There was a story in the paper last week about fishermen in Los Angeles being warned against eating a number of species of fish they caught off L.A. shores that have been determined to be toxic. The response of the fishermen was basically, "We're going to eat them anyway."
This is fascinating to me. The fish are clearly unsafe to eat and yet these fishermen presumably don't care. Their attitude reminds me of another story that came out a few weeks ago about Americans not being afraid to live near nuclear reactors.
Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread
Both stories speak to the incredible stupidity and self-destructiveness of a segment of our population who foolishly throw caution to the wind, ignoring facts and science in favor of passion and pride. If fishermen don't see a fish with three eyes and a deer's antler coming out of the top of its head, they're okay with it and are willing to ignore reality because the fish taste so darn good.
If Americans don't see their food glowing in the dark they're not going to have a problem with living near a nuclear reactor on a fault line in a state where The Big One is forever promising to shake, rattle and roll.
What fools these mortals be!
This attitude of arrogant ignorance is pervasive and profound. Since people can't see their arteries clogged with cholesterol or their colon cultivating cancer they assume there's no trouble in River City and no reason to stop stuffing themselves with meat products that are killing them softly with their song.
No need to read and educate themselves about a beef-based diet. No need to look at the facts about nuclear waste escaping into the atmosphere and seeping into the ground water. Only years later when the truth comes out how the government and multi-national corporations have been lying to them and toxifying them for decades will outraged indignation sweep the land. Only then it will be too late.
So what's the take-home message?
In an age where technology has elevated lying and emotional manipulation to a science, best we maintain a healthy skepticism when people tell us, "Trust me."
Best we take in all the data and avoid turning a deaf ear to information which makes us uncomfortable or forces us to make choices that we deem unpalatable.
Best we go back to the old days when people didn't have infinite media outlets to influence them and were forced to think for themselves.
Best we stop tuning into reality tv shows and start tuning into reality.