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"Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies.”
October 2, 2012 10:22 AM   Subscribe

"I am more than a number on a scale" La Crosse, Wisconsin news anchor Jennifer Livingston responds to a fat-shaming email directly on-air.

Single-link video but well worth your time.
posted by Senor Cardgage (116 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
holy shit that was awesome!
posted by rebent at 10:27 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Nothing like policing women's bodies* in the name of "concern." Like, I'm sure this guy was sending little notes like this to Al Roker before his gastric bypass.

(*and that goes in either direction--if I had a nickel for every time someone--male or female--expressed "concern"/disgust over my naturally very thin frame, I still wouldn't have as many nickels as women who are overweight and deal with the crap even more often but still)
posted by availablelight at 10:29 AM on October 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


*get teary-eyed* Good for her! What an amazing woman.
posted by Neekee at 10:31 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to see that local TV news has risen to the challenge posed by online media by becoming even dumber and more self-centred.
posted by atrazine at 10:32 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


First, I have to get this out of the way, due to my immaturity: the length of that clip was four minutes and twenty seconds. 4.20.

Now, what do you mean by "becoming even dumber and more self-centred," atrazine?
posted by mr. digits at 10:35 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I wanted to not like this but her response was pretty great. Also, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is speaking out against bullying as well. You should check him out.
posted by phaedon at 10:35 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I find myself also extremely impressed with her employer, who clearly valued her ability to do her job over her weight. Bravo!

And if by some miracle her fatshamer should read this thread-Dude, we fat folk are NOT going to delay living our lives until by some miracle we reach a magic number on the scale. Let US take care of OUR health and let YOU mind your own.

Shaming others is NOT a tool to betterment. Period. And if you are so lacking in selfesteem that you feel compelled to comment on this woman's weight-a woman you do NOT know personally in any capacity-seems like you have something a lot closer to home that your focus belongs on.

That is all.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:36 AM on October 2, 2012 [23 favorites]


The Body is not an Apology.
posted by psylosyren at 10:36 AM on October 2, 2012


Bet the emailer wouldn't have sent those words to a male presenter of exactly the same size.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:37 AM on October 2, 2012 [24 favorites]


fuck yeah! preach it! Her line about kids learning from example is spot on.
posted by Sijeka at 10:37 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


That really ground her gears. She's right though.
posted by jaduncan at 10:38 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


(BTW I would love a link to her husband's comments if anyone has it.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:38 AM on October 2, 2012


Nice! Good for her.
posted by zarq at 10:39 AM on October 2, 2012


Direct link to video file
posted by XMLicious at 10:39 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "(BTW I would love a link to her husband's comments if anyone has it.)"

It's on his Facebook page, partway down.
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:40 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm glad to see that local TV news has risen to the challenge posed by online media by becoming even dumber and more self-centred.

Yeah, it's kind of odd that an email was blown up to become a news segment. And odd it was the husband that posted it first.
posted by FJT at 10:45 AM on October 2, 2012


That was beautifully done. I applaud her, her husband, and their news station.

Also, can you explain your comment, atrazine?
posted by blurker at 10:47 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]



From the FB page :
He continues to defend his position (as you would expect a lawyer to do): All I can say is WOW. Clearly, this man should not be defending people in a court of law.

Here's his response:
"Your problem hurts others in addition to you and your daughters. Acceptance is indeed important, but try to accept some inconvient things about yourself before you demonize me or others. But before you can accept the facts about metabolic disease, nutrition, and exercise, you'll have to develop a deeper appreciation for the truth.

Quite apparently, people who have always told you exactly what you wanted to hear have been doing you no favors. "Kindness" is not synonymous with deception. Candor is long overdue in this case, don't you think?"
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:47 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Quite apparently, people who have always told you exactly what you wanted to hear have been doing you no favors. "Kindness" is not synonymous with deception. Candor is long overdue in this case, don't you think?"

Wow, what a dick. I don't have a more sophisticated response.
posted by jaduncan at 10:48 AM on October 2, 2012 [29 favorites]


the internet's actually showing a lot of potential for analyzing and teasing out all of the stupid misconceptions we kept to ourselves for centuries.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:48 AM on October 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


The lawyer who wrote the letter is a jerk, sadly and embarrassingly common for the profession.
posted by smorange at 10:50 AM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


That was awesome. I'm glad that she called out his "expression of concern" for what it really was - bullying. It's a nasty kind of bullying that sometimes kind of flies under the radar.

I'm amazed she got through that without tears. I sure didn't, and I just WATCHED it.
posted by Elly Vortex at 10:53 AM on October 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


Shaming others is NOT a tool to betterment. Period. And if you are so lacking in selfesteem that you feel compelled to comment on this woman's weight-a woman you do NOT know personally in any capacity-seems like you have something a lot closer to home that your focus belongs on.

This is the part that gets me on board, even though I'm skeptical of the empirical claims of HAES types in terms of the relationship between obesity and health. Even assuming someone's weight is a health problem, telling people that they're fat doesn't make anyone healthier. Even if it encourages someone to lose weight, it's not going to make them healthier because of the mental health problems that go along with that kind of shaming and bullying. It's also not likely to lead to anyone losing weight, for what it's worth.

It's not really anyone's business, but I figure everyone who isn't a busybody asshole knows that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:54 AM on October 2, 2012 [18 favorites]


This is the part that gets me on board, even though I'm skeptical of the empirical claims of HAES types in terms of the relationship between obesity and health. Even assuming someone's weight is a health problem, telling people that they're fat doesn't make anyone healthier.

Exactly. This is not just common sense, but manners 101. If you haven't gone to medical/nursing/PA school--or you have, but the person in question is not your goddamned patient--it's not your place to comment on other people's bodies under the veil of "concern" or "just trying to help."
posted by availablelight at 10:57 AM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


I mean, I know this shouldn't be my take away -- she is awesome and should get attention and the letter-writer is an asshole but I'm trapped thinking more about him.

Whatever happened to Wisconsin Nice... or just plain old fashioned Midwestern don't-say-ugly-shit-to-people's-face.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:57 AM on October 2, 2012


"Dumb and self-centered" apparently means "using one's experiences to create a public avatar for self-worth at all sizes". Thanks to mefi user atrazine for making that clear.

Perhaps the local media should have done a story on dogs getting married or some shit.
posted by MetalFingerz at 10:58 AM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Subject: Community Responsibility

Hi, sir:

It's unusual to see your email, but I did so for a short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your mental condition hasn't improved for many years. Surely you don't consider yourself a suitable example for this community's young people, girls in particular. Assholery is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping you'll reconsider your responsibility as a human being to present and promote manners, decency, and an accepting lifestyle.

Thanks,

Phoebus
posted by phoebus at 10:59 AM on October 2, 2012 [36 favorites]


or just plain old fashioned Midwestern don't-say-ugly-shit-to-people's-face.

Ah, but he didn't say it to her face. That's the power of email/internet commenting.
posted by availablelight at 10:59 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


To be fair, I can care both about this and dogs getting married.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:59 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]




There is something the anchor didn't pick up on: if the emailer was actually concerned about the health of young girls, than he should be concerned about their mental health as well? Because the LACK of positive images of average and overweight women in the media is incredibly damaging to the self-esteem, mental health and body-image of girls.

*and that goes in either direction--if I had a nickel for every time someone--male or female--expressed "concern"/disgust over my naturally very thin frame,

I did recently express concern when a relatively thin person was talking recently about needing to lose weight (when she is already at a very healthy weight). But my concern was that she was feeling pressure from others to lose weight -- and that was true: she is a professional and was being pressured by others in her work environment to reduce her BMI from about 22 to 18-20. My disgust was aimed at the attitudes in her work environment that considered her figure to be more important than her brain (she works in law, not modelling).

Weight is a fraught issue. My mother is extremely overweight - if she could lose weight and not regain it (yes, two extremely difficult things to do), it would be a great benefit to her quality of life. I want her to lose weight, because it would make her healthier, have more energy and, ultimately, happier.

But it's not my place to tell her to lose weight, only to support her as much as I can in what she wants to do. (Also, having watched her struggle for almost 40 years, I don't know if it is possible for her, given her current living situation - or, if possible, it's more difficult than many people would understand.)
posted by jb at 11:08 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


if I had a nickel for every time someone--male or female--expressed "concern"/disgust over my naturally very thin frame

That's an equally offensive problem that I think often gets overlooked. A former SO of mine really, really, really wanted to lose some weight for her own personal reasons, and after trying a few different regimens she found one that worked, and she reached her goal weight and was very happy and proud of herself. Promptly she began receiving criticism from friends, coworkers, etc...."Honey, you need to eat." Positively no one congratulated her. It was criticism on all sides, and it made her feel terrible.

As for the FPP and the email...? Usually those lunatic letters and emails arrive with misspellings and incomprehensible grammar. They are barely coherent. Somehow it's more offensive when one arrives from someone with an education. Livingston handled it with class, including not mentioning the author's name on-air.
posted by cribcage at 11:19 AM on October 2, 2012


You're more than a number in my little red book
You're more than a one night date
All it had to take me was just one look
My heart began a thumpin', babe you had it jumpin'


Christ you need to lose some weight....
posted by gallus at 11:20 AM on October 2, 2012


To paraphrase the old saying: She, sir, might someday be a different weight. But you, sir, will always be a schmuck.
posted by NorthernLite at 11:40 AM on October 2, 2012 [17 favorites]


As the lady says, does he think she doesn't know she's fat?!? "Boy, it's a good thing this total stranger came up and got in my face and told me I'm fat, 'cause otherwise I'd have never guessed!"

Yeah, right. I think it's a safe bet that's something all of us fat people already know.
posted by easily confused at 11:48 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


MCMikeNamara: "Whatever happened to Wisconsin Nice..."

Tea Party and Scott Walker...
posted by symbioid at 12:00 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Suggesting moderation (in food, in alcohol, in fornication, etc., etc.) is not, in itself, bullying. It may be intrusive or rude or paternalistic, but it's simply not in the same class as picking on a kid with a disability. It's closer to telling a drunk to take it easy.
posted by Nahum Tate at 12:01 PM on October 2, 2012


"Dumb and self-centered" apparently means "using one's experiences to create a public avatar for self-worth at all sizes". Thanks to mefi user atrazine for making that clear.

Well, a lot of local news folks probably get a lot of really puerile hate mail. If the subject here wanted to make an on-air talk about 'self-worth at all sizes', isn't it possible that she could have found a better opening than some really puerile hate mail?

I'm not saying she definitely could have found a better opening, but isn't it at least possible?
posted by ftm at 12:02 PM on October 2, 2012


I've been reading a good deal of Chesterton lately and was all set to channel some of his language into a witty observation about the irony here. Namely, that while expressing deep concern about what was going into her mouth, this cretin blithely ignored the bullshit coming out of his own.

But sometimes nothing serves look a good bit of old Anglo-Saxon; thus: this guy can really just go fuck himself and and the horse he rode in on.
posted by jquinby at 12:06 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Suggesting moderation (in food, in alcohol, in fornication, etc., etc.) is not, in itself, bullying. It may be intrusive or rude or paternalistic, but it's simply not in the same class as picking on a kid with a disability. It's closer to telling a drunk to take it easy.

See, this is the thing. You don't know what that woman eats, you don't know why she is large, you don't know if she is already on a diet or starting an exercise plan, or that her new medication is making it more difficult, or that maybe even her husband likes her at that weight and she is happy as she is.


None of that can be determined by the tape or the scale. And yes, it's one thing if a friend says, whoa, step away from the donuts. Friends have history with you, know you, you know them, know their heart. They may or may not have the right to say anything. But I know for an absolute rocksolid foundational fact that lawyer did NOT have the right to say a word to the newscaster because it's NOT HIS PLACE.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:08 PM on October 2, 2012 [50 favorites]


I'm not saying she definitely could have found a better opening, but isn't it at least possible?

I dunno... this actually seems to me like a better opening than abstractly talking about the impact bullying has on society. It's not like they have to do only one story on this either, there's room for a single program that runs every night to take both personal and more intellectual approaches to reporting on the issue.
posted by XMLicious at 12:09 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am at a total loss for words trying to imagine what that man was thinking when he took it upon himself to write a stranger an email to let her know how disappointed he is in her appearance. No matter the specific reason for his disappointment, why in the hell would he think for one minute that is an appropriate or necessary thing to do? Or that she would spend one second caring what he thinks? The self-importance is mind boggling.
posted by something something at 12:16 PM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


All of a sudden I started laughing to myself....this guy is rude enough to send an email basically telling someone she's fat and needs to change-did he not remember that she's a member of the news media? Is this lawyer not smart enough to realize this woman has a platform to defend herself unlike most, and that he probably won't come out smelling like the proverbial rose once she's done?


I would hope most lawyers are smarter than that.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:19 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, if I'm correct, I know Jennifer from an earlier lifetime. She has some rather famous brothers. She's got another, younger brother, but the last time I saw him, my girlfriend (now my wife) was babysitting him.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:21 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Quit focusing on the fact that he's (allegedly) a lawyer. It has absolutely nothing to do with this. Rude jerks exist in every profession, come from every locale and ethnicity, etc. It's simply not relevant.
posted by cribcage at 12:25 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


A local station here has a larger-sized female anchor as well. If this is a trend, it is an encouraging one w/r/t the much-discussed role of the media in enforcing body type judgements.
posted by thelonius at 12:28 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


St. Alia--

Seriously. And can you imagine being so utterly, crazily panicked about the possibility that there might, heaven forfend, be some female bodies out there in the world that are not narrow enough that you'd feel compelled to pick (and continue) a public fight with the entire newsroom of your local TV station?

It really must suck to be that guy.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:29 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am at a total loss for words trying to imagine what that man was thinking when he took it upon himself to write a stranger an email to let her know how disappointed he is in her appearance. No matter the specific reason for his disappointment, why in the hell would he think for one minute that is an appropriate or necessary thing to do? Or that she would spend one second caring what he thinks? The self-importance is mind boggling.

It probably was something like,"I don't want to have sex with her" which is apparently really really hard on some men who have a hard time dealing with the way heavy burden of looking at a woman who doesn't turn them on.
posted by discopolo at 12:33 PM on October 2, 2012 [26 favorites]


Oddball thought: what does Mr. Email Writer look like? Is he too short or too tall; too skinny or fat? Maybe he's got bad skin or a receding hairline or a cheesy mustache or a pot belly or big feet or a hairy back or or or.....

Oh wait: he must be physically perfect in every way!
posted by easily confused at 12:33 PM on October 2, 2012


I won't reveal the source but I have seen a pic of him in front of his mountain bike. Looks about like what a man with a professional career who mountain bikes looks like.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:38 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Give me five minutes alone with the man and I will find his point of weakness, his flaw to be mocked.

Wait. That's not the lesson I was supposed to take away from this, was it?
posted by Seamus at 12:58 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


And one other thing. He is lambasting this woman for being a poor example....excuse me, aren't the vast majority of people on any sort of visual media skinny, particularly women? Whether newscaster or actress or model or whatever (Oprah notwithstanding)....have any of those "good examples" done a single thing to fix the obesity crisis? Except perhaps to fuel eating disorders and such?


Look, I can be charitable enough to think that maybe his enthusiasm for exercise and better health overwhelmed and bound and gagged the part of his brain responsible for politeness causing a massive brain cramp which led eventually to this thread.....but yeah, totally counterproductive.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:02 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Good. For. Her.

Nahum Tate: Suggesting moderation (in food, in alcohol, in fornication, etc., etc.) is not, in itself, bullying. It may be intrusive or rude or paternalistic, but it's simply not in the same class as picking on a kid with a disability. It's closer to telling a drunk to take it easy.

Except that it isn't like a drunk. You have no idea why she's heavy or what she's tried, if anything, to lose weight. "Moderation" may be useless. He has no clue if she has a physical disability that makes weight loss difficult or not. For all he knows, he may be suggesting moderation to someone who's tried surgery and is on two different prescription drugs to try and control it. Screw him. I'm less charitable in my assumptions than St Alia, but then, she's a Christian, while I don't have to show charity to those who have none themselves.

Seamus:
Give me five minutes alone with the man and I will find his point of weakness, his flaw to be mocked.


I already know. It's arrogance and presumption. There, saved you five minutes of wading in crap.
posted by tyllwin at 1:04 PM on October 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


have any of those "good examples" done a single thing to fix the obesity crisis? Except perhaps to fuel eating disorders and such?


Yeah, that's a pretty excellent point.
posted by sweetkid at 1:10 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nahum Tate: "Suggesting moderation (in food, in alcohol, in fornication, etc., etc.) is not, in itself, bullying. It may be intrusive or rude or paternalistic, but it's simply not in the same class as picking on a kid with a disability. It's closer to telling a drunk to take it easy."

No, it's really not. As others have said, he has no idea of her medical history. There are hormonal conditions, like PCOS/PCOD that make it more difficult than normal for women to lose weight. That particular disorder creates insulin resistance, and is incredibly common. Approximately 5% to 10% of women of reproductive age (12–45 years old) have it. That's 1 in every 10 to 1 in every 20 women.

If you work in an office that has a dozen women, you likely know someone with PCOS/PCOD. But unless they've tried and failed to have children and then gone to a fertility specialist, (one of the more common symptoms of PCOS/PCOD is subfertility,) they may not even be aware they have the disorder.

For someone with that condition, eating food in moderation isn't enough to allow them to lose weight. In some cases, even eating food in moderation combined with consistent exercise isn't enough. It might require medication.

A good rule of thumb to remember is that it's a bad idea to assume we know what someone needs to be healthy, unless we know their medical history.
posted by zarq at 1:56 PM on October 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Wait, is St. Alia saying he is an asshole with a giant horsehead or is that just the one mountain biking lawyer I know?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:16 PM on October 2, 2012


easily confused: As the lady says, does he think she doesn't know she's fat?!? "Boy, it's a good thing this total stranger came up and got in my face and told me I'm fat, 'cause otherwise I'd have never guessed!"

This reminds me of the time I got a phone call from our health insurance provider, on my cell phone, while I was out of town on a business trip. The message they left implied that there was something horrifically wrong with the bloodwork I'd had done recently, so naturally I freaked RIGHT THE FUCK OUT and called them back as soon as I could.

They were calling to tell me I was fat.

I'm all, umm...seriously? You just left a message which implied something HORRIBLE was found in my recent test results, to the point I'm thinking I've contracted slow Ebola, and THIS is what you're calling to tell me? That my BMI isn't up to snuff?

(Let's ignore the fact that I'm one of those stupidly-muscular large-framed ex-athletes with a candy coating of fat on top, and so BMI isn't exactly super-accurate with me to begin with...I know I'm carrying extra weight. This is hardly news...)

I left that insurance rep with an earful I doubt he will ever forget. Some of us -- self included -- are not capable of being as reasonable and measured as Livingston. Good for her. But seriously, sometimes I wish people not directly involved in my health and wellbeing (doctor, trainer, husband...) would get bent. Or look in a mirror. Or both.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:35 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, can you explain your comment, atrazine?

Certainly. Some lunatic sends a demented screed to someone in the news business - that is what lunatics do, regrettably. That turns into her husband posting it to his blog, people respond to the blog post. Suddenly, the news is all about the responses to the blog about the email. Apparently the dumbass who wrote the original email is making himself look even worse by continuing to defend his reprehensible email. Meanwhile, I feel like I'm reading one of those blog posts that's a comment on something which was a comment on something else which was just another blurb (and via - via everywhere) with notes on each post in the chain of vias to read the comments at all the preceding links in the chain - all the comment threads are 400 posts long of course.

I don't really like it on blogs, but there isn't really a bit shortage so I guess that doesn't do any harm. TV news though, degraded form though it might be, has a limited length. Yes, I think it is self centred to do a segment on the mail received by newsreaders. After watching the video again, I'll retract "dumb" because it wasn't that.

I don't know, I just don't think that what TV news needs is more inside baseball stuff like this. A lot of people here think that it covers some ground that needed covering for reasons unrelated to the particular circumstances here, maybe I'm wrong - after all, I don't live Wisconsin and maybe things are very different there.
posted by atrazine at 3:17 PM on October 2, 2012


A lot of people here think that it covers some ground that needed covering for reasons unrelated to the particular circumstances here, maybe I'm wrong - after all, I don't live Wisconsin and maybe things are very different there.

It is getting attention because someone is finally calling out the people who pass overly-critical judgement on a woman's health based on only a few seconds of looking at her appearance -- and yet even here, in the midst of everyone applauding her response, we still have someone defending the schmuck who did that because "suggesting moderation isn't bullying".

Every day, women are treated like objects that some people think they can just cast judgement on, like we were fucking paintings or something, and we have fucking. Had it.

That's why this is getting attention.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:34 PM on October 2, 2012 [33 favorites]


It's not even judgment that's the problem. I judge people all the time, often on the basis of their bodies. Because I'm a straight guy, women's bodies preoccupy my mind more than lots of other things. Lots of women no doubt judge my balding head negatively. I couldn't care less; everyone does this. It's being rude enough to say so, to take it upon yourself to tell someone else that he or she doesn't look the way you'd prefer, that's the problem.
posted by smorange at 3:54 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


So great to see plus-sized women in high-profile positions!
This is anecdata, but one of the first things I noticed when I got into law school was how much smaller law school women are. There were two obese women in my graduating class, out of hundreds. I didn't point this out because the guy is a lawyer, just that there is something to be said about the consequences of fat-shaming and how low self-esteem can prevent qualified women from pursing a competitive career.
posted by Neekee at 3:55 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not even judgment that's the problem
I understand your point, smorange, but I'd like to point out that the attitude is also a problem. People look at bigger people differently, even if they don't mean to. And it's hurtful!
While I've never been obese, I was curvy then got sick and lost a lot of weight in a few months (from BMI 25 to 20). It was impressive how differently people would treat me. And not just men! I was more respected, it's like I was higher in the food chain. It's pretty alarming.
posted by Neekee at 4:13 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Quite apparently, people who have always told you exactly what you wanted to hear have been doing you no favors. "Kindness" is not synonymous with deception. Candor is long overdue in this case, don't you think?"

Candor is long overdue: Has anyone ever let you know that you are a douche?
posted by UseyurBrain at 4:26 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


atrazine: I'm glad to see that local TV news has risen to the challenge posed by online media by becoming even dumber and more self-centred.
Sorry, but only one of you looks dumb and self-centered. And that one isn't on TV.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:39 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


What is on that piece of paper she is holding??!?
posted by dogwalker at 4:42 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


ftm: Well, a lot of local news folks probably get a lot of really puerile hate mail. If the subject here wanted to make an on-air talk about 'self-worth at all sizes', isn't it possible that she could have found a better opening than some really puerile hate mail?

I'm not saying she definitely could have found a better opening, but isn't it at least possible?
So, if it isn't the absolute most perfect opening possible, she shouldn''t start the conversation? Right... That makes sense.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:44 PM on October 2, 2012


I understand your point, smorange, but I'd like to point out that the attitude is also a problem. People look at bigger people differently, even if they don't mean to. And it's hurtful!

I think that's largely unavoidable. I think this is just what humans do. Of course, it doesn't have to be size, necessarily. I mean, why do people (generally) view male pattern baldness as a bad thing? You can even see shades of it on MeFi from time to time, and there's not even a health rationale for it! Or why do I get better service when I'm wearing a suit? Why are my less confident friends so much less successful at dating? Call it defeatism if you like. I know my line of thinking can be employed to downplay racism, sexism, and the like, and I'm not entirely comfortable with that, but still, I think it's part of life and part of culture to define certain characteristics and features as good. Social change happens when those definitions are renegotiated. I think it's a tough sell for obesity (and, for whatever reason, baldness and any number of other things). But fundamentally I'm happy with who I am and I don't much care what strangers think of me, so it doesn't bother me when I'm judged based on my appearance. It must be tough to be obese, I don't deny that. That's why I wouldn't dream of writing a letter like the one in the link, and it's why I think what the lawyer did was a nasty thing to do. But at the same time, I think people are entitled to judge others, even if I don't agree with those judgments.
posted by smorange at 4:59 PM on October 2, 2012


Oh wait: he must be physically perfect in every way!

Actually, he might be, which could be why he's such a sanctimonious twit. See also: Inheritors explaining how poor people are Doing It Wrong.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:05 PM on October 2, 2012


It is getting attention because someone is finally calling out the people who...

We all agree these people exist and the problem hasn't been cured. But surely we can agree that Jennifer Livingston is not the first person ever to call someone out for being a judgmental jerk regarding some stranger's physical condition.

As I understand Atrazine's point, he's saying it isn't the job of the news to report on themselves. That's a fair point. There's also something to be said—and I have no idea if Atrazine was thinking about this too—for deliberately not broadcasting images of a streaker running across a football field. That is to say, if you read aloud one nutjob letter, does it encourage more nutjobs to write nastier-grams?

I think the counterargument is that it's really valuable and instructive when you have a public figure stand up and say, "This happened to me." And bullying, weight-shaming, whatever you want to chalk this up as, is definitely an issue that needs forceful addressing. Having said that...wouldn't it be equally beneficial to society to have a newscaster do a four-minute editorial talking about being a victim of crime or abuse, or having a difficult-to-talk-about medical condition, etc. As a public resource, you avoid doing one of those because you can't do them all and because it's not what your job is. Atrazine does have a point, there.

Last point. Maybe I'm the only person on MetaFilter who is bothered by the fact that in a thread where we are in agreement that a woman was attacked unfairly, people are casually throwing around terms like "douche" and "twat." And I'm a guy, so maybe my opinion on that doesn't matter to anybody else. But I think it's offensive and reflects poorly on MetaFilter.
posted by cribcage at 5:12 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Right on! As a fat woman I am SO happy to hear the beginning of anti-fattism on TV. Bravo Jennifer Livingston! Well spoken!!

This guy's email to Jennifer Livingston basically seems like another expression of misogyny and sexism. Not fap material? Then heap on the hate.

When I look at the many causes of ill health and death, while understanding full well the issues around obesity, it seems that a particular type of ire is reserved for a fat woman. Men or women don't generally go up to a person with any other physical appearance issue spewing contempt and public shaming, camouflaging their shame-blame as pseudo concern.
posted by nickyskye at 5:27 PM on October 2, 2012


The email writer responded.
posted by headnsouth at 6:02 PM on October 2, 2012


Holy crap, the guy wants her to go on a public diet? FOR THE CHILDREN?!?

Nutjob, indeed.
posted by hijinx at 6:10 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The email writer responded.
"Given this country's present epidemic of obesity and the many truly horrible diseases related thereto, and considering Jennifer Livingston's fortuitous position in the community, I hope she will finally take advantage of a rare and golden opportunity to influence the health and psychological well-being of Coulee Region children by transforming herself for all of her viewers to see over the next year, and, to that end, I would be absolutely pleased to offer Jennifer any advice or support she would be willing to accept."
The presumably now locally infamous lawyer doubles down, eh? Not smart. The perfectionist in me says that a professional also shouldn't do so with such a horrific run-on sentence.
posted by jaduncan at 6:16 PM on October 2, 2012


Wow. I watched the video where they read out his response and it is pretty breathtaking. Way to double down on your assholery, dude.

[on preview: jinx, jaduncan!]
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:20 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someone needs to take that man aside and explain the meaning of "tone-deaf" to him.

And, I would really like to know what magical ability this one fullfigured newscaster has that none of the other skinny newscasters and actresses and models have to miraculously cause the rest of us to return to 20 percent body fat by simply going on a diet herself. Because that is some superpower to have. Marvel Comic worthy, even.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:26 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


We all agree these people exist and the problem hasn't been cured. But surely we can agree that Jennifer Livingston is not the first person ever to call someone out for being a judgmental jerk regarding some stranger's physical condition.

Okay, I have to be honest - I sincerely and truly expected to come into this thread and see it split fifty-fifty between people saying "yay Jennifer" and people saying "but....he kind of had a point, didn't he?"

Because that is usually how threads go here on the blue, in my experience, when it comes to discussing body image and avoiding obesity shaming. There are a lot of people who will still, when discussing the issue in the abstract at least, think nothing of saying that being overweight is wrong, so long as they couch it in "but it's unhealthy and surely they need to do something about it.",,The only difference I can see in this instance is, someone told the woman directly some of the things that I've seen a lot of people in here say about women like her.

Now, it's encouraging to see that a lot of the comments in here point out that "you don't know whether she may be already on a diet regimen/have [foo] condition/have started doing [baz], so think before speaking is all". Would that people remembered that point all the time, though. You're right that people can't help but form opinions, but here's hoping people at least remember to temper their opinion with the realization that "wait, I don't have all the facts" and assume the best about another human being rather than the worst.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:29 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, I have to be honest - I sincerely and truly expected to come into this thread and see it split fifty-fifty between people saying "yay Jennifer" and people saying "but....he kind of had a point, didn't he?"

Honest question: has this changed your expectations of threads like this? Because what you expected is not what happened, and otherwise it seems a little unfair to say "I expected this thread to go badly in this way because that's what happens in these threads" when the thread you're in didn't go that way at all.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:37 PM on October 2, 2012


I agree with the EmpressC, 4-5 years ago this thread would have been a lot more divided. I remember thinking it was OK to be just about anything on MeFi except fat.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:41 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


To be fair, "threads like this" are usually more abstract as EmpressCallipygos points out, and I think she's probably right that part of the reason we are (nearly) united on who's right and who's wrong is because this wasn't an abstract question, it was a direct nastygram sent by a total stranger.

It's fine to disagree about policy. It is not okay to write nasty letters to individuals. I think even people who disagree about policy tend to agree on that.
posted by cribcage at 6:44 PM on October 2, 2012


Honest question: has this changed your expectations of threads like this?

I'll have to see the next one to see whether this was an anomaly or not.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:45 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Four years? How about one? I posted this in meta exactly one year ago.
posted by zarq at 7:52 PM on October 2, 2012


Wow that was not what i expected. That was actually pretty cool. I'm also glad she never gave a reason, like medication or illness, that she was all about it being bullying. I have to admit I teared up a bit when she was exhorting kids to not listen to the bullies. I know it's more complicated than ignoring them sometimes, but other times, it can really help.

I love these positive women stories lately. But both this story and the one about the Sikh woman ended up not even being about being strong as a woman but being strong and kind as a person. Which makes both stories even cooler.

"how to be a decent human" stories, i guess.
posted by sio42 at 8:06 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I ~love~ that she chose this letter, of all letters, as an example of bullying. This is just the sort of criticism that any adult or child might actually give a second thought to because it's written so sanctimoniously. "Maybe he has a point...?" The news piece is a good reminder to see bullying for what it is, even if it's wrapped up in sanctimony.
posted by kellybird at 9:56 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Quit focusing on the fact that he's (allegedly) a lawyer. It has absolutely nothing to do with this. Rude jerks exist in every profession, come from every locale and ethnicity, etc. It's simply not relevant.
QUIT LAWYER SHAMING!!!!!
Honest question: has this changed your expectations of threads like this? Because what you expected is not what happened, and otherwise it seems a little unfair to say "I expected this thread to go badly in this way because that's what happens in these threads" when the thread you're in didn't go that way at all.
The framing of a post has a huge impact how it's discussed. Both in terms of the initial frame as well as who reads it. I've seen plenty of threads full of people ragging on poor people in the U.S for being fat. In one thread a poster (WHO WAS A LAWYER) actually said simply being fat was actually immoral and thus he was justified in saying all kinds of horrible things about poor fat people.
posted by delmoi at 11:56 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I remember thinking it was OK to be just about anything on MeFi except fat.

Or borderline </derail>
posted by talitha_kumi at 5:07 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The framing of a post has a huge impact how it's discussed. Both in terms of the initial frame as well as who reads it. I've seen plenty of threads full of people ragging on poor people in the U.S for being fat. In one thread a poster (WHO WAS A LAWYER) actually said simply being fat was actually immoral and thus he was justified in saying all kinds of horrible things about poor fat people.

Obviously the framing of a post impacts how it's discussed. It's still true that, if you think obesity is something Metafilter "doesn't do well" then a thread(even with favorable framing) in which the issue goes pretty well should change that perception, even if it's only slightly. To ignore this thread is unfair to the community in that it dismisses the ability of the community to improve, grow, or change. It sounds like EmpressCallipygos is open to letting this thread change her mind on that point, which is all I was curious about.

I say this mostly because I think obesity threads go better than they used to. Someone in this thread said it would have gone badly four or five years ago, which is an eternity in internet time. We still have messes and we've got a vocal minority of people who genuinely pretty offensive, but the tenor if the site on these discussions is actively swinging against fat shaming, at least by my lights. This might be pollyannaish, and it might have to do with the fact that I'm only 75% or so on the anti-fatshaming train (i.e. I think fat shaming is a real and serious problem, but I also think obesity is a health risk and believe in non-shaming and non-individual related approaches to dealing with it).
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:49 AM on October 3, 2012


To ignore this thread is unfair to the community in that it dismisses the ability of the community to improve, grow, or change. It sounds like EmpressCallipygos is open to letting this thread change her mind on that point, which is all I was curious about.

Honestly, I come to every thread on this topic hoping "maybe THIS time it will go well." I actually do the kind of "assuming the best intentions" of people that I urge others to do. So my expectation that this one wouldn't go well is an example of the blue changing my mind on that point, truth be told.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:46 AM on October 3, 2012


Concern trolls are the worst sort of bullies, as they tend to dress up as friends who are too cowardly to admit they don't really like you.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:03 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thompson defended his wife on “GMA,” explaining that Krause, like others who comment anonymously, did so without knowing the facts.
“What really angered me more so than his attack on her not being a role model for the community is that he doesn’t know Jennifer. He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know our family,” Thompson said. “He doesn’t know that Jennifer has ran triathlons. He doesn’t know that she ran in a race last weekend, a 5-K race. She works out two or three times a week. She is going to run in a race this weekend. He doesn’t know that.”
“He doesn’t know that she has a condition, a thyroid condition, that makes it harder for her to lose weight. He doesn’t know any of that,” he said. “He just decided to attack her for no reason.”



I wanted this in the thread for the record.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:29 AM on October 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


Thank you for that, St Alia. It is embarrassingly ironic that it's a lawyer making sweeping statements based on erronious assumptions.
posted by jaduncan at 9:39 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not defending the guy, just trying to point out what I perceive to be an interesting irony about the whole obesity/bullying topic.

This is based on the assumption that, at least for some, obesity is a sort of "choice." I believe there are people out there who have little concern for the food they eat and who choose to not even attempt to do anything (exercise, etc.) about their unhealthy lifestyle choices. Thus some people are in effect choosing to allow themselves to be/become obese.

Again, not saying the subject of this incident is one of those people. But I'm thinking we can all agree that there are some people out there who are like this. Yes?

That said, what if instead this news person was constantly smoking a cigarette on the air?

Somehow it's socially acceptable to publicly shame one person's particular unhealthy lifestyle choice over someone else's particular unhealthy lifestyle choice.
posted by thatguyjeff at 10:22 AM on October 3, 2012


That said, what if instead this news person was constantly smoking a cigarette on the air?

Somehow it's socially acceptable to publicly shame one person's particular unhealthy lifestyle choice over someone else's particular unhealthy lifestyle choice.


And there, inevitably, it is. Well, the absence of justifications for bullying and douchey behavior was nice while it lasted.
posted by headnsouth at 10:26 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jeff, I think the question on the floor isn't so much "are there or are there not people who are obese because they make bad choices with their lives." I think the question is "why are people automatically assuming that this woman is one OF them, rather than giving her the benefit of the doubt".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:28 AM on October 3, 2012


But this isn't like smoking a cigarette on air.

We don't KNOW this woman's medical history by looking at her onair or in person. And we would have no way of knowing unless she TOLD us.

And so this all gets into-her weight is NOT OUR BUSINESS.

There is a way to promote healthy eating and exercise without shaming someone's body size.

Because you don't KNOW if it's medication or thyroid or having trouble losing baby weight or lack of access to appropriate food and exercise or PCOS or stress eating because of insane life pressures or just gluttony.

Even skinny people eat like crap in this society. Lots of skinny people have inappropriate body fat measurements.


This isn't about health. This is about does the person in question look erotic. Guess what? The rest of the human race does not owe anyone an erotic body to look at.

So, deal.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:00 AM on October 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


That said, what if instead this news person was constantly smoking a cigarette on the air?

But this isn't like that. What this guy did was more like saying, "I've noticed you cough and wheeze a lot while reading out the news. You ought to quit smoking" without ever having seen her smoke at all.

He's giving her unsolicited health advice while knowing nothing about her actual health status. What he did was inappropriate and cruel, despite his attempts to dress it up by claiming he's concerned about her health and her effect as a role model on the girls in their community.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:43 AM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Being fat is not a lifestyle choice. Eating unhealthy foods or living a sedentary life MIGHT be choices (though for far too many people they are, at best, sadly and unjustly constrained choices. But you have no idea how someone eats or how they live by looking at them. On the contrary, if you can see someone smoking it's a safe bet they are smoking.

Other unhealthy lifestyle acts that may or may not be a result of choices include commuting by car, high risk sports like football, boxing, skiing, etc, not eating vegetarian/vegan, not being married (for men), being married (for women), and pregnancy.

That said, in my book bullying, mocking, and shaming people is almost never okay.
posted by Salamandrous at 12:09 PM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Being fat is not a lifestyle choice.

Unfortunately, for some people mocking fat people is a lifestyle choice, however. Pointing out other people's perceived flaws must make the bullies feel better and more worthy, somehow.
posted by sweetkid at 12:26 PM on October 3, 2012


Also, shaming? Not exactly a wonderful educational technique.

If shaming were a such a great technique, kids who were emotionally abused would absolutely dominate the upper eschelons of k-12 sports and academics. And guess what? They don't. They're represented in those eschelons for sure, but they don't exactly eclipse the kids who are raised with dignity and kindness.

Human beings tend to be hedonic, and they generally gravitate toward things that feel good. If you're positively reinforced for things, you do do them more. Conversely, if you're made to feel profound guilt and shame about something (say, about the state of your body) there's a fairly decent chance that you, eventually, will want to divorce yourself from it in some way. Devoting huge amounts of time to maintaining, measuring, and decorating it could easily start to sound like hell on earth, even if those things ultimately would be good for you.

(This, of course, is not to say that I know anything about what's going on with Jennifer Livingston's health, mind, body image or anything. All I know about her is that she's a bright, successful, charismatic person who knows how to stand up for herself. And anything beyond that is none of my damn business.)

But returning to the hypothetical case: If this dude'd had a real desire to help another human being to make a health and lifestyle change, it would have been much more useful for him to say, "It looks like you've lost a few pounds since the last time I saw your show! Keep up the good work!" This, while admittedly still creepy and invasive, would at least not be actively counterproductive.

But I really don't think what he did was about helping. IMO, it was about policing, asserting dominance, and about trying to keep what he perceived as an unruly body in its place.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:27 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is about does the person in question look erotic.

I didn't get that impression from the letter-writer's criticism. I don't think "eroticism" was on his mind.

When somebody behaves in a cruel way, I think it's important to address it flatly. That is to say, not to dig deeper, not to mind-read, not to ascribe motives that we might suspect but can't confirm. When you climb onto those limbs you risk undermining your point and the high ground very quickly—and apart from that being unwise, it also just isn't necessary. This guy had no business saying what he did to that woman, period. Don't give him ground to argue by making unnecessary assumptions.

And no, the point wouldn't be different if Livingston were a smoker. It is fine to believe, as a matter of policy, that smoking is bad and a public-health concern and needs to be addressed. It is not okay to write letters to complete strangers that you see smoking, telling them to stop.
posted by cribcage at 1:19 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Something that needs to be recognized is that this man based his judgement on physical appearance ALONE. Nothing else, not seeing her at a restaurant ordering dessert, or hearing her wheeze as she climbed stairs. Just based on what he saw on television. He doesn't have a clue what her lab results are, what health conditions she has or medications she's on. He doesn't even consider any of those factors, he just sees an overweight woman and immediately assumes she overeats/eats unhealthily. Her body offends him, so he felt he had the right to tell her under this guise of faux "concern" about role modelling.
posted by hollygoheavy at 1:24 PM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


It is not okay to write letters to complete strangers that you see smoking, telling them to stop.

I'm not sure when "concern" began to trump manners.
posted by hollygoheavy at 1:26 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


He's giving her unsolicited health advice while knowing nothing about her actual health status.

Just to clarify: I don't think it would be OK for him to give her unsolicited health advice even if he did know about her health status. Still inappropriate. But my point was that he's acting like he knows about her health situation when he doesn't.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:00 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Women are constantly compared to the exceptionally tall and skinny models in magazines. Worse, women end up feeling lousy all their entire lives because they do not look like those models, internally putting themselves down - or being put down by others - for their skin, their hair, their face, wearing glasses, their body shape not matching those of the models.

Fattism is a type of social and psychological abuse. 10 million women in the USA alone suffer from anorexia and bulimia. Putting women down for their body shape is a health hazard.

"According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 42 percent of first- to third-grade girls want to lose weight, and 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat."

Being overweight means a life of fear of being shamed, reviled, called ugly, being thought of as un-fuckable.

Often the first slur out of anybody's mouth when it comes to hurting a person is racist, sexist or fattist, or all three, like black fat assed bitch. The first word is considered abusive when spoken in anger. The last word is considered abusive. Assed would be considered verbally-sexually abusive. How is the middle word, fat, considered 'concern' when spoken as part of shaming?

Women have had to wear health harming corsets and all kinds of insane contraptions for ages, to look other than they are. In my opinion, merely for men's sexual fantasies. No, this fattism thing is way different than 'concern', it's abusive.

I experienced BOTH ends of this fattism bs. My 'mother' put me on dexedrine (speed) as a child so I would be thin for her body shape preference because she was ashamed of her body, because her mother put her down for not having a model's figure. Then, when I was thin, I was constantly abused by men. When I became fat, it was a tremendous relief not to be on the receiving end of a daily barrage of verbal abuse, or outright sexual abuse, attempted rape, rape, harassment, stalking. Honestly, the abuse I've received as a fat woman is way less than that I received as a thin woman.

After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer the doctor informed me that I had Hashimoto's, a thyroid condition causing overweight, that I'd suffered all my life and had no idea. One in eleven people in the United States have thyroid disease,an estimated 27 million people.

The CDC states 35.7% of American adults as obese, and 17% of American children. Shaming, verbal abuse, hatred is not going to work in terms of having a healthier, happier population. Verbal abuse is not what works to change things when a person is not white, it doesn't work when a person is gay, it doesn't work when a person is poor or uneducated and it doesn't work for people who are fat.
posted by nickyskye at 3:51 PM on October 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


fucking concern trolls. good for her for taking him down and sounding classy doing it.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:16 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haha! Fun addendum to all this.
Guess who her brother is.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:42 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Health stuff is America's new Puritanism and this guy is just one more obnoxious proselytizer trying to make converts by being self-righteousness. Substitute [Any Deity Here] and the script will still fit.

Off the top of my head, I think that conversion strategy has only been successful when it's been backed up by a conquering army.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:40 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Given he's a lawyer and is supposed to conduct himself with decorum in public - you could always file a grievance with the State of Wisconsin.

He'll get a letter from the State.

For each of the people who file a grievance.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:49 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


These [pdf] appear to be the Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys in Wisconsin. If you can pinpoint something you think the letter-writer has violated, then hey, knock yourself out making a complaint. They even have a toll-free number. More info here.

I'm not familiar with the Wisconsin bar. In jurisdictions that I am familiar with, lawyers aren't precisely required to follow quite so abstract a rule as "Conduct yourself with decorum in public," and lawyers who have been reported for some violation don't receive a letter from "the State." But again, I've never even been to Wisconsin. Maybe that's exactly how it works there.
posted by cribcage at 8:46 AM on October 5, 2012


Cribcage, I think the idea is that there technically may not be an example of professional misconduct in this instance, but the Wisconsin Bar would still nevertheless have to follow up on every complaint in order to confirm that, and may just get so sick of it all that they boot the guy to spare themselves the headache.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:06 AM on October 5, 2012


Cribcage, I think the idea is that there technically may not be an example of professional misconduct in this instance, but the Wisconsin Bar would still nevertheless have to follow up on every complaint in order to confirm that, and may just get so sick of it all that they boot the guy to spare themselves the headache.

Yeah, that would absolutely 100% not happen. If a bar disciplined someone because they got a huge number of frivolous complaints that person would be completely in the right to be outraged and the person would almost certainly be reinstated by a court. Bar discipline, like the internet, is serious business.

I also see no way that there's a good faith claim of professional misconduct here. Even in states with fairly strong rules about decorum require it only in the conduct of the lawyer's duty. The relevant rule here is SCR 20:8.4(i) which prohibits a lawyer from:

harass[ing] a person on the basis of sex, race, age, creed, religion,
color, national origin, disability, sexual preference or marital status
in connection with the lawyer’s professional activities. (emphasis added)

This guy's a bully; you can't change that that by bullying him back. Hell, given that the bullying here consisted of sending letters, I'd say that using the force of the state attorney grievance procedures to bully him isn't just sinking to his level, it's worse.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:23 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]




So, this guy is really a security guard?????
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:39 PM on October 5, 2012


the Wisconsin Bar would still nevertheless have to follow up on every complaint

The bar is nothing more than a Public Relations arm - toothless and members don't want to publicly judge others lest they be judged.

I've had a Judge claim paperwork that is in the record isn't 3 separate times over 3 months - no rebuke (Upon getting the issue moved to a superior court who looked at the record had a decision in 15 mins. )
I've had a lawyer send me paperwork that said 'affidavit' on the top of it with scanned in signatures and a scanned notary stamp. No sanctions/rebuke - because he only sent the paperwork to me not to the court so it was never an actual affidavit. Its fine to forge a affidavit so long as the Court never gets a copy in their records it seems.

You are going to have more response to sending a complaint to the commission in Madison then posting "Eye R outraged" on the InterWebs. And when the lawyers get together and waggle their tongues - this lawyers conduct that prompted X letters from all over will be a topic of conversation. Perhaps even be used as a cautionary tale of public conduct.

Lets say the 'this isn't misconduct' people are right - than what harm is there in sending the complaint? Odds are if you've cared about this clown's actions and are still reading this thread you've spent more time and effort then putting a complaint down on paper and sending it in would have been.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:33 PM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


they boot the guy to spare themselves the headache.

The State may not have to apply the boot. If the insurance firms see X complaints what will happen to his insurance rates?
posted by rough ashlar at 12:35 PM on October 7, 2012


Lets say the 'this isn't misconduct' people are right - than what harm is there in sending the complaint?

The harm is that you're invoking a serious and potentially life destroying process against someone with zero basis. Your claim that "he's a lawyer and is supposed to conduct himself with decorum in public" is completely false, so you have no basis for a complaint other than "I think this guy is a jerk and would like to wreck his life." You might as well ask what the harm in going to the police station and filing a false report is; the harm is that you're lying to hurt someone, that's the harm.

Also, I'm sorry you've had some bad experiences with lawyers, but in general bar complaints are taken seriously. Maybe not as seriously as they should be, but plenty of lawyers are disciplined; it's not a toothless process.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:06 PM on October 8, 2012


The harm is that you're invoking a serious and potentially life destroying process against someone with zero basis.

The basis is simple - decorum in public.

If what he did isn't so important - "No one is perfect, that's why pencils have erasers". Its why there is a hearing - just like in the Justice system there is a grand jury - to check that the charge is 'important' and 'worthwhile' - right?

But why that quote? Well that is the "Favorite Quotations" of Carmen Trutanich's 2013 Re-election Campaign for Los Angeles City Attorney.

So the next time there is a discussion about the State filing a bogus charge VS someone else, I look forward to a spirited defence of the one with the bogus charge about how unfair it is that the State is invoking a serious and potentially life destroying process against someone with zero basis.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:28 PM on October 10, 2012


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