She quit posting for awhile and only posts intermittently now – this one hit an interesting nerve:
I’ve heard the argument that social shunning turned cigarette smoking from cool to prole, but while there is currently a lowered status assigned to smoking, it was government intrusion and eventually very, very expensive lawsuits that turned things around for our collective lungs. It was only after Big Tobaccos back was broken that we all fell in line and denied ever EVAR smoking those cancer sticks. We then shunted the addicted to roped off ghettos and eventually out into the cold, cold night.
I’m a big guy – 6′ 250ish. My peak/ideal weight would be 185 and my max weight that I’ve experienced is 289. I have what used to be called “a large frame” – bluntly, my body can carry a lot more weight at my height so I don’t look like a pear when I get bigger. I happen to have a freakishly-large head (I wear a size 8 hat, if that means anything to you), very wide shoulders and an unusually broad core for a person of my height – ergo, my body can hide weight that most cannot.
Those who know me know that my face tells the tale – after a certain point, my face looks fat. I’ve also – whiner alert – carried a body image issue since I was a teenager, no matter how I looked. Seriously though, who cares? We all have our problems.
I’m not on-board with fat-shaming because I have a hard time being specifically mean to other people, at least those who aren’t seeking government power. At the same rate, fat people are gross. Some would call me fat, some would call me overweight, none have ever done so to my face. Whatever. Fat people are literally gross – those thighs rubbing together, those odd smells, that awkward clothing – yeah, there’s nothing to be proud of there.
Grerp’s line between fat-shaming and smoking is interesting, as I started smoking (age 14ish) when it was acceptable in most places and cigarette machines enabled youngster like myself to buy the glorious sticks of relaxation, and I continue to smoke in an age where it’s pretty much a notion that every time I smoke a cigarette Baby Jesus cries.
There is the issue of Personal Freedom.
There’s also the issue of Personal Responsibility.
Then there’s the issue of Self-Respect and Self-Esteem.
And then there’s the very simple issue of Choice.
This isn’t a lib/con thing, mind you. Although I have great fun pointing out that Adolf Hitler was a physically fit vegetarian who abhorred smoking in a culture that rather enjoyed the habit, I’m also reminded that some of the biggest (literally at times) vice scolds out there are social conservatives who are obsessed with sin. John Hagee is the most compelling Christian minister working today, the most socially conservative guy you could find, and he’s fatter than a really fat slaughter-ready lamb (I don’t say that in sarcasm – I might be a non-believer, but Hagee is a great, great preacher and a wildly talented speaker, and he’s also very fat; if I was forced to go to church, it’s Hagee’s church in San Antonio I’d attend – dude’s sharp as a knife. The religious TV mainstay TBN still shows his sermons every Sunday if you think I jest, and he’s no stereotypical money-grubbing televangelist fwiw).
In myself and in fat people in general there exists sloth, a grand character defect. Self-control. Thrift. Character. I’ve struggled with my mild weight problem for a decade, and I’ve always viewed it not as a societal problem, a social problem, an affluence problem, but one of character. Being overweight, fat, obese, whatever, is a wholesale character problem. The heavy side of hedonism, to spin it lightly, but it’s character to the core.
In America, we now see the first generation of poor people who are fat. The Russian in The Wire said it quite well: “In America, your grocery stores are cathedrals.”