The Boob Tube

By Dave Barry

 	Recently, one of our local TV news shows in Miami did a special 
	investigative report on -- I swear -- brassiere sizes. The station 
	promoted this report relentlessly for several days. Every few minutes 
	you'd hear an announcer's voice saying, with an urgency appropriate 
	for imminent nuclear attack: "ARE YOU WEARING THE WRONG BRA SIZE??" 
	You'd have thought that women were dropping dead in the street by the 
	thousands as a result of improperly sized brassieres. I was becoming 
	genuinely concerned about this problem, despite the fact that, except 
	on very special occasions involving schnapps, I don't even wear a 

 	Unfortunately, although I saw dozens of promotions for this special 
	investigative report, I never saw the report itself. I assumed that 
	the message would be: "Wear the right size brassiere!" My editor, 
	Tom Shroder, who has a keen interest in the issues, did watch the 
	report, and he told me that it explored the troubling question of 
	"women wearing brassieres that were tragically about 10 sizes too 
	small for their breasts, which left said breasts with no other choice 
	but to spill, tragically, out of the brassiere cups into the camera 

 	But my point here is not directly related to brassieres, although it IS 
	a lot of fun to use the word ``brassiere'' in a newspaper column, 
	brassiere brassiere brassiere. My point is that, pound for pound, the 
	most dramatic and entertaining programming on television is your local 
	TV news shows. Their only serious competition is the cable channel that, 
	24 hours a day, features the TV Evangelists With Hairdos The Size Of 
	Adult Yaks.

 	If you don't receive the Big-Haired Evangelists channel, you need to 
	march right down to your cable company and throw rocks through the 
	windows until you get it, because these people are WAY more entertaining 
	than any space alien you will ever see on Star Trek. My favorite is a 
	woman with a gigantic mound of hair colored exactly the same designer 
	shade as Bazooka brand bubble gum. Perhaps this fact explains why, almost 
	every time I tune in, this woman is weeping. Her tear ducts must be as 
	big as volleyballs. Using the standard evangelical measurement of Gallons 
	of Weepage Per Broadcast (GWPB), this woman could very well be 
	threatening the seemingly unbreakable records set back in the glorious 
	'80s by Hall-of-Famer Tammy Faye Bakker. I would pay serious money to see 
	a Weep-Off between these two great performers.

 	But as entertaining as these shows are, their message tends to be 
	somewhat repetitive (``God loves you! So send us money!''). Whereas on 
	your local TV news shows, they're always surprising you with dramatic new 
	issues that you should be nervous about. Often these involve ordinary 
	consumer items that, when subjected to the scrutiny of a TV news 
	investigative report, mutate into deadly hazards. (John R. Gambling of 
	radio station WOR in New York has a wonderful collection of promotions 
	for these TV news reports, including one wherein the announcer says: 

 	A while back, one of our Miami TV news shows -- I think it was different 
	from the one that warned us about improperly fitted brassieres brassieres 
	brassieres -- did a dramatic, heavily promoted investigative report on: 
	frozen yogurt. This report, which seemed at least as long as Alien 
	Resurrection, but scarier, investigated the possibility of deadly 
	bacteria in our frozen-yogurt supply.  If I understood the report 
	correctly, there have never been any cases of any actual person actually 
	being harmed by local frozen yogurt, but that seemed like a minor 
	technicality. The point was: IT COULD HAPPEN! THE YOGURT OF DEATH!!

 	The way I have dealt with this menace is by taking the medical precaution 
	of never eating frozen yogurt without first putting large quantities of 
	chocolate fudge on it, on the scientific theory that the bacteria will eat 
	the fudge and become too fat to do anything inside my body except sit 
	around and belch. But I would not know to do this if it were not for 
	local TV news.

 	I also would not know how I am supposed to feel about many stories if not 
	for the fact that the TV news personalities make sad faces for sad 
	stories and happy faces for happy stories. Sometimes, to make sure I 
	understand the point, they come right out and tell me, at the end of each 
	story, whether it was "tragic" or "nice." 

	FIRST PERSONALITY: What a tragic story, Bob.

	SECOND PERSONALITY: Uh . . . no, it wasn't.


	SECOND PERSONALITY: No. That was the story about dogs playing mah-jongg.

	FIRST PERSONALITY: Whoops! I had it confused with the story about the 
		plane crashing into the orphanage! Ha ha!

	SECOND PERSONALITY: Ha ha! Coming up, we'll have part four of our special 
		investigative report: "Formica: Silent Killer In Your Kitchen." 

 	Well, I see we've run out of time, so that's all for this week's column. 
	Remember to be nervous about everything. And now for these words: 
	brassiere brassiere brassiere.  

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