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May 22, 2008

Jonesin' for a Fix

In a segment on CNN Newsroom, correspondent Brianna Keilar reports, "Indiana Jones addicts can get their fix when the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull premieres on Thursday." Gelf was struck by how casually journalists use the debilitating monster of addiction as a metaphor for the most mundane things. We're not too far away from seeing commercials that declare: "Can't get enough of Obama, McCain and Clinton? If politics are your nicotine, then CNN is your cigarette. We'll infect you with the lung cancer of up-to-date information."

But clearly, CNN isn't the only culprit. Below, Gelf takes a look at some of the things the media claims we're addicted to:


Blackberry's, or as some have dubbed them, CrackBerrys, are a common target for addiction metaphors. E! Online writes, "In Hollywood, there’s one addiction that doesn’t require a 30-day stint at Promises. You don’t snort it, you don’t swallow it—you just type on it."

Social Networking

The problem of overdosing on addiction metaphors is all over the tech world. And with the constant updating of social networks, it's only inevitable that tech sites should regard them as a substitute for crack. CMS Wire declares in a headline "Social Info Addicts Get Latest Fix at Twitter." Meanwhile, according to a press release from Strategy Analytics, "MySpace Mobile Gives Social Networking Addicts Their Fix."


I don't how many times I've heard the phrase, "End our addiction to foreign oil." But I can tell you that I've heard it more times from the New York Times's Tom Friedman than anybody else. Friedman has used a variant of the phrase at least 28 times in his columns, and worked on the Discovery Channel film Addicted to Oil.

Video Games

Back in the tech world, it would be easy enough to poke fun at the hundreds of articles and blogs that refer to video game X users getting their fix. But apparently video game addiction is an actual diagnosis that can require detox.


I think it was Chris Rock who first said "CHAPSTICK? They should call it CRACKSTICK." While people may really really like lip balm, and may even think they're addicted to it there hasn't been any scientific evidence that lip balm is addictive.


Perhaps Gelf shouldn't be so quick to draw attention to the "addiction" craze when Gelf co-founder Carl Bialik, is co-writer of the Wall Street Journal's Daily Fix sports blog. But in a field full of soccer junkies, baseball statheads, and basketball addicts, where overstatement is the norm, The Daily Fix is comparatively restrained.


Anything with a following can potentially be mined for addiction. Whether it's hot sauce, or David Gergen. TV Shows like Lost and 24 make addiction seem second nature. But leave it to the Onion to put things in perspective in an article titled, "I'm Like a Chocoholic, But for Booze."

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