Since this recent round of elections in Europe and the US, many different words and phrases have been tossed around by politicians, average citizens, and the media themselves when explaining the modern state of journalism. Out of the static, perhaps my favorite is hysterical. In light of this claim, I want to explore the comparisons between this antiquated, fraudulent medical practice and the methods that media are choosing to employ when reporting our current political climate.
Hippocrates was the first to remove gods and spirits from physical ailments and pathologies. Influenced by medical practices developed in arabic nations, certain maladies were cured systematically by the use of humors. Phlegm, blood, and bile were tampered with to cure a sick individual, whether it was mental or physical—which had little separation in those days. Since, in the ancient Grecian society autopsies were forbidden. The letting or additional of these humors were the main tactics for solving illness. This was a positive departure from the belief that ones health was determined by fate and or the gods.
Yet, there were naturally many mysteries that could not be accounted for, and most unfortunately, women were determined to carry the ultimate burden of hysteria. According to this new pragmatism, Hysteria was responsible for most illness within a women’s life. All women bore hysteria, without exception. They were either in remission or possessed. By definition, hysteria was a wandering womb. It would smash against the organs, float up the throat, or tamper with the brain. This was indisputable fact in those times. The only contention would be whether or not the womb was in a fixed location, or wandering. Nonetheless, it had the tumultuous affect in both parties of belief.
This theory remained for centuries. It was the de facto cause of mental and physical illness for women. Anytime a women fainted or seized they would have been possessed by hysteria. This continued until a man by the name of Freud entered the medical and academic stage. His work on the human brain and the science he posited cured society of the illness that was hysteria. It should be said that his work contained numerous flaws in its development that were perhaps equally as damaging to the beliefs of mental and physical malady. Despite that, a more thorough dive into science dispelled the myth of hysteria and effectively ended any more cases within society as a whole.
These days I see a similarity in the media attempt to diagnose political actions. The borderline conspiratorial and obsessive behavior shows one of little science and education. It seems most media outlets inherit a narrative and religiously hold to their beliefs. On countless occasions, the media stymies any attempt to fix a problem within politics. Everything is focussed on the shadow, a nameless wandering entity that is tampering with the political body. Without any ability to scientifically isolate maladies affecting the individual anatomical parts of the government, they boldly claim theories that only fuel the hysteria.
Media needs to forgive themselves, to listen to the rational, to employ scientific reason. As of now, they are blaming the wandering womb smashing agains the organs, distorting the brain, and choking the throat. Journalism is a science. It requires knowledge and the ability to be surgical in its diagnoses. Without this shift in practice, it will continue to propagate absurdity without contributing to a solution for the many problems a political body will always have.