Somebody has to do something, and it is just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead
Americans are not doing well. Nearly two-thirds are too heavy, underfit and over-medicated. Most are way too dependent on physicians, prescriptions, pundits and preachers. People are too little resistant to baloney and superstition but overly resistant to science, reason, responsibility and the fine art of living well. In short, things are out of whack and somebody has to do something. What’s to be done? By whom?
Well, the last part is easy — it may be just incredibly pathetic but the late, great guitarist of the Grateful Dead was right – it has to be us. But what? What’s to be done?
Well, there is no instant or near-term panacea, no single fix, no sweeping solution for the boundless attitudinal and behavioral problems that brought about the fixes we’re in. But, I do have a few reform ideas — and this essay deals with one of them.
I suggest a change in the way we get our news. A reform in this one area might be helpful in getting more people to realize that their health status and so much else is up to them. My idea is this: Give the people NUDE news.
No, I don’t mean NUDE as in naked, ala the bare Russian bimbos reading sports scores and such on slimy Internet shows, acting like Katie Couric or Barbara Walters or someone talented while wearing nothing, an obvious ploy to trap and weak-minded males to tune in. This is exploitative, disgusting and one more example of women taking advantage of naive, innocent guys. However, it’s not at all the nature of my call for NUDE news.
NUDE is an acronym for news you deserve everyday. The focus of news you deserve everyday is upon content, not appearance.
NUDE news would present stories about people, places and things, changes and themes that connect with the reality of Americans not living or aging well. Of course, not all news would fit this connection, but time would be set aside if my idea were implemented for news that relates to people struggling in being too heavy, underfit and over-medicated. It’s a huge crisis — the media should not ignore Americ’s disabling dependencies. The citizenry deserves NUDE news –everyday.
While every news story need not address reforms for an unhealthy population (i.e., REAL wellness skills based upon secular, rational and positive outcome associated facts), I’d certainly like to hear a few such in most broadcasts. It could be called something like, NUDE news now — breaking news you deserve today. Such programming would be refreshing and highly appreciated by the converted, the savants of REAL wellness. The latter would be nice and good for the station’s that want to add viewers, but the most important consequence would derive from the boosts to the health and sanity of the viewing audience.
In his book, The Assault on Reason, former Vice-President Al Gore identified two kinds of pollution — that of our planet and of our politics and culture. A New York Times reviewer called Mr. Gore’s two-part focus, an obsession with the toxicity of the atmosphere and the toxicity of the public sphere. Well, I think Mr. Gore and others should also focus upon (or obsess about) the pollution and toxicity of worseness lifestyles, that is, the fact that Americans are too heavy, underfit and over-medicated.
But until they do, I will. That’s why I’m calling for NUDE news.
REAL wellness values are not the norm, as most will readily acknowledge. The reality is that daily news reporting is geared to bad news, problems, not inspirational wellness solutions. A NUDE perspective would modify that situation – such newscasts would include reflections on how things might be, from a healthier, saner point of view.
Of course, some shows are exceptional, offering unique versions of NUDE news. Saturday Night Live, The Rachel Maddow Show and Stephen Colbert, for instance. These shows provide daily wellness perspectives. All serve up invaluable wellness qualities — they are veritable gold mines of doubt, skepticism, reason, ethical insights and, of course, humor. Imagine how desirable it would be if such wellness perspectives were represented in network news programming.B esides the educational value, more folks would become better informed, more skeptical and wiser about the world around them and what they might do for themselves and others to become healthier and happier.
Here’s an example of how NUDE reporting might work. An organization called Epocrates conducted a survey of 580 physicians in 2007. A summary report of the findings revealed that physicians consider obesity, chronic disease and smoking to be the top three public health issues in the U.S.
That’s a normal news item. If it were NUDE news, a commentary would follow that introduced a REAL wellness perspective that challenged the limited analysis of the data, the focus of the 580 physicians. The physicians may have been well intended but they were shortsighted — they missed the three top issues, namely:
1. The absence of a culture that makes everyone aware and supportive of positive wellness choices that lead to habits that prevent obesity, lower risk of chronic disease and make smoking almost an unthinkable form of self-ruin.
2. The presence of educational systems that teach what, not how to think; and
3. Poor leadership, particularly from politicians who fail to enact effective and efficient policies.
On the third point, the charge here is that politicians ill serve taxpayers by funding wretched programs that are wasteful and have adverse consequences. Thus, many programs do vastly more harm than good. Think homeland security, the war on drugs, subsidy of the pharmaceutical industry, abstinence-only sex education, faith-based public funding, the misappropriation scandal called earmarks and, horror of horrors, the continued folly of our seemingly endless involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
There you go. A dollop of NUDE news.