‘The obvious target would be the large number of people who are unaware that they are overweight,’ he writes in the paper printed in the center’s first periodical volume of the year.
‘They need, to use an old phrase, a shock of recognition. Only a carefully calibrated effort of public social pressure is likely to awaken them to the reality of their condition.
Hat tip to Ann Althouse who earned two mentions at Alexandria today.
The Mail used “Shaming Fat People” in their headline for the story. Personally, I don’t like the idea of shaming, taunting, mocking, ridiculing, etc. (I’m tempted to use derogatory terms for supposed comedic affect, but have willfully resisted.) My feelings regarding this come not from being obese, but from having been painfully skinny as a youth.
How skinny? Entering the 8th grade I measured 5′ 11″ and weight 128 pounds. By the end of the school year, I weighed a hefty 135 but had grown to 6′ 1″ Yeah, I had to walk around in the shower to get wet. If I turned sideways and stuck out my tongue I looked like a zipper. I could look through a key hole with both eyes at the same time. My father tied an anchor to me when we flew kites. Yada, yada, yada.
For your viewing pleasure, here’s a couple of photos of me playing basketball in high school. The picture on the left with the stick arms shooting the basketball is my junior year. The picture on the left is my senior year and the last game I played in high school. At least my legs were solid.
The other part of this story that piqued my interest was the “leading health academic.” A commenter at Althouse pointed out that he is Daniel Callahan, who has been a member of the American Eugenics Society. I suppose that someone with these views doesn’t care much about making fun of some fat people. Plus, reading through some of his articles, he makes the argument, at times, that we shouldn’t have to pay the cost to care for people who are too fat or too old. I hate those arguments. To me that’s the cost you pay for living in a caring society. He is an accomplished academic though.
When I was younger, I wasn’t so charitable towards the overweight. But, having been married to a mean spirited, psycho woman for ten years, I, somehow, became more compassionate. (Not sure how this worked, but I’ve even had siblings mention it.) I’m not up for social pressure. They can be fat. I’ll treat them respectfully. None of us know the burdens other people carry or the sufferings they’ve been through. Many times we like to think we do, but we don’t.
BTW – the little guy on the left side of the right hand picture is Rick Byrd, now head coach at Belmont Univesity, seventh among all active NCAA Division-I head coaches in wins. We considered him a nerdy kid back then. You never know.