www.whyville.net Jun 21, 2001 Weekly Issue

Apathy: Do People Really Care?

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Apathy: Do People Really Care?

Times Writer

Vanilla here, writing on yet another issue. As you've noticed, I've been working on many articles that have to do with real-life instances; not just things happening in Whyville. However, this article connects Whyville with real life.

First of all, what IS apathy? For some of you that may be a dumb question, but for those that don't know what apathy is, here's my dictionary's explanation: "Lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal". Basically, it means that you simply "don't care" about certain issues.

For many people our age, we don't have to care about certain things... or do we? It seems clear to me that kids under 18 don't care about voting issues, what's going on in the Middle East, the starving children in Ethiopia, or even Our Town!

Maybe kids do care. Maybe it's just that some of these issues tend to bore us, or don't show any signs of us being able to make a difference or help a situation get better.

Take voting, for instance. Less than half of the citizens in America that CAN vote, do vote. Why is that? Do people care about who is going to run our country? Are the citizens of America lazy? Why don't people vote? It seems like a pretty important issue to me. And what do people in other countries think about voting?

Let's touch on another subject that can relate more to our age group. There are millions of homeless, starving, penniless, deprived children in the world, especially in 3rd-world countries. Again I must ask, do we care? Maybe we do care, but we feel that we are too inferior and that we can't make a difference. But can't we?

Now I think that you are starting to get the gist of what I'm getting at. Obviously, apathy is a large problem in America. Apathy puts a lot more meaning into the overly used phrase, "I don't care". As I've already stated many times, I think that people do care and that they just don't know what they can do to help.

The Times Editor made an interesting point to me: it seems as though people are apathetic about my article on apathy. I sent out a Y-Mail to about twenty people asking them about their thoughts on apathy. I got three responses. This proves to me that Whyvillians are either unaware of apathy, or are just plain lazy.

Here are the thoughts of the three Whyvillians that sent responses to my Y-Mail:

"Apathy... I think it's sort of strange how people prioritize their lives and pick and choose what they bother to notice about the world. I care about the world nearby me because I don't really focus that well on what is happening in other places... Africa... Middle East... I have no idea what's going on there. However, I do watch the news sometimes and try to keep up to date, but sometimes it just doesn't work. Of course, I care about Whyville, and I really hope it does not shut down and that "Operation Oprah" will work. I love reading the Whyville Times every week, just to let me know what's going on around here."


"I care mostly about my ME, my family (especially my mommy), and my friends. I also care about school and getting a good education because without that I could be flipping burgers at Burger King, and that's definitely not the path I want to go down. I care about the world and pollution because I believe soon it will effect or kill us all. I think people should read the Whyville Times more often because it can help them, especially newbies. I think people should also care more about Whyville and its problems because it can close down and we'd all be doing nothing!"


"I care about my family. I don't care about money. I care about voting; I'd love to vote."


Some people, like googles and Leia, are very descriptive about what issues concern them. Others, like Infinite, are very exact about what they care about. Either way is great. However, I have to agree with googles when she states that people pick and choose what they want to notice about the world; that's very true.

It seems to me that the people in Whyville are just as apathetic as the general population. Only 10% of Whyvillians read The Times, if you can believe it. There are almost 80,000 people on Whyville, all of which have the opportunity of reading The Times.

That about sums up this article on apathy. I hope you can walk away from this article with a new definition of "I don't care". Perhaps you do care. Now I will leave you with a quote from a very inspirational woman:

"We may have found the cure for many evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings."

--Helen Keller


Your Reporter,




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