Friday, April 25, 2008

Why is the US in a recession? Because of all the fat people, that's why!

I was reading the beautiful Love Letter to a Fat Man at Men in Full, and clicked on the link that inspired it — an MSN Finance article titled "What if No One Were Fat?"

It doesn't use the kind of vile sentiments that many fat-hating articles do, but make no mistake, the author of this article hates fat people. She must, given the fact that she blames all of society's financial problems on The Fat People. No, seriously.

"The estimates below assume the average American adult is at least 20 pounds overweight, a figure nutritionists see as fair."

"Savings on fuel for cars and airlines due to their lighter loads would top $5 billion, according to industry studies. Researchers say each overweight driver burns about 18 additional gallons (70 litres) of gas a year, or just under a billion gallons (3.89 billion litres) altogether."

What about all the trucks/SUVs/Hummers that are, in and of themselves, significantly heavier than sedans, economy cars, and the much-loved Prius? I drive a Toyota Echo, which weighs literally less than a ton — FAR lighter than most of the other vehicles on the road. I think that MORE than makes up for my "extra 20 pounds."

"Savings in the air are far greater: The jet-fuel savings alone could double North American airlines' forecast 2008 profits to $3.8 billion and maybe persuade them to stop stranding passengers because they can't afford the fuel for flights."

Yes, you read that correctly: fat people are responsible for airlines' bankruptcy, and, worse than that, for all the Skinny Folk getting stranded at the airport. Because it has nothing to do with fuel prices, or airlines' fiscal planning. Your fat ass is why Delta and Northwest just merged.

Kind of makes you feel powerful, doesn't it? I'm getting a headrush from all my Fat Power! Let's see what other financial woes I'm responsible for!

"Plus-sized clothing costs 10% to 15% more, so shoppers would save $10 billion on shirts, pants and dresses. And clothes might fit better too. Cynthia Istook, an associate professor in textile apparel at North Carolina State University, says the economies of making fewer sizes would be tremendous. Clothing makers could then afford to offer more variety in hip and bust sizes, rather than asking every woman to squeeze into an hourglass shape."

God, if you FAT PEOPLE would stop being so selfishly fat and demanding clothes that actually fit properly and look good, why, the rest of the Skinny Folk would have more clothing options! My skinny mom is going to be forced to go to work in a POTATO SACK because I just won't stop being fat!

"Because 3,500 calories translates into a pound of fat, somewhere along the way, America's 227 million adults have eaten 16 trillion calories too many. That's 14 billion Big Mac meals, with fries and a soda."

Do I even need to address this one? I'm so tired of hearing that "3,500 calories" line, along with the implication that my body is a laboratory-calibrated calorimeter.

Besides, lots of Skinny Folk eat Big Macs, too. Surely at least one or two of those 14 billion Big Mac meals were consumed by a non-fat person.

"The medical costs of obesity-related problems such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease run near $140 billion, or more than 6% of all health-care costs."

(Sigh.) Say it with me: CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION. Oh, but wait. Skinny Folk ever get diabetes, strokes, or heart disease. (Except, for example, my Dad's ENTIRE FAMILY.)

"Productivity in the workplace would jump as people took fewer sick days and spent less time at work feeling unwell. Ross DeVol, the director of health economics at the Milken Institute, says the loss of productivity due to people showing up at work sick is "immense." Using a recent Milken report on the subject, he calculates that if no one were obese, the added output from workers and their caregivers would give the country a $257 billion boost."

This, however, is the biggest crock of shit in the entire article. (And that's hard to do, given how utterly ignorant the rest of the article is.) Can anyone find for me where in that paragraph "being sick" is caused by obesity? How does being overweight give me the flu? Or migraines?

Ignorant, ignorant, ignorant. That paragraph is based on the utterly incorrect assumption that fat = unhealthy. I know as a matter of goddamn fact that I don't take any more sick days than my non-fat co-workers. Seriously, now. Are we to assume that more fat people call in sick to work because they're pinned to their bed by the sheer gravitational pull of their ASSES?!?

You tell me. Because I can't think of any other reason.

" 'Jenny Craig would be very unhappy' if everyone were slim, says Rand's Sturm. And so she would, along with the rest of the $55 billion weight-loss industry."

I certainly can't argue with this, but I have a more realistic way to put Jenny Craig out of business: JUST STOP DIETING.

"Manufacturers and builders wouldn't have to make doorways bigger, car seats wider, furniture stouter."

Because of all those selfish goddamn fat people who have the nerve to demand that they be treated like human beings!

"Some even argue that global warming would slow a mite, as consumption of gas, energy, fertilizer and methane-producing cattle decreased."

Ahahahahahaha!!!!! I'm actually PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for global warming!!!!!

The POWER!!! I'm drunk on the sheer force of my AWESOME FAT POWER!!!!

"...the net effect on the economy of a slimmer population would be a lot of reshuffled resources, with a nice rise in productivity that should take living standards up a notch."

And back to the main point of the article (well, one of the main points; the other being ignorant fat hatred): You Big Fat Fatties Have Put America In A Recession — Are You Happy Now???

I didn't know I had it in me.


Meowser said...

Thanks, Teppy. I mean, this article is garbage on so many levels it's hard to even know where to start. I mean, the very idea that fat people use up more fuel flying than thin people, when thin people are the most frequent travelers by far, the idea that some skinny person in an SUV uses up less fuel than my fat pedestrian ass, and the idea that productivity is suffering because people are fat (uh, just NO) (and also, companies do not hire more and pay better when productivity is up, we've seen plenty of evidence of that in the last decade) are just the beginning. What a douche, and a smugly overprivileged one at that.

Rachel said...

How does becoming thinner affect the amount of stress in someone's professional life caused by finances, children, the economy, commutes, job insecurity, employer-induced stress, and so on? Because last I heard, it was stress and not obesity that contributed most to worker productivity. Oh, and not to mention, eating disorders cost businesses more than $3.8 billion.

Lots of thing irk me about this article, especially the conflation that fat people are the harbingers of the destruction of the planet.

"Some even argue that global warming would slow a mite, as consumption of gas, energy, fertilizer and methane-producing cattle decreased."

As a fat vegetarian alone, I do more just be abstaining from meat than the presumably thin article writer does with her hybrid vehicle and low-calorie meat-based diet. Factor in that my husband I live sustainably, I'd like her to back up her absurd allegations that I and people like me are somehow to blame for the devastation of the planet.

Just goes to show the relative decline of journalism when shit like this can make it into print.

Cindy said...


I'd be willing to bet both my hands that if we were to wave a magic wand over everyone with a BMI of 26 or higher, give them BMIs between 19 and 25, we'd still have diabetes, stroke, heart attacks and cancer 20 years later. (I mean, didn't all of these conditions exist during the Depression and Dust Bowl Days? Before we fatties started eating 3 trillion calories a day while watching Jerry Springer on an endless loop?) My guess is that any dip in these illnesses would be negligible.

This article is a crock. Are we really supposed to believe that, if everyone just lost weight, taxes would go down, college tuition rates would drop, everyone would stop using their cars and live on four apples and a can of tuna a week? WTF?

Weightless One said...

Yeah, if I ever called in fat to work my boss would laugh her ass off. I've never missed a day of work because of the fatz...what a crock of shit!

Fat Chick said...

Wow! That article gives new meaning to the phrase, "It's all your fault!" I mean, gosh, I knew that I was creating a hostile work environment, what with being fat at my coworkers, but the cause of the flu that just spread around the office? Sorry, guys.

Seriously, though, that article was a big load of shit of the bull. I just can't believe that people actually believe that trash. Are people really that stoopid?

Nora said...

I am also in awe of my fat ass grinding western civlization as we know it to a halt. Way to go, Fat! I shall reward myself with a cookie.

Seriously, I'm impressed you were able to come up with such a well reasoned point-by-point rebuttal because the article is Teh Ridiculous.

But it is amazing how so many people buy into this worldview.

Piffle said...

Hah, I gave it one star.

It's also totally oblivious to the health problems of the thin. Think of all the broken bones that would result, or all the people who would die of strokes if they were nomal weight, or how about the fact that if your body can't make fat cells (a rare disease) you're going to get type II diabetes younger and worse than someone who can store fat. Plus, if you get rid of the people with efficient metabolisms and replace them with high metabolism people, you're going to need more food grown, not less.


MacNabb said...

What if no one were terminally stupid?

Flying. H. Spaghetti. Monster.

geogrrl said...

"Clothing makers could then afford to offer more variety in hip and bust sizes, rather than asking every woman to squeeze into an hourglass shape."

Because, of course, I can find all kinds of clothing NOW to fit my actual "hourglass shape".

Umm, nooo. Instead, I have to launch city-wide searches for pants and slim skirts that fit, seeing as if they fit across my hips you could fit another person in at the waistband.

However, there ARE major economies for clothing manufacturers in making the straight-cut, non-darted, and generally shapeless clothing that is on offer for all sizes. It takes much less effort and expertise to design, cut, and sew.

Mary said...

Awesome review!

sleepless said...

What a load of shee-yut.

Unfortunately, this crap is widely believed, and spewed out regularly. There was recently a letter to the editor in the major paper over here (Australia), summarising all their talking points. Unfortunately, it was by four "eminent" professors. Which just goes to show that it doesn't take a lot to be really, really stupid.

AnnieMcPhee said...

"Yeah, if I ever called in fat to work my boss would laugh her ass off."

Best line ever. I was already laughing at the article (idiotic economic theory, idiotic beliefs about the cause of fat, idiotic beliefs about the results of fat, and insane mental gymnastics about economic matters) but you capped it off with that line, weightless one.

As to health care costs, even if it were true, whose fucking business is it? I pay my own insurance, I pay for my doctor, I pay for my medicine - how the hell does me not having to pay so much for the doctor translate into money in HER pocket? It doesn't, because I sure as hell wouldn't give it to her.

And...if there were no fat people, she might be out of a job, so she might end up having less than she does now. Idiot.

However, Cthulhu, thanks for pointing out how awed we should be by this limitless power. I, for one, am stoked.

Zilly said...

Surely at least one or two of those 14 billion Big Mac meals were consumed by a non-fat person.

Nope, you got it all wrong. We're only talking about forbidden Big Macs here, namely those that made us cross the 3500 calorie line and thereby caused teh fatz. Normal Big Macs, i.e. those consumed before the line-crossing and/or by thin people, are officially approved and not at all a problem. ;)

I especially enjoyed this part of the article:

McDonald's would sell not Big Macs but little steamed chicken snacks -- or watch its profits melt away.

Right, because ... as soon as they get thin, people lose all interest in Bad Food. And for all this time I'd been under the impression that Bad Food made us fat - when it's actually the other way around! Being fat makes us want Bad Food! I'm so glad they cleared that up.

HeatherRadish said...

Manufacturers and builders wouldn't have to make doorways bigger

When my folks built their house, they insisted all the doorways be 36" to accomodate wheelchairs and gurneys (my father has been a medical examiner and moved some dead people out of tight places). Nothing to do with fat, more to make it easier for them to stay in the house if anything happened that necessitated a wheelchair.

Not that anyone will believe that fat people do things for reasons other than fat.

But yeah, that's some of the most ignorant economics I've ever read; increased corporate profits translate into "money for every family", what?

erin said...

"Are we to assume that more fat people call in sick to work because they're pinned to their bed by the sheer gravitational pull of their ASSES?!?"

That line is awesome. :)

I emailed the site, informing that I do not read sites that promote hatred and I therefore would no longer be reading anything from their site or purchasing anything from their advertisers.

Meowser said...

Oh yeah, the "steamed chicken snacks" thing...sure, all those hollow-legged skinny teenaged boys who are the biggest fast food consumers by far will just loooooove those. Think maybe 30 of those might fill them up for dinner? Fifty maybe? At $2 a pop?

I had no idea that being "normal weight" would make you permanently cease all craving for anything sugary or buttery or deep-fried. I guess we ought to break the news to all those not-fat-but-not-model-thin women who sign up for Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig to try to "control their appetites" that they don't actually exist either. I also can't wait to tell all the slim yuppies lining up at Saint Cupcake that they too are figments of their own imaginations. Hey, I'm just getting started rooting out imaginary slender beings, this could be fun!

And this?

"Are we to assume that more fat people call in sick to work because they're pinned to their bed by the sheer gravitational pull of their ASSES?!?"


AnnieMcPhee said...

What in hell is a steamed chicken snack? It sounds horrid. My (quite lean and muscular) son refused for some time to watch "Supersize Me" because he said he didn't want to know what was in the heavenly food he enjoyed. The boy is a black belt and totally buff. If McDonald's sold some such bullshit as "steamed chicken snack" he would never buy it - if that was ALL they sold, they'd lose his business altogether. Kid's never had a spare ounce on his frame. Steamed fuck. I'm sorry but steamed chicken snack sounds like PUKE. Fuck that.

La di Da said...

Using the same stunning, faultless logic as displayed in the article, if "obesity" is responsible for 6% of all health costs, then that must mean thin people are responsible for 94% of health costs!!!!!OMG@!@!!!

I've never owned a car and I've never eaten very much meat and now I'm fully vegetarian. I fly like once every two years. I try to only buy stuff I actually need and am pretty frugal. I even clean my house with plain soap, baking soda, and vinegar instead of buying 34 different cleansers in plastic bottles. Tell me again how my adipose tissue is causing the apocalypse? FFS.

Anonymous said...

omg. some people are so freaking stupid. Excuse my while I go bang me head against a freaking wall and then go curl up in the corner and cry then go choke the idiot who had the guts to write something like that. X(

bigmovesbabe said...

Oh, my god. Thank you for writing this. I just ran across this article today, and was completely flabber-ma-gasted. Gah! The pervasiveness of scapegoating in this article really brought home for me how ready the US is for some seriously fascist shit to hit the fan. Not only WRT fat, of course, but you can see the situation is ripe for it, and fat is close to hand and an easy sell to the public.

Gah! Gah!

Men said...

Hi, Cthulhu (hope I spelled that right...) Thanks for the shout-out for my post on LJ, "Love letter to a fat man." I really appreciate your reading and linking to it. Hate never takes a vacation, does it?

Alexis Kauffmann said...

Hi! I arrived here by indication of a friend, after reading the MSN article... I just wonder what that guy had written "jew" instead of "fat" in that article... He would certainly be in jail by now.

Also, I want to rewrite that article: "What if we were all african? Can you imagine how much we would save from sunscreens and skin cancer treatment? If only all those selfish white people stopped being so white!"

P.S.: I am jew, skinny and and white. But I will fight prejudice wherever I go.

cheer09baybeh! said...

damn!! this article is just too messed up.. ii mean im not a fat person but damn people! have some consideration for those who are fat... they're not fat because they want to be fat... most of the time its a disease they cant control and its just sad that this article was made to put them down... besides were in recession because of all the stupid banks and the real state people who sold houses to people who couldnt actually pay em... also because of the war that we're in where we have wasted trillions of dollars in... not because of the fat people. come on u guys dont be mean to those people they have feelings too!

Chris said...

Ah... I noticed no 'hate' in Skeel's article. It seems that she has written an article critiquing a lifestyle that is the norm for most Americans. Critique is a good thing, it helps everyone to improve.