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Prof. Jeff McCall '76 Offers Thoughts on "Sedentary Spectatorship" to KC Star

August 29, 2011

78661August 29, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — "One of our country’s most popular passions is also one of its unhealthiest, and we’re not talking about those enormous men and their swishing brains," argues Sam Mellinger in a Kansas City Star column. In his opinion, fall's seemingly endless smorgasbord of televised football games helps create a culture of weekend couch potatoes, which "might be killing us, a delicious and thrilling and addicting march toward high-fives and higher cholesterol."

He writes, "Back when Generations X and Y were kids, parents would plead for them to walk away from the Nintendo and play outside. Well, those kids are now grown up and paying their own rent, no longer within earshot of those well-intentioned voices to go get some fresh air. This is part of why Jeff McCall, media studies professor at DePauw University, thinks the trend toward sedentary spectatorship will only become more extreme." 

Dr. McCall notes, "A generation of adults now have grown up in front of a screen. That makes it tough to tell kids not to stay inside." 

According to Mellinger, "Some 220 million Americans -- nearly three out of four -- will watch the NFL on TV, and as we do, our decisions on everything from light beer to retirement plans will be shaped by the ads we see between touchdowns and kickoffs. Television networks are paying $4 billion this year to send us those messages during pro games alone, and fortunes 101554more are spent on space next to articles in newspapers, magazines, websites and on the radio. Last year, the top 32 grossing movies combined to pull in about $5.5 billion. Last year, the 32 NFL teams split about $9 billion."

You'll find the complete text at the newspaper's website.

Jeffrey M. McCall, a 1976 graduate of DePauw, is frequently called upon by major news outlets to discuss media matters and has been quoted in more than 100 newspapers.  He wrote of "cultural football gluttony" in a 2005 Indianapolis Star column.

The professor, who serves as faculty adviser to student radio station WGRE, is the author of Viewer Discretion Advised: Taking Control of Mass Media Influences.

Source: Kansas City Star

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