Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Fear Narrative



At a gathering shortly after my oldest child was born, a very well meaning lady handed me a newspaper article.

The headline was right to the point:

Top 10 Early Childhood Choking Hazards

Things a healthy house can do without

The Top 10 List is one of the staples of publicity, so I had to respect the execution. Still, the whole fear thing always rubs me the wrong way.

But, I was a new parent and was particularly susceptible to the whole DANGER-DANGER-DANGER narrative. In this case, though, there was something that tingled my spidey cynical contrarian consultant sense when I got to the list.

I cannot remember all of the items and tips on the list, but a few are burned into my memory:

* Assorted brands of building toys with small parts.
* Grapes (always cut them in half)
* Hot dogs (always cut them in half lengthwise)

You get the idea.

As families line up this week to have their Halloween candy x-rayed, keep in mind that there always will be a Top 10. If you can get in on the danger narrative to advance your client’s cause this Halloween, have at.

That’s what we do.

Just don’t get all freaked out by it.



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2 comments:

Kevin said...

This year, instead of taking your candy to the hospital to have it x-rayed for the razor blades I am told to skip the chocolate gold coins...melamine might be mixed in them.

Sigh.

Halloween should be scary for other reasons!

Lally said...

Here's some advice I gave to my sister-in-law last night:

If you're new in the neighborhood and you really don't know many people at Halloween, here's a little trick: Candy Cigarettes.

You'll meet all the neighbors.