Do I Worry?

No, not the old Ink Spots hit. (There must be some among you who remember The Ink Spots. There’s a youtube version, of course; there’s a youtube version of everything. This one is lifted from the Abbott and Costello movie, Pardon My Sarong. (There must also be some among you who remember Abbott and Costello and Sarongs.))

    [The youtube also gives an unintentional look at racial divide in this country seventy years ago.]

Back on topic. Every year, editors The Edge — generally regarded as the Internet’s smartest website — ask members a Big Question; this year it was: “What *Should* We Be Worried About?” (Asterisks in the original, so I infer the question *really* is,

“What Should We Be Worried About, As Opposed To What We *Are* Worried About?”)

At last count, 154 answers had been posted; they averaged about 770 words. Altogether, longer than To Kill a Mockingbird, shorter than Life on the Mississippi. Not intimidating, but more than a morning’s casual read.

To get a sense of group attitude, hoping to find a few common or at least popular threads running through these essays, I checked the headings. Some were specific and direct about the writer’s worries:

  • Computer-Generated Fascism
  • The Relative Obscurity Of The Writings Of Édouard Glissant
  • The Danger Of Inadvertently Praising Zygomatic Arches
  • The Rise Of Anti-Intellectualism And The End Of Progress

I’m not sure I’d know what the hell any of those is about even if I got through it, but somebody will.

Other headings, however, gave no clue to content, to topic of worry, at least none that I could suss out.

  • What We Learn From Firefighters
  • Misplaced Worries
  • The Disconnect
  • “Smart”

So maybe there are threads, but damned if I can identify them. I tried quasi-scientific method, a word search through the whole caboodle, to see how often key words were used. This revealed nothing about context of course; it simply provided clues to which items were, for better or worse, on the writers’ minds.

Here is my list with number of overall occurrences. A (+) sign indicates search for the root word; total for comput(+) for example is the total for compute, computes, computed, computing, computer, computation.

Words smart people use when they describe their cosmic concerns.

    aid(+) — 3

 

    air — 15

 

    biolog(+) — 87

 

    brain(+) — 123

 

    children — 159

 

    china/chinese — 44

 

    climat(+) — 39

 

    communis(+) — 3

 

    comput(+) — 84

 

    danger(+) — 64

 

    data(+) — 134

 

    death — 51

 

    debt(+) — 15

 

    drugs — 27

 

    ecolog(+) — 13

 

    econom(+) — 142

 

    educat(+) — 86

 

    energ(+) — 76

 

    finan(+) — 49

 

    flood — 2

 

    food — 29

 

    fuel(+) — 18

 

    happi/y — 26

 

    health(+) — 77

 

    help(+) — 53

 

    hope(+) — 44

 

    human(+) — 305

 

    internet — 96

 

    life(+) — 173

 

    literat(+) — 9

 

    liv(+) — 136

 

    medic(+) — 60

 

    men — 60

 

    mind(+) — 84

 

    money — 40

 

    natur(+) — 152

 

    north korea — 1

 

    nuclear — 34

 

    people — 352

 

    politi(+) — 104

 

    politic(+) — 114

 

    poor(+) — 23

 

    poverty — 8

 

    religio(+) — 45

 

    research — 150

 

    rich(+) — 22

 

    risk(+) — 78

 

    scien(+) — 606

 

    secur(+) — 28

 

    sex — 16

 

    solve — 8

 

    statistic(+) — 20

 

    suriv(+) — 47

 

    teach — 37

 

    terror(+) — 19

 

    violen(+) — 50

 

    war — 42

 

    water(+) — 43

 

    wealth(+) — 30

 

    women — 34

 

    word(+) — 72

 

    work(+) — 162

Care to draw any conclusions, about us, about them, about the world’s problems?

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2 thoughts on “Do I Worry?

  1. Sorry, Nora, I was careless. Those were the most (and sometimes, surprisingly, least used words in their essays — “North Korea” only once, “women” fewer times than “men,” two times for “flood,” and only one for “aid.”) So words like scientist and people showed up, but were not the topics. I’ll edit the entry to make that clear.

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