NCBI ROFL: Is Dick Cheney a poster boy for contemporary cardiac care?

By ncbi rofl | September 6, 2010 7:00 pm

cheneySerious as a heart attack: health-related content of late-night comedy television.

“Although the medical community hoped that Vice President Dick Cheney’s public experiences with heart problems and subsequent treatments would serve to raise awareness, educate the public about heart disease and treatment options, and showcase advances in cardiac care, late-night comedians saw Cheney’s health problems as joke fodder. Comedians like Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien ridiculed Cheney in their monologues, suggesting the vice president was frail, weak, and near death-certainly not a “poster boy” for contemporary cardiac care. This investigation presents a textual analysis of late-night comedy monologue jokes from July 25, 2000, to October 7, 2003. The themes that emerge in the jokes include Cheney’s infirmity, his questionable fitness for office, and ridicule for his state-of-the-art defibrillator. Implications of health-related content in late-night comedy programs are offered, including the potential impacts on health knowledge and attitudes toward illness. This study takes an important step toward understanding health messages in an unconventional yet powerful media venue.”

heart attack

Photo: Pundit Kitchen

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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing").Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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