Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

with 2 comments

Those of us with a deep-seated psychological need to have someone to mock will be thrilled that it’s still OK to make fun of fat people.

You might hear some grumbling from atheists that they remain the only group against whom one may freely spout venom – and they do attract their share of vitriol – but when it comes to sheer, unmonitored, uncontrolled received quantity of mockery, fat people just crush atheists. They make much easier targets.

What’s more, atheist-bashing generally tends toward the earnest end of the spectrum, with existential, ideological and political issues underlying every utterance; whereas it’s just plain fun to make fun of fat people, and who wants to be so grave all the time? How often, comparatively, do the kids in the schoolyard all gang up on poor little Bertha for not believing in a Supreme Being? “You’re so fat” carries a heck of a lot more weight than most other jibes – even when it fails factual examination, the label, however loose-fitting, can nevertheless do irreparable damage.

The issue is much broader than that, of course, extending way beyond the schoolyard, and modern society feeds us a steady diet of infatuation with appearances much more than it addresses anything related to belief. Perhaps this stems from the American sensibility that obeisance to religion remains an essentially private, laissez-faire affair, whereas people publicly display their girth by default.

Only in recent years has there been anything close to growing awareness of this phenomenon and its possibly morbid implications for psychological well-being. Naturally, those who subscribe to the ethos of, “I ridicule, therefore I am,” will eventually have to find a more politically correct outlet.

In itself, though, fatness lends itself to ridicule because people see in it a massive character flaw: lack of self control. If you demonstrate gross negligence of yourself and your appearance, why should I exert myself to do otherwise? Obviously, a host of factors beyond an individual’s control join to lay the groundwork for an unhealthy, fat-friendly lifestyle, but since when does mockery focus on complexities? Even if fatness ever ceases to fill a negative niche in the public psyche, that day remains quite a long way off.

So if you happen to be among those who absolutely must find someone to mock in order to feel good about your pathetic, fat self, you can go ahead and indulge that urge for now. I’d do the same, but all this typing has winded me.


Written by Thag

May 10, 2010 at 11:32 am

2 Responses

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  1. Another fatuous comment….

    David Shaffer

    May 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    • It’s people like you who make me just lipid.


      May 10, 2010 at 6:02 pm

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