Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Starve Dr. Phil. On today's show, psychologist Phil McGraw deliberately wasted HUNDREDS of pounds of food to demonstrate the excesses of a guest couple's food intake. He dumped sugar, condensed milk, butter, and shortening into an enclosure, as public spectacle. I don't imagine that any of that food was thereafter consumed by anyone. Is he insane? Malicious? Or just appallingly ignorant of how severe a problem malnutrition, even starvation, is on this benited planet?
Let us review. No one really knows how many people worldwide die from starvation, because most such deaths are in countries, and in parts of countries, in which the government barely functions, and does not keep good vital statistics. The lowest figure currently used by reputable charities is that some 16,000 people, mostly children, die from the effects of malnutrition each DAY. That equals 5.8 million deaths a year. If the number is 25,000 a day, the yearly death toll worldwide is 9.1 million deaths a year.
Starvation.net estimates that in this year, not yet over, some 32,589,500, of which 85% are children, have died from starvation. Long-term malnutrition short of death but enuf to interfere with daily activities — such as producing food — is an appalling problem. Wikipedia's article on starvation says:
According to the World Health Organization, hunger is the single gravest threat to the world's public health. The WHO also states that malnutrition is by far the biggest contributor to child mortality, present in half of all cases. According to the FAO, starvation currently affects more than one billion people, or 1 in 6 people on the planet. * * *And Dr. Phil is throwing away hundreds of pounds of high-caloric-value food as a public spectacle. That is obscene, a moral outrage.
On the average, 1 person dies every second as a result, either directly or indirectly, of hunger - 4000 every hour - 100 000 each day - 36 million each year - 58% of all deaths (2001-2004 estimates).
On the average, 1 child dies every 5 seconds as a result, either directly or indirectly, of hunger - 700 every hour - 16 000 each day - 6 million each year - 60% of all child deaths (2002-2008 estimates).
All deliberate wastes of food on a starving planet should be PUNISHED, by law if public condemnation does not suffice. That goes for all food being thrown around in food fites on television and in film, and actual food used as props, that is not later consumed. The appropriate punishment is, plainly, starvation. Let Dr. Phil be confined in jail for two weeks and given NO food of any kind, in any form, only water. Not even nutritional supplements, just water. For two weeks. I suspect that at the end of those two weeks, Dr. Phil would never again want to throw away good food on television.
To make the point even more poignantly, we could flog Dr. Phil 10 or 20 lashes before putting him in the pokey, so he can see how starvation affects recovery from injuries. Perhaps then he'll have an even greater appreciation of the misery that people in the Third World suffer because of nutritional insufficiency.
The same punishment, up to a month of confinement without food, should be imposed upon all the directors, actors, writers, and others in show business who deliberately waste food as spectacle. They should as well be fined triple the cost of the food they waste, which fine should be turned over to CARE or some other charity to buy food for the poor, here or abroad.
Wasting food on a starving planet is sinful. It must end. Another form of such waste is the glorification of gluttony, as in obscene eating contests — hot dogs, pie, anything — all of which must END. The only way anything evil generally ends is by punishment. Lecturing sometimes works, but not usually. People are animals, and punishment works. Positive reinforcement may work to train animals, but positive reinforcement won't break up a dogfite.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,430 — for Israel.)
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