If we get universal health care, they're not going to take away my motorcycle are they?
or our beloved cigarettes? (gawd, i hope so).
Obviously it's become a big problem for Canada's health care system as well. I think we need to start a system likened to the 'out-of-bounds-skier-rescue' system implemented nowadays: if you put yourself in the danger, you've got to foot the bill when you need to be bailed out.
That is: if you're obese (obviously some threshold required) and are hospitalized for an issue directly related to your obesity, you should get no government coverage. Same goes for smokers (modern smokers, since we now know that it's not so keen for your lungs, something the last generation found out a little late), etc. I wholeheartedly agree that we have to let go of trying to teach adults what to do and raise a generation of healthy kids, but if there aren't consequences for being unhealthy (aside from your degrading health, mobility and appearance) then what's the incentive?
@Tdub: You know, by that logic a Medicare program could refuse to treat HIV infections. It's tempting to incentivize good health, but it's just not practical to distinguish when treating diseases. Aggressive public health education and subsidies for fresh fruits & vegetables (rather than ethanol) might be a better idea.
And some of us like bears.
I can't wait to see what the fativists have to say about this. Well, I'm off to the gym...
Clearly, fat children should be boiled alive like lobsters and fed to their idiot parents.
Janet's a hoot! I'd never heard of her before this, but am now a fan. Any toothy fiftysomething who can politely turn down Courtney Love's sexual advances, then make sure to mention it in the newspaper, is all right by me.
Sure, makes perfect sense. As long as somebody else is more cruel and insensitive, it's perfectly acceptable for you to be slightly less cruel and insensitive.
Unless we're talking about the special special feelings of gay people, then everybody best be respectful.
Nigga please. How is it cruel and insensitive to point out that carrying around a bunch of adipose tissue is incredibly unhealthy? Just like reality has a well-known liberal bias, so does it think that fat people are eating themselves into an early grave.
And comparing being fat to being gay is fucking ridiculous. People who are gay have no control over it, just like people who are black have no control over it. People who are fat, however, can always stop cramming their gullets full of crap.
Dan, I understand your larger point that an individual's health can impact the nation's healthcare system. True enough. And sure, some folks are overweight b/c they eat too much of the wrong foods and don't exercise.
But just as someone is born gay, some people are genetically predisposed to obesity. And despite your purported sense of omniscience, you can't tell who's overweight b/c they subsist on Taco Bell nachos and who's overweight in spite of eating sensibly and exercising.
Mostly, you seem to dislike fat people b/c they're fat. Considering how often and how insensitively you post on this topic, it'd be disingenuous for you to allege otherwise.
I used to admire your writing b/c you reasoned as well as you wrote. Now it seems you falter at both.
And not that it should matter, but I've been slim my entire life. I'm just saddened that a writer whom I once respected is using his considerable gifts, essentially, to encourage his readers to judge one another based solely on appearance.
Maybe you should stick to warbling about E-stim safety and ass-sex.
@David, #4- Point taken, however HIV contraction is often beyond someone's control (well, abstinence aside). As far as I know, there aren't any causes of obesity where a donut neglected to tell you its full of fat and sugar. But even as a liberal faggy Canadian, it's easy to see where freeloading on the system hurts its ability to serve the people it needs to most.
The first line, I completely agree is education and good food for kids in schools- get people off making good choices. The people who make chronically bad choices, however, should not expect the same amount of leeway.
Dan, it's not so much what you've said, it's that you keep posting this stuff. And, why?
It's hard for me to think up an answer that seems consistent with who you've shown yourself to be in other contexts.
Not that we don't expect you to be opinionated, but I'm a fan, partly because it's generally not hard to hear the big, fluffy, compassionate heart and nuanced reasoning behind the loudmouth smartass presentation.
Whatever. I guess everybody is allowed to have the shit they hate, and fat can be one of those things for you. Just don't claim otherwise.
(1) Dan is compassionate. Keep it up.
(2) "Just eat less and exercise more!" folks are wrong.
(3) "You can't do anything about it!" folks are wrong.
(4) Gov lies to us about what to eat to lose weight. This is why the obesity epidemic and the diet craze started at the same time (late 1970s). Low carb, low processed food (polyunsaturated fats, etc.) diet will make you thinner and healthier.
One data point: 21lb in five weeks, on this pace I'll be off 100lb by the end of the year. And yes I can keep on this diet for the rest of my life. Though I miss Issaquah Brewhouse french fries *very* much.
elenchos@1: Yes. Yours and mine (2004 XR650L).
ps- Janet Street-Porter is a mean-spirited dingleberry.
I took a quick peak at Dan's print articles that's listed here on the website...funny thing though. He doesn't have anything listed about Fat People. Maybe someone here remembers any that he wrote for the print newspaper and not just for the slog/online only article? Thanks. Maybe he's a closet fat people hater?(I'm not counting the Savage Love stuff) If not, I don't see the problem in writing an article in the print Stranger. I'm sure all the Op/Ed letters would be interesting to read regarding the article. These slog comments are anyway.
So, Big Sven, you're five weeks into your diet, and you're an expert already. Awesome! But possibly not yet acclimated to disappointment.
All news items from British sources, like this one, must be filtered through an understanding of class resentment. Fat pigs are from a lower class than Independent columnists.
It's true, though, that garbage-eating English people (many of whom are thin, not fat) are doomed to the slaughterhouse. But Janet isn't quite telling you everything here.
@ 10, Dan can be insensitive and his posts often lack nuance, but comparing genetic differences that relate to weight gain with homosexuality just doesn't make sense. I am gay and as you say "genetically predisposed to obesity" in the sense that I gain weight easier than some of my friends. Obesity runs in my family and I was overweight in high school. The difference is, I have always been gay for as long as I can remember and I had no choice, but despite my "genetic predisposition" I have never been overweight in my adult life. I choose not to be.
There was a recent obesity study that made the news. The study showed that controlling for all other variables (income, marital status, where one lived, ethnicity, gender, etc) people that new more fat people where more likely to be fat themselves. There was this normalizing of fatness that seemed to take place when friends were fat. I think that is the danger of fat acceptance. Being fat negatively effects health in big ways, and it is a choice, so we shouldn't normalize it.
Of course, there is a lot more to reducing obesity in this country than rejecting fat acceptance. A lot of system-wide changes can help individuals that struggle to stay healthy in a culture that doesn't always support healthy eating and exercise. But that is a whole other topic.
Sorry if I've posted this in a previous edition of the Slog-Savage-Fat-Wars (I forget) but my impression is that Dan's real bone to pick is with people who are:
self-deluding and self-destructive.
Be it the unprotected sex thing, or the "there's nothing I can do about it, whatevah! I'mo eat what I want!" types. Or a host of other similar subjects.
"Waving vouchers or promising cash as an incentive is doomed to failure. It would be better to abandon the current generation of fatties and pour all resources into ensuring that the next ones grow up fit."
All the more reason for you to shut the fuck up about it already. We got your point the first 10 times. Now your just being an ass.
P.S Amen #12
Barring a serious medical condition, no one is "naturally predisposed" to be 400+ pounds. That's some thing you do to yourself, end of fucking story.
Fnarf@16: I'm plenty familiar with disappointment, thanks. I've been trying to lose weight for twenty years. Lost 70lb, put it all back on & more. But in the past I did it the hard way- severe calorie restriction followed by low-fat/high-carb eating. Taubes explains why these diets almost always fail.
But you're right. There's no place in this debate for hope or new information. I'll try to remember that.
I'm f-ing sick of the unquestioned contention that fat=unhealthy. I'm fat, gave up fighting my body's desire to be fat after every 20 pounds lost came back as 30, 30 pounds lost came back as 40, etc., over the course of 30 years' obsession with diet/exercise and attendant self-loathing. Through it all, and to this day, I am healthier than 99.9999% of the skinny people I know. One sick day a year if that. Normal vital signs/readings. Energy level to beat the band. Dear friend of mine weighs half as much as me, is three inches taller, and can barely go a week without a visit to the doctor. Cancer killed my skinny mother and skinny father at early ages, and heart disease killed my skinny grandma. This body of mine is healthy and I thank God for it, despite the fact the sight of it irrationally inspires revulsion in some of you prejudiced idiots.
Food is NOT the enemy. Here's what I keep in mind about the food I eat: If I can grow it in the garden, I can eat it. If GrandMa would know it as food (and she's got one helluva thick accent) then I'll know it's REAL food. You know fruits, veggies, chicken, fish, eggs. So for those folks that TRULY want to lose the fat, stop eating what comes out of a package, can, paper-wrapper under a heat lamp, or the frozen food section of the store. Start eating what you grow (YES that means rent that pea-patch plot and don't bitch about not having the time to do it. It's your freakin body you're dealing with) and if you can't pronounce the ingredients on the food item or can't explain their meaning to a 6 year old, DON'T PUT IT IN YOUR BODY.
Janet Street-Porter is something of a joke in the UK. A mean-spirited one, true, but she gets roasted plenty on the news/comedy shows on the BBC.
I'm overweight but I'm fortunate enough to not need to pay for two seats when I travel on public transportation. My two teen-aged offspring are the weight they should be for their age, unlike me when I was their age. I do believe genes have a lot to do with it and I also believe people are very stubborn when they make choices that may not be the best when it comes to their health/looks. My problem is strictly motivation because I'm too old to keep blaming my mom for not making sure I lost the weight before I flew from her "Momma Bird's Nest".
What a joke - only 25% of their country is obese? England will always be #2 to America !
I guess skinny people never get sick, never need medical care, never die of anything--ever, never need expensive medical treatments like for cancer or hiv or anything else. The only people who get sick or need medical assistance are all of the hoards of fat people who bum-rush the hospitals and doctor's offices all the time, because you know, fat people love to go to doctors all the time where they can be ridiculed and demeaned on a regular basis.
Why in the hell does it always have to be a personal attack? Can't reasonable people agree that if you automatically equate fatness with laziness, dishonesty, denial, defensiveness, stupidity, dirtiness, slobbery, et al.... well can't you see that the automatic assumptions are in and of themselves just a sweeping prejudice? Do some fat people have some of these qualities? Yup. Do some thin and normal weight people have these qualities? Yup. Makes it kinda hard then. Cause pointing fingers and demeaning a class of others can feel so good and righteous. And gosh it's easy to defend the disgust by claiming it's for the fatties' own good. Let's shame those blobs into thinness, huh? Never mind that it doesn't work. By my little observation, we've been shaming the hell out of people for a generation and those obese bastards just keep getting fatter and plumping up their kids to spite us. So here's what I think. Why not give people the room to love themselves where they are at? Why not promote Health at Any Size? Why not challenge your own preconceptions?
And one more thing. I get it about health care cost ramifications. But perhaps what are considered fat related diseases are actually sedentary related diseases... not all fat people are sedentary and not all thin people active. And not all thin athletes are doctor free. I'm a size 4 runner, and dude, I'm a healthy beast, but I cost a lot in specialized orthodics and pysiotheraphy for my sport. I don't know the all answers but I'm pretty sure the finger waggers don't either. Until someone comes up with the Nobel Prize Winning Cure For World Obesity, can't we all just have a little kindness, empathy, and grace?
This "fat people are making a choice" line drives me crazy. It ignores the incredible environmental pressures that many people are under. Try telling the single mother who works two jobs and who doesn't own a car and the only food store in walking distance is a 7-11, that she shouldn't eat the available, satisfying, CHEAP potato chips in front of her. Humans are actually very bad at self-control, not because they are lazy and indulgent but because our brains are wired that way. The best way to change behavior is to change the environmental pressures. Middle-class people tend to forget that they have the resources to rearrange their environments to make things easier, and that their success is NOT due to their superior "self control."
I think Margaret L hits the nail on the head. When I was growing up poor in a smallish town in Indiana we didn't eat terribly well. We tried, but it was cheaper to eat fast food or to make casseroles or other high-calorie foods. Dude, I was 5'8" and 220-230 lbs. I was big. Then I lost weight in college and have kept off the 70-80 lbs of extra weight. How do I do it? My partner and I are better off than I was as a child. We can afford to make better choices, join a gym, bike to work, etc. So $$ definitely plays a role.
I am fat and I don't think Dan Savage has been offensive. Nor do I find Janet Street-Porter's opinions offensive either. If somebody engages in unhealthy behaviors (crap diet, no excercise, smoking, drinking, using drugs, having unprotected sex, etc. etc. etc.) then they will eventually pay the price for it. Should the rest of the world foot the bill for my obesity (yo, 60lbs overweight) because I wont eat a salad for lunch or drag my ass to a gym? NO!!! I am fat (not overweight) because I am lazy. I let myself go and am now 2x's the size I used to be. I've taken a long look in the mirror and decided I don't like what I see (and I don't expect anyone else to like it too). I'll be working on going back to a normal weight (not skinny) by going back to the gym and eating that damn salad for lunch.
I don't feel sorry for myself and I don't feel sorry for anyone else, either.
29-30: No. It's self control. Anyone can chose the grocery store over KFC. I walk past a pizzeria and a KFC on my way home, and it would be much easier to head into them than to detour the four or five blocks it takes me to head to the grocery store instead. The groceries end up being slightly cheaper than either fast food option, but they do require the extra 30-40 minutes to acquire and prepare. Fat people simply make bad choices a habit. Healthy people have better habits: running vs tv, walking vs driving, vegetables and fruit vs chips and ice cream. None of those good choices cost any more than the bad ones. They simply cost time, time that fat people tend to spend on their sofas watching TV. It's simply a matter of bad habits all the way down.
@32 "Fat people simply make bad choices... None of those good choices cost any more than the bad ones."
You need to be committed into a mental institution, you have a serious divorce from reality.
"Junk food costs $1.76 per 1,000 kcal, while nutritious food costs $18.16 per 1,000 kcal, a new study finds. [NYT]"
"But it’s easier to overeat junk food, Dr. Drewnowski adds, both because it tastes good and because eaters often must consume a greater volume in order to feel satisfied. Still, even those who consume twice as much in junk food calories are still spending far less than healthy eaters.
“If you have $3 to feed yourself, your choices gravitate toward foods which give you the most calories per dollar,’’ said Dr. Drewnowski. “Not only are the empty calories cheaper, but the healthy foods are becoming more and more expensive. Vegetables and fruits are rapidly becoming luxury goods.”
@32. Can't we just agree that it's a MIX of factors? I don't think it's only one thing or the other. I have the luxury of choice that my parents simply didn't have in rural Indiana as poor folks who commuted an hour each way to work. Did I eat too much? You betcha. But you're assuming that people even HAVE choices.
When I lived in NE Washington DC without a car the closest "grocery" was a corner store. So I made the choice to walk to Eastern Market and to bake my own bread and to run every evening on the National Mall. But I don't think many other people in my 'hood were making those same decisions. But I wasn't poor. And I didn't have kids. And my schedule wasn't unreasonable.
I'm all for people making better choices. And I see my father making piss-poor choices all the time which drives me crazy because he's at the point where he doesn't HAVE to make bad choices.
Heath Ledger, young, rich, beautiful and famous movie star. Has every financial resource at his finger tips and people will take care of his every need. Medicates his obviously troubled psyche with a mix of legal and illegal drugs and accidentally dies from the combination. Deserves our sadness and sympathy and we spend days mourning "our loss" online.
Mary Smith, middle aged and unfashionable, takes a seat and half riding the bus to her second job. She has no health insurance, children too young to do the grocery shopping or cooking and a husband who thinks it's the woman's job. Medicates her obviously troubled psyche with a mix of sugar and carbs. Let's snicker behind our neighbor's back and go then online complaining about those fatties who just need to join a gym and buy organic food.
Factoids, from a related area:
The health care costs of smoking are about ten pecent of all health care costs; if no one ever smoked, all of our health care costs would go down 10%. If the health care costs of smoking were shifted from nonsmokers to smokers only (about 20-25% of adults), the health premiums of smokers would likely go up by more than 30%.
way off topic but people should know the gay-bashing/hating going on at line out "friend" 206proof -- http://www.206proof.com/forum/
hip hop website listed as "friend" of lineout
First, you're a complete fucking faggot, Donut Boy. Do me a favor and go get a neck. P.s. make another t-shirt with a turntable on it, dork. Second, I got fucked with by them bouncers like 5 years ago at a show that Z-trip was playing. It was a Microsoft event ...
... but I'm not. I just think it's homo when people come on here and use fake names... Use your real name. The only reason you would use a fake one is if you were scared of what people think of your comments.. So yeah, BEAST is a fag.. bitch
Hey kub, get off the net and hitthe block with those cds fag boy. :)
as do i damnit *punches dawson for being such a fag*
Go back to the massline boards, you peace loving faggot. Dirtbag...[/
kanye's trouble is that he tends to make sense so the shots directed towards him are generally either manifestations of pure hate or comments on his habit of occasionally dressing like a faggot.
uote][cite] c.attle:[/cite]Seattle is full of pussies! Flower hiphop and emotional bullshit. Stick with what you say and mean it. All you fags talk shit and when a cat gets at you, you fuckin fold. Mean what the fuck you say before ...
Why should I care about gay bashing/hating if gay people like Dan Savage don't care about bashing/hating on fat people like me? I'm speaking hypothetically of course.
@38---Ummm, because you shouldn't let one person's opinion color your view of how all people should be treated? Just a guess.
Seriously. Dan calls out what he sees as destructive behavior. He's not advocating beating up overweight folks or talking about rounding them up into camps or saying that overweight peeps are destroying the American family and then running a divisive campaign using an anti-large person wedge issue in states across the country.
You should care about ALL people, yo. For reals. Violence against one is violence against all. Pointing out that one could lose some weight to be healthier isn't really on the same par as, say, beating someone's brains out b/c she's a lesbian.
wow. this comment thread has totally convinced me to eat brown rice and veggies for lunch. ugh...
Street-Porter's tone creeps me out for a couple reasons. First, as several commenters have already pointed out, you put medicine on a slippery slope when you begin linking the right to medical care or coverage to the deservingness of the individual patient. Deservingness is a really subjective category, and what strikes one person as an incurred fault (it's your fault you contracted HIV because you had unprotected sex/the wrong kind of sex/sex at all) may strike another person as not in the least worthy of blame (the risk of STIs is part of being sexually active, which is a standard part of being human; you can take steps to limit the risk but you can't erase it entirely). Once you begin dispensing care or payment for care based on deservingness, you must make some individual or group responsible for making the decision to dispense or not. Seems like a way either to give free rein to the tyranny of the majority. It may all sound reasonable when your own ideas about what behaviors incur medical fault match the majority's, but what about when they don't match? Since the majority tends to define itself as normal and to identify the behaviors of other groups as not-normal, the very behaviors that are central to some groups' identities could be labeled as fault-incurring. My other objection is more philosophical. I think it's important to accept that people are what they are, even though what they often are isn't all that great: most people are short-sighted, uninformed, and occasionally make really dumb decisions. Accepting these traits and being willing to work with them rather than harp against them derives from empathy -- the recognition that one has one's share of these traits oneself. However dumb other people sometimes act, you yourself have sometimes been dumb too. Working with the reality of who people are and who they identify themselves to be is central to my politics. Using incentives to try to encourage what is generally agreed to be positive behavior is great, but if those incentives don't work, and people do dumb things anyway -- which, being what people are, they often will -- you just help them anyway. The idea that all people deserve certain basic kinds of help, without regard to the roll they may have played in getting themselves into whatever mess they're in, seems to me foundational of the political left. I think health care is one of those kinds of help.
One time I saw Dan at Liberty but I was afraid to strike up a conversation because my fat/slim ratio was somewhat overbalanced and well, you know comparisons are odious. BTW - over the years, has anyone noticed how much poundage Andrew Sullivan has packed on - and yet Dan still likes him for his mind, I guess. Oh yes, and for his snively opinions - he's almost like a gay man's George Will.
@41 A in NC
Thank you for one of the most eloquent and compassionate posts on this subject, or any subject, on SLOG.
I am so tired of paying for other people's medical care without even a thank you. At least with a national system, it would be more overt.
Fat IS the fault of the owner, but that doesn't mean that the American system makes good choices easier than bad. I have too many poor friends who can't afford protein sources or vegetables, and who don't understand the long term ramifications of the food they eat.
One of the biggest issues I have seen in a very poor school where I volunteer is that parents have no idea what constitutes a portion nor do they have any non-advertising based understanding of "healthy". The parents regularly buy things for their children that they can't afford to eat themselves, with the idea that the food is better. However, this idea of health is based on packaging and the front covers of check-out stand magazines. No child should be consuming non-fat cookies...
The solution is education, and turning lunch into a class period. In fact, lunch, health and gym should all be one long class, every day. The kids work out (ie, play), the kids prepare and eat a meal, and the health teacher educates them about what is on their plates and why. Not understanding how food works is like not understanding how credit cards work - both will get you into big trouble later.
It may take the random fun out of the lunch period, but the kids will get over it and be better off if they know how to eat and cook.
Dan, her comments are completely different.
She's making a pragmatic argument based on the assumption of finite resources. The benefit-cost ratio is higher for saving the younuns, so we should put all resources into that task.
It's simply a mathematical argument; no emotion involved.
Your comments seem to exude a palpable distaste and disgust for overweight people. There is a thinly veiled moral supremacy in your rhetoric. This is how your comments differ.
Oh, and to 23: your inability to read and understand chemistry shouldn't preclude your being able to partake of advances in science. Just thought you should know. (methylcobalamin? Oh shit that sounds bad I better not eat it)
Don't forget to include smoking weed as one of those conditions, after all it damages your lungs twenty years sooner than tobacco does:
Crap like this is why I have a *very* hard time swallowing socialized health care.
You think this is bad? Wait until somebody wants to pay for their sex change operation on uncle sam's dime.
Do I *really* want the government making medical decisions for me?
Let's just fuck everybody and get rid of health care all together. Fat people will apparently die sooner so the world will be rid of them and skinny people apparently NEVER utilize modern medicine and ONLY pay for other people using up services because they are too fat or stupid or self-destructive. So, if we get rid of medicine no one will be effected except that all the greedy, service-using, dumb fatsos who can't do something simple like count calories and exercise will be dead sooner. All the skinny people will then be happy that they never have to look at another unsightly bulge and they can dance on all of our graves. Sounds completely realistic and exactly how everything would turn out according to the crack theories posted in this thread and elsewhere.
and @39: I think your brain needs more FOOD, because I was obviously being ironic with my statement...in other words, I was being disingenuine. You so don't get it. And so many of these posters so don't get the thread that ties this fat-hatred together. Lameass lamies.
I just have to say that this whole debate has inspired me to start my own blog on the subject of trying to lose weight. I'm hoping to help and get help in the journey. Thanks, Dan.
"The government in the UK has declared war on obesity" and declaring war on something totally works to obliterate it.
Dan, I give up. I'll do my best not to read you anymore since you obviously hate fat people. And I won't return the favor by hating all gay people, just you.
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