Monday, February 19, 2007

Obesity Causes Television

If Dr Aric Sigman is right and television does cause obesity, premature puberty, autism, short-sightedness and type 2 diabetes, then it must surely be the most momentous epidemiological finding since the establishment of the link between smoking and lung cancer and we can soon expect the banning of TV's in public places and the sight of huddled groups of addicts watching Location, Location and the worst football team in the world in special booths outside office buildings and pubs. Of course, we could all smoke as much as we liked if we stopped breathing oxygen, a lethal carcinogenic and, in reality, the real cause of the increase in lung cancer cases observed by Sir Richard Doll was not smoking but the invention of the cigarette. Once that little demon was out in the world, human cravings did the rest. Human cravings, in short, invented the cigarette. Similarly something in us must drive us to be obese etc and so we invented the television to satisfy this craving. We are not made to have our urges so profusely satisfied, we are made to survive. When they are satisfied, everything starts to go wrong.


  1. The most interesting facet of human nature highlighted by this story is the basic urge to find things to be frightened about.

    We in the west live in a relative Golden Age of epic longevity and unprecedented choice, where virtually everything is better than it has ever been for anybody in humanity's sorry history. This glaring fact is so hard to confront that we are even finally reduced to fear of the things we love most, like nice food and watching Dr Who.

  2. Reading too many junk science articles may trigger uncontrollable rages characterized by repeated shouting of the word "bollocks".

  3. Who on earth have you been reading, Sophie?

  4. And the assiduous Dave Lull suggests that Dr Sigman may be righter than he knows. This from the LA Times:

    'SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Southampton police responding to burst water pipes in a Hampton Bays home found the mummified body of the owner — dead for more than a year — sitting in a chair in front of a television.

    The television was still on.

    Vincenzo Riccardi, 70, appeared to have died of natural causes in his home, said Dr. Stuart Dawson, Suffolk County deputy chief medical examiner.

    The medical examiner's office considered Riccardi's body mummified because the lack of humidity in his home preserved his features, morgue assistant Jeff Bacchus said.

    "You could see his face. He still had hair on his head," Bacchus said. "I've never seen anyone dead that long."

    Police and county sources said Riccardi, whose body was found Thursday, had not been heard from since December 2005. The medical examiners said they were baffled as to why the electricity would be on in the home all that time.

    "He was in his house, sitting in his chair, as if watching television, and the television was, in fact, still on," Dawson said.

    Riccardi lived alone; his wife had died years ago, Dawson said. Mail had piled up, but then delivery stopped.

    Neighbors said Riccardi had diabetes and had become blind in his 50s. His house was up a long driveway and could not be seen from the street.'

  5. The line to cherish in that tale being, "I've never seen anyone dead that long."

  6. Amused to death. Poor Vincenzo.

  7. There is a second clear conclusion to be reached here, following on from Obesity causing Television, and that is of course, Television Causes Death.

  8. When I go I want to go sitting in front of the TV in a comfy chair. Although I hope that it would take less than a year for someone to miss me.

  9. Tv is becoming more of a plug in back to our hunter instincts because it caters to violence and sex in so many formats.
    Especially now we'v outdone so many modes of entertainment it can only get weirder and weirder.

  10. I think the reasons for our getting fatter are emotional and psychological - the visible effects of a deeply dysfunctional society. And although people eat a lot more rubbish than they once did, they eat that because they're so f....d up, not because they don't know any better. It's tragic. Boris Pasternak (through Dr Zhivago) remarked on the prevalence of heart attacks in post revolution Russia and put them down to a psychological reason - existential despair. Obesity causes junk foods would be just as true as causing television.

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