I’ve always been a kind of black and white person, looking for yes or no answers.  When I was in school I was interested only in how to get the answer, I thought anything else was a waste of my time.  I took a statistics class in University because it was a requirement for my degree path.  Later on I was responsible for creating statistical reports.  The biggest thing I learned, is that facts and statistics aren’t as concrete as most of us take for granted.  It is imperative to take facts and statistics in context.  A ridiculous example might go something like this.

100% of expulsions from Mountainside Academy were male.

Now if I asked you to comment on what that meant, you might say it shows that males are far more likely to get in trouble than females. Now, what if I told you that Mountainside Academy was an all boys school.  You might say it’s a useless statistic then because it’s obvious that is the only possible outcome, but it makes the statement no less factual. Think surveys are great ways to gather information?  They can be.  However, I also know that I can get 2 different answers just by changing the phrasing. No, I am not bashing facts or surveys or the wonderful people who spend countless hours putting interesting and valuable information together.  What I am saying, is be savvy, descerning, a critical thinker. Using the example above if I said that,

“Last year at Mountainside, an all boys school.  25% of the expulsions were female while 75% were male.”

Your comments this time might immediately be that this shows there must be an error because we now have all the information.  It’s an all boys school so we know there is a problem.  Except, we don’t have all the information and the statistic is correct.  In this example there were 4 expulsions.  3 were boys, but one was a girl, who had disguised herself so she could attend the prestigious school.  Alas, she was found out and expelled. Where is this all leading?  Here’s the thing.  We spend a lot of our time smiling and nodding “yes” when we should be asking questions.  Don’t feel bad, I do it too. There is so much information around, so much to do, it’s information overload from the moment most of us wake up until we go to bed.  Who can blame us for wanting to trust what someone else tells us or what the television ad experts tell us over and over.  I mean, how can we keep up?  How can we dissect everything we hear or read to garner what’s really the facts? Truth is, I don’t have an answer for that.  If anyone does, well please share with all of the rest of us.  I’d really like to know.  All I do know is that I do the best I can, whenever I can.  I’m human.  That’s what I do.

Getting back to all the “experts” who “help” us make important decisions, like what to buy, what to eat, where to live, how and what to think; the advertisers who love to throw statistics and facts and jargon our way extolling either the virtues or detriment of something that ultimately furthers their ends even more than ours (if it even benefits us at all). I’m going to share an “expert” view with you.  This particular video is about advertising and making factory farming sound appealing.

Original video by Catsnake FilmFull disclosure: The speaker in this video is actually an actress named Kate Miles, but the facts about produce and its marketing are 100% real. The audience is also real, and thus the looks of disgust are totally real too. It’s all about playing with facts.

You may or may not agree with factory farming, but in this case that’s not really the point I’m driving at.  The advertising and playing with the facts principle can be applied anywhere to any topic. The very “fact” that the “expert” is an “actress” says a lot in my opinion.

After watching the video, you realize it just depends on how you say it doesn’t it?

So be savvy.

Be discerning.

Be a critical thinker.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 of Playing With The Facts: Princesses and Beauty Queens

©2014 Rise Like Air  J. Fries Thanks for stopping by, we always appreciate it.

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