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JulyDiaz

Episode 18 — Moral Panics

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The Knockout Game is part of a war on white people! Satanists are abducting babies all over the country, and if your kids live through that, some asshole's going to poison their Halloween candy! Every few months, the media cooks up a new feast of terror for gullible parents to forward across the Internet. Jack O'Brien and Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) trace the moral panics of the recent past back to their roots, and learn something awful about all of us along the way. If you've ever wondered just how these new hysterias come about and just what they say about us, throw on your headphones and click play.

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A great example of M.P. was just brought back to my attention this weekend when I saw Nick Thune, he's got a bit that mentions the bogus statisitic that on average a person will eat three spiders a year while sleeping. A statistic that is not only false but was created by someone to prove the point in that false information can be extememly contagious. As he mentioned it I noticed several people around me nodding and guestering to their table mates as if to say "yeah, I've heard that!"

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Listened to the podcast at work, went home and turned on the news to see this:

 

Dangerous new trend: kids snorting Smarties candy

 

 

http://abclocal.go.c...orld&id=9401240

Ummmm...story time: In high school, two of my friends once crushed up Pez and snorted them. I was there and was supposed to too but I chickened out. Also we were at Disneyworld. Really.

 

When I was in 2nd grade I "did" "cocaine" with some older kids. It was a plastic bag of flour--we rolled the flour up in a sticky note like a joint and blew it out like spitballs, didn't even inhale it. Had no idea how doing actual drugs actually worked. This was in the mid-90s.

 

Kids are always pretending to do fake drugs, it's a thing that exists but it's not new or a trend.

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A great example of M.P. was just brought back to my attention this weekend when I saw Nick Thune, he's got a bit that mentions the bogus statisitic that on average a person will eat three spiders a year while sleeping. A statistic that is not only false but was created by someone to prove the point in that false information can be extememly contagious. As he mentioned it I noticed several people around me nodding and guestering to their table mates as if to say "yeah, I've heard that!"

 

 

Yeah, but I don't think it's a moral panic.

 

"Kids eating spiders in their sleep to get high for Satan!"

 

But yeah, bull honky like that spreads pretty darn easily.

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The lady who spilled the coffee on herself was an old lady and really got burned badly; the pictures of the burns were horrific. She wasn't suing to get rich, just for medical expenses and them to not have 200 degree hot coffee.

It was another thing that became a national joke but they made it seem like she was a lady who just wanted to make a quick buck. It is scary that people never learn the facts about these things until years later :-/

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The lady who spilled the coffee on herself was an old lady and really got burned badly; the pictures of the burns were horrific. She wasn't suing to get rich, just for medical expenses and them to not have 200 degree hot coffee.

It was another thing that became a national joke but they made it seem like she was a lady who just wanted to make a quick buck. It is scary that people never learn the facts about these things until years later :-/

 

I was really surprised, too, that O'Brien and Pargin dropped the ball on this one. This is worthy of a correction in the next podcast, O'Brien.

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among examples like the great satanism panic of the 1980s and the 2009 Toyota “unintended acceleration”-inspired recalls, Jack O’Brien and Jason Pargin discussed a rather unbelievable addendum to their list of moral panics: the “cannibalism” of Jeffrey Dahmer. go to 21m:10s in the podcast to hear what Jack O’Brien’s theory is.

 

and it’s a rather convincing one at first. the sort of moral message that this episode is trying to get across is neatly packaged by Jason Pargin near the end, where he suggests that you should “take a few minutes — because with the Internet it’s easy — take a few minutes and just trace it back and see if you can figure out where it originated from, get the raw stats” (at 51m:20s). the episode promotes a heightened sense of skepticism and suggests a little investigative journalism vis-a-vis google for the media hypes that occasionally stream up to national recognition.

 

and that is really solid advice. solid, solid advice. but they got the Dahmer thing wrong. and i know this is a minor point. i’m not trying to go on a crusade to exonerate this guy as O’Brien and Pargin joked in the podcast.

 

this was an episode exposing moral panics and advocating for people to ask for the evidence for extraordinary claims. that Dahmer was not a cannibal or did not deserve his "Milwaukee Cannibal" assumed name was certainly an extraordinary claim. luckily, YouTube has a treasure trove of primary sources on this topic.

 

here's the video:

it starts right where Dahmer himself says he committed cannibalistic acts. there are other media interviews that feature him saying the same thing. and these claims are double corroborated by what Dahmer told the various forensic psychiatrists that spent over a dozen hours interviewing him.

 

you can watch an hour and a half worth of the court case and listen to the forensic psychiatrist's testimony here:

 

but the most damning pieces of evidence against O'Brien's claim that Dahmer wasn't a cannibal is simply the primary source that are the crime scene photos. we can talk about heads, body parts, genitalia being stored in fridges, mutilated corpses, skulls with drill holes in them all we want, but until we see the visceral carnage of them there isn't that carnal and terrifying realization of what actually happened. simply use some common-sense search terms on google images to see what i'm talking about.

 

so, yeah, love you O'Brien and i totally respect you for including some Run the Jewels on this episode, but man, take Pargin's advice next time and do some google searching. it's easy.

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@Jakealan:

at 1:03:15 he mentions that after googling for some facts that he realized that he was wrong, and that Dahmer was actually a cannibal. What he adds is that he thought that Dahmer realized the attention that he was getting for it and assumed the role more so than he may have needed to because he liked the media attention. So I guess the dispute was reduced to the degree of cannibalism, and if he played into the sensationalism of it rather than keeping it 100% factual.

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So I'm listening to past episodes that I haven't heard yet and this one hit really close for me.

 

The Columbine shooting incident (which i would say would be a continuation of the satanic panic) i was about 14 when that happened, I was a weirdo teenager that liked comic books, video games and heavier music. That pissed me off so much. I was just trying to get through highschool and the last thing I needed was CNN telling the world that nerds are pariahs that should be picked on and hassled because otherwise there will surely be another school shooting.

 

I remember a specific thing when I was reading yet another sensational article from the shitty Toronto newspaper about scary music. They were talking about the German industrial band KMFDM that supposedly the two Columbine shooters supposedly listened to. According to the article KMFDM was an acronym for some sort of neo nazi slogan. That got me a bit concerned, nazi bands were advertising in hit parader magazine?? Well, i got on the fancy new internet machine in the public library to investigate. I discovered that it was all bullshit. I learned two things, KMFDM is a great band and you can't trust the media.

 

Anyway, that's my personal anecdote. Cracked is just way too rational some times. I often learn something new or get confirmation about something i'm suspicious of.

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