Debra Sapp-Yarwood Does It Again

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Debra Sapp-Yarwood (DebraSY on Big Fat Blog), who as I said here could teach dieters a thing or two about humility, has a brand new op-ed in the Kansas City Star about the Wii Fit, and it’s a good one. In short, Debra’s against it, because it makes exercise a crapload of no fun if you’re fat, especially for kids:

The Munchkin voice from the Wii Fit says “That’s obese.” How dare it talk to a child like that!?

Later, that same child, when he cannot complete an exercise, cries, “I’m obese and stupid!” Parental intervention now. Therapy in 10 years?

And she’s especially critical of the program’s across-the-board recommendation that everyone shoot for a BMI of 22:

In addition to being a questionable benchmark, the 22 BMI is unrealistic. If your genetics, gastrointestinal chemistry and hormones don’t want you at a BMI of 22, or at least within 10 percent, then it’s unrealistic to aim for it. Studies show that fewer than 5 percent of dieters can maintain significant weight loss for more than two years. The scientists at the National Weight Control Registry, a project devoted to tracking weight-loss successes, have said that only 20 percent of the population can maintain a meager 10 percent loss for a year.

We need more stuff like this in the papers, y’all. Click on this story. Do it lots. Leave some feedback at the bottom that you’d like more stuff like it. (But as always with stories of this kind, unless you’ve been really parsimonious with your SW points, stay away from the comments already left, which are full of the usual “but kids are so faaaaat now, and your husband is a big fatass too” kind of dreck.)

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Tim Russert, And Why I’m Done With Daily Kos Forever

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Like a lot of Humorless Feminists, I used to be a Daily Crack — er, Kos — addict, and somewhere along the way, I got the feeling I was not really wanted there, somewhere between the pie fight incident of 2005 and the Hillary-Clinton-Isn’t-A-Real-Democrat debacle of 2008. (Look, dude, say what you want about Clinton and you might even be right, but I would still give her way more donkey points than the former Republican who runs DKos. For starters, she’s actually a feminist.)

I was never registered there since I found their rating system a little too intimidating for my Aspie brain to grasp, but in the process of gradually being alienated by the idea propagated there that it was fine for the women to hang out there but they’d have to wait their turn until the “real issues” were all hashed out, I couldn’t help noticing that the site was not just condescending to feminists, but more than a little fatphobic also. (And despite the current Obama-worship, come to think of it, I remember it being a pretty damn white place, too.) Every once in a while someone would post an “Obesity Epidemic” diary that got recommended or “front paged,” but fat acceptance? Ha ha, you’re not serious, FAT is not a social justice issue. I lost weight and so can you! I know it’s hard, so so hard, I loved eating just as much as you do, but damn it, I had to make the sacrifice, that spare tire was killing me and you’re gonna die too! Get slim now so we can have national health care like the skinny Europeans! Once in a cobalt tie-dyed moon you’d get a fat-acceptancey commentary that didn’t get troll-rated into the next century, but not bloody often.

So yeah, I’d been staying away because I need to go out of my way to read shit that makes me stabful like I need all the norepinephrine vacuumed out of my skull with a wheezing Oreck. But when Tim Russert passed away last Friday at age 58 from an apparent heart attack, I couldn’t resist going back over there just one more time. You see, Russert was, shall we say, not a very popular dude over there while he was alive, he was routinely castigated as a Bush lapdog and so forth (which I will refrain from commenting on here, at least partially because I didn’t watch enough Meet the Press in recent years to know if it was true). So I was interested to see what the response was there to his demise.

I shoulda known. First diary I read had a post halfway down that blamed his death on…oh, go on, guess. Yeah, fatass ate himself to death, that’s what he did, that’s what they all do. Lose weight right now! I did it so can you! Underweight is better than overweight! (Oh?) And over on the side, where they had the recommended diaries, was one with this ominous title:

Russert: “Tomorrow, Doc. I know what I have to do. I’m starting tomorrow.”

Need I slap a HUGE-ASSED Sanity Watchers warning on this? OK, done.

Now then. Let me just save you the trouble and let you know this diary actually says, “I’m not here to wag my finger at anyone about this,” but then goes on to do precisely that. Russert earned his death, you see — even though he exercised faithfully, his doctor told him he had to lose weight and he was NONCOMPLIANT! And because he didn’t devote his life’s work to making every part of his body as tight as the head on a djembe, that’s totally why he cacked! We don’t need no stinking autopsy to know that! It’s an epidemic of people loving their favorite foods like crack and refusing like idiots to give them up! I’m a physical therapist, so I can Net-diagnose his flabby ass!

Okay, so the language he used avoided direct snark and poured on the sanctimony and I’m-only-saying-this-because-I-care-so much, but the hand-rubbing glee was as transparent and gassy as a frigging Everclear spritzer. The man hadn’t ceased respiration for one DAY and they couldn’t resist starting in on him. And out of 454 commentaries, not one, not one, goddamned, smelly ONE of them, said it was in bad taste, let alone factually incorrect to state that heart disease deaths among men in their 50s are an “epidemic” any longer.

I doubt this is necessarily because Russert was not a hugely beloved figure over there, so much as it is because we fat acceptance people are still not being taken seriously even by most “progressives,” even with all the facts at our disposal, even among people who ostensibly aren’t all Rah Rah Popular Press. Even these people can’t resist using a fresh celebrity fatass death as an opportunity to brag about their frigging diets, with hardly a syllable raised in objection. Fat has to be a choice, because they’ve (probably temporarily) managed to shrink their fat cells down, and it has to be all their hard work and good character that got them there, and if they stay there (which of course they will!) it can’t possibly be any form of fairydust that made it happen. They cannot see that they are the mirror image of the Townhall goombas yutzes they mercilessly mock, that they, too, were born on third base and think they hit a triple.

Yanno, for all the blahblah about healthhealthhealth and We’re Only Being Nasty To You So You’ll Shape Up, I don’t recall it ever being okay, on the eve of someone (famous or not) dying from causes likely related to heavy smoking, heavy drinking, or heavy drugging, to use that occasion as an excuse to skewer still-living people with similar issues. At least they wait until the body gets cold before all the tsk-tsking starts building itself up to a big old zithead. But not fatasses. Those you can just wail away on whenever, go ahead, nobody will mind. They’re not even people, they won’t feel a thing. And Russert was not even all that large, but it doesn’t matter, anyone with the guff to go in front of the cameras with even a spare Schwinn tire (let alone an official steel-belted radial) is just a low-hanging piñata, here’s the stick, knock yourselves out.

I almost feel like the Fatosphere is its own planet, with a frame of reference that even Good Liberals find completely incomprehensible. Here we are, rending our garments over whether fat acceptance should be called fat acceptance, or size acceptance, or body liberation, or fat rights, or whether it’s a legitimate social justice movement that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as social justice movements that address racism, sexism, homophobia, or transphobia, and in a way I’m almost tempted to say, fuck that noise, let’s start with trying to get as much respect from people as heroin addicts get. Because we’re not even there yet.

And then I remember. Fat Is A Feminist (and Womanist) Issue. Even for a sort-of-fat guy who probably wouldn’t have called himself a feminist (and certainly not a womanist). Because fat is soft and softness is icky girly stuff and you get taken less and less seriously the more you have. Kinda like estrogen. So done with Kos, I am, bastante already. I can get my poll data from a place that doesn’t treat me and everyone who resembles me like benumbed blobs, thank you much.