As American’s, we are viewed by other countries as rich, lazy and fat! Barbara Ehrenreich’s article “Spudding Out” talks about the people in our country and their tendencies to become what most would call a couch potato. The question she argues is why do we turn into television watching zombies? Through history our technology has discovered and improved our ways of entertainment. The most used and controlling piece of technology we have created is the television.
This specific invention is one reason the people of our population have slowly stopped their involvement with the environment and everyday outdoor activities. Instead of going for a stroll in the park or playing golf we sit inside and watch our favorite shows and sports teams on the TV. Why do we do this, it makes no sense if we consciously think about it! Is it more fun to experience a dangerous activity in person or through a video? Obviously in person anything is better but yet we still sit for hours and eat unhealthy food even if we know it is wrong.
These fantasy’s we all have of becoming a police officer, kissing a hot boy, going bungee jumping or becoming famous hold us in the television zone for hours and sometimes even for days. We now have recording systems so we won’t have to rush home to see our favorite shows. In 2002 the average weight of a child at the age of 10 was about 87 pounds, and at the age of 15 135 for girls and 150 for boys. In 1963, before the TV “epidemic”, the average weight of a 10 year old was about 75 pounds and a 15 year old girl weighed about 124 and a boy 135 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/04news/americans.htm). Since television has become more popular it is easy to see the difference in the average weight through the years and it has gotten out of control. Ehrenreich is trying to understand what factors cause us to ignore these symptoms.
The best theory she came up with is “we love television because television brings us a world in which television does not exist.” A very confusing theory at first, but if you think about it critically it makes perfect sense. No one would watch television if it was about someone watching television because it’s boring! The concept is brilliant! Our world has caused us to be so fearful of so many wondrous activities, that we just sit home and fantasize about them. Subconsciously we want to be involved in the adventure and dangers of the world. We wish vampires and werewolves existed and that all jobs are fun and interesting, but in reality we can only be involved in what we choose to do.
If we don’t get off our asses and try new things then we will continue with our lives “spudding out.” Instinctively we seek adventure because we are animals. Inside each and every one of us is a wild beast that needs to come out and play, so get off the couch and go for a walk. Smell the difference in the air between seasons or after it rains, enjoy the stars and moon or the warmth of the sunlight because you will notice that being active makes life so much more interesting.