I wasn’t going to blog about my annoyance with Shakesville for a while but when I see attacks on Jamie Oliver, one of my favorite chefs, I can’t keep silent. The blog is attacking Oliver for promoting healthy eating and healthy lifestyles:
So this morning I see that professional fat-hater Jamie Oliver has posted a petition which he’s asking people to sign in support of his “Food Revolution,” and in which he’s included the bullshit stat that “obesity in the US costs $10,273,973 per hour” (sure) and notes, in all-caps, “OBESITY IS PREVENTABLE.”
Celebrities who have signed the petition are posted in rotation: Jennifer Aniston, Eva Longoria, P. Diddy, Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest, Ellen Degeneres.
It’s always nice to see wealthy people with access to the best food, comprehensive healthcare, personal trainers, private chefs, and individual nutritional plans put their names to a petition admonishing the fatties that OBESITY IS PREVENTABLE.
Stating the very obvious fact that obesity rates in this country are ridiculously high does not make you “a professional fat-hater.” It makes you a person who states the painfully obvious. You can talk as much as you want about obesity in the US being caused by “natural variation, poverty, and racism”. To do so, however, is to suggest – against all reason – that natural variation, poverty and racism do not exist anywhere else in the world. If they do but obesity doesn’t, then, obviously, something has got to be wrong with this entire line of reasoning.
The idea that only the rich people can avoid obesity is also completely ridiculous. Anybody who has taken the trouble of visiting other, poorer countries (or has at least watched a program or two about them on TV) must have noticed that millions upon millions of people in the world – who, incidentally, can’t even dream about “the best food, comprehensive healthcare, personal trainers, private chefs, and individual nutritional plans” – are not obese. One of the things you notice about the US when you visit it for the first time is the huge number of obese people that you do not encounter anywhere else in the world.
We can, of course, hide our heads in the sand, ostrich-like, and dub everybody who mentions this fact of objective reality a “fat-hater” and an eliminationist. Or we can start asking why a country where people have the standard of living that most of the world cannot even imagine has this great number of hugely overweight people. Until we start discussing the issue and not hiding behind the fake wall of quasi-acceptance, the reasons why this is happening will not be addressed.
The post I quoted then proceeds to compare obesity with homosexuality. Once again, this is a completely specious argument. The number of homosexual people all over the world does not vary from country to country or generation to generation. Nobody is implying, I hope, that you can only encounter gay people in one country during the lifetime of just a couple of generation of people. The terrifying rates of obesity in the US, however, are not shared across cultures and eras.
When I first started living in the US, I discovered that to maintain the same weight I had in Ukraine and then in Canada, I had to eat almost twice as little. When I moved to the Midwest, things got even worse. Something is wrong with the food (and the lifestyles) in this area. Of course, until we realize that American obesity isn’t just something that happens naturally, we will not be able even to begin finding out what it is that is wrong with the food we eat and the lifestyles we lead.