Popular culture is the lens through which we can experience places and situations we never come across in everyday life. Thanks to modern media consumption, every teenager that’s never left Wisconsin still has what many could justifiably consider a passable understanding of the cultures and lifestyles of people all over the world. Not everything we see on TV is fantasy; I’ve never been to Antarctica, but thanks to my interest in programs involving it, I feel like I have a reasonable sense of what the landscape looks like, how treacherous the journey there can be, and just how difficult it would be to get my hands on a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee once I arrived.
But that’s the problem. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the incredible landmarks we grow up seeing on TV are rarely as we imagine them, no matter how many hours we spend watching NatGeo. I’ve been to Pyramids ranging from Mayan to Egyptian, to arenas ranging from the New England Patriot’s turf at Gillette to the Gladiator’s sand in the Roman Coliseum, and I’ve walked down the impoverished streets of villages depicted in “Save The Children” commercials – and time and time again, I was faced with perspective shifting realities due to the omissions or complete fabrications I’d grown up with in order to make these locations more marketable or plot-friendly in TV shows, movies, and video games.
These kinds of misconceptions aren’t relegated specifically to geography. As we covered in part one of this series, there are a lot of things about combat, tactical situations, and even regular old fist fights that many of us get wrong thanks to a steady supply of misinformation being delivered via action movie tropes. In part one, we covered flesh wounds, being knocked unconscious, and the power of explosive blasts. Now, in part two, we’ll venture further into the world of excusable misconceptions many of us harbor about violence because, much like the Pyramids of Giza, we’re only ever shown what producers want us to see.
Myth #1: Tranquilizers are effective enough to be used as weapons