This was a truly enjoyable read, ripe with delicious righteous anger.
Although the author referred to the US specifically, this very much captures my own feelings and my experiences of how both the media and people in real life talk about, and also to, some of their fellow human beings. I really don't think this is an US-specific thing but instead think it applies more broadly and at least speaking for my own country, we certainly have no shortage of dumb TV shows.
I don't know about you, but if I cared enough for someone to be genuinely concerned for their health and well-being, as is so frequently claimed as a motive, I might feel a little less inclined to denigrate and insult them...
For the whole article: http://jezebel.com/5908787/being-mean-t ... r-civility
Now. Here's the thing. Maybe obesity is a gruesome scourge that's going to literally sink the United States like a new-timey Lost City of Fatlantis (w-evs, suckers! Fat is buoyant!)—but that's actually not what this post is about. I do not want to talk about whether or not BMIs are bullshit, or whether or not the obesity "epidemic" (PANIC! PANIC! PANIC!) actually leveled off more than a decade ago, or the way that pretty much everyone erroneously conflates size with health. I'm not going to sit here and try to convince the internet that real-world weight loss is infinitely more complicated and painful than calories in/calories out. I want to put all that contentious shit in a jar right now (and put a cloth over the jar so the contentious shit goes to sleep like some idiot parrot) and just talk about the way we talk about fat people.
Fat people in America are reduced to nothing but fatness. A fat person has a health problem of any kind? It's because they're fat. A fat person is single? Well, duh. Fat. They deserve it. A fat person is poor? That's not surprising—obviously they have bad judgment and no impulse control! Because why would a smart person choose to be fat? If a fat person goes to a restaurant and sits on a broken chair and the chair collapses under them, it's because they're fat. But if a thin person sits on the same broken chair and the chair collapses under them, it's because they sat on a broken chair.
And that kind of reductive, simplistic thinking makes it incredibly easy to rest a whole nation's problems on the shoulders of the "obese."
I know this is a terribly uncool, bleeding-heart thing to say, but language like "crush the United States into oblivion" hurts people. It sets up fat people—in case you forgot, fat people are people—as not just the adversaries of our own health or some lady's airplane elbow room or your boner (the usual crimes), but as the future downfall of humanity itself. The assumption that you have a right to legislate another person's body "for their own good," or "for the children," or even "because they're gross," is its own kind of crazy—but to inflate that assumption to apocalyptic proportions, railing against the nation-obliterating medical bills of nebulous future straw-fatties, is fucking bonkers. Actively pushing this idea that fat people, via their choices or lack of willpower (or whatever it is you've decided turned their body into a shape you don't like), are ruining the country just makes the country a worse place for fat people to live. Which isn't going make fat people any less fat; it only makes them more miserable and you more of a dick.
* emphasis mine