Hysterical Tone


When the public becomes hysterical or frightened, it is often because it has been manipulated by agitprop (agitational propaganda). People convinced of the myths and superstitions propounded by agitprop can become hysterical when disagreed with, asked for proof, or shown contradictory proof. The very fact that the person is hysterical or agitated indicates that they are not in a rational state of mind.

Example: "By politicizing September 11 and wrapping himself in the flag, Bush has deflected attention from his failed economic policies" (Editorials. The Nation, October 6, 2003, 4).

Another example: "Literally less than 48 hours after the [9/11] attack Bill Thomas [Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means]--the guy who writes tax legislation--was trying to use terrorism as a reason to sharply reduce the tax rate on capital gains... political exploitation on a crass level... an attempt to turn 9/11 into a windfall for rich people" (Belejack, Barbara. "The Worldly Philosopher: Interview with Paul Krugman." Texas Observer, 10/10/03, 7).


"There is, in fact, a lot of stuff you could blow up in this country. And occasionally some does blow up, without any help from terrorist cells. We live with these industrial risks every day. Some of them could be reduced and maybe should be. It costs money. But when an oil refinery explodes and kills some workers or a freight train derails, dousing a community with carcinogenic chemicals, nobody in politics prooses that we "go to war"...

"...the "war on terrorism" itself will produce random injury and death -- inadvertently, of course -- because the spending will deform and undermine the countrie's other priorities. The public health system, for example, has long been starved of adequate funding, but its role is being pushed aside by the exotic dangers of bioterrorism... Some children will doubtless pay with their lives for this shift in priorities" (William Greider. "Under the Banner of the 'War' On Terror." The Nation, June 21, 2004: 11-18).


Colby Glass, MLIS