The Construction of Fear Essay

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Barry Glassner gives several different constructions on how we can transform, exaggerate, and invent fears. Fear is defined as a feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by present or imminent danger. But Barry Glassner defines it as constructed through efforts to protect against it. Society as a whole uses fear to profit financially, politically, or media driven by journalist. These three profits show how transforming, exaggerating, and inventing fear has shaped society.

Firstly, fear can transform society by people becoming over-protective about events in their everyday life. Barry Glassner gives an example of the child-like folktales of the bogeyman and monster told to children at their bedtime. This fear is the behavior that prevents children from getting out of their beds at night. The fear of external dangers of a child’s curiosity.

Secondly, fear can be overly-exaggerated by society. When society as a whole is in extreme fear about an event and it causes the media to get more involved with the event. Once the media is involved it becomes a world-wide fear amongst society. Barry Glassner expresses how in early section of the war high profile stories and photos were released to American journalist about Iraqi soldiers destroying incubators in Kuwait hospitals leaving infants to die. The high profile story was overly exaggerated by the daughter of a Kuwaiti ambassador to gain support of the war. The exaggerated story did help profit supportive respect for the war because the fears of innocent babies were being left for dead and helpless. This in turn made society become more sympathetic and supportive about the war.

Finally, to invent fear can be derivate. The derivate act has causes on the lives of the innocent people. Barry Glassner expresses how the death of an army specialist just returning home from the war was killed on American homeland not foreign. Army Specialist Toni Riggs was gunned down on the street of a Detroit neighborhood. This horrific event brought more media attentions to the war, than about his death. Society was more afraid about the fact that our homeland might be as dangerous as the foreign lands that we were fighting the war on. In the end his wife’s derivate plan to murder Toni for insurance profits was revealed to the Detroit Police by one journalist who focused on the murder rather than the war. The invention of fear that was created by his killer affects society’s thoughts of safety on our own homelands.

Barry Glassner defines fear in many different ways and he expresses how fear can make or break the world as a whole. As stated by President Roosevelt, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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