As another election season comes and goes, America is reminded of the problems our country faces and the systems in place to move us toward correcting them. During these months we are flooded with campaigns informing us of their platforms, all built on what the candidate plans to improve. It is during these months that our minds are forcibly pulled away from questions that usually haunt us: will there be razor blades in our Halloween candy? How much control does the Illuminati actually have over our daily lives? Exactly how dangerous are strangers?
Luckily, there’s a show now that helps us navigate those more sensational questions. Skylark Media’s brand new show American Hysteria doesn’t mind that you’re asking those questions.
American Hysteria is a show that’s about our moral panics, meaning the times that, as a culture, we freak out about something that’s evil or bad. It’s also about urban legends and conspiracy theories and how those stories that we have and how those irrational fears that we have that are not based in reality have affected our culture.
Chelsey Weber-Smith, the show’s host, has always been curious about our predisposition to these kinds of dilemmas. America likes to wonder if the government lied to us about actually getting to the moon but we assume they tell us what’s really happening in wars around the world, and Chelsey wants to know why.
[We also discuss] some of the psychology behind why we end up believing in things that are sensational and rare and we pay more attention to those over problems that are more common and reflect kind of the same problems but aren’t as crazy of a story.
It’s comforting that Chelsey doesn’t think this is a new phenomenon so her show will cover hysteria from the moment colonialism touched America until the week of the episode’s release. Her work is topic-based, so each episode will trace a particular mystery from the beginning of the country to today and see how things have carried through or developed.
As a kid, Chelsey watched sensationalism grip her neighborhood only to be proven to be completely unfounded. That experience plus her father’s leaning toward conspiracy theories have put Chelsey in a unique place to research for and host the show.
That’s a big part of the show: I’m not some skeptic over here who’s talking down to everybody saying ‘I can’t believe you all believe in this stuff.’ I’m saying ‘I’m also prone to believing in things that are untrue or rare or just a little bit bizarre.’
The show launches today with the release of its first two episodes. So, if you love or hate the way America freaks out over the weird, unexplained, or just plain fictional, check out American Hysteria and let us know what you think!
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