so often I stumble across a story that demonstrates just where
we are as a society.
stumble isn’t a perfectly accurate word. Occasionally I do stumble
across one or two. A link provided by a friend or spending some
time looking in depth around a news site can deliver an article
or two I might not have seen otherwise. But often it’s a bit more.
Often it’s right there, out in the open, and that’s where the
live in a technological world of likes and shares and clicks and
speed. Get as many people engaged as possible, even if only for
a brief period of time. Get them interested, while understanding
that for many people that interest is fleeting. Get the clicks,
earn the dollars, accuracy shoved to the side to be dealt with
later. All of this creates tricky waters to navigate.
I saw an article about a child that needed to have surgery as
a result of eating a snack food. Now… understand… since you can
look up the details on your own, I’m not going to name the product.
It wasn’t actually potato chips, but I’m going to call them “spicy
chips” so we have a reference point. I think if you do a bit of
research, you’ll find I’m not that far off in using that category
article I saw was actually one of many. I mean, the story was
all over the place. It was on the web sites of local news media,
and it was on the web sites of national newspapers. If you wanted
to investigate it, you could find international links and sources
and stories and companion pieces.
strange thing that every one of the initial links had in common
was a heading or blurb that went something like this: “Teenager
has surgery after eating spicy chips” and “Spicy chips sends child
to emergency room.” (My wording.) Some combination that to my
mind clearly suggested a person was brought to the emergency room
because of the spicy chips. Kind of an immediate cause and effect.
Things got a bit confusing if you read a reputable article on
the blurbs I saw almost all in some way implied there was a concerning
danger presented by spicy chips. They presented certain things
in the introductions as facts. A teenager ate some and ended up
in the operating room. Clean out the cupboards and hide the children!
The reality? Well…
out a mother blamed the spicy chips when her daughter needed to
have her gallbladder removed. And, maybe you see a few other elements
medical professionals noted, when asked about this incident,
that they have seen a rise in young children with gallbladder
problems that don’t eat chips but do have a diet high in fatty
and fried foods.
let’s take a breath for a moment, pause, and bring a few things
if those of us with kids have been fortunate to avoid the picky-eater
syndrome, we are all quite aware of the chicken-finger-kids-gang.
You know, those children that will only eat chicken fingers or
macaroni and cheese or some specific food and nothing else.
we’re also aware of the trendy impulses and cravings that can
overtake any of us. Sometimes it’s seasonal… winter arrives and
we binge on hot chocolate, while in summer months we’re looking
for soft serve ice cream and clam rolls.
point being, if your kid wants hot dogs and only hot dogs and
will not eat anything but hot dogs, there are moments when you’ll
just feed them the darn hot dogs. If they are willing to eat some
apple slices or an ear of corn on the cob with each meal, you’ll
serve up the hot dogs over and over, even if that means hot dogs
for lunch and dinner seven days a week. You know it doesn’t make
sense overall, and you may ask your pediatrician about it during
routine visits, but the kid is willing to take a vitamin each
day and is eating some fruits and vegetables. It goes in the win
up, the frequency and exposure to those spicy chips. The first
day I saw some links to the story, I never—and I do mean NEVER—saw
anything indicating something beyond some type of immediate and
isolated reaction. All the article titles and blurbs offered up
that a young girl basically touched a spicy chip and wound up
in an operating room. Only days later, or by finding a detailed
article, did it come out that the girl had a sustained habit of
eating up to four large bags each week of spicy chips, and usually
one specific brand/style.
of you might very well drink a 2-liter bottle of soda each day
(or more). You may even start the day off with a glass of soda.
Some of you might eat four gallons of ice cream a week… might
eat the classic idea of fast food for lunch every day of the week…
eat half of a cake after dinner every night… and so on. The majority
will not defend the action as a well-balanced, healthy choice.
trick here is, there is a huge difference between moderation and
the end, the strange part of this story for me… the main thing
I took from it… isn’t the story itself, but rather how some places
make attempts to get my attention.
don’t necessarily believe in fake news. That’s another story,
for another day. Instead, I generally believe that what is being
pitched as fake news is a combination of self-serving-interests
colliding with a naïve and hungry audience. As a summary:
(1) Some places produce content based not specifically on facts,
but rather the interests of contributors to their revenue streams.
(2) Audiences want to find justification and support, not opposition
and contrast, and toward that end believe what they want to believe
and find outlets that support those beliefs. (3) A result of perception
being the reality, not what is actually happening being the reality.
to a large degree, seems to be distancing itself from awareness.
In many ways, this is nothing new. A bit of ignorance has always
been a part of our lives. But when that crosses over into the
area where accusations are made, responsibilities and accountability
are avoided, and people act rashly and quickly based on puzzle
pieces rather than the full picture… well… that becomes a bit
not going to tell you spicy chips in excess is a wise approach
to nutrition. I’m also going to hope you already knew that.