Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday annoyances

Television surprised me today.  Usually C-SPAN has me ranting about tinfoil and  hurling epithets at the screen.  This morning it was Charles Osgood and CBS Sunday Morning.  Charles Osgood!  The man is normally valium in human form.  I switched channels to avoid listening to Newt Gingrich engage in his usual revisionism and self-serving smarminess on C-SPAN and got treated to ~90 minutes of obsessing about the nonexistent obesity epidemic and Death Fat on CBS.  Apparently all our health care cost concerns will be resolved if we can just get all the fatties in this country to drop a few pounds. The fact that diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are chronic conditions associated almost as much with old age as with they are with obesity is apparently irrelevent -- live long enough, and odds are that you'll develop Type II diabetes or hypertension even if you're built like Callista Flockhart, but that gets conveniently forgotten when people are looking for simplistic answers.  Or, even better, convenient scapegoats that can function as distractions from the real problems. 

Like poverty.  The thing that absolutely infuriated me the most was not one of the segments bothered to explore the relationships between poverty and diet.  Osgood put up a map showing the areas where the Death Fat is the deepest:  the three "fattest" states in the country are Mississippi, Alabama, and West Virginia.  You don't have to be a sociologist to recognize what else those states have in common:  poverty.  When you're poor, you're shopping at Aldi, not Whole Foods, and you're planning meals around your USDA commodities (macaroni, cornmeal, "processed cheese food").  I see people at Kroger buying Top Ramen by the case -- I don't think they're getting it because they love the taste so much.  They're getting all those noodles because they're cheap. 

CBS managed to hit all the other clueless bases, too, when it comes to weight and health -- genetics got short shrift, there was the usual lame "exercise more, eat less" mantra accompanied by the assumption that anyone who is bigger than a size 0 is living on Big Macs and super-sized fries, the tacit assumption that being thin automatically means a person is both healthy and eating right, bariatric surgery was presented with no mention of possible side effects (nonstop diarrhea, vitamin deficiencies, assorted infections), etc. -- but putting up that map with no discussion of what might be causing the higher rates in some geographic areas than in others definitely annoyed me the most.


  1. Even I can remember people being called "clay eaters" down in those areas.

    Yet, no one addressed just why such people would eat clay...

  2. Ah welll, they are still "informing the uninformed" I guess. Heaven forbid that Congress gets off their dead asses and confirms the Surgeon General. No, they would prefer to denigrate her because she is overweight. What is wrong with this picture? Welcome home!

    LOL word verification: dyinm

  3. I agree that the reporting is very superficial. So are the assumptions about obese people. I am obese. I never drnk soda and very rarely eat fast food. I don't like chips and am fussy about sweets. I am marriedto a smoker and he is happy the scapgoating has moved from smokers to "fatties."

  4. I'm still trying to get over the thought of Deep Fried Butter. For once I was glad I'm gluten intolerant and couldn't eat any of those foods if I wanted to.

  5. So often the news only reports one tiny aspect of a story. Maybe we should find out why McDs is so cheap and Whole Foods so expensive.

    Which leads me to something that really angers me. When people make fun of overweight people because they eat too much. Genetics? Disease? Thyroid? Cancer? Nope, they just eat too much.

  6. I seldom look at a Cathy strip, her fancy ways bother me.

    As for the obese, I've always ate to live, not lived to eat.

    If the love of eating kills them, that's just fine with me, I don't much like looking at them anyway, as far as I'm concerned they asked for it and I see no reason why a health care system should try to keep them alive when it is such a big drain on such a system.

    Well, I think that any health care system should be geared toward preventive measures and not trying to save those that screwed up their health.

    It was their stupid decisions to do so. For example, I've smoked all my adult life, if I get cancer from it I'm not going to ask system to help cure me, after all, I risked it and asked for it.

    I'll just save you all some money and get dead. Of course everyone knows that death isn't really a concept to me.

  7. BBC, once again you're assuming everyone who's overweight is a glutton, which totally ignores genetics, various thyroid disorders, and a whole host of other medical conditions that can include being prescribed medications that have weight gain as a side effect, not to mention the way everyone's metabolisms slow as they age. Middle age spread happens for a reason. Oral contraceptives used to be notorious for causing women to gain anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds with absolutely no changes in their diets. Two medications I take include "weight gain" as a side effect. Fortunately, that wasn't true for me, but I know quite a few other people who have been prescribed meds that resulted in them jumping two or three sizes in clothing. In short, you can't tell by looking at someone if he or she is fat because of genetics, illness, or slamming a case of Milwaukee's Best nightly.

    The bad news for the fat haters, btw, is that overweight elderly people live longer than thin ones. Unless a person is up into the true Death Fat realm (those people you see being removed from their houses by cutting out a wall and using a fork lift), the fat gives the body the reserves it needs to cope with illness or recovery from surgery. So fat people are more likely than the skinny curmudgeons like you to survive if they get sliced open.

    It's odd how attitudes toward fat have changed over time. It used to be a sign of prosperity, hard work, and that a person was doing well. Thinness was associated with poverty and want. Now it's the reverse.

  8. The bad news for the fat haters, btw, is that overweight elderly people live longer than thin ones.

    I can't agree with that based on my experiences in care centers.

    Do you really have to defend everyone, even the bottom feeders?


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