Fear doesn't stay as an emotion, but leads to physical creation. Similar to the culture war we learned in class, the author, Nato Thompson stated that the term culture war is an argument between social groups and the battle for authority of their value and belief. In his book, Culture as Weapon, Thompson explored culture wars in the 1960s and how it became a powerful tool that can provoke fear and change people’s idea and believes.
The government and the politics use fear intentionally to obtain power because people tend to pick the same sides. According to Thompson, he explained how political figures and social media can control elections or cause fear. The prominence of social media is described as a fear machine that targeted only on black people. To elaborate, the same amount of drugs people took, social media will only focus on blacks because the citizens are afraid of them. Like the lecture, the culture war is defined as war because it pursues to use state power to enact their moral agenda. Advertisements and politic people with state power use it to follow America and what they want to do as they create policies that hurt black people. For instance, president Reagan would talk about getting rid of crime and drugs, but he would say “others” referring to black people. Due to his words talking down on black people indirectly, people will follow his ideas. Consequently, the minors were put on a spotlight before social media.
However, Thompson claimed that there are also unintentional fear that triggered huge impact towards citizens. For example, after the 9/11 crisis, citizens were afraid of Arabic terrorist. Terrorists stoke fear to become known and make themselves a threat to Americans to obtain power and attention. In that time phrase, the feeling of fear lasted long time because of technology since people could easily be connected to what’s going on in the world as they check social media. Many people were so afraid that even something completely unrelated with little evidence became a big deal because they were sensitive to the situation. Following the 9/11 crisis, the news were able to cause the same sense of crisis with smaller events that didn't deserve/require the same effect similar to 9/11. For example, although Ebola panic ended up as a small event that Americans barely experienced that disease, the social media made it seem like a big deal that lasted for a long time. Related to 9/11 crisis, even though the Ebola panic was smaller and had indirect impact towards the Americans, it still stoke fear and had similar effect like the 9/11. Therefore, the images that received the most attention completed with confusion, fear, and chaos.
The fear machine phenomenon also impacted my life. Few weeks ago, there was an online anonymous man who posted a video of himself killing cats. I was afraid that if people want to pet my cat, give treats, or anything, I felt like they were going to steal my cat. It also made me fear that the next day, there will be a new video of the anonymous guy killing my cat. Many people were overreacting on social media, and their reactions made me put myself into that situation. As the social media were showing disturbing images that depicted violence and struggle, the community failed to experience sympathy but rather connecting themselves to that event. Therefore, we live in a world with fear-based culture that is distorting the public mind that can ignite fear and anxiety.