The federal government is paying $433,577 so some researchers can find out if movies — particularly movies aimed at children — have fat characters in them.
The Daily Caller is not making this up.
The grant of nearly half a million dollars comes from the National Institutes of Health, reports the Washington Free Beacon.
The team of researchers wasting a chunk of their ostensibly serious professional lives to find out if movies contain fat people is affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The title of the study is: “Pass the popcorn: ‘Obesogenic’ behaviors and stigma in children’s movies.”
In their application for the generous grant, the researchers claimed that a “preliminary” study “examined movies and found top-grossing G- and PG-rated movies depict unhealthy eating and sedentary activity as the norm, while simultaneously mocking overweight characters.”
The researchers are concerned about the messages and the subtext revealed in movies with fat characters. They suggest that kids who watch movies are confused because, on the one hand, non-fat characters in movies make fun of fat characters. On the other hand, the flicks promote soda consumption, television viewing and other less-than-ideal behaviors.
The grant recipients have contended that research is “scant,” however. Also, children’s movies are an “important source of culture in the world for children.”
Thus, in order to be totally sure that some children’s movies feature fat people, the researchers somehow convinced the federal government that $433,577 needs to be spent.
“These children’s movies offer a discordant presentation about food, exercise and weight status, glamorizing unhealthy eating and sedentary behavior yet condemning obesity itself,” said Eliana M. Perrin, lead researcher for the project.
Perrin calls herself MD, MPH and an associate professor of pediatrics in the UNC School of Medicine.
In the first research paper related to the study, published last year, the researchers specifically named “Shrek the Third,” ” Kung Fu Panda” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel” as films which contain confusing messages about fatness.
The ongoing, $433,577 project will continue until August 2015, notes the Free Beacon.
If this particular study seems like an asinine, embarrassingly ridiculous waste of money to you, consider the plight of today’s scientists. The fact is they appear to have virtually nothing to discover.
For example, in January 2014, European scientists with way too much time on their hands were reduced to discovering that dogs tend to position themselves in alignment with the earth’s magnetic field before they take every big, steamy dump. (RELATED: BREAKING: Scientists Say Dogs Align Along Earth’s North-South Axis When Pooping)