"I hear that guy's ass has it's own congressman!" - Jimbo Jones - The Simpsons
October 3, 2011 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Chris Christie Is Fat. Who Cares? "What is it about fat that turns otherwise smart people into complacent fools? No, this isn’t a new discovery about the supposed health risks of obesity: it’s an observation about how the sight of a fat body can transform people like Michael Kinsley and Eugene Robinson—writers whose work I usually admire—into bigoted know-nothings, spouting absurd prejudices they would mock if they were aimed at almost any group other than fat people."
posted by Fizz (299 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Too fat to be president? If anything, it should help. Fatness used to be a marker of top-hat-sporting, monocle-wearing robber baron elite. Now it's a marker of the lower-middle class, like drinking beer and watching football.
posted by DU at 11:09 AM on October 3, 2011


Thank you! I thank he's been a horrible governor, a loudmouth, and a grandstander who has done lots of harm to NJ, but it sets my teeth on edge when I see people try and use his weight as an insult, or cast it as some sort of moral failure/ Fat shaming is not cool.... even for politicians I don't like.
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:10 AM on October 3, 2011 [25 favorites]


anyone who dismisses the physical demands of a White House race on a 20-stone man is deluding himself

QFT
posted by Trurl at 11:10 AM on October 3, 2011


I think there are much more important and significant reasons to be opposed to Gov. Christie than his weight.
posted by sotonohito at 11:13 AM on October 3, 2011 [42 favorites]


used to be a marker of top-hat-sporting, monocle-wearing robber baron elite.

I miss the good 'ol days.
posted by Fizz at 11:14 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Terrific
Ass
Fat
There
posted by Sys Rq at 11:15 AM on October 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


I was really disappointed at the most recent "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" which opened with a bunch of Chris Christie fat jokes.
posted by mollymayhem at 11:15 AM on October 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


A History of Fat Presidents

Naturally, this is a question spawned by the possibility of a Chris Christie run for the presidency. It turns out, not too many presidents have been rotund. In fact, only five presidents have been “obese” according to the antiquated BMI. Taft (42.3 on the BMI), Cleveland (34.6), McKinley (31.1), Taylor (30.2), and Teddy Roosevelt (30.2). Bill Clinton was overweight with a BMI of 28.3.
posted by Fizz at 11:17 AM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think there are much more important and significant reasons to be opposed to Gov. Christie than his weight.

Agreed. Although the relentless "Will he run?" against "No I wont" has put me in the uncomfortble position of sympathizing with the asshole.

Now it's a marker of the lower-middle class, like drinking beer and watching football.

and God Forbid you should sympathize with them, right?
posted by jonmc at 11:17 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the one Christie characteristic which would NOT deter me from voting for him.
posted by bearwife at 11:18 AM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


You don't think there's anything to the idea of having an obese president is a terrible example for a national with a huge obesity problem in young children/adolescents?
posted by xmutex at 11:18 AM on October 3, 2011 [15 favorites]


used to be a marker of top-hat-sporting, monocle-wearing robber baron elite.


the short answer to this is that what body type is preferable comes down to what is harder to attain. These days, fattening food it plentiful, and it's "easy" to gain weight, while having the time to exercise, access to healthier foods easily, etc is not. If food becomes less so, then being heavier will be desirable, as it shows you can afford it. It's why there was so much padding in certain historical clothes, faking that which you don't have (sort of like plastic surgery now).
posted by usagizero at 11:19 AM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


anyone who dismisses the physical demands of a White House race on a 20-stone man is deluding himself

It depends on the kind of campaign you're running. Obama somewhat famously wore holes in his shoes, but FDR couldn't walk.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:19 AM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


You don't think there's anything to the idea of having an obese president is a terrible example for a national with a huge obesity problem in young children/adolescents?

If that were a president's biggest fault, it'd be a wonderful terrible example.
posted by Rykey at 11:20 AM on October 3, 2011 [28 favorites]


Being overweight is the least objectionable thing about the guy. I wouldn't vote for him, but I don't dislike him because he is heavy.

I dislike him because he has chosen to side himself with the party that hates the poor, women, minorities, and increasingly, America's future itself.
posted by quin at 11:20 AM on October 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


When did Kinsley become a jerk? I don't remember him being a jerk. Anyway, health issues are only an issue for candidates who will eventually pick total psychos as their VPs. I'd like to think Christie would do better than that.

As for Christie, I would never vote for him, but having a Republican candidate who believed that climate change existed and was willing to stand up to anti-Muslim bigots would be a good thing for the country. I hope he enters.
posted by feckless at 11:21 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and to be clear, being overweight does not necessarily constitute a health issue. The asthma does, though.
posted by feckless at 11:22 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Martha, get me a Sharpie and the White-Out, we finally have a market for all these Michael Moore bumper stickers again!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:22 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's with Kinsley's weird comment about how Conservatives hate everyone but since Liberals only hate some people THEY'RE SUCH HYPOCRITES AMIRITE?

Anyway, yes, much like Palin is dislikable for more than her inability to construct a sentence, being overweight is the least of this guy's issues.
posted by GuyZero at 11:22 AM on October 3, 2011


Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights:
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

Then again, some deep thought on behalf of Occupy Wall St's 99 percent would be nice.
posted by Currer Belfry at 11:23 AM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


People should care!
If Obama wants to be president, he should take care of himself. Being a smoker is /can be seen as a signifier of an individual with either poor health habits, or impulse control.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:23 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Foam pants,

I am in agreement with you. Last time I heard about that topic, he wasn't smoking.
posted by handbanana at 11:25 AM on October 3, 2011


Oh, and to be clear, being overweight does not necessarily constitute a health issue.

It's unfortunate if people really accept this dangerous idea in the name of acceptance and/or tolerance.
posted by xmutex at 11:25 AM on October 3, 2011 [31 favorites]


I have never understood the whole fat acceptance complacency the US has. Travel outside of your back yards and few societies have the amount of obese people or complications arising from obesity.

True. But no non-American has ever been President of the United States, either. Coincidence? I think not.
posted by The World Famous at 11:25 AM on October 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


You don't think there's anything to the idea of having an obese president is a terrible example for a national with a huge obesity problem in young children/adolescents?

Do children still look to the POTUS as an example for anything? Do parents still tell their children that they can some day be president? I'm not American, but this surprises me.
posted by dobbs at 11:25 AM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


As others have pointed out, GWB was extremely healthy. Look where that got us.
posted by found missing at 11:26 AM on October 3, 2011 [19 favorites]


It didn't stop him from getting elected governor. Believe it or not--sometimes Americans do listen to someone's ideas.

{Not a Christie supporter, not even Christie Todd Whitman.}
posted by mattbucher at 11:26 AM on October 3, 2011


tf;dv
posted by phaedon at 11:26 AM on October 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


B3eing fat today is not what being "portly" was years ago. Aside from his politics, as a cvandiate who is overweight, that image is NOT going to gain him extra points. Much as height and hair matter, so too body image does in candidates for all positions.

Is it by chance that Fox news sports women anchors that wear dresses well above their knees? Does that register or not?
posted by Postroad at 11:27 AM on October 3, 2011


OTOH, Reagan probably should've been barred due to incipient Alzheimers.
posted by DU at 11:27 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


If we are going to start judging people on their vices, there are a whole lot of people at Fox that should be shaking in their boots.

True. But no non-American has ever been President of the United States, either.

Wasn't George Washington a British citizen?
posted by quin at 11:28 AM on October 3, 2011


As others have pointed out, GWB was extremely healthy. Look where that got us.

He is an alcoholic in remission.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:28 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


xmutex: "You don't think there's anything to the idea of having an obese president is a terrible example for a national with a huge obesity problem in young children/adolescents?"

What a potential candidate physically looks like doesn't even make the mark of stuff I worry about when voting. Substance should trump aesthetics.

And frankly, considering the reputation the average politician has, it would be a welcome change if obesity were the worst thing we had to worry about in someone kids are (supposedly) going to look up to.
posted by zarq at 11:29 AM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


xmutex: " It's unfortunate if people really accept this dangerous idea in the name of acceptance and/or tolerance."

What exactly are you advocating?
posted by zarq at 11:30 AM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wasn't George Washington a British citizen?

By the time the 1789 came around? I doubt it.
posted by kmz at 11:31 AM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


You don't think there's anything to the idea of having an obese president is a terrible example for a national with a huge obesity problem in young children/adolescents?

Yes, that's right; it's the sight of a fat president that makes children fat.

I think your Cause/Effect-ometer is broken.
posted by emjaybee at 11:31 AM on October 3, 2011 [23 favorites]


Keep in mind that the only reason the question has even come up is because, now that Perry's shit has begun to stink, the professional bloviators are desperate to find someone, anyone, to improve the miserable quality of the GOP field.
posted by Trurl at 11:32 AM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Frank Bruni (NYT)
posted by Jahaza at 11:33 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I miss the good 'ol days.

Me too. I hope somebody gives him Ayds.
posted by hal9k at 11:33 AM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is this even a "thing"? I'd never even heard of this "issue" before, and all the links posted seem to be to right-wing or otherwise pulpy websites (including hard-hitting news items like Nancy Grace's nipslip on "Dancing with the Stars").

It seems like the typical, tired Republican strategy: claim that liberals are biased/hypocrites over some superficial trait of a Republican candidate, so as to get those pesky liberals fall over backwards to be defensive about their possible political incorrectness... and thus spending less energy on refuting the political content of said politician.

We've seen this before, haven't we?
posted by hincandenza at 11:33 AM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


If only Bill Clinton didn't eat cheeseburgers, I would never have touched one myself. Also, he's the only reason I have any interest in getting blowjobs.
posted by XMLicious at 11:35 AM on October 3, 2011 [25 favorites]


Keep in mind that the only reason the question has even come up is because, now that Perry's shit has begun to stink, the professional bloviators are desperate to find someone, anyone, to improve the miserable quality of the GOP field.

I still think Romney / Huntsman could do well in the general. The decomposition of the rest of the field I take to be the meticulous and detailed work of GOP insiders trying to avoid losing with crazy without offending the far right.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:35 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


all the links posted seem to be to right-wing or otherwise pulpy websites (including hard-hitting news items like Nancy Grace's nipslip on "Dancing with the Stars").

Uh, no they're not. Politico, the LA Times, the Washington Post.
posted by Jahaza at 11:36 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there any scientific evidence that people who are overweight are more likely 'lack self control' in other areas?
posted by delmoi at 11:36 AM on October 3, 2011 [18 favorites]


Obviously, the real issue here is: could you make a tent out of Chris Christie's underwear and live in it for a year?
posted by octobersurprise at 11:37 AM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


You don't think there's anything to the idea of having an obese president is a terrible example for a national with a huge obesity problem in young children/adolescents?

I think it's pretty safe to say that there is already a ton of pressure on people of all ages to lose weight. "You can't be President unless you shape up, fatty" is probably not an effective way to communicate healthy ideas about weight to kids.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:37 AM on October 3, 2011 [18 favorites]


supposed health risks of obesity

Not supposed, at all. The research is pretty extensive, pointing to a number of increased health risks from being obese. Particularly among them being diabetes and heart disease, both among the most significant killers among diseases in the United States.

Politics aside, people are right to question the appropriateness of a Christie presidency on the basis of health.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:37 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It didn't stop him from getting elected governor. Believe it or not--sometimes Americans do listen to someone's ideas.
"I am not Jon Corzine" is not an "idea".
posted by Flunkie at 11:37 AM on October 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


Is there any scientific evidence that people who are overweight are more likely 'lack self control' in other areas?

Please stop trying to bring facts into this.
posted by found missing at 11:38 AM on October 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


I have heard more right-wingers whining that "people" are calling Christie fat than I have actually heard fat joke about Christie.

And I have heard far more fat jokes from the right about Michelle Obama than both, which only goes to show how insane and disingenuous any incredulity about mocking Christie's weight is to begin with.

Teabaggers like to hurt people they don't like and are shocked, shocked at the idea that there's venemous rhetoric in political discouse. This and the Pope's religion, at 11.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:38 AM on October 3, 2011 [32 favorites]


I love fat people. Some of my best friends are fat people.
posted by phaedon at 11:38 AM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's gotta be tough to be Chris Christie. He can barely blink without it being attributed to a potential presidential run, no matter how emphatically he says otherwise. At this point, the media coverage has almost gotten outright creepy and stalkerish.

I don't really like the guy. He's the furthest-right you could ever get in New Jersey, and I think that many of his policies constitute outright class warfare. However, it's also important to consider that Christie seems to be the first guy in NJ State politics in my entire lifetime to have taken a stand for much of anything. We've had a seemingly-endless string of horrible and ineffectual governors.

It's not terribly difficult to see the appeal of Christie, even if his policies are awful. He's a radio personality in a politician (and, after being forced to listen to late-night NJ political pundits for the 3 months leading up to the election, I'm somewhat convinced that this landed him the election, even as the pundits played fast and loose with the facts and their own prior positions, to a degree that would even make Fox News squirm).

That all said, he's still left of the Tea Party on a great many issues. He made several passionate defenses of Obama (as a person), and was outright angry about the birther issue and NYC Mosque "controversy." "Christie is fat" sure has echoes of "Obama is a Secret Muslim;" even though Christie is fat, it has little bearing on his policies.

And, speaking of those policies, I'm still not quite sure that the Tea Party know enough about the guy. His anti-union positions were crafted in specific response to the NJEA, which does indeed have a few legitimate issues (even if they were completely out of proportion to the backlash that they received and Christie's all-out war on education).

Getting Christie involved in national politics would be a mistake, and I sincerely hope that an outspoken democrat can step up to the plate and remove him from the Governor's office the next time around. However, (scarily), he's still better than most of the far-right these days in a few specific ways.

My gripes with Christie have a lot more to do with the size of his bank account than the size of his waist. Being fabulously wealthy (but not independently so; his wife and siblings are loaded; he's not) is going to have a much more profound effect on his ability to govern fairly.
posted by schmod at 11:38 AM on October 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


Delmoi - I haven't checked. Personal experiences with others make me wary.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:38 AM on October 3, 2011


Well said Lon Mem!
posted by handbanana at 11:39 AM on October 3, 2011



It's gotta be tough to be Chris Christie. He can barely blink without it being attributed to a potential presidential run, no matter how emphatically he says otherwise. At this point, the media coverage has almost gotten outright creepy and stalkerish.

"Big potential donors to Christie have been told to prepare to go to Trenton this Thursday to stand on stage with him for the announcement if he decides to run. He has not decided yet."

Yeah he's really hating this.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:40 AM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't even know who this person is, what he does or doesn't stand for, but to state that all fat people lack self control, is akin to stating that all alcoholics simply lack enough will power... it's apparently true to the those who are blessedly ignorant, and completely false to those who are unfortunate enough to know better.

If he had the "self-control" to be an anorexic or a bulimic would that make him a good POTUS?
posted by Debaser626 at 11:40 AM on October 3, 2011 [21 favorites]


Think of the great reality TV we could see if President Christie did some kind of "Biggest Loser: POTUS Edition".
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:41 AM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


That Kinsley column was probably the most odious piece of garbage I've read this year, and that's saying a lot. I despise Christie's bullying and preening but I actually hope he will join the race -- and make the jaws of tea party voters drop when they hear about his to-the-left-of-Nelson-Rockefeller views on a host of issues that matter as litmus tests to the GOP these days, including climate change.

That said, I don't think his weight should be a disqualification for his running for or holding the office. The notions that "Oh, he's not a role model to America's children because he's fat" and "Oh, he's fat because he lacks self-control" are both obsolete BS and should be relegated to the 19th century where they belong. The kinds of catty, shitty remarks that are bound to get made about his weight even in "educated" corners like mefi are really beyond belief.
posted by blucevalo at 11:41 AM on October 3, 2011 [14 favorites]


I'm beginning to think healthy presidents are overrated. Young and healthy Presidents are great to have in office- but then they're done and they stick around forever! If Obama's re-elected, he'll be, what, 55 when he's done? How many ex-Presidents can the country stand?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:41 AM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


If he had the "self-control" to be an anorexic or a bulimic would that make him a good POTUS? posted by Debaser626 at 11:40 AM on 10/3

Logic fail. Neither of those "self control" activities are health...you must have missed that point.
posted by handbanana at 11:44 AM on October 3, 2011


I don't think obesity and alcoholism can really be compared side by side Debaser, one of them is a choice between alcohol and no (or very limited) alcohol while the other is a choice between healthy food choices and "OMG Five Guys is the best" food choices.

You can eat Five Guys every day but its hardly an addiction like alcoholism or a disease like bulemia. Its just a choice the guy made for years and years and years. And I'm going to hold that against him.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:45 AM on October 3, 2011


Well at least we know he would never be in support of that Fat Food Tax that Denmark just launched.
posted by thorny at 11:46 AM on October 3, 2011


As several people have mentioned, being fat can raise questions about one's physical fitness for the demanding office of the Presidency. For millennia, being fat has also been in many traditions associated (Platonism, Aristotelianism, certain strands of Christianity) with gluttony, a vice which might raise questions about one's moral fitness for the office. If a person cannot rule over his/her own appetites, the argument runs, if he/she can not be counted on to make healthy decisions about his/her own life, how can he/she be trusted to exercise authority over us or make decisions on our behalf?

Of course, not all fat people are gluttonous, and not all gluttonous people are obese. And cruelty, shaming, and jokes are never appropriate responses even when a genuine vice is present in another. But just as it is clearly wrong to convict an obese person of gluttony simply on the basis of his/her appearance, so it seems wrong to rule the question of their moral character out of court.
posted by muhonnin at 11:46 AM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


When he sits around the House of Representatives he really sits around the House of Representatives.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:48 AM on October 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm so sorry.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:48 AM on October 3, 2011


Very well said Muhonnin.
posted by Fizz at 11:50 AM on October 3, 2011


Perhaps he and the Surgeon General can have lunch together.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:51 AM on October 3, 2011


one's moral fitness for the office.

That's the best joke I've heard all day.
posted by The World Famous at 11:53 AM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Not not not a Christie supporter. However --

I hear some folks saying that someone who is obese clearly lacks impulse control, implying that this bleeds over into every other aspect of their lives. If this was true, wouldn't all obese individuals be smoking, drug-addicted, sex-crazed, hot-headed, shoplifters? Considering how many people in the US are "officially" obese (BMI > 30), I'd say the evidence is to the contrary.

Like delmoi, I'd like to see some scientific evidence to back up this insinuation.
posted by blurker at 11:53 AM on October 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


I only vote for who's hot
posted by stormpooper at 11:53 AM on October 3, 2011


you can talk about health problems without talking about self control. saying obesity has serious health consequences is quantifiable and sources can be cited. saying an obese person simply lacks self control is making the most mean spirited guess you can.
posted by nadawi at 11:54 AM on October 3, 2011 [23 favorites]


Also, and I'll say this as someone who utterly loathes Chris Christie: The reason it's offensive is because fat isn't being associated with health. Health is a legitimate issue. People raised John McCain's age, and they raised that Barack Obama smoked. They brought up Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd being on the verge of death. You can parse the severity all you want but the perceived overall health of a candidate is a legitimate issue.

That's not what this is about. What it's about is that Christie is severely overweight and it's physically unappealing. The argument being presented here isn't that Christie isn't too "unhealthy" to be president; it's that he's too ugly to be.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:54 AM on October 3, 2011 [22 favorites]


wow.
posted by Seamus at 11:57 AM on October 3, 2011


Its just a choice the guy made for years and years and years.

So you maintain that there are never any social, mental, or emotional components to obesity? That people simply choose to accept the social stigma and health consequences because they honestly prefer obesity to health? That no other factors might be involved?

Losing weight generally requires willpower - but in many cases it takes a great deal more than that.
posted by nickmark at 11:57 AM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Health issues and perceived self control are separate issues. The thing is perception is extremely important in politics. It doesn't matter necessarily what the facts actually are. This can be demonstrated in almost any political race.
posted by handbanana at 11:58 AM on October 3, 2011


Lon Mem: " Congratulations. You just described the United States of America."

I'm overweight. I'm an American. I'm none of the rest of those.

Perhaps it would be best if you stuck to the facts, rather than indulging in vicious, ugly stereotypes.
posted by zarq at 11:58 AM on October 3, 2011 [21 favorites]


I was really disappointed at the most recent "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" which opened with a bunch of Chris Christie fat jokes.

I don't believe it. Liberals, by definition, would never do something so intolerant, bigoted and mean-spirited.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:58 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


But just as it is clearly wrong to convict an obese person of gluttony simply on the basis of his/her appearance, so it seems wrong to rule the question of their moral character out of court.

Moral character because they're obese? I have absolutely no idea where to start with this ludicrous idea that being fat can somehow be a moral failing. It's my body. I can do what I want with it. I can be fat, I can be thin, If I had a uterus, I could have a child or choose not to.

What I do to *me* has nothing to do with morality and it's no one else's business AT ALL.
posted by inturnaround at 11:59 AM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Lon Mem, you seem to have no self-control in what you say. You must be fat as hell.
posted by found missing at 11:59 AM on October 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't think it's just a right-wing thing. I woke up yesterday morning to a liberal talk show on a local R&B station (my mom had it on while she was in the shower since she didn't know there's no music early Sunday morning). I woke up to "he's an addict, look at his body and you can see he's an addict". It took me a few seconds to clear my head and figure out what they were talking about. The next ten minutes were a harangue against this obviously "addicted" man who "needed to be in recovery, not running a state or running for president". After that they did a segment tearing into some Republican state senator trying to get rid of what he called "illegal aliens", so I knew for sure their politics.

And on preview I see this "obesity=addiction" thing is a thing.
posted by Danila at 12:00 PM on October 3, 2011


I don't think obesity and alcoholism can really be compared side by side Debaser, one of them is a choice between alcohol and no (or very limited) alcohol while the other is a choice between healthy food choices and "OMG Five Guys is the best" food choices.

Actually, no. Alcoholism and obesity are different, because one can quit drinking and live out the rest of his or her days as a non-drinking person, but one can't just quit eating and live out the rest of his or her days free from food. Well, one could, I suppose. Just not for long.

There's a Tea Party member of the House of Representatives who is not overweight but is reportedly $117,000 in arrears on child support. I submit to you that this is much greater evidence of a profound failure on a fundamental level. The problem is that being a deadbeat isn't visible to the naked eye.

So judge away if you must, but as Space Kitty wisely pointed out in a previous thread: The only thing shame motivates you to do is hate yourself. There wouldn't be a single fat person left in this country if shame was the cure.
posted by ambrosia at 12:02 PM on October 3, 2011 [35 favorites]


burnmp3s: " I think it's pretty safe to say that there is already a ton of pressure on people of all ages to lose weight. "You can't be President unless you shape up, fatty" is probably not an effective way to communicate healthy ideas about weight to kids."

Well put.
posted by zarq at 12:02 PM on October 3, 2011


It's not the fat leaders you need to worry about. It's the fat voters. Poor impulse control in the voting booth and fat sausage fingers are not a good combination.
posted by phaedon at 12:02 PM on October 3, 2011


Wow, serious fat hate on MetaFilter.

Mostly from people who imagine themselves to be boldly speaking unpopular truths.

Assholes.
posted by edheil at 12:02 PM on October 3, 2011 [66 favorites]


All of y'all also roundly condemned Bill Clinton for not having the willpower to keep it in his pants, right?
posted by kmz at 12:07 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't think I've seen a more offensive and hateful set of comments on this site. Amazing.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:07 PM on October 3, 2011 [18 favorites]


I'm choosing to not insult Chris Christie until the Tea Party realizes he's farther to the left than most of their existing candidates, and then watch his campaign implode. Then we wait for Romney to inevitably win, with the election being a competition to see who is less apathetic about their candidate.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:07 PM on October 3, 2011


I don't think obesity and alcoholism can really be compared side by side Debaser, one of them is a choice between alcohol and no (or very limited) alcohol while the other is a choice between healthy food choices and "OMG Five Guys is the best" food choices.

Without intending to get into a derail about the differences vs. similarity in this, for me it depends on why you eat what you eat. Not so much just what you eat.

If I'm uncomfortable I seek comfort food, and depending on the level of discomfort, it may take a lot to sate that desire. If I'm ok, I can go on about my day eating a banana for breakfast and a salad for lunch, pretty much like I've been doing for the last 1 1/2 years. Of course, I know nothing about anyone else's experience, I can only speak from my own point of view.
posted by Debaser626 at 12:08 PM on October 3, 2011


Also, seriously, wtf? Usually we don't handle talking about body issues this badly on this site. Did we buy out a local news comment board?
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:08 PM on October 3, 2011 [15 favorites]


So you maintain that there are never any social, mental, or emotional components to obesity? That people simply choose to accept the social stigma and health consequences because they honestly prefer obesity to health? That no other factors might be involved?


Oh, there are mitigating factors no doubt. But I haven't read anything about Christie being a victim of sexual abuse, being poor, being in an urban zone (read shadytown) with limited access to proper nutrition, or any of the others.

He's a rich man and from what I've read he's been well off for quite some time. If his weight is the result of a genetic or psychological disorder, there's no question as to his self-control. If there are no medical mitigating factors, he made bad choices that tasted oh so good. Gluttony doesn't have to be solely food based nor does it have to manifest it every sin. You can indulge in a number of things while managing to not indulge in things you find repulsive, say smoking or shop-lifting for example. Other things, like sicking your bureaucratic behemoths on political opponents, you might not have qualms over.

I mean, its not as if you have to join the Cult of Slaanesh when you hit a bmi of 35.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:08 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


LEAVE CHRIS CHRISTIE ALONE
posted by 200burritos at 12:09 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


You people talking about how someone who is visibly overweight is CLEARLY a sign that they have poor impulse control / addiction problems / are one difficult bowel movement from a heart attack realize that your argument is just as gross an oversimplification as "I just shoveled 4 inches of Global Warming off my driveway haw haw!", right?

I knew a guy who was/is a meth-head who routinely beat up his girlfriend who looked like Johnny Depp. I jog every day and I still have a pooch-belly. Glad to see I'll be judged fairly by my "peers".
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:11 PM on October 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


Again, with the ridiculous associations between weight and moral fortitude.

I'd be flabbergasted that one could utter such drivel with a straight face but, then again, when it comes to fatness and thinness some people lose their fucking minds. Reminds me of the idiotic screeds some misogynists trot out every time a menstruating woman (or even a woman who had, at one point, menstruated as was the case for Clinton) contemplates running for office. OH NOES PMS.
posted by lydhre at 12:11 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who cares if he's fat? What I want to know is if he has he stopped beating his wife!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:11 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any second wasted discussing his weight is another second that should be spent discussing the helicopter incident.
posted by drezdn at 12:13 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Just to clarify, the aforementioned meth-head looked like Johnny Depp, not his beaten girlfriend. Stupid commas.)
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:13 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


when i was anorexic as a teenager, my hips would never get small enough for anything smaller than a size 8. i was 5'10", 123 pounds, barely eating, bones sticking out, bruising easily, and i was still a size 8 (barely, i had to lay on my bed to zip my pants).

when i was in my mid 20s and worked out and ate well and walked a few miles a day and worked a very physical job, i was a size 12. if i lapsed even a little, i was quickly a size 14.

now that i've turned 30, i've stopped working out so much, i don't work that physical job, but i am a vegetarian who eats a lot of veggies and not a lot of cheese. i don't live on fake meat. i don't load up between meals. i'm an adult at rest with healthier eating habits than most. i'm a size 16-18 (depending on the store). i am overweight. this isn't a lack of self control or a desire to be disgusting to all the little twigs that never have to fight with it, this is my body and i'm dealing with it the best that i can.

skinniness isn't something that everyone gets a chance at. different body types and metabolisms account for a lot. when you have a body that gains easily and doesn't lose hardly at all, sometimes it's difficult to keep caring. if i were less crazy about it, i could see myself much heavier, like most of the people in my family. it's not a lack of self control, it's getting tired of running a losing race and deciding to put your energies elsewhere.

on preview: But I haven't read anything about Christie being a victim of sexual abuse - that's not something you can see from afar. the fact that you can't know what personal struggles he's endured is reason number one why you shouldn't assume he's just lazy.
posted by nadawi at 12:17 PM on October 3, 2011 [41 favorites]


Funny how so many people who rationalize their fat-phobia by pretending their concerns are only about his health and willpower never raised these concerns about Obama, whose smoking should raise exactly the same concerns. I mean, it's hard to come up with a better analogy to obesity, health- and willpower-wise, than smoking.

But it's not about that, is it? You find Obama attractive and Christie some kind of revolting monster, even though they have extremely analogous "health" and "willpower" problems.

As a fat person, trust me, the source of all your "concern" about a candidate's weight is completely transparent.
posted by callmejay at 12:18 PM on October 3, 2011 [19 favorites]


Why phaeton, what a wonderful contribution to the conversation.

I am certainly not advocating judging an individual based on a weight issue. In politics, its fair game. Doesn't mean its necessarily appropriate but we, the people, new media, and others notice it. We've done it with women in politics, men, ethnicities, and people of different religions than the "mainstream". Doesn't make it right, but its a matter of life.

its not a moral failure, but let's be honest, no one wakes up all of a sudden weighing in at 350 lbs overnight.

We should be advocating healthy lifestyles and work with people to be healthy, this is not a bad thing.
posted by handbanana at 12:18 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have absolutely no idea where to start with this ludicrous idea that being fat can somehow be a moral failing.

I would be very sorry to be read as implying that being fat, in and of itself, is a moral failing. Clearly it is not. Being gluttonous, however, is considered a moral failing in many honorable traditions which have a profound impact on political discourse in the United States and elsewhere. And being fat has been for centuries considered evidence (albeit not conclusive evidence) of being gluttonous.

I have no scientific evidence to demonstrate how closely correlated obesity is with gluttony, and none to show how closely the vice of gluttony is correlated with other vices/weaknesses that might impair one's ability to discharge the offices of state. (Which isn't to say that either that there are no such correlations--it's just not my field). I do want to point out, though, that for hundreds of years, and in ways that continue to affect our popular discourse both consciously and unconsciously, those associations exist, and may be worth taking seriously.
posted by muhonnin at 12:19 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Okay, this is probably really stupid for me to do, but here goes: I'm obese and I am not addicted to food. I had a serving of oatmeal for breakfast and no lunch. I'm not on any kind of diet and have pretty much always eaten the same amounts of food except when I run out of money for groceries and eat even less. Like last night when I didn't eat anything at all. And I did not make up for that by chugging 2 liters of soda or three plates of pancakes. I had 2/3 cup of oats with water. My body will hold onto that for dear life.

I've always been fat but didn't become obese until I developed PCOS in my teens (also when I started dieting). PCOS affects 10% of women. Now it is incredibly hard for me to lose weight. Also, my hair tends to fall out, I have unsightly extra growths of skin all over my body, I am insulin resistant which led to diabetes, and I am infertile, but those concerned for my "addiction" probably don't give a hoot about any of that. I no longer devote my life to trying to lose weight. I know I eat less than a lot of people who are not even fat, much less obese. I don't spend a lot of time comparing myself to them anymore because I don't really care what other people eat and it's just an exercise in proving to myself that I am not crazy or lying, and you know what, I'm not.

Many people are addicted to food but are not obese. I don't know if Chris Christie is addicted to food. I CAN'T KNOW just by looking at him and neither can anyone else. I'm not getting into whether health is a moral issue or if this is really about health at all, but I just want people to stop conflating addiction with obesity.
posted by Danila at 12:21 PM on October 3, 2011 [40 favorites]


one of the most gluttonous people i've ever known was probably also the thinnest. it's the sort of "moral failing" people only think they can see evidenced in weight.
posted by nadawi at 12:22 PM on October 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


Hearkening back to the last election,

Fat Chance: Is Bill Richardson Too Hefty To Be President?
posted by XMLicious at 12:22 PM on October 3, 2011


Cmon guys, being fat is obviously proof that you are a terrible, horrible person.

This has been proven by science.
posted by Avenger at 12:22 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have absolutely no idea where to start with this ludicrous idea that being fat can somehow be a moral failing.

One word: cannibalism. Other than that he might eat a bit too much, or maybe he's got a glandular thing, that's between the governor and his doctor.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:23 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Found something cool on the web?
posted by Gator at 12:24 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am certainly not advocating judging an individual based on a weight issue. In politics, its fair game.

Nope. It's still bullshit.
posted by rtha at 12:25 PM on October 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


I am certainly not advocating judging an individual based on a weight issue. In politics, its fair game. Doesn't mean its necessarily appropriate but we, the people, new media, and others notice it. We've done it with women in politics, men, ethnicities, and people of different religions than the "mainstream". Doesn't make it right, but its a matter of life.

So now you're saying it's not you that's advocating discrimination, you're just reporting on what others do? Uh huh.
posted by kmz at 12:25 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


You know what? I'm gluttonous. There are few things that I love more than eating good food. Sometimes, good food means tasty food and tasty food means junk food. There are few things I hate more than going to the gym, I have shitty endurance due to a congenital heart condition and a very, very deviated septum. Also, I'm lazy.

You know what, though? I'm thin. I'm also perfectly healthy. I eat and I laze around and I don't go to the gym as often as I should and I do not feel guilty when I eat ice cream after dinner. I have poor impulse control, but you wouldn't be able to tell from my hips-to-waist ratio.

I guess I should try to gain 50 lbs before I run for President to let people know that, on top of being a feminist, an atheist, and queer, I also have poor impulse control and could nuke China without provocation.
posted by lydhre at 12:28 PM on October 3, 2011 [21 favorites]


This is nothing, if he were poor he would be getting called ignorant as well. And there would be a lot of hand wringing about how best to teach him that what he is doing is bad. When it gets strange is when people like my mom,who has always been healthy, get gastric bypasses to shut everyone up, they trade a list of things that may be health concerns, for actual health concerns. Gotta love a country that thinks it is healthier have a major surgery and possible future complications than to be overweight.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:28 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


People should care!
If this man wants to be president (and god knows I don't want him to), he should take care of himself. Being obese is /can be seen as a signifier of an individual with either poor health habits, or impulse control.

I have never understood the whole fat acceptance complacency the US has. Travel outside of your back yards and few societies have the amount of obese people or complications arising from obesity.

...

I am certainly not advocating judging an individual based on a weight issue.



what are you advocating?
posted by nadawi at 12:29 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: "You can eat Five Guys every day but its hardly an addiction."
posted by mmrtnt at 12:29 PM on October 3, 2011


Once more, with feeling: The fatness thing has been surfing around on the internet since people were pining away for him. There has been no mitigating factor offered for his immense girth. He's a well off guy, he could eat well (assuming no psychological factors). He chooses to eat poorly, either through unhealthy foods or through overconsumption (i.e. gluttony).

At what someone up-thread called in at 20 stone, it could be a combination of the last two. And again, once more, with feeling: gluttony needn't restrict itself to mere foodstuffs.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:29 PM on October 3, 2011


Fat Chance: Is Bill Richardson Too Hefty To Be President?

His weight as an issue seems so funny in retrospect.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:30 PM on October 3, 2011


This thread doesn't seem to be improving. I created a MeTa post about it.
posted by zarq at 12:30 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, the idea that you can judge someone's impulse control and decision-making ability based on whether they're fat should take a look at the number of skinny pols who went...hiking on the Appalachian trail. Or quit their governorship with a year to go. Or got caught in a prostitution ring. Etc. Having a good BMI is no guarantee that you're not an impulsive lying douchebag.
posted by rtha at 12:31 PM on October 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


The fatness thing has been surfing around on the internet since people were pining away for him. There has been no mitigating factor offered for his immense girth. He's a well off guy, he could eat well (assuming no psychological factors). He chooses to eat poorly, either through unhealthy foods or through overconsumption (i.e. gluttony).

Can you back up this assertion at all? Or are you arguing circularly, that Christie is fat because he eats like shit, and we know he eats like shit because he's fat?

I saved this to my profile for just this thread:
"The implications were clear. There is a reason that fat people cannot stay thin after they diet and that thin people cannot stay fat when they force themselves to gain weight. The body's metabolism speeds up or slows down to keep weight within a narrow range. Gain weight and the metabolism can as much as double; lose weight and it can slow to half its original speed."

"Maintenance of a reduced or elevated body weight is associated with compensatory changes in energy expenditure, which oppose the maintenance of a body weight that is different from the usual weight."

These studies show that one third to two thirds of dieters regain more weight than they lost on their diets, and these studies likely underestimate the extent to which dieting is counterproductive because of several methodological problems, all of which bias the studies toward showing successful weight loss maintenance. In addition, the studies do not provide consistent evidence that dieting results in significant health improvements, regardless of weight change. In sum, there is little support for the notion that
diets lead to lasting weight loss or health benefits.
posted by muddgirl at 12:32 PM on October 3, 2011 [14 favorites]


Man, on an average day I'll have 2 Starbucks frappucinos (the bottled kind), a breakfast bar, a Coke, a couple pieces of pizza, one or two beers, some pasta and some cookies. Is that unhealthy? Yes. Is that gluttonous? Maybe, but I have other problems to worry about at the moment. Would you know any of this to look at me? No, I'm 105 lbs.
posted by desjardins at 12:32 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here's what I know about the weight and health of the principal in high-profile politics. I've had experience in New York City politics, the House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate.

It is very, very physically demanding. You are constantly on the go, and need to have the energy and focus to make important decisions at any given moment. One moment you're reading a storybook to kids...you all know the rest of that story.

Given what I have seen, I would not be comfortable with a man of Christie's size as President. Whatever with past Presidents. The current operation of the Presidency, given the unending stream of information and unending media cycle, puts demands on the person occupying that office--or any other high-level office--that have never been seen before.

Horribly unhealthy food is available at any moment. And unless you have a staff member who is willing to stand up to you, or has been given the job of your dietary monitor, you can ask for and ingest anything you like. From what I have seen of Christie's size, and read of his personality, I give this no more than a 50/50 chance of occurring.

And this says nothing of campaigning.

As for the moral/self discipline issue, well, I worked for an 80-year-old Senator. He played squash every morning at 6:15 AM, and was rigorously specific in what he took into his body. It was a pain in the ass for his staff, but we knew it was in the interest of keeping him, and his office, running for as long as possible. That discipline filtered down, because it was obvious that no one took his job and his responsibilities to his office more seriously than he did. The conduct of staff takes a lot of cues from the top, especially from what the boss does when no one in the public is watching. Watching an obese man not take care of an obvious health issue--one that at least a few fellow staffers have probably struggled with--watching him eat compulsively...that would be hard to watch. That would lead to some doubts about the man in charge. Not an issue voters may care about, but that's why I care.

Obama still smokes, I'm sure, but I bet he keeps it from all but closest staff, and is never public about it. I'd rather he didn't smoke, but if he is going to smoke as President, that's the way to do it.

We have a major, major problem with obesity--morbid obesity--in this country. Kids and adults alike. There is a huge health care bill coming. It is a major public health issue. We need someone who can speak credibly to it. Given that the majority of the obese in this country are on the poorer, less educated end of the spectrum, what credibility will educated, well-off Pres. Christie have on this issue? I'm sorry, I'm not willing to let 8 more years go by on this issue because the President is personally uncomfortable or lacks credibility.

And a word about being heavy. I've been reading through National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance's website for a little while now, as this debate has escalated. I realize, especially after spending a weekend with my elderly parents, that the issue for me is obese young people. You get older, you gain weight, it happens. An obese young person, barring any causal condition that can/not be treated, is throwing away youth, health, and strength. People who throw away great gifts make me uneasy.

My family has weight problems. We tend to heavy. I know it's not easy, and a lot harder for a lot of people. But for fuck's sake. I want my President to at least try to do the hard things in life.
posted by oneironaut at 12:33 PM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


I am simply advocating people to be healthy.

And in response to "discrimination" non sense, I am not saying "put down the fatties, and make them feel poorly". Merely this occurs in politics and the media.

If one can't separate an individuals own value systems in contrast to societal ones, critical thinking and evaluation are not your forte.
posted by handbanana at 12:34 PM on October 3, 2011


Ah, it occurs to me now to put this into language which is totally removed from the hot button issue here:

Its not where he is now, its how he got to this point and why.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:35 PM on October 3, 2011


The science seems to show that fast food and overeating in general can lead to chemical changes in your brain similar to those seen in drug addicts. People ignore evidence that goes against their prejudice but it doesn't change the evidence.

Fat hatred is old news, disguising it as concern about health or willpower is just as old but it's still just plain and simple prejudice.
posted by Bonzai at 12:36 PM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


The damage that obesity does to ones health are worse than just about anything but heavy drug abuse. In fact I think obesity can essentially be viewed as a symptom of an addiction/abusive relationship to food - food is providing instant gratification to the obese in the same way as drugs do to users/addicts

The only real explanation for why Americans are fatter than the rest of the world is culture and society, and the consequences are absolutely devastating. It's sad that every time a fat thread comes up, MeFites can't love the addict but hate the addiction, but instead defend both
posted by crayz at 12:37 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


so you're not advocating judging someone based on their weight, you're just judging someone based on their weight. got it.
posted by nadawi at 12:37 PM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Why is it that people can not handle a conversation with regards to health without being criticized as "prejudice or discrimination"?

I hadn't realized certain topics became off limits. These are real issues, they have an affect on mortality rates, health care cost, and simple logistics within society.
posted by handbanana at 12:39 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why phaeton, what a wonderful contribution to the conversation.

You know back in the day the joke was women would never hold public office because they couldn't keep state secrets. They'd be on the phone telling all their girlfriends..

The thing is perception is extremely important in politics.

You know, I have a hard time looking at your argument as rising to any level higher than the one I just set with that stupid comment about women.

Perception may be important in politics, but the kind of perception you advocate is some of the dumbest, rock-bottom, drive-by, fuck me I'm stupid variety that is typically employed by agenda-driven assholes that are really more concerned about character assassination than public policy. Why such people end up on television is beyond me. To quote Lewis Black, "must be sweeps week." Christie doesn't advocate a fat lifestyle. He's not running on a "make America fat" agenda. Why do you pigeon-hole him like that?

And just so you know what I'm referring to, The Daily Show ran a segment just last week called "Threats to America's Children," where Black jokes about right-wingers freaking out about Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars. Just watch the clip. You're the one that needs to be reminded that that show is already chock full of the biggest fucking idiots this society has to offer. How you all of a sudden single this person out as being more morally corrupt than any other candidate based solely on his looks is BEYONNNNNNND me.
posted by phaedon at 12:40 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


The science seems to show that fast food and overeating in general can lead to chemical changes in your brain similar to those seen in drug addicts.

Is there any proof whatsoever that the addiction hampers decision making in other arenas of a person's life?
posted by desjardins at 12:40 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Character assassination is a political tool utilized in almost every campaign, particularly at the federal and upper state offices.

Not agreeing with tactic, but it works. And you can bet any politician and his/her handlers look for opportunity to further separate themselves from the other.
posted by handbanana at 12:42 PM on October 3, 2011


In fact I think obesity can essentially be viewed as a symptom of an addiction/abusive relationship to food - food is providing instant gratification to the obese in the same way as drugs do to users/addicts


Yeesh, in the words of Jessie J, no no No No NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Maybe we could all use some pop music with an up-building message right now. "Why am I doing this to myself" indeed, I'm out.
posted by Danila at 12:43 PM on October 3, 2011


You get older, you gain weight, it happens. An obese young person, barring any causal condition that can/not be treated, is throwing away youth, health, and strength. People who throw away great gifts make me uneasy.

Yes exactly. I've worked in IT and known dozens and dozens of coworkers who have thrown their youth away and have diabetes and knee and back surgeries in their mid-20s/early-30s, who get winded and sweaty walking up a flight of stairs. I've been close to one of them a couple times, with my weight cycling up & down by about 50 lbs of fat a couple times during my early/mid 20s. Having an extra 50 lbs of fat is not nothing and it's not healthy - and it just shocks me to hear people say it is

It's unbelievable no one can even point out that these sort of weight problems are almost universally a result of unhealthy behavior that we would do well as a society to discourage. But instead anyone who suggests this is a behavioral and cultural issue that we need to fix gets shouted down as a bigot
posted by crayz at 12:45 PM on October 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Desjardins,

Really? You think are prison system isn't full of addicts who's addiction affected other aspects of their decision making?

(And no, I am not saying a fat persons decision making would be any worse nor better than a healthy person, but if you are equating overweight to addiction.. you've answered yourself with my response)
posted by handbanana at 12:45 PM on October 3, 2011


I don't think any conventionally unattractive person could be elected President in 2012, fat or skinny. That's a pretty scary thing.
posted by gurple at 12:45 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


handbanana, you're clearly not old enough to tell me how politics work, just based on the fact that you revert to some really simplistic observations on how "things are." That or I don't need your hand-holding. You're all over the map. Impulse control, mortality rates.. I think you've got some good ideas about health that you'd like to see advocated on the national level but this is not the appropriate forum to do so.
posted by phaedon at 12:47 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


a small/medium percentage of people can eat whatever they want and not have that show up as extra weight on their frame. another small/medium percentage of people will uncontrollably gain/maintain weight regardless of what they do to try to manage that.
the rest of us schlubs will just put on an extra pound or two every time we eat too much bbq, drink too much beer, etc.

i think that in general terms, keeping your weight down, and maintaining a reasonable level of health requires some amount of work and/or self-control with regard to diet and exercise. especially as you get older.
this is just an observation of mine, and is not backed by any science. it seems to me that this is at the heart of our (usa) health situation. and don't even get me started on the folks who see/promote gluttony as patriotic, because that is as much part of the problem as the awesome awesome bbq itself.
posted by rude.boy at 12:50 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Being gluttonoushomosexual, however, is considered a moral failing in many honorable traditions which have a profound impact on political discourse in the United States and elsewhere .... I have no scientific evidence to demonstrate how closely correlated obesitylisping is with gluttonyhomosexuality, and none to show how closely the vice of gluttonyhomosexuality is correlated with other vices/weaknesses that might impair one's ability to discharge the offices of state. (Which isn't to say that either that there are no such correlations--it's just not my field). I do want to point out, though, that for hundreds of years, and in ways that continue to affect our popular discourse both consciously and unconsciously, those associations exist, and may be worth taking seriously.
posted by darksasami at 12:51 PM on October 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


gurple, do you think that a conventionally unattractive person (and I think I know what you're saying here, but could you give an example or two) has 1) ever been elected President or 2) has been elected President since the late 1800's, when photos in newspapers became more widespread?
posted by oneironaut at 12:52 PM on October 3, 2011


I've always said that society would turn on the obese once they tired of ostracizing the smokers.

Yup.
posted by davelog at 12:53 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Its own congressman.
posted by Eideteker at 12:54 PM on October 3, 2011


"I've always said that society would turn on the obese once they tired of ostracizing the smokers."

I am getting tired of waiting for someone to turn me on.
posted by Eideteker at 12:55 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh baby, DarkSasami, please make that comment go away. Gluttony can, occasionally be something a person is programmed for. More often, its just a result of feeling good by eating feel-good foods. Sexual orientation has pretty definitively been placed in the not-under-conscious-control category.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:55 PM on October 3, 2011


My age has nothing to do with my statements. If I must be a certain age requirement to discuss an issue at hand , you've got the problem not I.

Really dude? How about your fucking weight? Does that have anything to do with your statements? Case closed.

Treat people the way you want to be treated.
posted by phaedon at 12:56 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it is reasonable to be concerned about someone's health when they want to hold a position with so much power. However, we are all imperfect beings. Will his weight make substantial difference in the decisions he makes/will make? Probably not in any substantiate way.
Sonia Sotomayor had some health issue (diabetes?) that got kicked around as a reason why some people had "concern" about her. McCain was "too old", Obama smokes/did smoke/ willon smoked, Palin was too sexy, GW Bush an alcoholic in remission, H. Clinton too pantsuity... whatever

You know, in truth, all these things factor into why people vote, but really they are second tier things to be concerned about. If some bastion of Liberal thought emerged and captured the public's favor, and, they happened to be severely overweight how many stones would be thrown here? the Weight, the Age, the Alcoholism in Remission... all these things ARE important. But, they are not really what you should base your vote on.
Here in MN we have a DFL Governor, who use to be just a horrible Senator imo (Mark Dayton), he also has had problems with alcoholism in the past. but, you know? I'm finding him to be a pretty good Governor. And if our state legislator had not flipped last year it is very likely MN would have been the next state to legalize SSM, Dayton actively advocates for it.

Yeah, Christie is fat, yeah it is a health concern, but if we disallowed for health concerns we would be ruled only by Alpha assholes and likely would end up with a serious T-4 program.
posted by edgeways at 12:56 PM on October 3, 2011


>> You must be fat as hell.

My sinewy man-beauty would make you weep. I'm pretty as hell.
posted by Lon Mem at 12:57 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe Christie is spending his self-control on making carefully-thought-out political decisions, rather than resisting morsels of junk food. He's taking a bullet for the people of New Jersey so he can lead them without the suffering the anxiety and neuroses of those who are constantly dieting. Perhaps we should prefer to elect overeaters, alcoholics and philanderers -- it seems to be the uptight saints who get us in the worst kinds of trouble.
posted by miyabo at 12:57 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I treat people just fine,never once did I advocate treating fat people shitty.


Any other comments towards me you can it to mefimail.
posted by handbanana at 12:57 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


You think are prison system isn't full of addicts who's addiction affected other aspects of their decision making?

Food is not meth or coke. Food does not make you paranoid and delusional. Most people who overeat don't steal to get food. Food is not illegal. People don't kill other food dealers to protect their food-selling territory.

Prisons are not full of obese people.
posted by desjardins at 12:58 PM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Really? You think are prison system isn't full of addicts who's addiction affected other aspects of their decision making?

This is probably not the best example, because one of the things we clearly do really poorly in this country is help (poor) people deal with addiction; it's way easier to just toss them in prison.

So I would argue that there are a lot of people in prison that made perfectly reasonable decisions that ended up with them behind bars.
posted by quin at 12:58 PM on October 3, 2011


My sinewy man-beauty would make you weep. I'm pretty as hell.

Your statements throughout this thread indicate that your personality is anything but.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:58 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


And thank you Decani. To cross pollinate from the meta-talk thread: some people are fat-phobic, some people are worried about one of the seven deadlies (and no one seems to be drawing a distinction between them and the phat-phobes), some people are having a special snowflake moment, and other people are making camps and drawing battlelines and actual wording of posts be damned (happening on both 'sides' of the issue here).
posted by Slackermagee at 12:58 PM on October 3, 2011


Metafilter: Too Pantsuity.
posted by oneironaut at 1:00 PM on October 3, 2011


Desjardins,

My point exactly, I wasn't advocating obese=addiction.

I don't necessarily believe that obesity is going to affect all aspects of an individuals decision making.
posted by handbanana at 1:00 PM on October 3, 2011


gurple, do you think that a conventionally unattractive person (and I think I know what you're saying here, but could you give an example or two) has 1) ever been elected President or 2) has been elected President since the late 1800's, when photos in newspapers became more widespread?

1) yes; 2) yes: Nixon.

But I agree with your implicit assertion that the reason an unattractive person couldn't be elected now is because of the constant availability of their image.

I don't think Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich could be elected President.
posted by gurple at 1:01 PM on October 3, 2011


Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich have something else in common, besides being a little shrunken.

(it's called the wild-eyed CRAAAAAAZIEEES but we're harshing on fat people in this thread. Let's not start on the loonies).
posted by oneironaut at 1:03 PM on October 3, 2011


May the tallest man win (2004, looking at the history of presidential contenders based on height; and speaking of Kerry v Bush, with Kerry's win as a sure thing).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:04 PM on October 3, 2011


>> I have absolutely no idea where to start with this ludicrous idea that being fat can somehow be a moral failing.

Well, you can start by more closely scrutinizing the thesis of the article and the commenters in that no one has said being fat is a MORAL failing. It's a failure of process and application. Morality has zero to do with it. It's an inability to comprehend the implications of the ironclad first law of thermodynamics, which -- "fat hate" aside -- is unassailable, and certainly not subject to the rhetoric and misdirection of a Monday afternoon Internet dust-up.
posted by Lon Mem at 1:04 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


But conventionally unattractive is hard to peg. Nixon, believe it or not, had charisma. Charisma can overtake conventional looks. I mean, I don't think Bill Clinton was all that handsome. But charisma is his superpower.
posted by oneironaut at 1:04 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Food does not make you paranoid and delusional

Then how do you explain the Hamburlgar?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:05 PM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Maybe Christie is spending his self-control on making carefully-thought-out political decisions, rather than resisting morsels of junk food. He's taking a bullet for the people of New Jersey...

Wow, I just had a mental image of opening the door on a cabinet meeting and seeing a room full of people chugging liquor, shooting up, masturbating, etc...

President Christie: *mumbling with mouth full of food, face buried in a bucket of KFC* Goddamnit! Can't you see we're trying to balance the budget in here!?!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:06 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


[deleted a bunch of stuff that shouldn't have been here in the first place, please go to metatalk, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:06 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was 514 lbs at my heaviest. I had gastric bypass and have been able to lose about 175 lbs of that. I am no more or less moral at 514 lbs than I am at 325.

It actually hurts me that someone who cares so much about my country like myself would be rejected out of hand by so many people because I am fat. What I choose to eat has no reflection on how I treat other people, my political choices, my compassion for humanity, anything else.

How many good, good people are discouraged from service America because we hate fat people?

And, on the whole, we do hate fat people. I feel it all the time. Sure, it's often couched as concern, but more often than not, it's really just that people can't stand to look at me because I look like their worst nightmare if they stared into a mirror.

In many ways, I am so glad I was as big as I was. I was depressed and felt trapped in my own body, but it did give me the priceless give of compassion and empathy, something that is sorely lacking with people who have never been fat.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with Chris Christie. It has to do with fatphobia, a phobia that even liberal people who would gasp in horror if they were caught being insensitive to the GLBT community or any other minority seem to have no problem expressing.
posted by inturnaround at 1:09 PM on October 3, 2011 [40 favorites]


I treat people just fine,never once did I advocate treating fat people shitty.

I say this facetiously, but I just don't think you should be part of this political conversation due to your age. Clearly you don't think Christie should run for office due to his weight. Care to explain the difference? Am I treating you any differently than you're treating him? If you can explain that away, then by all means, continue with your diatribe.

You act like you are a "realist" about political matters and yet wish your age to stay off the table. How come? I thought everything was game. You called my comments an ad hominem attack. I'm not really so sure about that. I understand the impulse however to weigh in and remain anonymous though. I just want to point out that maybe you'd soften some of your "drive-by" observations (as I called them earlier) if you were actually playing in this game as well.
posted by phaedon at 1:09 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Kids Who Lack Self-Control More Prone to Obesity Later:
In two papers published this week in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, scientists found that preschool-age children who had trouble with self-control and the ability to delay gratification gained more weight by the time they were preteens than those who were better at regulating their behavior.
posted by pracowity at 1:09 PM on October 3, 2011


desjardins: "Is there any proof whatsoever that the addiction hampers decision making in other arenas of a person's life?"

I don't know. However I would like to point out that the last 3 presidents have had addictions (to nicotine, alcohol and sex respectively) so it's not exactly unprecedented.

Bubbles 2012!

If you are someone who won't vote for someone who can't get his addictions under control then you shouldn't vote for Obama either.

A lot of early comments were talking about how Christie made a choice to be fat, which is only true so much as someone chooses to start smoking or chooses to not quit smoking. It's hard to do and failure is common.

People who have faced fat prejudice can see it in many of the above comments, sometimes it's thinly disguised and sometimes it's not so thin but it's there and it's not fair. However I've seen it my whole life so I'm used to it.
posted by Bonzai at 1:10 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


lon mem - "monday afternoon internet dust-up." - awesome.
posted by rude.boy at 1:10 PM on October 3, 2011


The health and life quality issues with obesity are serious. But I don't see what that has to do with someone's qualifications to be president, any more than I care whether or not Obama still smokes. Talk about a non-issue.
posted by Forktine at 1:10 PM on October 3, 2011


>> Again, with the ridiculous associations between weight and moral fortitude. I'd be flabbergasted that one could utter such drivel with a straight face but, then again, when it comes to fatness and thinness some people lose their fucking minds.

Physician, heal thyself.

You said it. No one else did.
posted by Lon Mem at 1:11 PM on October 3, 2011


A chocolate sundae?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:14 PM on October 3, 2011


So would it be considered a Godwin to mention Winston Churchill in all his cigar smoking obesity? Since he was PM in WWII when we were fighting HITLER. I need to know for my records.

Yeah I know for every Winnie there are a hundred dead Larry's but it must be mentioned.

There is middle-aged spread like me (and probably most of you) and there is morbid obesity. Since we don't know Christie's weight, we don't know if he is morbidly obese.

His weight can be a legitimate health issue, but what a lot of the so called "fat apologists" are saying here, and really needs to be understood is that while there is a legitimate health issue which can be questioned, debated, and dealt with, much of this "concern" comes in the form of sneering comments from pundits and a lot of people in this thread. This self-righteous "concern" shown by some people (which makes me want to eat an entire goddamned cake out of spite) has very little to do with any legitimate question on his health, and everything to do with disgust and contempt of anyone with a pot-belly.

His health is a a faux-proxy issue about how people feel about fat.
posted by xetere at 1:15 PM on October 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's an inability to comprehend the implications of the ironclad first law of thermodynamics, which -- "fat hate" aside -- is unassailable, and certainly not subject to the rhetoric and misdirection of a Monday afternoon Internet dust-up.

People are closed systems? Who knew!
posted by kmz at 1:20 PM on October 3, 2011


But conventionally unattractive is hard to peg. Nixon, believe it or not, had charisma. Charisma can overtake conventional looks. I mean, I don't think Bill Clinton was all that handsome. But charisma is his superpower.

I can agree with that, to an extent. I don't think you have to be super attractive to be elected. But I do think you can't be really unattractive. Can you really imagine a President Joe Lieberman, even if a completely different and charismatic person were behind those Droopy Dog eyes?
posted by gurple at 1:21 PM on October 3, 2011


It's a failure of process and application

Please cite a scientific study where a significant percentage of people were able to use process and application to move from "obese" to "healthy weight" and stay there for the long term by using ANY process or application.

I understand that it seems really simple to lose weight and keep it off, but the reality is that it isn't. Maybe instead of blithely assuming that all obese people are just not trying hard enough you could question your underlying assumptions.

The failure rate of weight loss and maintenance is so high that you have to be pig-headed not to question whether you should be blaming the overwhelming majority of people who don't succeed.
posted by callmejay at 1:21 PM on October 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


This self-righteous "concern" shown by some people ... has very little to do with any legitimate question on his health... His health is a a faux-proxy issue about how people feel about fat.

This.

There are lots of unhealthy habits (just to disregard medical causes for the moment) by skinny people that don't generate 1/100th of the froth that fat related ones do.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:22 PM on October 3, 2011


I say this facetiously, but I just don't think you should be part of this political conversation due to your age.
What does my age have to do with the conversation? What value does it add? Should i assume your weight has any implication to this conversation? No, its irrelevant. Stay on topic.
Clearly you don't think Christie should run for office due to his weight. Care to explain the difference? A

Please direct me to where i said he shouldnt run for office due to his weight.

You act like you are a "realist" about political matters and yet wish your age to stay off the table. How come? I thought everything was game. You called my comments an ad hominem attack. I'm not really so sure about that. I understand the impulse however to weigh in and remain anonymous though. I just want to point out that maybe you'd soften some of your "drive-by" observations (as I called them earlier)

Again, what bearing does this have on our conversation? So you create some assumption that I have zero authority on my statements, observations or studies based on some assumed age? That your opinions are more valid due to how ever old you are? I could give a shit less about someones age, compared to what they are discussing at hand. Look, you've been trying to make this personal, and I can't figure out why, its really unnecessary and as I politely requested before take it to mefi mail.
posted by handbanana at 1:24 PM on October 3, 2011


So would it be considered a Godwin to mention Winston Churchill in all his cigar smoking obesity?

no, a godwin would be to point out that hitler was a skinny little vegetarian

but you know, it's obvious who had the most self-control and was therefore most suited for leadership of a country, right?

right!
posted by pyramid termite at 1:24 PM on October 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Actually, xetere, there is a fair amount of academic literature about how Churchill's personal habits affected his decision-making. He had a very competent military and staff to channel his energies and get the very best out of him. Famously, he took regular naps, which is a kind of self-discipline, as he insisted on it. I wonder whether this would be possible in today's all-information age. WWII was sprawling, messy, and with primitive communications equipment by today's standards. More dead time, I imagine.

@inturnaround, "I was 514 lbs at my heaviest. I had gastric bypass and have been able to lose about 175 lbs of that. I am no more or less moral at 514 lbs than I am at 325." For the voting public, for my own assessment in fitness for elected office, I'm not so sure about that. You've undergone something very painful, risky and difficult, and have altered your life in a significant way for the sake of your health. I'd vote for that story over the 514-lb guy who wanted to do something about his weight but never did.
posted by oneironaut at 1:25 PM on October 3, 2011


It's an inability to comprehend the implications of the ironclad first law of thermodynamics

I don't think anyone is disputing that most people who manage to maintain a long-term caloric deficit will lose weight and keep it off. The problem is that YOU have no idea how hard it is for obese and formerly obese people to maintain a long-term caloric level. You imagine that if you were in their shoes, you could do it with a little old-fashioned hard work, but the failure rate is staggering!

People who have themselves cut open and their stomachs physically restricted can still fail, for the love of Pete!

Just consider that you're maybe underestimating the difficulty of your "process and application" over the long term.
posted by callmejay at 1:25 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]




There are lots of unhealthy habits (just to disregard medical causes for the moment) by skinny people that don't generate 1/100th of the froth that fat related ones do.

How about 1/100th of the long-term costs of an increasingly obese (not overweight) society?
posted by oneironaut at 1:27 PM on October 3, 2011


How about 1/100th of the long-term costs of an increasingly obese (not overweight) society?

Actually, that too. As has been covered in previous threads, skinny people who are sedentary are less healthy than obese people who exercise.

An emphasis on fitness would be better than an emphasis on fat.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:29 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Agreed. Thank you.
posted by oneironaut at 1:31 PM on October 3, 2011


[Lon Mem, there's a metatalk thread about this thread if you need to talk about moderation policy. You need to cut it out in here.]
posted by cortex at 1:32 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]



An emphasis on fitness would be better than an emphasis on fat.


But that would mean we couldn't judge a person's character at a glance and where would that leave us? Next, you'll tell me ugly people aren't evil. Unpossible.
posted by lydhre at 1:33 PM on October 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


For the voting public, for my own assessment in fitness for elected office, I'm not so sure about that. You've undergone something very painful, risky and difficult, and have altered your life in a significant way for the sake of your health.

But having that surgery doesn't mean that xetere is more moral than a person who doesn't have that surgery. It means a whole lot of things - being in a financial and familial/social context where it's possible and there will be support for that decision; it speaks to an ability to endure discomfort and pain for a longer-term goal. But it doesn't say anything about how more or less moral xetere was before deciding to have the surgery.
posted by rtha at 1:33 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it was inturnaround who had the surgery.
posted by xetere at 1:37 PM on October 3, 2011


But having that surgery doesn't mean that xetere is more moral than a person who doesn't have that surgery.

Ok, fair enough. But in my earlier comment, I spoke of trying to do something about the situation, so I was writing in that context. inturnaround wanted to do something about his weight, and he did. Surgery wasn't his only option. If Christie said, "listen, I've struggled with weight all my life, and I always will, and I understand that as President the state of my health will have an impact on the nation, so I will work as hard as I can to be as healthy as possible--yet still might end up looking the same," I think that would go a long way to putting this issue to bed. Folks may not like that he would have to say that, but I personally would feel better about the man being in charge if he did.
posted by oneironaut at 1:39 PM on October 3, 2011


We know where he stands on obesity, but where does he stand on circumcision or cat declawing? These are apparently important issues here.

(why the fuck does anyone bother to talk about this guy's weight anyway? the media harp on it because they need to sell papers and airtime, but why do blogs do it?)
posted by caddis at 1:39 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it was inturnaround who had the surgery.

Whoops. Failure to parse/remember/type who said what. Apologies.
posted by rtha at 1:41 PM on October 3, 2011


An emphasis on fitness would be better than an emphasis on fat.

Fitness? Good grief, why? Is there a chin-up requirement to enter the UN building?

Consider a person who has devoted all of his or her life to the study of law, politics, history, and all the other topics in which a President should be expert. Who has, perhaps, sacrificed physical fitness in order to devote every waking moment to study and to service.

Isn't that a sort of person who ought to be considered a serious candidate, regardless of their metabolism?
posted by gurple at 1:42 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Consider a person who has devoted all of his or her life to the study of law, politics, history, and all the other topics in which a President should be expert. Who has, perhaps, sacrificed physical fitness in order to devote every waking moment to study and to service.

Isn't that a sort of person who ought to be considered a serious candidate, regardless of their metabolism?


Are we still talking about a U.S. politician? I just wanted to make sure.
posted by Fizz at 1:44 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I agree with the gist of the first linked article, but this passage set my teeth on edge:

"Here’s my question for people like Kinsley and Robinson: what evidence do they have that, in America today, it’s more realistic for a fat person to “choose” to become thin than it is for a poor person to “choose” to become rich? If anything, it’s statistically rarer for a fat person to maintain significant long-term weight loss than it is for a poor person to achieve affluence."

The author takes two other writers to task for making an unsupported statistical argument....and then makes an unsupported statistical argument. Gah! What the fuck! Doesn't this guy have an editor?

I really don't care about Christie's weight. It would be an issue to me only in the same way McCain's age was in 2008. His choice of a batshit insane running mate+his advanced age were a real issue for some voters, and I think that is fair. The only scenario in which I would care about Christie's weight is this: IF Christie runs, and IF his running mate is Michelle Bachmann (or someone with similar views), I would be fucking terrified of him dying, and since being obese increases the chances of early mortality, his obesity would be a little bit of a concern.

But I'd never vote for the guy based on his policies alone, so it's all navel gazing, for my part. I don't think I'd have any trouble voting for an obese liberal for president, unless he or she chose Michelle Bachmann as a running mate....which seems unlikely.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 1:48 PM on October 3, 2011


Again, what bearing does this have on our conversation? So you create some assumption that I have zero authority on my statements, observations or studies based on some assumed age? That your opinions are more valid due to how ever old you are?

You directed a few comments at me handbanana, and frankly, I'm just really surprised to see you take this defensive position. Clearly you think it's really stupid and unfriendly of me to factor in your age into this political conversation. You'd rather I handled this personally and not on a public level. Well I would hate to be "complacent" on this particular point but I suppose that is what you ask of me. To not be critical.

So let's review some of your comments. When you say, "its not a moral failure, but let's be honest, no one wakes up all of a sudden weighing in at 350 lbs overnight" it's kind of like you're judging Christie by his weight, tangentially? Like it's up to me to figure out if it's a moral failure, maybe.

When you say "In politics, its fair game," that's kind of like you shitting on someone for being fat within a certain context, which we all have to admit is somewhat appropriate? You say "Doesn't make it right, but its a matter of life." It's almost as if you're really wise on this one. Like you've really been through the ringer and this is the idea you've settled on.. everything is game? So I challenge you to tell me if you're really in a position to hold my hand on this one. For god's sake if you're 18 let me have a field day at your expense.

You are in fact advocating the judgment of an individual based on their weight because that's what you see happen in the media. And perhaps that's the only point that you're trying to make; you're just parroting it. But the point stands that not all people who defend Christie on this issue suffer from "fat acceptance complacency." Maybe we're just not dicks.

I'll one up you on this. I have an extremely low opinion of politicians, that is to say, the profession in general. So. I know a lot of honorable, overweight doctors who have worked their entire lives helping sick kids and the elderly, hell I have two in my own family. And if you or anyone else have the audacity to think you know shit about anything with regards to the contributions that they've made to the community, based on their weight, well then you can mefimail my ass with an explanation and perhaps an apology.
posted by phaedon at 1:48 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


I would say no. High-level elected office has intense physical demands. In a very real regard, elections are about choosing one organism, and giving that organism unparalleled power over fellow organisms. It's the difference between being smart, and being smart and good at taking tests. The Presidency is a 24/7 test that lasts four years. There is a reason the public gets a report on the President's annual check-up. The health and vitality of the organism in office--whose physicality is enshrined in the Constitution in terms of age, actual presence when signing a law, and for whom specific procedures are in place should that physicality fail--is in the national interest.
posted by oneironaut at 1:49 PM on October 3, 2011


IMPEACH TAFT
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:49 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


That "no" was directed at gurple's last comment.
posted by oneironaut at 1:50 PM on October 3, 2011


gurple, I think small_ruminant didn't mean that there should be a fitness requirement for presidency, merely that it would make more sense to measure people's overall health based on their level of fitness, not weight.

But, since you can't visually determine how healthy a fat person is, that'll just ruin allllll the fun for those judgey people who love to bleat that they're only concerned about people's HEALTH, not their appearance, gosh, whatever gave you the idea that they might be anti-fat?
posted by lydhre at 1:50 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's not fat people. He's vertically incompatible with his weight. This is a recognized syndrome. Recognized by the ADA. And calling such a sufferer fat is very un PC.

Would we be calling him fat if he were a D instead of an R?
posted by Gungho at 1:51 PM on October 3, 2011


Would we be calling him fat if he were a D instead of an R?

Based on the way I have seen most Republicans carry themselves in public, yes. In fact I believe it would be worse.
posted by Fizz at 1:52 PM on October 3, 2011


Please cite a scientific study where a significant percentage of people were able to use process and application to move from "obese" to "healthy weight" and stay there for the long term by using ANY process or application.

"[A]t year 4 ... participants lost an average of 4.7% of initial weight. A total of 887 participants ... lost ≥10% at year 1, of whom 374 (42.2%) achieved this loss at year 4.

These results provide critical evidence that a comprehensive lifestyle intervention can induce clinically significant weight loss (i.e., ≥5%) in overweight/obese participants with type 2 diabetes and maintain this loss in more than 45% of patients at 4 years."

posted by ludwig_van at 1:54 PM on October 3, 2011


The fact that, out of all the reasons to not vote for Chris Christie, people are going to focus on his weight is incredibly depressing.
posted by empath at 1:57 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would say no. High-level elected office has intense physical demands. In a very real regard, elections are about choosing one organism, and giving that organism unparalleled power over fellow organisms. It's the difference between being smart, and being smart and good at taking tests. The Presidency is a 24/7 test that lasts four years. There is a reason the public gets a report on the President's annual check-up. The health and vitality of the organism in office--whose physicality is enshrined in the Constitution in terms of age, actual presence when signing a law, and for whom specific procedures are in place should that physicality fail--is in the national interest.

The framers already thought of that and, as you say, there are procedures in place. What about the chances of a President being assassinated or dying in a car or helicopter crash? If you argue overweight people shouldn't be allowed to be President because of the supposedly higher risk of death in the next four years then maybe you want to consider preventing Presidents from travelling in the motorcade or Air Force One and Two, or walking around Camp David, where they might trip and fall. I would suggest that stress and sleep deprivation are common for Presidents. They'll affect anyone, fat or thin, short or tall, and probably have a greater affect on their ability. Should we mandate a Presidential nap time?
posted by doublehappy at 1:59 PM on October 3, 2011


people are going to focus on his weight

I actually WE may be focusing more on his weight than anybody anywhere else is.
posted by kingbenny at 2:02 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


*actually think
posted by kingbenny at 2:02 PM on October 3, 2011


There are all kinds of high-stress occupations in which plenty of fat people do just fine. To say that the President has to be some kind of fantastic physical specimen in order to do his job is kind of weird. I don't think it makes any sense to restrict tiny pool of people truly qualified to do that job even further by requiring them to be physically fit, attractive, accomplished at ping-pong, or anything else not directly related to the job of being President.
posted by gurple at 2:03 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


High-level elected office has intense physical demands

Like what?
posted by empath at 2:04 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doublehappy, I was answering gurple's question: Consider a person who has devoted all of his or her life to the study of law, politics, history, and all the other topics in which a President should be expert. Who has, perhaps, sacrificed physical fitness in order to devote every waking moment to study and to service.

Isn't that a sort of person who ought to be considered a serious candidate, regardless of their metabolism?


And, in my opinion, no. I wouldn't consider someone who is not physically fit as a serious candidate. I don't think it should be enshrined in law. It's my opinion, based on my experience in politics, and my personal preference. I never said anything about not allowing anybod to do anything.

I don't want the President flying on anything but Air Force One or Two, or Marine One. I don't want them travelling in a motorcade unless its in "The Beast." If they take a bike ride, wear a helmet. Maybe refrain from skiing. All the caveats, and more, that would be in a superstar pitcher's or quarterback's contract.

I'll suffer through the motorcades. I'll accept a metal detector anytime I get within 1000 yards of the man or woman.

And in exchange for all that taxpayer money and inconvenience spent on the President's safety--to say nothing of medical care and bodyguards for life--for all those resources spent on protecting the exterior of his or her physicality, I just ask that, in exchange, they take care of the one part that only they control--their personal health--as best as they can, with a similar level of dedication and care.
posted by oneironaut at 2:08 PM on October 3, 2011


ludwig_van, that study doesn't address the question. "Clinically significant" weight loss will not move someone from "obese" to "healthy weight", which is what you are responding to.

5% weight loss (12 and a half pounds) for someone who is obese at, say, 250 pounds will still leave them obese. Even at the barrier for my weight/height, a 5% weight loss wouldn't be enough to move me from "obese" to "overweight".

An obese person could lose that much weight and escape absolutely none of the judgments and handwringing at all. People would still look at them and say they were unhealthy, incompetent, unable to perform at their job (be it president or seamstress), ignorant, gluttonous etc.

I consider it a red herring when people bring up studies showing "significant weight loss" when people are talking about the difference between "healthy weight" (i.e. not too fat) and "obese" (i.e. too fat). I also think it's dangerous because people need to know dieting doesn't work and is much more likely to make you fatter than thin.
posted by Danila at 2:12 PM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Empath:

When not campaigning, minimum 12 hour work days, seven days a week. And that's in a non-crisis situation. And those are not debate-on-websites hours. Intense hours filled with lots of mental activity. Sleep deprivation and stress. Lots of travel.

The possibility of making massive decisions at any moment. The need to have reserves of energy you can call on at any time. Big-time politics is often a matter of timing that comes down to the minute--a vote in the Senate or House, a last-minute treaty negotiation.

At the Copenhagen climate change conference in '09, Obama was moving swiftly around a large convention center conference to corral world leaders who were either balking or trying to shut the U.S. out of private talks.

And many high-level negotiations go on for days, and can come down to who gets tired first.
posted by oneironaut at 2:14 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


aren't there lots of people in congress who aren't skinny? how ever do they manage to campaign and vote?

also, bush was way healthier than clinton and by all accounts clinton worked longer hours and took far less leisure time.
posted by nadawi at 2:17 PM on October 3, 2011


At the Copenhagen climate change conference in '09, Obama was moving swiftly around a large convention center conference to corral world leaders who were either balking or trying to shut the U.S. out of private talks.

And, thanks to that great feat of athletic statesmanship, global climate change has been defeated and Obama is viewed as the greatest athlete/president the world has ever known.

When not campaigning, minimum 12 hour work days, seven days a week. And that's in a non-crisis situation. And those are not debate-on-websites hours. Intense hours filled with lots of mental activity. Sleep deprivation and stress. Lots of travel.

Yep. The kind of thing overweight American commercial litigators do for decades at a time.
posted by The World Famous at 2:20 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


High-level elected office has intense physical demands

Cheney was able to do it.
posted by quin at 2:22 PM on October 3, 2011


I also think it's dangerous because people need to know dieting doesn't work and is much more likely to make you fatter than thin.

Dieting is making conscious choices about what foods you eat, when, and in what quantities. Criticize specific diet plans if you want, but to say that controlling your food intake "doesn't work" to manage your weight is really just absurd on its face
posted by crayz at 2:24 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Cheney was able to do it.

Indeed. Emperor Palpatine, too.
posted by The World Famous at 2:24 PM on October 3, 2011


And weight can matter for staffers too. If you have a principal who walks fast, who always takes the stairs, who will jump into crowded elevators to save time waiting for the next one, who likes to jam an extra staffer in the car for a conference well--if you can't keep up, or you get too sweaty or out-of-breath to be presentable when you arrive at the meeting, or if there isn't space for you, well, unless you are the only person for miles around who knows what you know, you may be out of luck.

If your boss wants you on the other side of the Capitol in 5 minutes, you had better be there. I know there are big folks who are as quick and as nimble as hell. You'd better be one of them.

Politics ain't beanbag, as the saying goes.


As for Members of Congress who are fat, well, there aren't many of them--not in the same percentage as the general population.

When Sen. Tim Johnson had a stroke, there were real questions about him being able to do the job. He could, but it wasn't easy. Sen. Byrd eventually had his Appropriations gavel taken away from him. But he still had a vote, and the health care bill would not have happened had it not been physically possible to wheel him to the floor of the Senate with feet of snow on the ground, and for him--not a proxy, not allowed--to make some physical gesture that equated an "aye" vote.

I've seen elderly Representatives and Senators fall asleep or forget crucial things--this affects their ability to do their job, and I don't think they should be there. I've also seen older Members who have broken a hip or a leg, and they get to the vote, no matter what. It's admired, but it's part of the job.
posted by oneironaut at 2:27 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


And, thanks to that great feat of athletic statesmanship, global climate change has been defeated and Obama is viewed as the greatest athlete/president the world has ever known.

Not the point. He did everything possible given the constraints of Congress (this is a debate for another thread), including that. And it was widely seen, in those admittedly rarified circles, as one of the greatest exertions of personal diplomacy ever witnessed.

Yep. The kind of thing overweight American commercial litigators do for decades at a time.

But they don't have to inspire the public at large. They don't have to lead. They don't have to get up from that chair, and make their persons a symbol for 250 million people. They don't have to campaign.
posted by oneironaut at 2:31 PM on October 3, 2011


You can do the job if you ain't fit. But not as well as if you are.
posted by oneironaut at 2:34 PM on October 3, 2011


Say what you will about Christie, but you can't sneak nothing past William Howard Taft.
posted by usonian at 2:34 PM on October 3, 2011


But they don't have to inspire the public at large.

Yes. That's exactly right. One need not be an athletic physical specimen to perform the duties. Being in shape is critical only to impressing and inspiring a public that idiotically equates physical fitness with competence.

They don't have to lead.

Yeah, call me back and tell me that after you lead a litigation team through a billion-dollar class action trial.

They don't have to get up from that chair, and make their persons a symbol for 250 million people.

Yes, they do have to get up from that chair and make their persons a symbol for whatever case they're handling. That's what trial lawyers do. They get up from their chair and represent something. By definition.

They don't have to campaign.

I've worked on both political campaigns and commercial litigation, and your assertion strikes me as ignorant about both.

You can do the job if you ain't fit. But not as well as if you are.

Let's look at the last, oh, I don't know, 50 years of U.S. presidents and see if that's the case. Who was the fattest one? Who was the fittest?
posted by The World Famous at 2:40 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I still think Romney / Huntsman could do well in the general.

Romney: Yep, looks electable enough.

Huntsman: Just a tad less so.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:41 PM on October 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Dieting is making conscious choices about what foods you eat, when, and in what quantities.

Your definition of dieting just does not reflect the real world as fat people live in it. For most people who diet, they may lose some and then regain that usually with more. All dieting did is move the threshold up so now they're fatter than when they started.

I think dieting in this context is restricting what you eat in order to lose weight. There are lots and lots of thin people who don't eat mindfully and plenty of fat people who do.

Dieting does not work to do what the vast majority of fat people (and the people who encourage them to diet) want it to do: move them from being fat to being thin, and keep them there for a long time (well, preferably forever but I'll settle for five years). I know there are people who have lost large amounts of weight and become thin after changing what they eat/dieting. It is a small minority of people and entirely possible that there were other things going on that changed.

Criticize specific diet plans if you want, but to say that controlling your food intake "doesn't work" to manage your weight is really just absurd on its face


I watch what I eat because I have diabetes and want to control my blood sugar. I have successfully done this but I am not losing weight, and that's okay because no more numb fingers and no more diabetic shock. Still, I'm not losing weight even though I am "controlling [my] food intake".
posted by Danila at 2:41 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq, you're suggesting we elect a spider?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:43 PM on October 3, 2011


But they don't have to inspire the public at large. They don't have to lead. They don't have to get up from that chair, and make their persons a symbol for 250 million people. They don't have to campaign.

This is, by the way, why FDR was an extremely unpopular President who got almost nothing done during his short stint in office. If only he had been able to get up from that chair!
posted by burnmp3s at 2:45 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Chris Chringle for President?
posted by mr.marx at 2:45 PM on October 3, 2011


Like nearly everyone who is overweight, Christie has TRIED to diet:
"I've tried every other crazy method in the world, but you just lose weight and you gain it back," he told Imus.
Not surprising, considering study after study shows that diets don't work for the vast majority of people. Until science figures out a method to beat the body's set point system and metabolic damage occurring over many years, I don't think it's wise to tell people that they can get thin by eating better. That said, Christie appears to still be on the dieting rollercoaster and is STILL trying, despite failing several times already.

I'm part of the tiny minority who loses weight and has kept it off, but I still can't tell other people what to do. I was young and only mildly overweight, so it was much easier for me.
posted by melissam at 2:46 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I still think Romney / Huntsman could do well in the general.

Um, you know they're both Mormons, right? Maybe I'm cynical, but I'll be surprised if a Mormon can be elected President.
posted by The World Famous at 2:46 PM on October 3, 2011


Criticize specific diet plans if you want, but to say that controlling your food intake "doesn't work" to manage your weight is really just absurd on its face

To quote from one of muddgirl's links above (which everyone in this discussion should really read):
So Hirsch and his colleagues, including Rudolph Leibel, who is now at Columbia University, repeated the experiment and repeated it again. Every time the result was the same. The weight, so painstakingly lost, came right back. But since this was a research study, the investigators were also measuring metabolic changes, psychiatric conditions, body temperature and pulse. And that led them to a surprising conclusion: fat people who lost large amounts of weight might look like someone who was never fat, but they were very different. In fact, by every metabolic measurement, they seemed like people who were starving.

Before the diet began, the fat subjects' metabolism was normal - the number of calories burned per square meter of body surface was no different from that of people who had never been fat. But when they lost weight, they were burning as much as 24 percent fewer calories per square meter of their surface area than the calories consumed by those who were naturally thin.
Even while weight loss was being sustained, it had a host of side effects, including ratcheting down metabolic rate to oppose the weight loss -- a protective effect that you would see in a starving person of normal weight. And to top it off, as soon as the subjects were released from the study they quickly rebounded to their previous weight. I don't know, maybe this counts as "working" to you, but I sure wouldn't call it that.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:47 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


You can do the job if you ain't fit. But not as well as if you are.

I'm sure that's true, but the question is really how much it matters. FDR was in a wheel chair.
posted by empath at 2:49 PM on October 3, 2011


I used to be one of those "just diet to lose the weight" people too. But now that I am a health writer, I meet people who eat the exact same unprocessed natural organic diet I eat, and who are struggling with their weight. The thing is, once you have been overweight for a long time, it's likely you may have conditions that make it harder to lose the weight. It's not simple at all.
posted by melissam at 2:49 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is, by the way, why FDR was an extremely unpopular President who got almost nothing done during his short stint in office. If only he had been able to get up from that chair!

This is, by the way, why he kept that he could not get out of that chair a secret.

Or why JFK kept his crippling back pain a secret.

And why The West Wing examined what would happen if a President in a similar situation elected not to keep such a secret. Because you can't, anymore.


World Famous--a commercial litigation "campaign" is the same as a national electoral one? Leading a litigation team--of people you presumably have hired, and may be able to fire--is the same as leading an electorate, and dealing with 535 independent elected officials? Becoming a symbol in a courtroom is the same as becoming a symbol all over the world?
posted by oneironaut at 2:50 PM on October 3, 2011


I can't believe the volume of horseshit oneironaut is spouting here.

Anybody remember Tip O'Neill? One of the greatest politicians of all time? Not exactly skinny, was he?

Do you really imagine that any accommodations required by the leader of the free world will not be provided?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:51 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


World Famous--a commercial litigation "campaign" is the same as a national electoral one? Leading a litigation team--of people you presumably have hired, and may be able to fire--is the same as leading an electorate, and dealing with 535 independent elected officials? Becoming a symbol in a courtroom is the same as becoming a symbol all over the world?

Yes, exactly the same. No difference at all. None. Not a single thing different. Yes, that's exactly what I said. Precisely. There's absolutely no way you totally missed my point on purpose.
posted by The World Famous at 2:53 PM on October 3, 2011


> Do you really imagine that any accommodations required by the leader of the free world will not be provided?

The Secret Service will totally charge Christie for two seats on Air Force One.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:54 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


gurple, do you think that a conventionally unattractive person (and I think I know what you're saying here, but could you give an example or two) has 1) ever been elected President or 2) has been elected President since the late 1800's, when photos in newspapers became more widespread?

I can't believe we've gotten this far and not mentioned LBJ. Admittedly, he wasn't elected president initially, but he did get a 2nd term.
posted by epersonae at 2:55 PM on October 3, 2011


I'm reading this argument about how a fat guy can never be the inspirational symbol that a nation rallies around, and I'm remembering all those folks who said a black guy couldn't be the inspirational symbol that a nation rallies around (they founded that Tea Party thing). Or all the people who are still convinced our nation could never rally around a woman. Really, if this reminds me of anything, it reminds me of the endless hand-wringing about all the reasons a woman can never be our president. Prejudice is prejudice, no matter what your justification for it.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:56 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]



I'm sure that's true, but the question is really how much it matters. FDR was in a wheel chair.


I think it matters a lot more now than it did then. He wouldn't have been able to keep it a secret now, and he went to extraordinary lengths to successfully do it then. Whether he would have been re-elected twice times had this been known is, of course, impossible to answer. But he was a smart politician, and he had a deep sense that he wouldn't be.

Hell, there was a big debate over whether to show him in a wheelchair in his memorial on the Mall, as I recall. He is in a wheelchair in that memorial, and the whole thing is wheelchair accessible, which is quite cool.

From Wikipedia (I know, I know).

"At the time, Roosevelt was able to convince many people that he was getting better, which he believed was essential if he was to run for public office again. Fitting his hips and legs with iron braces, he laboriously taught himself to walk a short distance by swiveling his torso while supporting himself with a cane. In private, he used a wheelchair, but he was careful never to be seen in it in public. Great care was also taken to prevent his being portrayed by the press in a way which would highlight his disability. Only two photographs are known to exist of FDR which were taken while he was in his wheelchair; only four seconds of film exist of the "walk" he achieved after his illness.[50] He usually appeared in public standing upright, supported on one side by an aide or one of his sons. FDR used a car with specially designed hand controls, which provided him further mobility.[51]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fdr#Paralytic_illness if you want to check the footnotes.
posted by oneironaut at 2:56 PM on October 3, 2011


You directed a few comments at me handbanana, and frankly, I'm just really surprised to see you take this defensive position. Clearly you think it's really stupid and unfriendly of me to factor in your age into this political conversation. You'd rather I handled this personally and not on a public level. Well I would hate to be "complacent" on this particular point but I suppose that is what you ask of me. To not be critical.

I don't find it "stupid/unfriendly" it is simply immaterial. If you took the time to look up my info, since apparently my age is of some concern or bearing, you'd be able to tell the following. I am in my mid twenties, I live in Metro Detroit, I work on campaigns, I am a graduate student studying for a Masters of Public Administration. These are the things that make me excited. Politics is something I study, write about, am working on being published... I'd compare myself to an obsessed football fan for a fair comparison.

Notice how I didn't ask you how "overweight" you are? Similar to my age, it has no bearing on this conversation. I'm more intrigued with content of how people feel about something, even if it is something I don't necessarily agree with.

So let's review some of your comments. When you say, "its not a moral failure, but let's be honest, no one wakes up all of a sudden weighing in at 350 lbs overnight" it's kind of like you're judging Christie by his weight, tangentially? Like it's up to me to figure out if it's a moral failure, maybe.

I'm not judging Christie, others will. The media will, and that does bring the issue into the public light. Being overweight is not a stop sign for running for office, nor is a moral failure in my opinion. Does it matter? Yes. Why? Image is important when running for office. For example, I worked with someone who was running for office and needed to convince key constituents to vote for him/her. Him/her was told it would be in bad taste for him/her to be driving around in a Porsche or his/her Land Rover. Why? It should on opulence of wealth, that wouldn't sit right with the area. So him/her went out and bought an American manufactured car, because in this region, it is important. Another easy example would be Hillary Clinton. Her outfits, make up, and so on were picked apart for at a level no man would need to endure. I don't agree with it. I can't stop it. It is what it is.

When you say "In politics, its fair game," that's kind of like you shitting on someone for being fat within a certain context, which we all have to admit is somewhat appropriate? You say "Doesn't make it right, but its a matter of life." It's almost as if you're really wise on this one. Like you've really been through the ringer and this is the idea you've settled on.. everything is game? So I challenge you to tell me if you're really in a position to hold my hand on this one. For god's sake if you're 18 let me have a field day at your expense.


You've been trying to have a field day, but I do have some experience on what I'm speaking on. I'm not an expert, there isn't always a right way or answer. The more you learn, the more you realize you don't know. That is the fun quest of knowledge.


You are in fact advocating the judgment of an individual based on their weight because that's what you see happen in the media. And perhaps that's the only point that you're trying to make; you're just parroting it. But the point stands that not all people who defend Christie on this issue suffer from "fat acceptance complacency." Maybe we're just not dicks.

Look, I'm not going to vote for someone based on something like weight, or what they wear. The media is in the business of selling news. It is a really stupid thing to do, but it has an impact unfortunately. I'm not "parroting" anything, this is what happens. Remember the whole "Obama is in a crazy church!OMG!"? The media found something small, and rather stupid and blew it up into a two month parade. Damage control followed after that event.

I'll one up you on this. I have an extremely low opinion of politicians, that is to say, the profession in general.

There is your bias entering the conversation. Politics is something I find important, and something that needs to be more based on facts, educated opinions, and materials. I'm sorry you view is so dim. The ugliness of campaigns and politics in general can have the effect of voter apathy.

So. I know a lot of honorable, overweight doctors who have worked their entire lives helping sick kids and the elderly, hell I have two in my own family. And if you or anyone else have the audacity to think you know shit about anything with regards to the contributions that they've made to the community, based on their weight, well then you can mefimail my ass with an explanation and perhaps an apology.
posted by phaedon at 1:48 PM on October 3


That's great. The contributions of those overweight doctors are important. I doubt that your family members whom are doctors would tell someone 100 lbs over weight that they are healthy? I'm sure they are aware of the risks associated with it, and would carry out their oath to bring awareness to an issue.

I'm not minimizing them by mentioning its important to be healthy. I have friends who are overweight that are wonderful mothers, fathers, and friends of various professions. It seems I hit a nerve with you. I'm not sure why, as promoting healthy life styles is good public policy. It shouldn't be done to degrade unhealthy behavior choices, but to educate, promote, and give the tools needed to make changes to those behaviors.
posted by handbanana at 2:56 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crabby, it appears that Tip was trim when he was younger, and not so bad when he was older (although not exactly Jack LaLanne). I don't think he was obese. And, way back in this thread, I made a distinction between heavy young and heavy old.
posted by oneironaut at 3:01 PM on October 3, 2011


Some of the trimmest and fittest members of congress are the biggest dicks. Coincidence?
posted by found missing at 3:03 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Epersonae, LBJ had charisma in (ahem) spades.

World Famous, I wasn't trying to miss your point, I thought I answered it. You were making the point, I thought, that you have seen obese commercial litigators do things that look like, or appear to you, to be the same as politicians do. I was disagreeing, that I do not think they are doing the same thing. If that is incorrect, I apologize, please educate me further.
posted by oneironaut at 3:05 PM on October 3, 2011


The Chris Christie-Madoff Attack Ad That Writes Itself
posted by homunculus at 3:06 PM on October 3, 2011


Come to think of it, our Congress, which seems to be pretty thin overall, is entirely dysfunctional and historically unpopular. Let's try a new approach.
posted by found missing at 3:07 PM on October 3, 2011


Found missing...you have an excellent point there. Vanity can be taken the other way. Weiner, Chris Lee, and Adrian Fenty (former mayor of DC) all seemed to think that personal fitness stood for political acumen, achievement, and morality. It doesn't--the answer is somewhere in a somewhat soft middle. All Weiner's fitness gave him was an ability to throw phones at staffers with aplomb.
posted by oneironaut at 3:07 PM on October 3, 2011


I didn't mean biggest dicks literally.
posted by found missing at 3:09 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The enfeeblement produced by being overweight or even obese is much exaggerated above, it does not automatically make you the equivalent of a ninety year old man like Byrd.

Teddy Roosevelt, one of the heavier presidents in history, was campaigning in 1912 - several years after his two terms as president - and an assassin shot him, after which he got up on stage and gave a ninety-minute speech. The hand-wringing over whether an overweight or obese person could ever be able to walk around a conference as vigorously or be as inspiring as a skinny person is overwrought and silly.
posted by XMLicious at 3:14 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


And I have heard far more fat jokes from the right about Michelle Obama than both

What?

That doesn't even make sense.

Late night talk show hosts do have a field day with Christie's weight in their monologues. Haven't heard anything similar about Michelle Obama. Not that it would make any more sense if they did.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:16 PM on October 3, 2011


Roosevelt was heavy, but robust, as the bullet incident shows. Is Christie robust? Then fine.

Not walking. Moving fast, while jetlagged. The inspiring part was a bit too far, I admit. It was in the context of responding to World Famous, in things a President has to do that a corporate litigator does not. Christie is obviously inspiring to many Republicans right now.
posted by oneironaut at 3:17 PM on October 3, 2011


I love fat people. Some of my best friends are fat people.

Oh yeah, they deserve the same right to have a family and get married, like the rest of us.

Just not to my daughter, of course.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:19 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


You were making the point, I thought, that you have seen obese commercial litigators do things that look like, or appear to you, to be the same as politicians do.

I see overweight commercial litigators work harder every single day than any politician I have ever had the pleasure of working with. That's my point.
posted by The World Famous at 3:21 PM on October 3, 2011


And, that's just the stairs!
posted by found missing at 3:23 PM on October 3, 2011


oneironaut: My problem with your argument is that you seem to be saying that it is physically impossible to be president unless one is in peak physical condition. When presented with the fact that FDR obviously was good at his job while being unable to run marathons, you brought up the fact that he felt he had to keep his disability a secret. But that is a problem with public perception (one Christie clearly has as well based on this thread). Clearly, FDR was up to the job, regardless of how the public might have received his disability. And we have no reason at all to think Christie can't physically handle the job, either, regardless of how you or anyone else might perceive his weight.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:25 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is Christie robust? Then fine.

Once we're at the point of acknowledging that knowing someone's fat doesn't mean you know whether or not he or she might well be able to literally take a bullet and keep going, why the hell does it matter at all? Shouldn't you be asking whether any candidate is robust, including the sinewy man-beauty ones, not just the overweight or obese ones?

This is what people are saying here - it doesn't fucking matter whether or not he's fat and people are being fuckwads to pretend that it's some unusual disqualifying circumstance or an especially revealing characteristic for determining his fitness to be president.
posted by XMLicious at 3:32 PM on October 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


And we have no reason at all to think Christie can't physically handle the job, either, regardless of how you or anyone else might perceive his weight.

Ever since the Nixon vs. Kennedy debate, public image especially on television is a major component of what makes a candidate electable. It's not exactly fair when it comes down to qualifications. On the other hand, Kennedy was considered to be a better debater by people who saw the debate on television. Nixon was considered better at the debate by those who listened on the radio. Kennedy won the election. Maybe it's not fair, but at least in that election it probably produced a better president (for the time he was in office anyway).

I'd really like to see us come to a point where someone with a severely disabling disease could become elected. Stephen Hawking is brilliant though not really a politician. Even so, he's probably more qualified in many ways than so many people who hold office in the US. Image takes such precedence in elections now that people like Sarah Palin rank high in the polls even when they quit their single elected office halfway though the term and only pretend to run thereafter, all while sucking as much PAC money from the gullible as possible.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:35 PM on October 3, 2011


Even so, he's probably more qualified in many ways than so many people who hold office in the US.

He certainly has a safer stance on illegal aliens.
posted by found missing at 3:37 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


He certainly has a safer stance on illegal aliens.

Ha! Nicely done!

(not being snarky FYI, sincerely liked it ...)
posted by krinklyfig at 3:40 PM on October 3, 2011


T. Roosevelt had already proven himself robust in the Rough Riders. He was the original tough guy before the bullet.
posted by oneironaut at 3:51 PM on October 3, 2011


I present to you William Howard Taft by the fine Two Man Gentlemen Band.
posted by introp at 4:13 PM on October 3, 2011


George IV, You Are Too Fat To Be King

Have you SEEN the U.S. President? We could have a revolution on our hands!

A SEXY revolution
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:26 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


T. Roosevelt had already proven himself robust in the Rough Riders. He was the original tough guy before the bullet.

How is that an answer to why fat guys need to be specially evaluated for robustness, but skinny guys don't? You aren't requiring the skinny guys to have wrestled bears and skewered five Cuban colonials on a bayonette at once, and performed the rest of T. R.'s 12 impossible labors, before saying "Fine" and admitting them as eligible for the office of POTUS, so why do the fat guys have to pass that test? Does being skinny sort of count as advanced placement or something and automatically get you credit for being able to take at least half a bullet?
posted by XMLicious at 4:37 PM on October 3, 2011


I don't think any conventionally unattractive person could be elected President in 2012, fat or skinny. That's a pretty scary thing.

That's what I was gonna say a long time ago but forgot. Ever since 1960, it's been mostly a beauty contest, and a full-on beauty contest since 1980. But you all already discussed that ... ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 4:39 PM on October 3, 2011


As a sort of handicap, at primary debates and for the last x months before the election all candidates appearing in public should be required to wear Abe Lincoln masks and ghillie suits to level the playing field.
posted by XMLicious at 4:45 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I know for sure is that if Christie is nominated the selection of a Vice Presidential candidate is particularly important. I certainly hope he would be more thoughtful than McCain. Christie's clinical obesity certainly raises the probability that he will be incapacitated/die in office. BTW I am not aware of any convincing evidence that his weight would be a necessary and/or sufficient condition to be concerned about decision in making in other areas. However, I am confident it would significantly alter the image of America through out the world.
posted by rmhsinc at 4:56 PM on October 3, 2011


I always find that the "you brought this fatness on yourself" crowd rarely consider the millions and millions and millions of dollars that is spent on psychologically training people to want plentiful, cheap, fatty food. I mean, there are office buildings full of scientific and marketing geniuses whose only mission at work is to make you eat more corn syrup or Double Downs.

Conspicuous consumption has been a hallmark of American culture since the early 20th century. It's innately tied to much of the American way of life: Big cars, big guns, big hamburgers. I mean, yes, we all make the individual choice to eat that donut or not go to the gym today, but it seems pretty.. lacking in awareness, I guess, to so dismissively say that people who possibly respond to that marketing and that culture have character flaws so deep that they are ineligible for public office.
posted by jess at 5:17 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think that we ought to regard politicians and pundits who don't know what a supermarket laser scanner is, who can't remember how many houses they own, who are gambling addicts, or who are addicted to Oxycontin, or who owe Tiffany's $300,000, as superior to fat Mr. Christie, whose one vice, maybe, might be ordering cookie towers from Harry & David (I have no idea what he actually eats).

We have plutocrats in power. How they express their plutocracy is just a matter of taste. Chacun à son gout. Christie is merely blatant.
posted by bad grammar at 5:32 PM on October 3, 2011


Until science figures out a method to beat the body's set point system and metabolic damage occurring over many years, I don't think it's wise to tell people that they can get thin by eating better.

The various diets floating around are generally unhelpful in the long run, agreed. What works much better for a person's health is not to concentrate on weight but on managing a healthy diet along with maintaining regular exercise. If you eat healthy and you get enough physical exercise, it's possible to be overweight in the classic sense but still healthy. I don't believe Christie is in that category, however, and appears to be struggling with food choices and lack of physical activity. I don't think it's fair to judge him based on his struggles with his weight, but then again a short, bald man would likely face equal challenges getting elected to the highest office in the US, even if he were very thin and athletic, especially if he were conventionally unattractive in other ways. Not saying it's right nor fair, but Christie isn't known for caring much about his appearance (nor fairness), and he has more control over his health than other people do over their innate superficial qualities like height.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:34 PM on October 3, 2011


Christie's clinical obesity certainly raises the probability that he will be incapacitated/die in office.

Does it actually make a significant difference in the likelihood that he will die specifically during those next four years, though? Casually looking at this chart (which claims to be based on CDC statistics) it appears that for everyone as a whole, both fat and skinny Americans, in 2004 someone ten years older than Christie was twice as likely to die from all possible causes compared to someone Christie's age, so a difference of about a quarter of one percent overall chance of dying if I'm gauging it correctly: from a 1 in 400 chance for someone Christie's age to a 1 in 200 chance for someone a decade older.

Does Christie's obesity make more or less of a difference than an extra ten years of age would make? And even if the obesity makes the same or more of a difference than age does, if we're talking about a fraction of one percent difference in the overall chances of the elected president dying in office, is this really a substantial and rational reason to choose someone else over Christie, when the skinny candidates in the race might well have their own health risk factors, just ones you can't immediately see when looking at them?

(Or indeed, there might be obvious factors like age or gender which in a statistical analysis actually make more of a difference in the likelihood of dying than obesity - but I'm not confident that people are really so concerned with estimating and accounting for all possibilities here.)
posted by XMLicious at 5:40 PM on October 3, 2011



You don't think there's anything to the idea of having an obese president is a terrible example for a national with a huge obesity problem in young children/adolescents?

Obama smokes?
posted by the noob at 6:13 PM on October 3, 2011


[We have metatalk which is where meta-commentary goes, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:16 PM on October 3, 2011


How they express their plutocracy is just a matter of taste. Chacun à son gout. Christie is merely blatant.

Except that being fat is hardly a sign of plutocracy or even wealth in general anymore; quite the opposite. Bush II is the model plutocrat ... slim, conventionally attractive, suspiciously good teeth, no glasses. (And possibly a closet alcoholic and maybe a nose candy habit to boot, but what sort of red-blooded white American doesn't enjoy some whiskey now and then, and hey, the 80s were crazy. Game on.)

Being fat is for the proletariat; for people who drink canned beer and eat junk food and can't afford personal trainers or laser lipo or kicking off work at 3pm to go on a stroll around the links with their svelte, attractive buddies.

Christie's girth is what marks him as an outsider to the political elite that he aspires to be part of. To the New York elite, he probably looks like someone who would shit in a bidet.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:17 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


How is that an answer to why fat guys need to be specially evaluated for robustness, but skinny guys don't?

There's actually evidence that being too skinny is also correlated with shorter lifespan -- especially for smokers, of course, but for non-smokers as well. (At least, in middle-age and up, the age bracket most politicians fall into.)
posted by en forme de poire at 6:39 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


mattbucher wrote: It didn't stop him from getting elected governor. Believe it or not--sometimes Americans do listen to someone's ideas.

Mike Huckabee was quite obese when he was thrust into the Governor's Office in Arkansas. He supposedly lost a bunch of weight after being diagnosed with diabetes. Given that there is no resemblance whatsoever between the two, I have concluded that the person presently claiming to be Mike Huckabee is not in fact the real Mike Huckabee.

That's not to say that the people of Arkansas were voting for his ideas when they elected him. They almost always vote for the incumbent.
posted by wierdo at 6:41 PM on October 3, 2011


His weight is actually a concern. The presidency is a very stressful job and I can't stand the thought of him keeling over dead and paving the way for a President Bachmann (which is how he would have to lock up the Teabag/Fundy vote) were he to run.
posted by Renoroc at 7:03 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm in the same weight class as Christie. Congress, mayor, governor, I'd vote for someone our size, but this is beyond all that. I want someone better than me in the Oval Office. Sometimes leaders sneak in with weaknesses we can't see. This one's apparent. Maybe it's down to his glands or something he can't help, but more likely it's due to traits like impulsiveness and lack of discipline. Show me otherwise and I'll reconsider.

Even I've managed to shed some pounds to look better for important events. Running for president is the biggest prom ever and he's not making an effort. Sure I'm projecting but I'm probably not far off the mark.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 7:08 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, who let /b/ in?
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:32 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I hadn't much thought anything about the guy's size (I'm not even sure I noticed) until everyone started making a big deal about. I was too busy being appalled by his politics.
posted by _paegan_ at 7:49 PM on October 3, 2011


I didn't even know what he looked like until this thread.
posted by desjardins at 7:51 PM on October 3, 2011


His weight is actually a concern. The presidency is a very stressful job and I can't stand the thought of him keeling over dead...

Yeah, people keep repeating that. But like I was asking above is it really a concern of any magnitude worth mentioning? Is the difference it makes in the likelihood of him dying while in office any greater than the difference made by another candidate being a few years older or something like a candidate having been exposed to greater risk of cancer, like Giuliani and other New Yorkers having breathed in all the dust from 9/11? (I haven't heard if Giuliani is running again, that's just an example.)

And whatever degree of difference it does make, is it something tiny like a few percentile points or even a sub-1% chance?

Because if it's vanishingly small next to the larger issues of the campaign and the larger issues facing the country, but it gets blown up disproportionately, that's what makes it look like people are trying to leverage some kind of prejudice, or indulging in prejudice of their own. Sort of like conservatives insistently emphasizing Obama's middle name at every opportunity during the 2008 election.

Hell, here's a thought - Obama has already been through four years of this stressful grueling health-sundering experience of serving as POTUS. Surely the shock and strain of that experience, which we're all worried might lethally shatter Christie's obesity-enfeebled constitution, has already shortened Obama's life and put him at greater risk of mortality during the subsequent four years... right? Now why is it I think we aren't going to hear the same wailing and gnashing of teeth about any reduced odds of Obama living out the 2013-2016 term?

Yeah, looking at the statistics, four out of forty-four individuals have died of natural causes after some period of exposure to the wracking mortal pressure of the office while still there... based on the sample we have that could be as high as a 9.09% increased chance of death! Gosh, a little obesity must seem like a reassuringly safe alternative to Obama for all of the people so vitally concerned by the possibility of the elected president dying in office.
posted by XMLicious at 8:00 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


HELLO I AM SO FAT I COULD EAT YOU FOR A LIGHT SNACK.

I gave up on trying to be skinny, oh, a decade or two ago. I basically look exactly like my uncle and his dad, my grandpa - six foot or so, 225-250ish pounds (give or take) and broad and barrel-shaped. My only full brother is skinny. Other family members are also skinny. Some of us are naturally hefty.

But it really has little to do with our diets. I really don't eat that much for how big I am. In fact I often forget for a day or two at a time that I even need to eat at all - only remembering after I find myself dizzy and ravenous. Conversely brother used to go out and get a dozen tacos or arby's sandwiches and power through them just for a light lunch. I'm still pretty sure he could out-eat me.

We're nearly genetically identical, but if you stand us side-by-side there are - hah - huge differences. My bones and skeleton are much thicker and stouter than my brothers. My shoulders are wider. He's more wiry and generally narrow.

So. I'm arguably overweight. But I'm far from inactive or unhealthy, nor am I "addicted to food" nor do I not get enough exercise. People who have met me often remark how I never really hold still - even when I'm sleeping. I'm constantly fidgeting. I walk and bike everywhere. I can pace a long bike ride at 15-20+ MPH and sprint in excess of 30 MPH.

I just got done with 5 days of back to back electronic music shows and dancing where I've probably walked in total over 20-30 miles up and down Seattle's hills and danced hard like the house music maniac I am for as much as 6+ hours a day, and operating on a mere few hours of sleep.

By dancing hard I mean: imagine a 3-4 hour long aerobics class run double-time. Now add the tension/strength training of yoga and maybe some Judo or Jiu-jitsu practice. Now do it in the dark on a slippery, uneven dance floor packed cheek to jowl with 500 other people, but don't bump into anyone or crush any toes or spill any drinks, including your own. Now go hike a mile up a hill to the next venue and do it again. Why? Because you can get higher than the sun on your own endorphins. It's like a runner's high but 100x better 'cause you get to do it with music and a bunch of people doing the same thing.

So we're talking about burning 5,000+ kcals a day where I'm surviving on no more than a sandwich eaten while walking between shows, or a small bowl of noodles and veggies. That's hard core. Many people might drop dead from exhaustion.


So, yeah, whatever. Chances are good I'm fatter than you and healthier than you. I can probably out-bike and out-walk you, and I'm pretty confident you're going to lose if we throw down in a dance-off.

I'm not saying I'm typical for someone my size. And I'm not defending the very real and dangerous health risks of severe obesity, nor it's general unattractiveness. I'm just saying be careful what snap judgments you make because someone is pudgy. They might be someone like me where there's a whole lot of muscle mass and energy under that layer of fat. It might not be something they can control due to other health issues. It may also even be a product of being economically disenfranchised.

And I like my fat ass. It's fun to shake on a dance floor, it looks great in a good pair of jeans, it's pleasant to sit on and chicks dig it 'cause it's comfortable, warm and cuddly.
posted by loquacious at 8:43 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm wondering, what policy decisions has he made as Governor of New Jersey that he would have made differently if he were thin?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:13 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's good to know that in America, you can be whatever you want to be. Unless you're fat.

Companies hiring new employees can choose skinnier candidates and feel justified to use fatness as a criteria for not hiring someone. If the same companies were to turn down a person because of their race, gender, or religion, there would be enraged groups demanding apologies (at least), but I (as someone who IS obese) never see the same support for overweight people. It has been publicly acknowledged that overweight people don't get the same consideration for jobs, don't get the same salaries, and are treated like less of a person by the general population. Why? Because not only are we disgusting to look at, we're stupid, too. And, we don't have feelings, so it's okay to use our body as a punchline to a joke.

Judging a person because of their shape or weight is much like judging a book by its cover. You see the weight, but it's completely taken out of context. You don't know the health problems, the diet, or the actual physical activity the person may or may not be capable of. You only have half the story, but you look at the fat person and assume that you know their whole life story. What's worse is when you are treated as MENTALLY, INTELLECTUALLY inferior because of a physical characteristic. At least once in my daily dealings with people (at the bank, post office, or at some store), I'm treated as if I have a contagious disease by at least one person per day. People seem to feel that they're justified in treating me like shit because they don't like the way I look. They don't know or care about the serious health problems I have and that merely cutting calories and taking an extra walk won't make much of a difference in my appearance.

I can't help but feel some ounce of sympathy for anyone who is in my position of being treated badly by a shallow, shameless public. And for those that say that one shouldn't be allowed to be president simply because of his or her weight.. wow. That kind of reminds me of... I don't know... survival of the fittest (no pun intended)... which reminds me of, yes, some guy who thought that it was okay to enact a mass genocide just because he didn't like the religion, sexuality, or race of a segment of his population. Not to compare anyone to Hitler or anything.

[How is it that supposedly liberal, open-minded people are the ones who always end up making me feel the worst about my body?! Why don't you all take care of your own bodies however you like and stop concerning yourself with mine?]
posted by Mael Oui at 10:16 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's good to know that in America, you can be whatever you want to be. Unless you're fat.

Or mentally ill, or not an extrovert, or look funny, or on welfare, or a-relgious, or gay, or Muslim, or...
posted by edgeways at 10:29 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


This thread reminds me of how I've heard some guys say stuff like, "I like a girl who takes care of herself" and "eats healthy and exercises" when what he really means is "I don't like the way bigger women look." And then turn around and date a non-exercising, smoking, rail-thin model.

I mean it always seemed like such a lame euphemism. Did they REALLY need to go through these weird mental gymnastics to justify the fact they didn't like fat women?
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:31 AM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I read somewhere that maybe fat people don't have less willpower, just more hunger. But everybody seems to think that while we can have different levels of willpower, we all experience the same appetite for food.

Also, when people see an obese person they always assume he eats like a pig, stuffing himself with burgers and pizza. In reality, just one soda a day above your perfectly healthy diet can amount to a weight gain of 4kg a year. Do this for 10 years and you'll just have 40kg of fat that can be extremely hard to get rid of.

While the solution is easily formulated (eat less-exercise more), putting that in practice often requires big lifestyle changes that not everyone can afford, and very long periods of intense frustration that are very hard to go through.
posted by radiobishop at 2:01 AM on October 4, 2011


In reality, just one soda a day above your perfectly healthy diet can amount to a weight gain of 4kg a year. Do this for 10 years and you'll just have 40kg of fat that can be extremely hard to get rid of.

There was an article a month or so ago suggesting that it is more complicated, especially for someone who wants to reverse that kind of slow gain:
According to the researchers, it is easy to gain weight unwittingly from a very small imbalance in the number of calories consumed over calories used. Just 10 extra calories a day is all it takes to raise the body weight of the average person by 20 pounds in 30 years, the authors wrote.

Furthermore, the same increase in calories will result in more pounds gained by a heavier person than by a lean one — and a greater proportion of the weight gained by the heavier person will be body fat. This happens because lean tissue (muscles, bones and organs) uses more calories than the same weight of fat.

In an interview, Dr. Hall said the longstanding assumption that cutting 3,500 calories will produce a one-pound weight loss indefinitely is inaccurate and can produce discouraging results both for dieters and for policy changes like the proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

If the 3,500-calorie rule applied consistently in real life, it would result in twice the weight loss that the new model predicts, the authors wrote. This helps to explain why even the most diligent dieters often fail to reach weight loss goals that were based on the old rule.

A more realistic result, he said, is that cutting out 250 calories a day — the amount in a small bar of chocolate or half a cup of premium ice cream — would lead to a weight loss of about 25 pounds over three years, with half that loss occurring the first year. ...

Still, obese people would have to cut out more calories to lose weight than it took to gain the extra pounds. Although reaching a weight of 220 pounds may have been caused by consuming, say, 250 calories more than were used each day, losing that weight requires much larger reductions in calorie intake. According to Dr. Hall’s calculations, an extra 220 calories a day are now maintaining the new higher weight.

For the population to return to average body weights of the 1970s, obese individuals, who now represent 14 percent of the population, would have to cut out more than 500 calories a day, the new model shows.
posted by Forktine at 6:04 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's good to know that in America, you can be whatever you want to be. Unless you're fat.

Or mentally ill, or not an extrovert, or look funny, or on welfare, or a-relgious, or gay, or Muslim, or...


According to Fox News, President Obama has at various times been each one of those depending on the situation.
posted by Fizz at 6:15 AM on October 4, 2011


Word is Christie's not running
posted by zarq at 7:41 AM on October 4, 2011


"The Trenton Consensus: Christie Won't Run"
posted by Jahaza at 7:58 AM on October 4, 2011


Yup Zarq.. he's out. Guess he has lots of time to hit the gym now.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:04 AM on October 4, 2011


It's good to know that in America, you can be whatever you want to be. Unless you're fat.

Or mentally ill, or not an extrovert, or look funny, or on welfare, or a-relgious, or gay, or Muslim, or...


Or short.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:19 AM on October 4, 2011


Sooooo, this whole fucking thread was just about pointless?
posted by edgeways at 9:54 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pointless schmointless. There's some really great woman-standing-next-to-a-closed-door footage right now on this live press conference feed.
posted by cortex at 9:59 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sooooo, this whole fucking thread was just about pointless?

Wait, you're just now catching on to that fact?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:01 AM on October 4, 2011


1. Look, I said no like a billion times.
2. But okay, so much pressure means I had to think it over.
3. And I was fucken right, so the answer is still no, christ amighty.
4. Abraham Lincoln.
5. It was neat being a vapor candidate.
6. Questions?
posted by cortex at 10:05 AM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Q: [inaudible]
A: Who knows, maybe I'll run for President some day, I'm not a fucken mind-reader.

Q: [inaudible]
A: I didn't want to run for President, people just kept being all like This Is A Thing and shit, so me and the wife thought it over, and, nope.

Q: [inaudible]
A: No.
Q: [laughter]
A: But seriously, no followup, that question sucked.

Q: [inaudible]
A: Nope, and my staff rules. Casual use of the phrase "in my gut" not intended specifically to make cortex laugh.

Q: [inaudible]
A: [NBC stream kicks it for the forth time, I get to hear a commercial instead of answer]

Q: [inaudible]
A: My family was behind me either way, fuck the press who say otherwise.
posted by cortex at 10:09 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Q: [inaudible]
A: I care about the country, so Obama needs to not get re-elected, also being Gov. of NJ rules and maybe I'll run for Pres someday, who knows.

Q: [inaudible]
A: No regrets, Gov'ship rules. Thought it over, nopity nope.

Q: [inaudible]
A: Look, that's between me and whoever I want to talk to, you don't get to pass messages for me. Also, Obama sucks and he's failed America and also litmus test.

Q: [inaudible]
A: Nothing's changed, Jersey's still Jersey even when all you dinks don't show up to listen to me talk. Also, me dropping out of the race means no more cats on TV, which is NJ local reporting joke.
Q: [laughter]

Q: [inaudible]
A: I'm not endorsing any specific Obama-defeaters today.

Q: [inaudible]
A: I do not know why people play drums so loudly. Also, Nancy Reagan is cool and fuck you I'm not telling you what we said to each other at dinner and fuck eavesdroppers too.

Q: [inaudible]
A: That is a pointless question. Also, NJers love me and would miss me if I ran for President.
posted by cortex at 10:16 AM on October 4, 2011


Q: [this is going on longer than expected]
A: Yeah, and it's not really very interesting, maybe I'll stop paraphrasing and go see what's up with the iPhone thing instead.
posted by cortex at 10:17 AM on October 4, 2011


*sits fat ass on cortex's keyboard*
posted by loquacious at 10:19 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sooooo, this whole fucking thread was just about pointless?
posted by edgeways at 12:54 PM on October 4 [+] [!]


Of course not! The point was to provide a place for people to "rationally" crow about uppity fat people.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:26 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


whatever you might think of Apple, they have a pretty good share of the PC market now. 23%? impressive.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:37 AM on October 4, 2011


Those "no fatties" lunch counters are really shooting themselves in the foot.
posted by rosswald at 11:49 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Companies hiring new employees can choose skinnier candidates and feel justified to use fatness as a criteria for not hiring someone. If the same companies were to turn down a person because of their race, gender, or religion, there would be enraged groups demanding apologies (at least), but I (as someone who IS obese) never see the same support for overweight people.

Short men, the physically unattractive, and people who don't present as gender-normative (whether or not they're actually gay) also are discriminated against all the time, without legal protection. So you've got a lot of company. But yeah, that doesn't make the injustice of it sting any less.
posted by availablelight at 6:35 PM on October 4, 2011


It's good to know that in America, you can be whatever you want to be. Unless you're fat.

Or mentally ill, or not an extrovert, or look funny, or on welfare, or a-relgious, or gay, or Muslim, or...
@edgeways

True, but it seems to be less socially acceptable to make distasteful comments about people who are mentally or physically handicapped or people who are gay. I mean, much like racist, sexist, or anti-religious comments, people will very vocally stand up for those groups. I'm not in any way suggesting that it shouldn't be that way. I'm just saying that there is support and a standard that we don't accept judging someone's merits based on those characteristics. Of course, people do say stupid things about any and all groups, but that's where the support comes in to say that's not okay. Rarely does anyone stand up for people who are overweight. I guess because there's the thought that that would be advocating an 'unhealthy lifestyle' (once again, everyone assuming they know why you're overweight in the first place). At the very least, you're treated as if you've made a bad choice and you don't deserve any sympathy because you are 100% to blame, which just isn't always the case. Being overweight is the one case where a physical characteristic is seen as reason enough to judge someone's mental and intellectual merits. How is that fair? And how is that seen as socially acceptable? Why is it okay to make fun of fat people but it's not okay to make comments about [insert group here]? As I said, in any other case, if someone attempted to make those sorts of assumptions (based on race, gender, or sexuality, for instance) there would be a major brouhaha.

[Ha, I DO agree with mrgrimm about being short, too. Yeah, it's COMPLETELY acceptable for a stranger to make fun of you for being short. America is NOT a short person-friendly country. I'm 4'10" and I never know if the problem is that I'm so overweight, so short, or a combination of the two. I just know I'm repulsive to the general public. At least I'm in good company being overweight, but I don't see many others quite as short as I am. Whenever I get down about my height, I just repeat to myself 'Judy Garland, Judy Garland' or 'Edith Piaf, Edith Piaf'.]

[Incidentally, I don't eat like a pig. I don't eat fast food. I don't eat junk food. I don't eat hamburgers, pizza, potato chips, soda, most sweets (okay, RARELY for sweets, but not enough to be as heavy as I am).. I pretty much eat lean chicken and a lot of vegetables. This is the thing I hate: You have no idea what my diet is. You have no idea of my physical activity. You have no idea of what health problems I might have nor what medicines I'm on.. AND how long I've been on those medicines. It's not always a lack of willpower. I'm sick of people scolding me like I'm a little girl who's been sneaking treats all day long. Get a life already. And, no, when I see other overweight people, I don't assume that they're pigs, either. In fact, I don't assume I know anything about anyone based on a physical attribute. I'm not saying I never judge people, but that's not the sort of thing that I normally use to judge people's worth.]
posted by Mael Oui at 9:00 PM on October 4, 2011


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