Potato Farmers Loathe ‘Couch Potato’ Term
I’ve excerpted the best bits, but feel free to read the full story
British potato farmers demonstrated outside Parliament on Monday to publicize their bid to remove the term ‘couch potato’ from the Oxford English Dictionary, arguing that the description of slothful TV addicts harms the vegetable’s image.
The group of about 30 farmers carried signs that read ‘couch potato out’ and ‘ban the term couch potato.’ A similar rally took place in Oxford, central England.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term ‘couch potato’ as ‘a person who spends leisure time passively or idly sitting around, especially watching television or video tapes.’
The British Potato Council says the phrase makes the vegetable seem unhealthy. It wants the expression stripped from the dictionary and replaced in everyday speech with the term ‘couch slouch.’
‘The potato industry are fed up with the disservice that ‘couch potato’ does to our product when we have an inherently healthy product,’ said Kathryn Race, head of marketing at the British Potato Council, a body set up by the government to run advertising campaigns promoting potato consumption and research issues linked to the vegetable.
‘Potatoes have been around for many, many years, but increasingly, with all the coverage that dieting & healthy eating gets in general, we need to make sure that potatoes remain a popular food,’ Race said.”
It’s hard to tell how serious they are. The article makes them sound very serious. Perhaps if I lived in Britain I’d understand the tone a bit better. As a PR stunt, it’s brilliant. It will raise awareness or whatever. As a piece of consumer education, it’s obviously ridiculous. You can’t angrily protest to get people to stop thinking something or making an association. Genie is out of the bottle, right? I’m going to quietly hope it’s the former.