Monthly Archives: November 2007

Yet more mediatic hysteria: computer games kill babies!

The TV is on this morning while I’m preparing to go out. A few minutes ago, CBS’ Julie Chen presented a report on the horrific case of the murder of Riley Ann Sawyers. What horrors humans are capable of truly boggles the mind. For sure the media should report about such incidents. However, those reports become problematic when for the sake of shock value (or shlock value perhaps) they stop keeping things in perspective but instead latch onto insignificant details to spice up their report. In this case, they decided to make a big deal out of the fact that the murderers, i.e. the girl’s mother and step father, met two years ago in World of Warcraft. They do not have evidence that the murderers were obsessed with the game. No evidence that they were still playing it. No evidence that they abused and killed the child because of game addiction. No, the mere fact that the murderers met two years ago on World of Warcraft automatically makes the game an important factor in the murder. I’ve known chihuahuas with more critical acumen than those so-called journalists.

Incorrect thinking is dangerous

I’ve recently watched an episode of a series called Exposé. This specific episode showed serious lapses in how airport security is currently implemented. The producers called that episode “Security Theater” with good reason, since, as demonstrated in the episode, the security currently implemented at airports is more for show than for real. I was particularly appalled at the response, or rather lack of response, from the official figure interviewed in the first part of the show. While listening to him avoid the questions of the journalist, one of my mantras came to mind: “incorrect thinking is dangerous”. In the current ideological climate promoting everybody’s opinion on any topic as automatically “valid”, mine is not a popular view. Saying there is incorrect thinking implies that some forms of thinking are better than others, which implies that not all thoughts and opinions are equally valid. Holding that some people think better than others amounts to committing the sin of elitism. And yet, even while admitting that the complexity of some problems means that two people thinking properly will come to different conclusions, it remains that some thinking is patently incorrect. For instance, putting on a big show of security while leaving the back door wide open is a case of incorrect thinking, a dangerous case at that.