More on the Murderous Boob Tube

 

About a month ago, I announced my rash decision to sell my TV — partly to recover the productivity of my weekends during the long football season, but also due to health scares such as this one: “Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes” — New York Times.

Now, I’ve made it, somehow, through the playoffs without seeing a single game. I did go to a bar to watch the Big One Sunday, that is, until Beyoncé blew out the power or something and it looked like the worst Super Bowl ever. I went home and, yes, worked on something creative until 1am.

(Speaking of creative, here’s Shaq live from the Bowl)

Back to the point: Yes, it was kind of hellish to be without my weekend football fix–at least at first. Each week, as my friends told me about Colin Kaepernick’s latest indescribable on-field exploits, I did feel a tiny part of myself die.

But, like many addictions, or near-addictions, I didn’t miss it so much after a few weeks. And man, did I ever get a lot done in those three contiguous 3-hr blocks of every Sunday normally dedicated to inhaling that giant oval pigskin block of crack cocaine.

I did allow myself to watch Sports Center highlights on my iPhone–but only while logging reps on the elliptical. So that doesn’t count right?

Anyway, by my best scientific calculations, I have now increased my lifespan by at least 12 hours. Plus I filled those weekends with family time and tons of personally meaningful creative work.

And then there’s this: “Men who watch more than 20 hours of television a week risk halving their sperm count, researchers warn.”

(CORRECTION: Upon further scientific calculation, I believe my life expectancy may have only increased by 11.87645376 hours. I apologize for the error.)

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Members have made 24 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Nathan Harden: “Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes” –New York Times.

     

    If this is true, I died sometime around 1847.

    • #1
    • February 5, 2013 at 11:53 am
  2. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Nathan Harden:

    And then there’s this: “Men who watch more than 20 hours of television a week risk halving their sperm count, researchers warn.” ·

    4 kids is enough for me.

    Anything good on tonight?

    • #2
    • February 5, 2013 at 11:55 am
  3. Profile photo of Nathan Harden Contributor
    Nathan Harden Post author

    TV is the most entertaining form of birth control on the market!

    Tommy De Seno
    Nathan Harden:

    And then there’s this: “Men who watch more than 20 hours of television a week risk halving their sperm count, researchers warn.” ·

    4 kids is enough for me.

    Anything good on tonight? · 0 minutes ago

    • #3
    • February 5, 2013 at 11:56 am
  4. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member

    Heh heh heh. He said “boob”.

    • #4
    • February 6, 2013 at 1:26 am
  5. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member

    “Colin Kaepernick’s latest indescribable on-field exploits”?

    Oh dear. He will tear up his knee by the time of the 2014 playoffs. There is a reason that we have gone through the “Tomorrow’s QB will be a runner and a thrower and revolutionize the game!” roughly every 10 years since the Sport Magazine story on Tobin Rote in 1953 (yeah, the next big QB star was indeed immobile Unitas).

    Running QBs almost always sustained knee injuries and stopped running, they had to learn how to pass in the NFL. Most did not, because they couldn’t adjust. Landry, Grogan, Cunningham, Culpepper, and most recently RGIII- all share the same physique as Kaepernick. Some learned how to play QB, most didn’t and they disappeared.

    I predict that RGIII will eventually learn how to play QB, so will Russell Wilson (who is less likely to tear up his knee). After Kaepernick’s eventual knee injury, I have my doubts. He is more of an athlete like Culpepper, less a student of the game.

    • #5
    • February 6, 2013 at 2:38 am
  6. Profile photo of Devereaux Inactive
    Anne R. Pierce
    Nathan Harden: I believe laughter has been proven to be excellent aerobic exercise, Rob. So any show you produce is obviously an exception to the rule.
    Rob Long: I find this entire thread offensive.

    Television is good for you. The more the better.

    (Especially if the show has my name on it.) · 9 minutes ago

    1 hour ago

    Exception with a capital E. I’m convinced we’d be an Entirely better country and people if it weren’t for insipid, inane, crude, propagandistic, violent, not-funny television. Boycott, anyone? · 7 hours ago

    Edited 6 hours ago

    Ha! Seriousness in an otherwise tongue-in-cheek thread.

    Still, your statement does have merit. Think back to the 19th century and you find people spent the evening reading the Bible, literature, or in conversation. So much less of that today. No wonder we are a poorer nation socially. And democrat ideas have such sway.

    • #6
    • February 6, 2013 at 3:22 am
  7. Profile photo of Jim Ixtian Inactive

    Sadly, TCM is the only thing worth watching on television anymore. Even then I can’t justify having a tv just for that. The rest is largely vulgar, forgettable, or trite.

    • #7
    • February 6, 2013 at 3:46 am
  8. Profile photo of Paul A. Rahe Contributor

    Nathan, confess. You threw that bit in about the sperm count because you know that the subject of sex is the only thing that will wake up the members of Ricochet and get them to pay attention.

    • #8
    • February 6, 2013 at 4:40 am
  9. Profile photo of Pony Convertible Member

    When I quit watching TV, my life definitely got better. No question. Enjoy!

    • #9
    • February 6, 2013 at 5:59 am
  10. Profile photo of Rob Long Founder

    I find this entire thread offensive.

    Television is good for you. The more the better.

    (Especially if the show has my name on it.)

    • #10
    • February 6, 2013 at 6:10 am
  11. Profile photo of Nathan Harden Contributor
    Nathan Harden Post author

    Jonathan Last says we’re doomed if we don’t reproduce more vigorously. I’m doing this for the good of humanity.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/02/05/New-Book-A-Child-Free-America

    Paul A. Rahe: Nathan, confess. You threw that bit in about the sperm count because you know that the subject of sex is the only thing that will wake up the members of Ricochet and get them to pay attention. · 1 hour ago

    Edited 36 minutes ago

    • #11
    • February 6, 2013 at 6:20 am
  12. Profile photo of Nathan Harden Contributor
    Nathan Harden Post author

    I believe laughter has been proven to be excellent aerobic exercise, Rob. So any show you produce is obviously an exception to the rule.

    Rob Long: I find this entire thread offensive.

    Television is good for you. The more the better.

    (Especially if the show has my name on it.) · 9 minutes ago

    • #12
    • February 6, 2013 at 6:24 am
  13. Profile photo of Kozak Member

    “Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes” — New York Times.”So if you watched 1 hour and only lost 21.8 hours, you actually GAINED 38.2 minutes of longevity. I may live longer then Methuslah…..

    • #13
    • February 6, 2013 at 7:08 am
  14. Profile photo of Byron Horatio Member

    Does anyone actually believe these studies? They all are built on flimsy correlations and small sample groups. Reminds me of the guy who wrote Freakonomics. He had a line he used to demolish correlative studies with. Apologies if its a little vulgar. Something to the tune of: Ice cream prices are higher in the summer. The frequency of rape is also higher in the summer. But no sane person would suggest that high ice cream prices cause rape. Correlation is not causation.

    • #14
    • February 6, 2013 at 7:25 am
  15. Profile photo of Anne R. Pierce Inactive
    Nathan Harden: I believe laughter has been proven to be excellent aerobic exercise, Rob. So any show you produce is obviously an exception to the rule.
    Rob Long: I find this entire thread offensive.

    Television is good for you. The more the better.

    (Especially if the show has my name on it.) · 9 minutes ago

    1 hour ago

    Exception with a capital E. I’m convinced we’d be an Entirely better country and people if it weren’t for insipid, inane, crude, propagandistic, violent, not-funny television. Boycott, anyone?

    • #15
    • February 6, 2013 at 8:09 am
  16. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Nathan Harden: TV is the most entertaining form of birth control on the market!
    Tommy De Seno
    Nathan Harden:

    And then there’s this: “Men who watch more than 20 hours of television a week risk halving their sperm count, researchers warn.” ·

    4 kids is enough for me.

    Anything good on tonight? · 0 minutes ago

    0 minutes ago

    So true! Anytime I meet a guy with more kids than me I usually yell, “Buy a television!”

    • #16
    • February 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm
  17. Profile photo of Elizabeth Van Horn Inactive

    Congrats! You will never miss that TV. I haven’t owned a TV in ten years. (Firefly was cancelled! That’s how I keep track of the time! ; )

    Welcome to the Future!

    • #17
    • February 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm
  18. Profile photo of zepplinmike Thatcher

    In both of these studies, the problem is a sedentary lifestyle, not TV watching specifically. If these negative health effects are even accurate, you would get the same results sitting at a computer for 20 hours a week, or sitting and reading a book for 20 hours. I don’t know if it’s the people writing the studies or the media reporting on it that singles out TV, but it’s surely just a way to get attention for the story. The lesson is that laying around and not exercising enough is bad for your health, which isn’t news at all.

    • #18
    • February 6, 2013 at 12:08 pm
  19. Profile photo of Tim H. Member
    Nathan Harden: “…reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes”

    It’s really more like 13 minutes, once you take out the commercials.

    • #19
    • February 6, 2013 at 12:16 pm
  20. Profile photo of Tim H. Member

    Second quip: But what are you going to do with that extra hour, if you can’t spend it watching TV?!

    • #20
    • February 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm
  21. Profile photo of Nathan Harden Contributor
    Nathan Harden Post author

    Yes, but unless you’re only watching while exercising, there seems to be a negative correlation, even for those who do exercise–at least in the sperm count study. Bottom of the article: “Men who did regular exercise but also watched a lot of TV recorded lower sperm counts.”

    You’re right. Same effect applies to other sedentary activities, surely. I suppose TV is singled out because its more discretionary than–say– doing your job and working all day at a computer.

    zepplinmike: In both of these studies, the problem is a sedentary lifestyle, not TV watching specifically. If these negative health effects are even accurate, you would get the same results sitting at a computer for 20 hours a week, or sitting and reading a book for 20 hours. I don’t know if it’s the people writing the studies or the media reporting on it that singles out TV, but it’s surely just a way to get attention for the story. The lesson is that laying around and not exercising enough is bad for your health, which isn’t news at all. · 4 minutes ago
    • #21
    • February 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm
  22. Profile photo of zepplinmike Thatcher

    That part of the article you quoted isn’t really that clear on how much exercise those individuals were doing and how much lower their sperm counts were.

    Two things about this study that make me skeptical are the small sample size (189) and the fact that all of the men in the study were 18-22. That’s not exactly representative of the full population of men. These are most likely college students with a lifestyle in general that differs from other adults. For example, the sample could include some stereotypical really, really sedentary college students as well as some untypically active student athletes. With such a small sample size, including groups of these students would really skew the data. But that’s all speculation on my part.

    Again though, I think it’s safe to say a sedentary lifestyle with little-to-no exercise is bad for your health. I just get annoyed when TV is the only sedentary activity highlighted.

    • #22
    • February 6, 2013 at 12:56 pm
  23. Profile photo of Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Rob Long: I find this entire thread offensive.

    Television is good for you. The more the better.

    (Especially if the show has my name on it.) · 21 hours ago

    I only watch TV if its a Bill Shatner Priceline.com commercial featuring The Falcon of Truth

    • #23
    • February 7, 2013 at 3:54 am
  24. Profile photo of Anne R. Pierce Inactive
    Devereaux
    Anne R. Pierce
    Nathan Harden: I believe laughter has been proven to be excellent aerobic exercise, Rob. So any show you produce is obviously an exception to the rule.
    Rob Long: I find this entire thread offensive.

    Television is good for you. The more the better.

    (Especially if the show has my name on it.) · 9 minutes ago

    1 hour ago

    Exception with a capital E. I’m convinced we’d be an Entirely better country and people if it weren’t for insipid, inane, crude, propagandistic, violent, not-funny television. Boycott, anyone? · 7 hours ago

    Edited 6 hours ago

    Ha! Seriousness in an otherwise tongue-in-cheek thread.

    Still, your statement does have merit. Think back to the 19th century and you find people spent the evening reading the Bible, literature, or in conversation. So much less of that today. No wonder we are a poorer nation socially. And democrat ideas have such sway. · 13 hours ago

    There are obviously some high quality shows, but all the others sure take their toll on America’s mindset and outlook.

    • #24
    • February 7, 2013 at 5:13 am