* Acknowledgements * Introduction: Why Americans Fear the Wrong Things * Dubious Dangers on Roadways and Campuses: How Fears Are Sold * Crime in the News: Tall Tales and Overstates Statistics * Youth at Risk: Faulty Diagnoses and Callous Cures * Monster Moms: On the Art of Misdirection * Black Men: How to Perpetuate Prejudice Without Really Trying * "Smack is Back": When Presidents and the Press Collude,: the Scares Never Stop * Metaphoric Illnesses: How Not to Criticize the Establishment * Plane Wrecks: Small Danger, Big Scare * Final Thoughts: The Martians Arent Coming * Notes * Index
Barry Glassner is Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California. He is the author of seven books, including Career Crash and Bodies. He has been quoted extensively or profiled in articles in dozens of newspapers and magazines. His own articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and The London Review of Books.
In this oddly comforting audiobook, Glassner (Derailing Democracy) deconstructs many commonly held beliefs about the threats of the modern world and aims to expose the media's role in keeping citizens fearful. Frightened citizens, he posits, make better consumers and more easily swayed voters. In a methodical fashion, he raises a series of public safety threats-the prevalence of road rage, middle-class heroin addiction and husband abuse, to name just a few-and then systematically tries to strike them down with statistics. More provocative are later chapters when he attempts to debunk such modern phenomena as Gulf War Syndrome and illnesses caused by breast implants. Glassner's delivery is serious but not emotionless; he keeps an even keel most of the time, but emotion does seep into his voice, most notably when talking about gun control. His reading style stands in sharp contrast to filmmaker Michael Moore, whose apparently improvised introduction is passionate and compelling; in fact, Glassner, who was featured in Moore's film Bowling for Columbine, sounds a bit dull coming right after Moore. But he is clearly a man on a mission, and even though many listeners might disregard some of his explanations as oversimplifications, virtually everyone will leave this book with a more realistic, guardedly optimistic world view. Based on the Basic Books hardcover. (Dec. 2003) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.