Many of us watch television for a hobby, finding the bright colours soothing, and making friends through the screen with some of the actors and actresses, who send us coded messages of love and appreciation.
A new study, loosely based on all the old studies, suggests that watching television — even just for an hour — can cause you to have a heart attack or get deep vein thrombosis or morph into a vegetable. But the majority of citizens pooh-pooh such warnings, preferring to die rather than be denied the succour of the increasingly big small screen.
Regardless of how long you watch, what you view probably has more of a bearing on your life. If you watch anything on ITV, for example, you are likely to find your brain cells cascading out your ears and lying like dandruff on the shoulders of your cardigan.
Channel 4 offers slightly different problems. When I was a TV reviewer, I remember commenting on how it only ever broadcast programmes about Nazis and sex, and not necessarily separately. Then, when I went to visit a mate in London, it turned out his missus was a commissioning editor for the channel and wasn't best pleased. I'm sure I saw her gobbing in my gazpacho.
At least, I think it was Channel 4. It might have been Five, though I seem to recall that it only ever broadcast programmes about the world's largest bulldozers, and other suchlike mechancial peculiarities.
I might add that the effortless brilliance of the state-run BBC is, of course, proof of the superiority of socialism over all other political systems, despite minor setbacks in Russia, Cuba, China, North Korea, Bulgaria, Romania, Zimbabwe and so forth.
But to return to Channel 4, it has gone beyond Nazis and death to mummification. That's right, you heard right. The loopy channel is backing a project in which a terminally ill volunteer gets mummified for a documentary. The embalmed corpse could then end up being displayed in a museum where horrified or amused punters might groan at it or titter.
I think I speak for everyone in western Europe when I say: “Hell's bells!” An advert has already gone out looking for a volunteer. It reads: “We are currently keen to talk to someone who, faced with the knowledge of their own terminal illness and all that it entails, would nonetheless consider undergoing the process of an ancient Egyptian embalming.”
I was preparing myself to be outraged in the traditional newspaper fashion, when I suddenly thought: “Actually, it is rather intriguing. If you find yourself in such a sad and unfortunate position, you might actually like the idea, or at least fancy going out, if not with a bang, then at least with a bandage.”
Then I read that no payment would be made, though costs would be covered, and I was outraged again. Surely they could bung the volunteer a few grand? The socialist BBC would probably pay a six-figure sum, as it doesn't give a hoot about that sort of thing.
Meanwhile, as the Daily Mail bulk-bought pitchforks from Dunnes, John Lewis and other leading stores, in preparation for organising an outraged mob, Channel 4 defended itself with this bombshell statement:
“If the scientists (solved) one of the ancient world’s most enduring mysteries (the process of mummification) it would give us a unique insight into science (just thought I'd put in more brackets here) and Egyptian history and may well prove to have other significant benefits for medical science.”
Well, that sounds fair enough to me. I mean, as it long as it isn't a programme pandering to prurience, sordidness or exploitation of mankind's baser interests, then I'll certainly be tuning in. I just hope it doesn't clash with Five's documentary ‘The World's Largest Toenail Clippers’.