Potato Farmers Seeking to Banish Term “Couch Potato”

I just had to laugh today when I read a story that a group of British potato farmers demonstrated outside Parliament in London to banish the term “couch potato” from the Oxford English Dictionary.

They did what?

Yes, some 30 protesters–who carried signs like “Couch potato out” and “Ban the term couch potato”–want the world to knew they’re fed up with the oft-used, derogatory “couch potato” phrase, which people invoke to evoke images of slothful, often-obese, boob-tube addicts.

Come on, I just muster up much in the way of empathy for this ludicrous, toss-out-the-couch-potato-phrase movement.

But apparently the British Potato Council–which represents some 4,000 growers and processors–takes it quite seriously. The group staged the outlandish publicity stunt to bring attention to the fact that the phrase, “couch potato,” does its food a “disservice.”

Give me a break. Image, shimage, to even suggest ousting a word from the venerable Oxford English Dictionary is blasphemy!

Yeah, yeah, the beleaguered spud has taken a beating in recent years, in large part, due to the potato-spurning, low-carb movement.

But to even suggest getting rid of a word that’s often so wonderfully fitting is laughable. (You’ve got to admit, though, that this marketing gimmick is a clever one–it snagged them a good bit of space from the Associated Press and on this blog.)

Just in case you’re wondering, the Oxford English Dictionary defines “couch potato” as “a person who spends leisure time passively or idly sitting around, especially watching television or video tapes.”

There’s nothing wrong though with watching something on your white gloss tv unit, it’s just that some people might see you as a couch potato.

Oh, guess what these foes want people to use instead of “couch potato”? “Couch slouch.”

Are they kidding?

Phew, fortunately, John Simpson, chief editor for the Oxford English Dictionary, said kicking out the word is a no-go.

“Inclusion is based on currency of the term rather than on the basis of what people want us to put in the dictionary,” he said. “When people blame words, they are actually blaming the society that uses them.”

Shouldn’t the British–like us Americans–be more worried about the fact that folks in our respective countries are vegetative, inattentive to the need for good nutrition, and gobble too much junk-food crap, including many from their beloved potato (i.e., potato chips and chips or French fries, as we call them in the U.S.)?

3 thoughts on “Potato Farmers Seeking to Banish Term “Couch Potato”

  1. David and Jon, it’s great to have you gamblers visit this blog.
    I can’t help but be struck by the comparison — it’s one thing to have some fun gambling online, but sitting on our butts and not exercising and eating too many French fries and processed potato products, as well as sweets is taking a gamble on our health.
    Seriously, folks, if you eat junk food, you’re taking a gamble on how long you’ll be healthy.
    But, hey, go for it, guys, if you think this is a non-popular side of the discussion, then feel free to present the opposite point of view. Check out the latest entries and tell us what you think about junk food advertising and General Mills’ new cereal ads.
    Sugar Shock Blog Lady

Comments are closed.