“America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.” –Oscar Wilde
There are commercials, on T.V. of late, declaring the praise of a new television channel being added to the “Discovery Networks” stable, name of “Destination America” which drops on Memorial Day, probably because this is the most patriotic the network could afford to be. Who knows the profits that would’ve been lost had they waited for the most patriotic of all holidays in the world, Jesus’ birthday, July the Fourth (4th)? Patriotism isn’t free…or is it freedom that isn’t free? Either way, the television network seems to have picked an appropriate name for itself. Not that I think that T.V. networks name themselves, I’m no idiot. Those names are controlled by a cabal of some sort, according to various websites that seem to have an unhealthy obsession with shaven heads and Nazi Memorabilia. Anyhow, the reason why the name seems apt to me is that after seeing many of the commercials for the impending channel, the ratio of people in said commercials who are dangerously overweight seems to be around seventy-five (75) percent. Perhaps in fifteen (15) or so years the T.V. channel will re-brand itself into an even more appropriately telling theme, “Destination Type Two (2) Diabetes”. The channel is a re-branding of failing channel “Planet Green”, a channel whose weakness should’ve been obvious to anyone within moderate proximity.
Oh to have been a fly on the wall when “Planet Green” was originally pitched, my guess is “Destination America” was not even a concept at this point. If it were I think the pitch would’ve gone thusly: “Hey boss, I was thinking we would start a network the sole purpose of which would be to inform Americans about environmental issues.” “That sounds interesting, how would it all work?” I imagine the boss would answer. “Well, I’m glad you asked we would develop a line-up of shows that explain to Americans that unfettered consumerism and irresponsible capitalism has led to the failing health of a fragile ecosystem.” “I’d be willing to bet that a lot of people would tune in for that…we could sell a great deal of commercials on that channel.” “Yes sir, I think you’re right!” “Hey just in case this high concept network fails, do you have a lower-concept idea that’ll garner wider interest in today’s sophisticated American society?” “We sure do, picture this, twenty-four/seven (24/7) dancing monkeys. We call it ‘Monk-Dance USA’. “How about something lower?” “Yes sir, we have this other network idea where-in Americans observe other Americans barbequing meat.” “Can the people who are doing the barbequing be in the neighborhood of four-hundred (400) pounds?” “Sir those Americans will be in that neighborhood with no intercession by us.” No intercession means no money, right?” That’s right!” “Great, backburner that and let’s try the greenie thingy.” “You got it!”
I know what you’re thinking: “For a blogger, this guy’s a genius!” And, for the most part, you couldn’t be less wrong. While that may not be the exact way the conversation went, I’m quite confident it is close.
So to sum up what we’ve learned so far: “Discovery Networks” is dropping the drowning “Planet Green” channel to re-brand it as the unabashedly patriotic “Destination America” so that Americans, who are spiraling toward a diabetic dystopian future, have yet another channel devoted to showing people cooking and eating…what could be more American?
My only hope is that there are more challenge shows, shows where people challenge food to a duel. “Hey you six (6) pound hamburger, I’m sick of you acting so cool and bullying me and my friends with your irresistible smell…I challenge you to allow me to eat you, in the interest of proving a point of one stripe or another! We shall duel at dawn…by which I mean Noonish, as that is how long it takes me to prepare for the day.”
I’m not interested in making a statement about specific numbers or body types…or even to comment upon what constitutes being over-weight. My point has more to do with the pervasive attitude of an increasingly unhealthy populous who seem to react to any advice about eating healthy as though it comes straight from the mouths of belt-way elitist despots hell-bent upon ruining our collective fun. This is only made more obvious when an educational network quickly has to re-brand into a food network. While we’re on the topic, has anyone ever notice how little travel there is on the “Travel Channel”?
If one were to make the argument that the premise of this post is shaky at best, I would have no retort. I mean there may be legitimate reasons why “Planet Green” couldn’t survive. The name alone makes me sleepy and gaggy all at once. But in all honesty, the idea of writing a post about how a boring T.V. channel bit the dust seemed, well, boring. Not to mention the fact that given the circumstances, the social commentary essentially writes itself, so win, win.
There is an old saying: “The stars might lie, but the numbers never do.” It is in that spirit that I parse the subject of an over-weight America, and it is not so simple as to be blamed upon T.V. cooking shows alone. There are a myriad of reasons for this statistic. For one, I blame the American Flag. “What, Old Glory?!” you might be asking yourself. Yes. We have a very busy flag, from a design perspective…lots of stripes and stars. Add to that this incessant and paranoid need to plaster that thing on everything that walks, swings, and sleeps between sea and shining sea, and you’ve a recipe for unhealthy weight gain. That flag doesn’t look good draped over any frame smaller than four and half (4.5) bills. I mean the French flag could be worn by a svelte man…a young Garth Brooks showed us that…but only an old Garth Brooks could pull off an American Flag shirt. And four and a half (4.5) is a minimum you would be wise to go about six-hundred (600) pounds to really make that flag pop.
I’m not a big fan of over-simplifications (unless they can help me get away with something) (say an easy thousand  word post) (just as one example; apropos of nothing), so please don’t hear me as saying that television food shows and the American Flag are to blame for the unhealthy weight epidemic faced by our fair country. But I think we can all agree they’re not helping much.