Ehrenreich AP essay sample

Topics: Television, Obesity, Vacuum tube Pages: 2 (659 words) Published: September 15, 2014
Why do we watch TV? Is it the draw to live vicariously through the miraculously genius doctors on House? The lure towards the dangerous lives of FBI agents on Criminal Minds? The attraction towards something new, something we don’t have in our own lives? In Barbara Ehrenreich’s The Worst Years of our Lives, this is the question she asks. People on TV, she points out, are never seen watching TV themselves. Modern man has become a couch potato, part of a society that would rather watch a football game, faces full of junk food and soda, than actually play one, all to avoid getting sweaty, or tired, or because it’s painful. Maybe we watch TV because the people on the television are more interesting than we are. They’re definitely more active. An obesity epidemic has forced celebrity athletes and even the First Lady to speak at schools and encourage today’s youth to pursue a more active lifestyle. They recommend turning off the TV for an hour every day – one less hour in front of the tube in hopes that the child will spend one more hour in the pool, or on their bikes, or walking with friends. But few do, not when it’s “too hot” outside and there’s a humming computer waiting in the next room. People disagree, Ehrenreich says, “because it is either dangerous or would involve getting up from the couch,” and then where would we be? The passage points out that television pulls people in two directions: we’re drawn to it, to the plastic people with plastic smiles and perfect hair, drawn to their more interesting lives, doing everything that we want to but can’t. They don’t watch TV – they fly out towards their special bat-beacon and save the day. But on the other hand, we’re lazy. We’d rather watch them save the day because it would be too much of a hassle to go about it ourselves. You’ll never see TV characters “watching [television], hour after hour” like “real people” because even we, The Coach Potatoes of America, would be bored. I find examples of this everywhere,...
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