As the first decade of the 21st Century draws to a close, TIME Magazine has taken a look back and concluded that the 00's constituted the "worst decade ever."

This is from TIME's cover story on what it calls, "THE DECADE FROM HELL!":

"Bookended by 9/11 at the start and a financial wipeout at the end, the first 10 years of this century will very likely go down as the most dispiriting and disillusioning decade Americans have lived through in the post-World War II era."

I'd like to add two additional "bookends" that suggest the U.S. may have hit bottom in the 00's - the election of George W. Bush in 2000 and the rise of "The Biggest Loser" to the top of the ratings on television.

Everyone knows by now, even a majority of Republicans, that W was perhaps the most incompetent and inane leader we have ever had in the White House. That is why so many humiliated "former" Republicans are pretending to be "independents" now, longing for the good old days before the greatest Republican, Abraham Lincoln, when people of color and women were regarded as chattel, homosexuality wasn't even a word, and there were no anti-trust or labor laws.

Anyway, Bush is history, and the self-described balls-in-the-mouth "teabaggers" are a sad sideshow, but the popularity, no, the very existence of The Biggest Loser is as close to an apocalyptic sign as any earthquake, tsunami or 2012 movie.

Wednesday's New York Times pulled the curtain back on NBC's ratings juggernaut, this so-called "reality" game show which features overweight contestants competing to lose the most pounds. The Times reported that Season 1 winner Ryan Benson, who lost 122 of his 330-pound starting weight, will be absent from an upcoming reunion show. Mr. Benson is now back above 300 pounds but he thinks he has been shunned by the show because he publicly admitted that he dropped some of the weight by fasting and dehydrating himself to the point that he was urinating blood.

Now in its eighth season, “The Biggest Loser” is one of NBC’s most-watched prime-time programs besides football, drawing an estimated 10 million viewers each week, according to Nielsen. TEN MILLION VIEWERS! That's the apocalyptic part, folks, that so many of us are so emotionally numb, spiritually disconnected and intellectually addled that we could possibly become obsessed with such an exploitive, no, demented, carnival act.

“I’m waiting for the first person to have a heart attack,” said Dr. Charles Burant, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Health System director of the Michigan Metabolomics and Obesity Center. “I have had some patients who want to do the same thing, and I counsel them against it,” Dr. Burant said. “I think the show is so exploitative. They are taking poor people who have severe weight problems whose real focus is trying to win the quarter-million dollars.”

Getting contestants to talk openly about the environment of the program is difficult. Shortly after a reporter started contacting former contestants to interview them about their experiences, a talent producer on the series sent an e-mail message to many former contestants reminding them that “serious consequences” could ensue if they ever talked to a reporter without the show’s permission. To do so could subject them to a fine of $1 million!!

HELLO?!!? Now, why would a producer be so adamant about contestants not talking about what goes on behind the scenes on their show?

Don't get me wrong. 9/11, Iraq, Katrina, torture, economic collapse, all part of the horrific legacy of the Bush-Cheney years, yes, but we were all part of that debacle, people, and again, unbelievably, 10,000,000 of us are currently flooding our consciousnesses with a game show about obesity!

So, who's the biggest loser?

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