August 17, 2011

The health of television (or, at least, its viewers)

There's nothing new about the idea that watching too much telelvison can be bad for you. Back in the early days of TV, it was thought that it might cause bad eyesight. Then it was the violence on television that could be dangerous to your psychological well-being, especially if you were a kid.  There were even fears of what an unstable portable TV might do to small children.* Not to mention how unhealthy the average TV dinner probably was.

*It reminds me of an old Peanuts cartoon where Charlie Brown, reading a story in the newspaper, asks Linus if he thinks television is harmful to his health.  To which Linus replies, "I don't know.  I've never had one fall on me."

Now it appears they've finally quantified just how harmful TV can be. According to an Australian study, for every hour someone watches TV, they take 22 minutes off their lifespan.  At that rate, I probably ought to be dead by now.

Except - the same story I linked to above notes a study by the medical journal The Lancet found that as little as 15 minutes of physical activity every day could increase a person's lifespan by three years.  Since I get at least twice that much exercise just walking to and from work, that means I might actually come out ahead on the deal.

There's no word, as far as I can tell, of the effects of watching television while exercising.  But, one wonders, how long before they try to ban TVs from hospital rooms?

August 16, 2011

St. Claire, patroness of television

A belated happy feast day (August 11) to St. Claire, the patron saint of television.

And how does a woman who died in 1253 become the patroness of television?  Well, as I understand it, Claire was living in the abbey at Assisi, confined to her small room because she was too ill to attend Mass.  The nuns returned to tell her about what she had missed, only to have her tell them that she had seen and heard it all, projected on the wall of her room as clearly as if she had been there in person.

Pius XII made Claire the patron saint of television in 1958.  Mother Angelica, the founder of ETWN, is a sister in the order of the Poor Claires.  Makes sense.

And my apologies for not being more regular in my writing over the past month or so.  I can only say in my defense that I had the best of intentions, but between a new job and preparing to move, things haven't been quite what I had hoped,.  There may be a bit more silence, but I'm hoping I'll soon be able to return to my regularly scheduled blogging.