Monday, June 9, 2014

Come, "Median" (Ha!)

Something is wrong. Pull over — but not onto the shoulder. Follow the lead set by Mike (Chris Farley) in the lowbrow comedy Black Sheep and head for the median. It’s a dangerous move, to be sure, but the median is what we’re after.

Officer: "Do you have any idea how fast you were going?"
Mike: "I guess I was going about 65, tops."
Officer: "Seven! Seven miles an hour."

The excerpt below is from a article about David Wise, a freestyle skier at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Wise became a husband and a father in his early 20s, and by 23 he was a gold medalist. He was also, according to the headline of a story NBC posted on its Olympic website, a man leading an “alternative lifestyle.”

In its article about the NBC story, Fox News referenced data from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. How does that K-I-S-S-I-N-G song we’ve all belted out on the playground go again? First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage. Those lyrics may need some 21st-century tweaking. Today it may be more apropos to sing, First comes loves, then comes baby in a baby carriage, then comes marriage — even if it doesn’t have the same ring to it, and even if that’s not the script Wise followed. The median age of Americans at the birth of a first child is 25.7, while the median age of Americans at first marriage is 26.5.

The median is the middle value in any ordered set of values, so the median age is the point at which there are as many instances above the value as there are below. It’s the age that divides a population into two equal groups. When it comes to first marriages, for example, half of the American population is younger than 26.5 and half is older.

The Fox News article, however, refers to a “media age,” which sounds like some sort of blip on history’s timeline — a period sandwiched between the Industrial Age and the Information Age.

I propose that media and n unite, giving birth to a beautiful new word. Make them marry. It’d make me merry.

I’d like to thank Dodie, my “West Coast mom,” for spotting and sharing today’s error. She didn’t fall for Fox News’ media bias!

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