Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hyperbole and myopia are nothing new to journalism, but this article in yesterday's London (Ontario) Free Press is a horrendous example. It also demonstrates how dramatically our conception of physical exertion has sunk. Never mind that the Free Press considers a healthy 58-year old man walking 40 minutes every day for 7 years to be newsworthy. Far more troubling is that he is described as "Obsessive. Compulsive. Maybe even crazy." There are people out there, strange people but people nonetheless, who have running streaks dating back almost four decades. There are probably at least one million people in the world who, out of necessity, walk more than 40 minutes a day and have been doing so for a very long time. The Tarahumara of northern Mexico can run over 100 km while chasing down dinner, and they don't need finisher's medals to make themselves feel better.

If less than an hour of daily low-intensity movement germane to our existence is considered newsworthy, we're in some serious trouble. Far more newsworthy, and just as alarming, is that Canadians watch a whopping 21 hours of television per week on average! That's a sixth of your waking life spent watching television! Most of these people, it's safe to say, also complain about not having enough time to do other things.

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