Once again, fellow travelers the highest intelligentsia on the shortcomings and outrage of what it means to confront why so fat throws down the gauntlet. A recent interview in the Harvard Gazette has Professor Susan Greenhalgh, a Harvard anthropologist; briefly discuss her new book Fat-Talk Nation: The Human Costs of America’s War on Fat. According to Professor Greenhalgh, “Our country’s high levels of obesity are a serious problem, but the way we’re approaching it is not working to reduce obesity in adults or prevent it in children. Moreover, it is doing real, measurable damage to ourselves, our psyches, our relationships, our families, and especially our young people” (Sweeney, 2015).
This righteous treatise was conceived from Greenhalgh’s The Woman and the Body class and born on the Mount Horeb of U.C., Irvine. Ever the enterprising proselytizer, Dr. Greenhalgh elucidates on the birth of her holy book, “I was teaching this course and decided to offer students extra credit for writing an essay on diet, weight, and the [body-mass index] in the life of someone they know well. Their essays left me stunned and saddened. So many were accounts of happy, carefree childhoods that were abruptly ended by a medical diagnosis of “overweight” or “obese,” or that came apart slowly as kids were badgered and bullied about their weight. And it was not just heavier kids who were suffering; people of every weight category, including underweight and normal, felt unhappy about their bodies and miserable about their lives” (Sweeney, 2015).
Let us pause and reflect on the last quotation. A medical diagnosis is an objective fact arrived at by a sound corpus of collected science distilled into a few words. It explains an empirical fact that really cannot be denied given the presented evidence. A medical diagnosis is the first step in treating an observed disease, in this case, obesity. Without this diagnosis, an effective algorithm of treatment cannot be started in a rational way. The diagnosis may not be pleasant to hear, but comfort can be taken in the fact that a course of treatment can be prescribed. The quotation goes on to proscribe bullying children about weight and various body types in general. There is bullying and then there is bullying. Vicious or physical bullying of any kind should be condemned, but there is a fine line when it comes to teasing or joking about one’s physical attributes. This has gone on from time immemorial; it is an attribute of the human condition and as such, try as the fat activists might, will not change.
Professor Greenhalgh continues, “The dominant narrative about weight in America stresses how high levels of obesity are harming the nation by worsening health, raising health care costs, and undermining economic productivity. The stories my students were telling — about the human harm done by the war on fat itself — are virtually unknown. The human costs of the nation’s fight against fat have not been tallied up or even acknowledged, and so remain invisible to the public and policymakers alike.”
“Fat talk is so damaging because it equates thinness not just with “health,” but also with civic virtue and deservingness to belong to the community of valued Americans. Though we have limited control over our weight, fat-talk calls on every American to be a thin, fit “biocitizen,” and awards cultural status and social citizenship only to those who can achieve the thin, fit body” (Sweeney, 2015).
How thin skinned does Professor Greenhalgh think people are. It would seem all fat people are just a group of so many crying babies abused by intransigent bullies, unfeeling, uncaring doctors, and uninformed policymakers. It is been stated before in The Attack of the Morbidly Obese Diversity Police (Matheson, 2015) that keeping fit and
trim is responsible citizenship which translates into containing the costs of health insurance as well as increasing economic productivity contrary to what the fat activists would have you believe. For instance, look at the benighted, junk food seeking, and morbidly obese naves at Walmart. See how they slowly scurry wobbling side-to-side with the telltale music of chafing noises accompanying their every move; or the whine
of fat carts ferrying their obese charges hurrying down the aisles in search of the highest calorie manufactured foodstuffs available. You can safely assume that these people are on Medicaid, food stamps and whatever other aid is available at the trough of Federal handouts. This is not responsible citizenship; it is being slothful and indolent. These people are either sophomoric morons or utter incorrigibles lacking any altruistic desire to promote the greater good of society.
Dr. Greenhalgh sums up her brief interview with the Harvard Gazette thus, “Our country’s high levels of obesity are a serious problem, but the way we’re approaching it is not working to reduce obesity in adults or prevent it in children. Moreover, it is doing real, measurable damage to ourselves, our psyches, our relationships, our families, and especially our young people.”
“A concern for social suffering and social justice argues for ending the society-wide war on fat while continuing the search for scientific understanding of obesity’s causes and consequences. As part of that larger project, we need to both reframe the way we talk about obesity or fatness and change how we approach it as a public-health issue. Among other things, we should tell the public the truth about the “bio myths” — partial truths about weight and health that everyone believes but have little scientific credence. Each of us should listen to our own fat-talk and work with others to create fat-talk-free zones where human value is not attached to body weight. Finally, we should launch a nationwide campaign against fat bullying that makes blatant weightism or sizeism just as intolerable as racism, sexism, and homophobia” (Sweeney, 2015).
Therefore, how does hard science and research hurt the great overfed, it does not. It only hurts the thin-skinned, weak-willed, indolent, and slothful citizenry that comprises a good percentage of the three-quarters that are overweight or morbidly obese in the United States as an example. The biggest whiners and complainers concerning fat shaming and other abuse are usually the most hedonistic of the lot. How much compassion can one have for individuals subject to self-abuse and self-pity?
The so-called war on obesity should be pursued as vigorously as possible by the concerned citizenry and the general medical, scientific community. These blog posts are filled with stories of scientific breakthroughs and new avenues potential treatment for obesity. Disabusing the great Booboisie of bio myths is Sisyphean at best, a great financial drain on what could be better spent on research, and a distraction to policymakers as well. The obesity epidemic should become the main topic of general conversation when applicable. The fat activism and fat acceptance movements need to be quashed whenever and wherever they rear their ugly gut.
Dear readers, if you have read this far, the Captain would be most heartened if you would rate this and future articles and/or leave a comment at the top of the blog posts whether positive or negative. In this way, “The Fat Bastard Gazette” may better serve you and our entire readership.
Matheson, M. (2015, June 13). The Attack of the Morbidly Obese Diversity Police VOL. 1 NO. 34. Retrieved September 27, 2015, from The Fat Bastard Gazette: https://thefatbastardgazette.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/attack-of-the-morbidly-obese-diversity-police/
Sweeney, S. (2015, September 14). Weighed down. Retrieved September 27, 2015, from Harvard Gazette: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/09/weighed-down/
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