Sunday, 30 October 2011

On this day . . .

On 30th October in 1938 Orson Welles, in a bid to attract more listeners to his programme, broadcast a special Halloween show designed to startle. It led to hysteria.

I wonder if we are now too ‘sophisticated’ to be taken in by such a ploy. Certainly, my first thoughts on seeing the first plane crash into the World Trade Centre were that it was a hoax. I was quickly and shockingly disabused of that.

Are we now more cynical, or at least sceptical? When I am about to accept that we are, I then remember those sincere but misguided souls who declare that the world was created in six days, that dinosaurs never walked the earth, that evolution is impossible and to believe in it is sinful and wrong-minded. I am sure there are still many who believe the world is flat and that man has never set foot on the moon.

15 comments:

  1. I don't think it's out of the question that people could buy into the hysteria again. When I think of how many people apparently believe the President is Muslim, because of his name and because they "heard it somewhere," then I am reminded that we often don't take the time to listen and pay attention! Love that picture with the water drops, Jab!

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  2. I think I lost my first comment - so it's a do-over! If you have two from me, they are more or less the same :-). I think we are just as susceptible, because become don't take time to listen and pay attention. I think about how many people think President Obama is Muslim, because of his name and "they heard it somewhere." They go off with this mis-information and believe it. So, anytime pick up some tidbit and run with it...it could happen! Love the droplets picture JAB!

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  3. Listening is so important and so many just don't . . .

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  4. I didn't know about Halloween until maybe 10 years ago, and more and more through blogging.
    But there are certainly people who believe that one day martians are invading us. When I think of our young (36 old) gardener who goes now to morning school to learn to read and write. Isn't that wonderful? When I told him that he had made a little "Versailles" of our garden, he wanted to know what that is, so I explained it to him and he was so happy to have learned something new.

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  5. Well done to your gardener - he deserves to get on.

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  6. I try to keep my cynicism at bay, but I am often disheartened by the patent nonsense people mindlessly choose to believe. A miniscule example is the amount of misinformation (hoaxes etc) that my "smart" friends will circulate through email/internet without taking the minute to learn their veracity. More profoundly, perhaps, is the utter nonsense politicians are spouting and the mass media are circulating. No, when it comes right down to it, I don't think we are very sophisticated or wise as humans. Gullibility is rampant.

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  7. Halloween is quite strange to people of my age here. But it is coming also here. Our grandchildren played with clothes and tried to go to their neighbor houses but not all could not take children in correct way .

    But happy Halloween to you and yours :)

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  8. We most likely wouldn't believe Orson Welles' hoax today but I believe we are just as susceptible to things that fit into our mindset and culture, as they people did back then. I'm trying to think of examples but coming up with nothing. Still, you got me thinking!

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  9. Francisca, Karen - I agree. People are (can still be) fooled, too often because they have not applied common sense or bothered to seek out the facts.
    Mimmu - thank you:-)

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  10. I think because of all the sci-fi movies about aliens a hoax would work again.

    I do have beliefs about creation but I also believe this world was here for many, many years before God put animals and people on it. Everyone has their own beliefs and science has been wrong about many of their teachings.

    E=MC2 has recently been disproved as has one of the facts I learned in university about the human brain. Scientists are not infallible and Christian beliefs are so varied there is no way of bringing them all together. Many Christian teachings are dead wrong. They have to be because some churches have opposite teachings from other churches! I think we should all just respect each other and allow freedom of thought and belief.

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  11. People believe a lot of strange things that boggle my mind.....thinking here of American poltics. I truly think more are gullible than one would HOPE to believe.

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  12. And then there are all the 'stories' we gloat over in the press and media - how much truth, how much a beat up to sell advertising or support some other agenda?

    Happy Hallowe'en

    Isabel x

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  13. Francisca's example of internet hoaxes and email scam is a good one. I often get emails from friends, some of which should know better, warning me of the latest virus or such. They seem to take whatever it is at face value and never bother to check the facts.

    The examples you have given in your last paragraph confirm the reality of mankind's susceptibility to such suggestions.

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  14. I do think people are still being taken in. Look at those Americans who still believe we should give tax breaks to the rich so that the poor will get the trickle down effect with more jobs. It hasn't happened and yet, they still believe.

    Most people these days can look up things on the Internet quickly to find the answer. If they get taken in, it's because they probably haven't done the research.

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  15. Thank you all for your comments. It's good to get a dialogue going. It is a sad fact that we all have to be on our guard against scams and misinformation.

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