Something has to be done, and it’s very pitiful that it has to be us. The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia
Americans are struggling. Almost two-thirds are overweight, unfit, and overmedicated. Most people are overly reliant on doctors, medications, pundits, and preachers. People are extremely resistive to science, reason, responsibility, and the great art of living well, but not to nonsense and superstition. In short, something has to be done since things are out of whack. What are the options? Who is it?
The second element is simple — it may be extremely sad, but the late, great Grateful Dead guitarist was correct – it has to be us. But then what? What are the options?
Well, there is no immediate or near-term panacea, no single fix, no all-encompassing answer for the innumerable attitudes and behaviours that led to the difficulties we’re in. But I do have a few reform proposals, one of which is the subject of this essay.
I propose that we modify the way we obtain our news. A reform in just one area could help more individuals realise that they have control over their health and so much more. Give the folks NUDE news, is my notion.
No, I don’t mean NUDE as in nude, as in the bare Russian bimbos reading sports scores and other such things on slimy Internet shows, acting like Katie Couric or Barbara Walters or someone skilled while wearing nothing, an obvious tactic to draw in and weak-minded males. This is exploitation, horrible, and again another example of women exploiting naive, innocent men. It is not, however, the nature of my call for NUDE news.
The abbreviation NUDE stands for news you deserve every day. Content, not appearance, is the focus of the news you deserve every day.
NUDE news would feature stories on people, places, and things, as well as developments and topics related to the reality of Americans who are not living or ageing well. Of course, not all news would meet this link, but if my suggestion were followed, time would be set aside for news about people who are overweight, underfit, or overmedicated. It’s a major dilemma, and the media should not overlook Americ’s crippling reliance. Every day, the citizens deserve NUDE news.
While not every news article needs to include changes for an unhealthy population (i.e., REAL wellness skills based on secular, reasonable, and positive outcome-related data), I’d want to hear a few of them in most broadcasts. It could be dubbed NUDE news now – breaking news you deserve right now. Such programming would be refreshing and greatly valued by the converted, the true wellness savants. The latter would be pleasant and helpful for stations looking to gain viewers, but the most significant result would be improvements in the viewing audience’s health and sanity.
Former Vice-President Al Gore described two types of pollution in his book The Assault on Reason: pollution of our earth and pollution of our politics and society. Mr. Gore’s two-part concentration, according to a New York Times reviewer, is a fixation with the poison of the atmosphere and the toxicity of the public sphere. Mr. Gore and others, in my opinion, should also focus (or obsess) on the pollution and toxicity of worsening lifestyles, i.e., the reality that Americans are overweight, underfit, and overmedicated.
But I will do so until they do. That is why I am requesting NUDE news.
As most people can readily admit, true wellness values are not the norm. The reality is that daily news coverage focuses on bad news and problems, rather than inspiring wellness solutions. Such newscasts would feature observations on how things might be, from a healthier, saner point of view, if taken from a NUDE perspective.
Of course, some shows stand out, providing distinct perspectives on NUDE news. Consider Saturday Night Live, The Rachel Maddow Show, and Stephen Colbert. These shows offer everyday perspectives on health and wellbeing. They are magnificent gold mines of doubt, scepticism, reason, ethical insights, and, of course, comedy, and they all provide vital wellness attributes. Consider how appealing it would be if such wellness viewpoints were featured on network news. Aside from the educational benefit, more people would become more informed, more critical, and wiser about the world around them and what they can do for themselves and others to improve their health and happiness.
This is an example of NUDE reporting in action. In 2007, the Epocrates organisation conducted a survey of 580 physicians. Obesity, chronic disease, and smoking are the top three public health hazards in the United States, according to a summary assessment of the data.
That is a standard news item. If it were NUDE news, it would be followed by a commentary that offered a REAL wellness perspective, challenging the 580 physicians’ narrow data analysis. The doctors may have had good intentions, but they were blind to the three most important issues:
- The lack of a culture that makes everyone aware of and supportive of positive wellness choices that lead to habits that prevent obesity, lower chronic disease risk, and make smoking practically unimaginable as a form of self-harm.
- The existence of educational institutions that teach what to think about rather than how to think about it; and
- Ineffective and inefficient leadership, notably from politicians who fail to enact effective and efficient policies.
On the third point, the accusation is that politicians defraud taxpayers by sponsoring ineffective projects that waste money and have negative repercussions. As a result, many programmes cause far more harm than good. Consider homeland security, the war on drugs, pharmaceutical industry subsidies, abstinence-only sex education, faith-based public funding, the earmarks misappropriation scandal, and, worst of all, our apparently interminable commitment in Afghanistan and Iraq.