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10/21/2003 Archived Entry: "What is it with this "obesity" business, anyway?"
WHAT IS IT WITH THIS "OBESITY" BUSINESS, ANYWAY? The strange, alarmist use of that word has been bugging me for the last couple of years & I've been meaning to blog something about it. Then this morning my blood finally boiled over at this story about Maine school children being given a body-fat test.
There were a lot of things wrong with this test (not least of which were lack of confidentiality and parental consent for what is a medical diagnostic procedure, and the very fact that government schools have authorized themselves to be in the medical business at all). But if the article is correct, then all children given the test were put into one of three categories: underweight, average, or obese.
'Scuse me? Obese? As the dictionary still realizes, "obese" means "extremely fat; grossly overweight". But according to this test (or at least, to this article) -- and all the latest food-Nazi government propaganda -- if you're one pound above "average" you're "obese." And of course, these days you can't pick up a newspaper, turn on a broadcast, or even read the Netly news without hearing about this dangerous "epidemic" of obesity. And we must Do Something about this national horror!
Used to be that twisted, propagandized word definitions were reserved for the big concepts. You know -- "security," "patriotism," "just cause," "the war to end all wars," "making the world safe for democracy," "cleansing the country of vermin." That sort of thing.
Now, the twisters and propagandizers are right down in our Cheerios bowls and in our Big Macs. And the word "obese" is their weapon. What's interesting is that they're using our knowledge of the real definition to promote their false definition. They know that we know that "obese" means really, really gross. The word evokes pictures of blimpoid butts bobbling down the street in stretch pants or flowered muu muus.The word evokes thoughts of dropping dead of heart attacks or wasting away from weight-related conditions. They're aware of that.
So now, if you've got an extra coupla pounds around the middle, or if your neighbor or your child has those coupla of extra pounds, this is not only something you should take care of (or your neighbor should take care of). This makes you gross, icky, bloated, unhealthy, sick, dangerous to yourself and to the taxpayers who'll be forced to take care of the problems you're causing yourself -- and causing All of Society. This makes you a pariah! A reject! An unsightly blob on the bright picture of life! You are UnMutual! Or so they want you to believe.
This propaganda picture is nicely complemented by the fact that, about five years ago, the government -- the infallible standard-setter in all things -- downsized its recommended weight-to-height ratios, instantly and automatically moving millions of Americans from "average" to "overweight" with the flick of the bureaucratic pen. One minute, you were healthy as a huntin' hound by Uncle Sam's Official Standard. The next you were dangerously overweight.
And now ... you're "obese"! Get out those old stirrup stretch pants. Don that stripy tent of a shirt. And prepare to have fingers pointed at you as you wobble down the sidewalk.
Here's an example of how totally ridiculous all this is: I've been skinny as a stick all my life. You see me, you know that. (In fact, the last time we women had a highly publicized "weight crisis" I had to explain to occasional busybodies, "No, no, no, I'm not anorexic, I'm not bulemic. This is just the way I am.") But I looked at the latest government standards the other day and discovered that if I gain just two more pounds, for my fine-boned body type, I'll be overweight. And, according to the new propaganda about our raging "epidemic" (another word twist), I'd be "obese." Oh, gimme a break!
So what's with all this? Why would anybody want to fill you with hatred for yourself and terror that your grossitude will cause you to drop dead decades before your time just because you've gained five pounds since high school? Well, part of the answer is obvious. It's the fat police, of course. The do-gooders teamed up with the regulators, the anti-meat and anti-fat crusaders partnering up with the medical industry. It's the people who have nothing better to do, combined with those who want to do various things to everybody. It's the "we know what's best for you" crowd, as usual, rubbing their boney little bodies up against the belly of the federal bureaucracy. The big climax for them all will be more pill sales, more food regulation, more farm subsidies, more perks for PETA, more money for anti-fat programs in schools and workplaces, yada yada yada.
But the bigger agenda is (just like all the pushing of mental illness lately) is to make you feel inadequate and hopeless and helpless and self-hating so you'll meekly let your betters make all your decisions for you -- in all things.
Faugh! The one truly true example of gross, bloated, disgusting obesity in this country is the federal bureaucracy and the greasy, fatty, globby excrescences of agenda-driven propagandists that cling to it like a Speedo to a cellulite-pocked posterior.
Posted by Claire @ 08:32 AM CST