August 7, 2011

Shark Week in the DOC


It is Shark Week. - A week devoted to stoking the fear of real big fish that can eat you. Not only can sharks eat you  - they wants to eat you, they will eat you. Detailed research by John Beluchi illustrates they ARE coming to your door to deliver a candy-gram.  
One of the staples of shark week are shows by marine biologists who like to get close to big sharks. Seemingly idiotic to us viewers, they study the predators. They try to explain how sharks are beautiful animals and not a real risk to humans. To prove this they get in a cage and provoke a shark to attack said cage. Still some information about the reality of sharks get out.
We love to be scared of things that are fairly unlikely. Sharkattackfile.info list 2 fatal USA shark attacks in 2010. At that rate injury from fights over the remote, while watching shark week, are probably just as serious a risk as an being eaten in a shark attack, land sharks not withstanding. 
Media is about story telling. From the classic camp story about the convict who escaped and is hiding in these woods NOW, to sharks, scary stories sell. There is a word for this. It is sensationalism. It is a noun meaning (esp. in journalism) the use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest or excitement. 
This week, in addition to shows about sharks, the media is writing about insulin pump hacking. From what I have seen the stories don’t much understand living with a pump and the associated risk of diabetes. The media do show good imagination in creating shock and exciting language to provoke public interest. 
Let be honest the public is not otherwise NOT interested in insulin pumps or living with diabetes. We hold theses truths to be self evident. Hell we’ll raise a bowl of ice cream in  to honor the idea. Maybe we need to take a page from the sharks and use our week to share some of the stories about really living with diabetes. 
Let’s view the hacker as the marine biologist in a cage. He is gonna see some teeth. But there are steel bars between the teeth and the camera. The hack is possible but unlikely.
The reality is diabetes is not tame. It is a real big fish that can eat you. Not only can eat you - it wants to eat you, it will eat you, unless you are constantly vigilant. (Yes I know I just mixed references to Jaws and Mad Eye from Harry Potter)
Those of us who live with diabetes have an opportunity to focus on the real risks we live not sharks.  

3 comments:

  1. Interesting post, Bennet. I'm still somewhat torn, and it may be my own personal connection to the "media" as a newspaper guy that makes me think this isn't "sensationalism." But you're Shark Week comparison is interesting, and I found this post online when delving into it more: http://umrscblogs.org/2011/08/05/shark-week-just-when-i-thought-it-was-safe-to-turn-on-the-television-again/. Anyhow, there was a line in there that caught me eye -> "We must be careful to avoid believing sensational media stories without first checking into the numbers and the science." I think at least the AP mainstream stories highlight the non-likelihood of all this, but it raises an interesting point that should be kept in mind when responding to all this - the stats and reality show this "pump hacking" think isn't a big deal.

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  2. Nice comparrison Bennet it makes a lot of sense to me more in the I want to be the shark kinda way and bite some idiotic unsuspecting, looking for trouble he who shall not be named but who wants to mess with my fellow PWD ass

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