SIRC Media Watch Archive
Comment and Opinion – June 2004

Sponsoring the obesity crisis. Now we know that the tragic death of a three-year-old girl weighing 40 kilos was due to a rare genetic disorder and not, as the media had almost universally concluded, to gross parental neglect and cruelty. The Commons Select Health Committee chose to highlight this death as an example of children "choking on their own fat" in their 146 page report on obesity … What this sad piece of inappropriate opportunism reflects is the level of near panic that characterises the current discussion of obesity issues … specialists in food-related disorders have drawn attention to the potentially damaging consequences of the increasingly irrational and politicised obesity debate … The psychoanalyst, Susie Orbach, author of Fat is a Feminist Issue … places the blame for much of the hysteria currently surrounding body size on those who stand to profit from it most directly — the diet and fitness clubs, slimming magazines and the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture weight-loss drugs. Full article.

"Love e, Love e not ..." Why the UK’s ambivalence towards new technologies should be treasured. Looking around any crowded train carriage in Britain, one would be justified in thinking that our culture has whole-heartedly embraced the benefits of mobile technology. Letting your loved ones know that yes, you are on the 5.20pm train and shall indeed be home for dinner, is now nationally recognised as a token of responsibility rather than a mindless waste of money and privacy. A night out in a strange city is no longer complete if the gory details are not discussed loudly on a mobile during the next day’s journey home. If these are the phenomena we observe just on public transport, then we can assume that the average UK punter’s private life is equally mobile-saturated. And, given that British mobile phone ownership increased from 27% of the population to 73% between 1998 and 2001, that would be a fair conclusion. However, recent studies on British attitudes to new technologies, including workplace IT and home mobile technology, suggest that as a demographic we are deeply suspicious of new developments. Full article