Terrorist attacks; bombings, school shootings, and riots are all making us crazy. Should I go to the New Years party if there are going to be 50,000 people attending? What if another attack occurs? These are questions that are flashing into everyone’s heads, especially as the holiday’s loom.
For those of you that would rather stay inside, safe and sound, instead of braving the latest populated event, looking back into history, you would be called a “cocooner,” as coined by Faith Popcorn in the early 90’s. Popcorn initially labeled people as such due to the fact that consumer products began to encourage Americans to live life largely indoors. She noted that later on in 1995 that “cocooners” was a word entering the American Heritage Dictionary. (http://www.faithpopcorn.com/a-brief-history-of-the-future/)
This word gained new meaning in 1999 when people began to stock up on groceries, first aid kits, and provisions were made for Y2K, or the year 2000 to end the world due to computer glitches. People stayed inside their homes during most New Years parties, as most were afraid that a new millennium would cause a drastic negative change. (http://www.britannica.com/technology/Y2K-bug)
There was even another case when the Mayan calendar ended in 2012 and people thought that the end of the world was being predicted by this event. Instead of predicting an apocalypse the Mayans were actually predicting a rebirth and many communities stockpiled for no reason. (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/12/121207-maya-truly-did-not-predict-doomsday-apocalypse/)
Through multiple cases, time and again, humankind has reacted in fear, and today’s society is no different. There are many reasons why this trend has only become even more popular as time goes on. Insecurity runs rampant as trust declines among communities. Violence in the media is a hot topic and only heightens everyone’s mistrust. Theories circulate about the end time coming nearer and nearer as humans destroy other human’s daily. One theory, however, seems most appropriate today, as news headlines rage about the same topics day in and day out. The Cultivation Theory, proposed by Gerbner and Gross in 1976, suggested that heavy television viewers sense that violence is a constancy, once steps are made outside household doors. Gerbner and Gross coined this term the Mean World Syndrome, supposing that everything in the media will happen to you, especially relating to violence. (http://masscommtheory.com/2010/03/12/cultivation-theory-how-violence-might-affect-us/)
Once this realization is made, that media is promoting negative aspects of daily life, due to popular demand, maybe there will be less “cocooners” in society. The more we experience the joys of a city-wide celebration, the more we can become a society of less fear and insecurity.
I went to a Christmas tree lighting in Chicago in Millennium Park. There were supposed to be 20,000 people present at this event and I really wanted to experience the joys of the Christmas season beginning. If I would have succumbed to the media, that suspected terrorist attacks might occur, I would have missed out on a great opportunity to be involved in a beautiful moment as the lights were turned on and everyone cheered for a holiday all about peace and joy. Fireworks went off, which happen to be my favorite, after the tree was aglow and I didn’t regret going out in the city instead of listening to the suspicions.
There are so many wonderful moments in life that may be missed when we are spent worrying about what violent act may happen. I would urge all readers to understand that there is no need to stockpile, stay indoors, and fear every holiday event that may be coming soon. Enjoy what local cities and the outdoors have to offer. If there is going to be a riot, be smart and maybe think twice about what parts of the city you may want to explore. Otherwise, be with family in a fresh way by not staying cramped up in a living room due to fear of violence that, in all likelihood, won’t happen.