psychology Archives

"No More Crying 'Spanish Flu!'" my article in Forbes

By Michael Fumento

What's that? Your throat feels sore? You're sniffling and sneezing? Bit achy?

IT'S THE RETURN OF THE SPANISH FLU!

Okay, that's satire - but not by much. Since 1990, every time some new viral pathogen comes along that grabs the media's attention, we hear it may be the Second Coming of a pandemic that killed about 50 million worldwide and 675,000 Americans - to 175 million globally and 2 million Americans."

This image of an overflow Spanish flu ward, was taken from an article on SWINE flu.

First, it was SARS in 1993. It ended up killing 774 people worldwide and no Americans. Which didn't stop the New York Times from writing 1,000 articles about it. NONE of which said, "We wuz wrong."

Then it was avian flu. It was supposed to go pandemic and kill literally as much as half the world's population. But nobody but me pointed out it's been circulating since 1959, so why should it suddenly go pandemic? In any case, it didn't and cases peaked a few years ago.

And then, of course, it was swine flu. And here's where you see that my satire was barely off the mark. A year ago both the WHO and the UN said swine flu might become another Spanish flu because - ready? - they both started off mild. So if swine flu had started off severely then it would have been more reassuring?

But there will NEVER be another Spanish flu again, and I explain why. And you'll be very interested. So read about it here.

May 21, 2010 12:47 PM  ·  Permalink

"Why Do We Continue to Believe Bizarre Things?" my AOL News article

By Michael Fumento

Why in an age saturated with information, do we believe bizarre things? Things like crop circles, alien abductions, and 9/11 conspiracy theories? Why do we believe wild Toyota stories like the 94 mph "runaway Prius"? The gearbox allowed shifting into neutral by merely reaching out a finger, but the driver told credulous reporters he was afraid to do so because he needed to keep both hands on the steering wheel. And regarding that cell phone in his hand?

She had the same brain we do. Not to mention other attributes ...

Why a steady stream of mass hysterias, like swine flu last year and Toyota sudden unintended acceleration.

At the core is that despite our computers and communications devices and other gadgets, and despite all the scientific discoveries made, we still have pretty much the same brains as Paleolithic man some 40,000 years ago. That brain looks for magic and it looks for patterns. And unlike Paleolithic man we have modern institutions like the media, government, and lawyers who exploit those base thoughts.

I hope and think you'll find my article a real eye-opener in EXPLAINING so many of the things I've made a career writing about.

May 15, 2010 10:33 PM  ·  Permalink

Positively bad thinking

By Michael Fumento

"Anybody who ever built an empire, or changed the world, sat where you are now," says George Clooney's "termination engineer" to just-fired employees in the comedy Up in the Air. Satire? Hardly. "We Got Fired! ... And It's the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Us!" declares one book title. There's a cottage industry built around convincing canned workers that they just won the lottery.

A whole chapter is devoted to it in Barbara Ehrenreich's brilliant expose of our smiley-faced culture in Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. It's "an ideological force in American culture," she says, "that encourages us to deny reality, submit cheerfully to misfortune, and blame only ourselves for our fate."

Read my Forbes Online review of Ehrenreich's provocative and powerful book.

January 6, 2010 12:54 PM  ·  Permalink