Sunday, October 2, 2011

The last acceptable bigotry

Used to be religious bigotry -- and with the anti-Mormon rumblings about Romney, religious bigotry seems to be still in style.

But now it's dislike of the fat. Michael Kinsley, a center-left type, lays it out:

Unfortunately, the symbolism of Christie’s weight problem goes way past the issue of obesity itself. It is just a too- perfect symbol of our country at the moment, with appetites out of control and discipline near zilch. And it’s not just symbolism. We don’t yet know much about Chris Christie. He certainly makes all the right noises about fiscal discipline and seems to have done well so far as governor of New Jersey. Perhaps Christie is the one to help us get our national appetites under control. But it would help if he got his own under control first.
Jonathan Chait, political blogger at New York magazine responds reasonably:
But why would it help? Why does his weight matter at all? The only real reasoning I see here is that American elites view obesity with disgust, and they’re repulsed at the notion that a very fat guy could rise to a position of symbolic leadership. It’s not a very attractive sentiment.
As for my own opinion, I simply find it another instance of the delight the left finds in abandoning its social principles if justified by political disagreement. (Take a look sometime, if you can stomach it, at the lefty jokes about poor Marcus Bachmann, Michelle Bachmann's effeminate husband.) As often, Megan McArdle at the Atlantic is wisest:
The band (of high and low weight) that your body wants to occupy is no more a sign of virtue than the color of your eyes. Yet people who would be ashamed to argue that Barack Obama should be excluded from the presidency because of the amount of melanin his skin contains, feel no compunction at all in declaring that your genetic predisposition towards adiposity is an intolerable fault.

1 comment:

David Chute said...

Some good comments from my Facebook re-podstr - though I fear mine somehwat obscures the point:

Adam Thornton Yes, unacceptable. But I hope I can still call people "fatheads."
19 hours ago · LikeUnlike.

Nat Segaloff What will the Fatburger restaurant chain in LA do?
17 hours ago · LikeUnlike.

David Chute In Lewiston, Maine, when I was growing up, there was an Italian restuarant with an all-you-can eat buffet that was catnip to fat people. (I was going to say "that was a mecca for fat people" but that would be un-PC in a different way. It's a mine feild!)
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike.

Nat Segaloff Can I still use the word "fatuous"?
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike.