This is Unpleasant

It is not, as this blog suggests, the worst thing I’ve read all day (I’ve read some pretty bad stuff), but it sure is, ahh, what’s the word, mean spirited?  Yes, let’s go with mean-spirited.  I won’t go so far as to call it bullying, but it’s not far off.

This guy, a bioethicist (I’m not entirely sure what that is, and am too lazy to look it up – hey, I’m fat, what do you expect?) named Daniel Callahan, proposes that the problem with obesity is that we just don’t make fat people feel bad enough about themselves in this country.

Allow me to quote from an Atlantic piece on the subject:

“An edgier strategy is needed,” is his (earnest and entirely devoid of irony) way of putting it.

The edgy strategy he came up with entails “social pressure combined with vigorous government action.” Callahan likens it to the campaign to end smoking: The combination, in his experience, of being criticized, sent outside, and taxed for his “nasty habit” was the motivation he needed to quit. “

Yeah.  Because smoking and being fat are exactly the same thing.  Because fat people – children and adults, male and female – don’t already spend enough time hating themselves.  Because popular media is rife with positive fat role models.

Look, I made a lot of less-than-good choices that helped me gain the weight I’m trying to lose, and I freely admit that.  If you honestly believe genetics have nothing to do with this belly I carry, however, you’re fooling yourself.  And so is Dr. Callahan.

I’m a hell of a lot more comfortable in my skin than most people I know, regardless of weight, but I’ll tell you right now – and you know it to be true – every fat person you know feels like a pariah already.  Find me a middle-class American woman whose figure resembles Marilyn Monroe’s and who doesn’t already hate herself every time she opens a magazine or watches a TV commercial.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

What’s that you say?  You don’t think Marilyn Monroe was fat?  Neither do I, but you can bet Dr. Callahan thinks she should be scolded for her weight.

Yes, we need education campaigns about the risks of obesity.  We need education campaigns about what “healthy” food actually is.  We need to make more opportunities for exercise.  We need honesty from Big Ag.  We need a lot of things to help us all live healthier.

What we don’t need to do is make fun of the fat kid.  Which is exactly what Dr. Callahan wants us to do.

Thanks to an eagle-eyed friend of the blog for forwarding this odious garbage to my attention, and to you for reading, as always.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Education is definitely an important part of losing weight, but it is hard to lose weight when the cheapest food out there is the most fattening. That goes not only for fast food, but for the grocery store.


  2. Posted by jc777 on January 24, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    There’s an increasing body or research that suggests that becoming overweight causes a number of different biochemical changes in the body (and especially in the brain) that effectively cause the body to fight tooth and nail to stay overweight. I don’t mention that as an excuse for anyone, but as another complication to the problem.

    That makes education (as well as changing cultural norms) all the more critical for preventing people from becoming overweight in the first place.


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