Harvard Study: TV Will Kill You

But we like it anyway

A new Harvard study says that watching two to three hours of TV a day can make you sick and shorten your lifespan.

Two to three hours a day? I spend more time filing credit-card receipts.

Researchers analyzed data from eight previous studies, in which more than 250,000 subjects were tracked over an average of six years. Results were published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Most notable finding: A few hours’ daily viewing can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even death.

To which I have three words to say: No shit, Sherlock.

Call me crazy, but I can’t believe it took an academic study to come up with this conclusion. I would have told these guys—for free—that anybody who zones out on the couch in front of the tube is condemned to a life of suffering.

But TV is not the villain here. It’s junk food and obesity and, most important, inactivity. If you’re really fat, scarfing down pork rinds and addicted to shows like Sixteen and Pregnant, it doesn’t matter what else you’re doing; you’re going to pay. The brain stagnation alone could kill you.

Which brings me to my next beef. I am not, and have never been, a TV snob. To the contrary, I adore TV. Given the right circumstance and controlled substance, I’ll watch almost anything. Happily.

What pisses me off is equating two hours’ daily viewing with disease and death. Seriously, does PBS count? How about news? Jon Stewart? Election night? Baseball playoffs? I mean, who doesn’t watch two hours a day? Researchers do. Bet on it.

Like Gordon Gekko, I believe that TV, for lack of a better word, is good.

TV is right. TV works.

TV clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

TV, in all its forms—TV on the set, TV on the internet, TV on the DVR—has marked the upward surge of mankind.

Thank you, Gordon. You’ve got a future in television.