Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Manic Media

I just finished reading the second New Yorker article in less than a year that dealt with the subject of tall people making more money and being smarter than short people. Apparently these 2 very tall women economists conducted a study and attempted to explain why this tends to happen. Their theory goes like this:

The human body is programmed to be a certain height. If a person does not reach that programmed height, they will not be as smart, but if they do reach that height, then they will be smart and make lots of money.

Because I have not read the actual document, I cannot conduct a heated debate on the content of this study. However, I CAN comment on what happened after the article was published. Those who read it applauded the ladies. Those who did not, read the synopsis in some newspaper that used the headline: "Tall People Are Smarter." Don't you think that this journalist's interpretation was begging for conflict? Several shorter people (mostly men) e=mailed the economists with complaints about their attack on short people. After finding out that the economists were not only women, but TALL women, this was all the` fire needed.

My questions/concerns are: When are people going to stop being affected by words? When are people going to rely on what they believe to be true about themselves? When are we going to stop listening to a media that desparately wants a fight?

My impression of "the media" (all except NPR, of course) is that it consists of all the people who stood around watching the fights that broke out in high school hallways. They are the people that HAVE to slow down to 2 miles an hour passing a horrible accident on the expressway, causing the rest of us to have to see the horrendous mess that we wish we didn't have to see. They are the siblings of a family who did not receive enough attention as children, and therefore have to gain that attention by any means possible. All I know is that when my sister was egging me on, my mother instructed me to ignore her and she would stop. In theory, this should work. In practice, I got punched.

Perhaps social psychologists could come to the rescue with a study on personality types who enter the Journalism field. Let's find out what these media-types are made of. And let's see how tall THEY are!


Lisa said...

At 5'4" I'm doomed. ;)

kat said...

This reminds me of a social experiment that Oprah did on her show one time...she had an "expert" guest tell the audience that a study showed that all people with blue eyes were superior. Of course, this expert was making this up for Oprah's experiment. The blue-eyed audience members instantly started nodding their head yes, as if they knew it all along. The other audience members were all ticked off and trying to explain how eye color had nothing to do with it.

Anyway, long story short, I agree that people are much too willing to believe studies/what they read/what they see on TV, even if they have actual evidence to the contrary.

Strangela said...

I don't know what is more frustrating the journalists who spew out junk or the fact that a lot of people are beleiving it! At work today we talked about how you can no longer say, "I heard it on the news", instead you have to qualify it with what news program you watched it on, "I heard on CNN or I heard on Fox news..."