. A man, a certain Mr Stephenson, I am told, stood on the monster feeding it with coal. As he did so the contraption moved along a metal road. This monster had a name, it was called the “Ricket” or the ‘Rucker’. This may not be quite true because Christobel said that Gordon was very poor at spelling. Anyway, as it moved the air became black ,blacker even than the darkest winter night, and the sun disappeared from the sky. Gordon was so terrified he ran back to his aunt”s house, hid under the table, and refused to eat for the rest of his stay in the dreadful town.”

      “That boy was has always been sixpence (cough, cough) short of a shilling.”

      “But father he then had terrifying dreams. In one, the sun was blocked out and the earth returned to how it was in your grandfather”s day when the rivers were covered in ice for many months. In another, he saw the earth consumed by the fires of Hell itself as flames and brimstone spewed from a hundred “Rickets”, or “Ruckers”, as they moved on metal roads.
      Gordon now tells everyone that the world will end in 1839, or 1841 or 1843. The parishioners of Marsh under the Bog believe what Gordon has predicted, and even the Reverend Thunberg now refuses to burn fires in the glebe house. Christobel says that Mrs Thunberg has departed to seek warmth in the nunnery at Stoat Warbling, and several fearful children from the village have forsaken their education and entrusted their souls to the Lord by wandering into the bog.”

      “Enough of this tittle tattle girl. What’s for supper?”

      “We have turnips again papa, but infused with a leech jus.”

      “Locally sourced?”

      “Oh yes father, gluten free and triple boiled.”

      “Splendid(cough, cough cough).”

    • Dodgy,
      Is your fact check informed by your personal effort in counting populations, or are you merely munching popcorn as you write about your preferences for data from various other researchers? If the latter, you might be open to some of the many criticsms of Ehrlich. Like spreading crap. Geoff S

    • In the 1960’s, I was a small schoolchild scared rigid by my Teachers worshipping of Paul R Ehrlich’s Hypothesis. I will speak out to try to stop this happening to my grandchildren, I do not wish on them a cure that is worse than the disease.

      The Hypothesis of doom was no more relevant than the witch-doctor’s telling my Ancestors to make sacrifice or the Weather Gods will be angry.

      Greta’s generation are protesting, but the policy’s they support with their protest will mean their lives will be controlled by the state, no children allowed, no free choice, no food, no capitalist economy, no money, no heating, no transport, nothing at all, this is what Paul R Ehrlich dreams about!

      Dodgy, you believe such stuff, and will not open your mind. We are human we believe our actions affect the weather, we have believed this since the dawn of human civilisation, that is who we are.

  8. My news feed contains numerous links to articles in which I have no interest but which have headlines such as ‘shocking new discovery’, “‘you will be shocked to learn’, ‘shock news’. Note the common theme: advertisers know what buttons to press.

  9. It might be a British thing but having someone else to blame for our own failings a misfortune is a life requirement. Baby boomers, millenials, health and safety, parents, school and of course the EU. Standby post Brexit for any UK – US free trade deal to be blame for problems in UK agriculture and industry. But the biggest threat to livelihoods are economic migrants. As a Scot I realise we’ve sent economic migrants around the world and sing about doing it.

    https://youtu.be/1moDuSOC3ko

  10. Climate Change is a dangerous hoax. It is much more than scary entertainment. Climate Change is a tactic, just as socialism and communism are tactics. All are means by which to separate people from their wealth and liberty.

  11. My contribution to Friday Funnies:

    View from The Hill: What might Lily and Abbey say to Scott Morrison about Greta Thunberg?

    At a deep level, the language of climate denialism is tied up with a form of masculine identity predicated on modern industrial capitalism – specifically, the Promethean idea of the conquest of nature by man, in a world especially made for men.

    By attacking industrial capitalism, and its ethos of politics as usual, Thunberg is not only attacking the core beliefs and world view of certain sorts of men, but also their sense of masculine self-worth. Male rage is their knee-jerk response.

    Thunberg did not try to be “nice” when she confronted world leaders at the United Nations. She did not defer or smile. She did not attempt to make anybody feel comfortable.

    U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” Happiness here aligns itself with conformity, and an unspoken idea that women and children are expected to be docile and complacent.

    But in reality, Thunberg is cutting through – rather than displaying – emotionalism. What certain kinds of men do not wish to acknowledge is that asking for action on climate change is entirely rational.

    from https://consortiumnews.com/2019/11/07/misogyny-male-rage-the-words-men-use-to-describe-greta-thunberg/

  12. Because humans are a horribly flawed species that should have gone extinct centuries ago if Darwin was right. They live on emotion and thrive on stupidity.

  13. Larry, Larry, Larry. There you go again, attempting to minimize and trivialize the seriousness of the CAGW hydra, involving the biggest, baddest and most harmful Lie in human history, by drawing unwarranted and baseless parallels. And just who is this “we” you keep prattling on about? I know I, and I doubt anyone here, don’t turn to the news to be lied to, and fed propaganda. It is true that Climate Alarmists and Hysterics are a particularly vacuous, and emotion-driven sort who don’t know, much less care about the actual facts about climate.

  14. A few years ago, I was asked to be a ‘talking head’ for a TV show about the Bermuda Triangle and explain the scientific facts vs the mythology. The interviewer asked me why fantastic theories keep being proposed for events when common-sense explanations are ignored. I made an analogy to telling ghost stories around a campfire. We love to tell ourselves scary stories, even to the point of having trouble falling asleep that night. But we eventually do, and in the morning the sun is up, birds are singing, all’s right with the world. And we realize we had just managed to scare ourselves with our own fantasies. I think in a few short years, our society will be waking up to the reality of the world’s weather little changed from the last century and we will all realize we were all frightened by a silly ghost story.

  15. “This shows the key to understanding these outbreaks of fear: we don’t change our behavior in response to these crises because they are entertainment to us.” – article

    Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! (Looks around, no one is paying attention.) Wolf!! Wolf!! Wolf!! (No one batting an eye.)

    Wolf!!! Wolf!!! Wolf!!! Wolf!!! WOLF!!!! (Looks around, sees a cocker spaniel sniffing flowers.) Wolf!!! Wolf!!! Wolf!!! Wolf!!! WOLF!!!! (Cocker spaniel growls and barks at shouter.)

    Shouter is now confused: thought people liked danger fantasies better than reality, which ends in terrible car crashes and overturned semi-tractor/trailers. What to do now? Hmmmm…..

    Wolf!!! Wolf!!! Wolf!!! WOLF!!!! WOLF!!!! WOLF!!!! WOLF!!!! WOLF!!!! (Shouter ducks shoe thrown at him through open window. Then a piece of paper with writing on it drifts by Shouter, who picks it up and reads as follows: The Earth has another 4.5 billion years left. Then the Sun will expand to the orbit of Mars and swallow it. Humans will be long gone to other planets by then. So Shouter pulls out phone and dials Therapist. “Hello… Mom?”)

    See? Nobody in their right mind takes it seriously, because they do know better, even if they won’t admit to it.

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