October 5, 2009

Pay attention, you fat, sloppy, ugly, disgusting, sofa watching, chip eating, coke guzzling embarrassments to humanity. The Government is gunning for you. You WILL be healthy, you WILL be svelte and you WILL be a testament to, and a fine example of, the fit nation presenting itself in 2012 when the Olympics rolls into town. How are they doing this? By using Homer Simpson (yeah, that’s what I thought). In fact the whole Simpons clan has been commandeered as part of the Government’s Change4life health campaign.

At the cost of £640,000 they are sponsoring the Simpsons for the next three months. Their ident, created by Aardman Animations, will see Characters similar to the Simpsons in the familiar sofa set up tucking into junk food, which is then replaced by healthier fare. It makes its debut on Channel 4 tonight. Gillian Merron, the public health minister, gives an explanation here,

“The Simpsons are a much-loved, close-knit family facing some of the everyday challenges that modernday families go through. They provide a popular and engaging way to get the message to real-life families about simple ways of improving their diet and activity for a healthier lifestyle.”

Why does this sound so patronizing when I read it? Don’t get me wrong; eating well is very important. Why suffer from diseases that are for the most part preventable? But I’m watching areas of popular culture and activities being pushed through the Government machine of ‘good for you,’ squeezing out the fun, mangling it to a pulp and rendering it unattractive. Remember we have our ‘dance tsar’ Arlene Phillips who will get us to dance because it’s an enjoyable way of exercising, helping to prevent disease etc. Here’s a radical idea – why don’t we just dance because we like it? Why can’t we just enjoy ourselves? Does everything we do have to be ‘good for us?’ I’ll tell you what else doesn’t help us in our quest for good health: the many reports telling us what’s good to eat in one moment, then on the turn of a sixpence telling us the self same food is now bad for us. I was listening to the radio this morning to hear Patrick Holford talking about ‘good fruit’ and ‘bad fruit’ in regards to our heavy reliance on sugar. Bananas are ‘bad,’ berries and plums are ‘good.’ Unless you have an allergy to a particular fruit, all fruit is good for you isn’t it? At least I though it was. All this makes me want to reach for a bag of doughnuts in defiance of ‘sensible’ advice.

Some people are never going to change their habits. This government really has to stop treating us like children and sucking the life out of everything that we would naturally enjoy. Give us the information by all means, but then let the people decide instead of bludgeoning us into submission like Canadian Seals. If an individual is hell bent on cultivating a coronary, then ultimately that’s their responsibility.

Now leave us alone.


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