23 Apr 2013

Madmen for the 2010s?

Always in style?
We started watching Season 1 recently, and there are some interesting differences between life then* and now.

First, there's the big sexist angle. Hopefully "modern" men and women are equals in terms of fidelity and power.

Second, there's the drinking, which is DEFINITELY out these days (I like to have a beer at lunch, but I'm an exception).

Third is that everyone is smoking, everywhere and always in the show. That's clearly out, but I wonder what's replaced it in terms of ubiquity and impact. My suggestion is obesity, as it seems that a majority of the population (in the US and many countries) is overweight or obese.**

Even more interesting is the parallel between effects of smoking and obesity, i.e., higher health costs, negative externalities (it's not nice to smell smoke; it's not nice to see jelly rolls), and an industrial interest in keeping people smoking or eating.

But consider this: The fall in smoking has increased lifespans for smokers and perhaps for secondary smokers. A reduction in over-eating might do the same by helping formerly fat people live longer AND -- through the reduction in their demand -- by making it easier to feed the world's growing population. That would be really cool.

So, how would we move to a post-obese world? The same way we've cut down on cigarettes: cut subsidies to food, improve education on the impacts of cigarettes and -- most important -- say that fat is NOT normal.***

Bottom line: "Everybody does it" does not mean that everybody should. Stop overeating.

* I'm curious to know if the 1960 (or 1960 New York) was really like that. Opinions?

** My BMI is 23, but 44 percent of American men (15+) have a BMI of more than 30 (obese). Calculate your BMI.

** There will be some people who prefer to be fat the same way that some prefer to smoke. That's fine; I worry about those who ended up there by accident. And, yes, I know about "glandular" conditions and so on. Very few of those are real.


John Whitehead said...

27 (overweight)

David R said...

22.7 but still too much fat as a percentage...

...very hard to avoid bad ingredients

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