Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

This Army Marches on Its Tucked Tummy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

This Army Marches on Its Tucked Tummy

Article excerpt

Research has recently shown that kids who watch lots of sexy TV somehow get the message that sex is cool and fun and something they ought to be doing. Where kids got that message before TV is a topic that will have to await another study.

The industry's denial that what's on TV has any effect on people's behavior should be of interest to advertisers, who may want to ask what they're paying millions for when the Super Bowl ad rates are set.

Of course television influences the way we think about things. "American Idol" shows that anyone with talent and big dreams can get a recording contract, as long as he or she is under 25. "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" confirm that life is not fair and sneakiness is a virtue. And shows like "Extreme Makeover" have taught us that the tragic ravages of ordinary looks can, thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, be cured.

"Extreme Makeover" and "The Swan" have provoked a boom in the already brisk business of cosmetic surgery. Americans can't get enough silicone and Botox pumped in and enough fat pumped out. Our parents saved up for a vacation house or a pool; we save up for a tummy tuck or a boob job.

Because, by golly, there is nothing more important than looking good. As we all know from following the lives of celebrities, beautiful people are never unhappy.

Though "not enough strange men staring at my chest on the T" has never been near the top when I list things I'd like to change about my life, I am happy to contribute my tax dollars to fulfilling someone else's dream or fantasy.

Yes, the government -- the military, all four branches to be exact -- is doing cosmetic surgery with public money. Putting soldiers in DD cups: Now that's supporting our troops.

Face lifts for flyboys, liposuction for lieutenants (pushups are so WWII), noncom nose jobs. Major surgery, perhaps.

"Anyone wearing a uniform is eligible," Dr. Bob Lyons, chief of plastic surgery at an Army medical center in San Antonio, told The New Yorker in July. Though a new uniform in a different size may be required after the surgery.

According to the magazine story, military doctors did nearly 500 breast enlargements and more than 1,300 liposuctions on soldiers and their dependents. …

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