Rob Long explores “Charity by Proxy”:
When you think about all the exercise equipment, diet aids and thin, attractive people featured on television, it’s amazing how many fat people there are walking around in real life. What’s wrong with those people? Television is supposed to be a pretty powerful medium–actually, it’s supposed to be the most powerful medium–so you’d think that they would get the message and stop it with the bread. But they don’t: America keeps getting fatter while television keeps getting fitter.
Call it the “Thighmaster Paradox”: Watching people do things on TV–fight it out on a desert island, say, or sweat themselves into shapelier thighs–often replaces the need to do those things ourselves. After a few hours vegetating in slack-jawed stupor in front of the Food Network, do we really end up in the kitchen, whipping up a wholesome meal? Or do we drag the family to Outback Steakhouse?
The mindset that drives “Charity By Proxy” also pushes feel-good gestures such as these, of course.
(Via Kathy Shaidle.)