NY Daily News “Fat-letes” Slide Show: Sports Entertainers of Size as Food/Eating Porn

meowser-48.jpg posted by meowser

I should have known. I never learn. So I’m poking around the NY Daily News sports pages for news about the Mets (speaking of never learning), and something on the sidebar catches my eye: a slide show called “Fat-letes: The Um, BIGGEST Sports Stars of All Time.” And I’m thinking, “Gee, that’s nice, they’re finally acknowledging that fat sports entertainers exist and have accomplished things! Let’s have a look!”

Oh yes. Let’s. (As per my flamebait rules, no direct link: here is the link to the photo gallery page, from which you can find it if you just can’t resist peeking.) There are 35 photos of fat current and former pro athletes, all men, from nearly every professional sport, plus one of A-Rod, who’s not at all fat but got a “dishonorable mention” regarding the “Bitch Tits” nickname allegedly given to him by his Yankee teammates for his roided-out pecs. If the latter gives you a big fat hint that this slide show is not meant to be the slightest bit complimentary or respectful, righty-o you are, Felix. Almost every picture in the series either shows the jock in question with food (e.g. ex-Met Mo Vaughn pictured with the mile-high sandwich the Carnegie Deli named after him), or references to him as something like “donut loving” (ex-MLB slugger Cecil Fielder), or having “eaten his awards instead of hanging them on the wall” (Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn) or, in the case of Cecil Fielder’s son Prince, who currently plays first base for the Milwaukee Brewers, marveling that a man of his dimensions could actually be a vegetarian. (Gasp.)

Yeah, most of those guys probably do eat a lot — or did when they were playing. Of course they did; in order to maintain the muscle mass necessary to perform at that level, you can’t exactly pick at dry salads, and I guarantee you their thin and buff counterparts put it away too, even if they’re health nuts. (Ever hear about Julio Franco and the 20 egg whites he used to have for breakfast — just breakfast — every day, as part of the 5000-calorie-a-day playing regime he employed to keep playing major-league ball until he was pushing 50? Now you have. You’re welcome.) But for some reason, thin and buff players (and, of course, thin and buff everybody else) who are big eaters never seem to have what’s on their plates lit up in neon like the fat folks do. People just really want to believe that we fatasses put it away like nobody else does, regardless of whether they actually have proof of such consumption or not.

I remember years ago going to a fat-positive spoken-word reading in San Francisco that Marilyn Wann put on, and one of the alt-weeklies advertising the event made the nudge-wink observation that there would probably be lots of great food there, you know, because fat acceptance means aaaalways eeeeeating. Even at a reading. A reading that TOOK PLACE WELL AFTER THE FUCKING DINNER HOUR. (There was no food there at all, in case you care.) I used to think this kind of thing kept happening because “non-obese” people were desperate to believe that our pariah status was completely voluntary, that if you took that away from them they’d whine about oh nooooes, yet another stigmatized group we have to try to be nice to and actually pretend to learn something about and come up with code words to mask our prejudices against — isn’t there anyone left we can pick on out loud anymore?

And maybe there’s something to that, but now I’m starting to believe that in many cases, the reason fat haters insist so loudly that every one of us fatasses must be constantly chewing and swallowing ALL THOZE CALORIEZ YAAARGH, even over our staunch denials, is because their insistence amounts to a form of food and eating porn. They need, right down to the fluid in their cells, to believe that somebody, somebody weaker of spirit and flesh than they, is consuming all that “sinful” food; since it can’t be them (because, of course, they could gain a hundred pounds if they do!), they can at least get to watch us, if only in their minds’ eyes, eat the mile-high sandwich and the (baby) donuts and the awards plaques and maybe even a few Daily News reporters for dessert. If we can demonstrate that our eating habits are nothing out of the ordinary, there goes that wank-target out the window.

Oh, I’m sure Matt Marrone, Andy Clayton and Matt Simonides, who put together this particular disrespect-fest, would deny my interpretation of it out their smug fratboy asses. OK, so here’s the thing. I don’t think fat jokes should necessarily be off limits per se, but for the luvva pastrami, why do they always have to be so witless? About 10 years ago, C.C. Sabathia, (yes, he’s in this slideshow too), then pitching for the Cleveland Indians, showed up in spring training weighing about 300 pounds, which led some media wiseass (whose name now escapes me) to dub him “CCC Sabathia.” See, now that’s funny. I laughed at that. I still giggle about it now. But what does it tell you that of all the fat jokes and japes I’ve heard, seen, and read since then — and good gravy Marie have there been dozens — not ONE has even so much as made me smile? If you people who are being paid six and seven figures to make funnies whiff every goddamn time you make jokes about subject X, if your “humor” about subject X never rises above the third-grade har-har-you-stuff-your-face level, shouldn’t it tell you that maybe you should lay off subject X already until you grow some wit? If you’re going to mock us, at least bring your A game to the field. The “fat-letes” you so disparage did exactly that, after all.

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5 Responses to “NY Daily News “Fat-letes” Slide Show: Sports Entertainers of Size as Food/Eating Porn”

  1. ladyjaye Says:

    My fave athlete of all time is Andres Galarraga. He never was skinny and that was alright. The Big Cat may have been big, but he also was extremely flexible — how many time have I seen him make a spectacular catch at first base while keeping his foot on the base? In a way, I’m surprised he wasn’t on their list (since they didn’t just include current players).

    And you’re right, they chose unflattering pics (notice that few pics are of the athletes at work, aside from Prince Fielder’s pic? John Kruk at bat was also quite a sight to be seen!)

    So the point of these so-called journalists is that it’s all right to be big due to steroids (ok, they do have a pic of A-Rod, but he’s just the tip of the iceberg) but not because it’s the guy’s natural body type? Meh.

  2. minervaK Says:

    I think that ‘average’ people believe fat people eat constantly because they themselves would have to do so to get fat. They don’t understand that metabolisms differ (they’ve bought into the idea that all bodies are the same), and since THEY would have to eat massive quantities of food to change their natural weight set point, they deduce that fat people MUST be consuming such quantities. My spouse became a fat-positive believer after we got married and he realized how I actually eat. That is, I eat about the same as his thin sisters, ex-girlfriends and co-workers. I’m not sneaking off to MacDonald’s in the middle of the night to consume massive amounts of junk food. This is the message that I think the public at large really needs to understand. Most of us DON’T overeat. Our bodies just use food differently than theirs do.

  3. brooklynshoebabe Says:

    That story saddened me. I’ve followed sports for along time, and those weights have always been the norm. Have seen the heights of these athletes? These aren’t you 5’9″ Average Joes. Can imagine somewhere Shaquille Oneill’s height weighing anything less than 300 lbs?

    I liken sports writers to the old expression: “Can’t write? Teach?” Sports writers, IMO, are failed athletes and take out their frustration on those who are doing what they’re always desired. They’ll always find something to tease the athletes about.

    Now, I’m fat for whole lots of reasons and only a one of them includes food. But, if you check my medical records, you will see that I’m one of those “healthy fatties.” Yes, I eat a candy bar everyday but I aslo eat bran cereal and vegetables. I just hate it that people assume that you’re fat because all you do is eat. *sigh*

  4. DaisyDeadhead Says:

    Great stuff, Meowser…I think the Learning Channel shows about the 500+ lbs people getting bypass surgery is also porn, lots of emphasis on the whole “blubber” aspect, close-ups of rolls of fat and so forth. I find myself watching these shows because I am more fascinated with the co-dependency aspect (if someone can’t leave their house, who is taking care of them? What the hell is going on?) The mother who continuously undermines her son’s weight-loss attempts with more and more donuts (if he lived by himself, I am convinced he would have been far better off, but as it is, can’t even leave his house) and the husband who keeps the wife inside and then acts like its all a result of HER tragic over-eating… these situations amaze me as one who grew up in a majorly dysfunctional family. The family situation is built around these people–the WHOLE FAMILY is far more invested in the fat than the person themselves, who is totally trapped. I have thought about writing about these shows, but afraid I would say the wrong thing. Food is a big, big part of these shows, but I daresay, it’s probably because the people don’t have anything else to do but watch TV (and in fairness, they show that too).

    The price of “treatment” (surgery) is probably consenting to be on the TV show, and that is like pimping, to me.

    Have you written about these shows, or seen them at all?

  5. meowser Says:

    I don’t have TLC (I only get very basic, basic cable), so no, I haven’t seen them, but I’ve read about them on sites like Big Fat Blog. It’s probably a good thing I haven’t watched them, because I’d be throwing a lot of shoes at the TV if I did, and my shoes haven’t done anything to deserve that.

    And Ladyjaye, good point! Actually showing any of these people in action would have cut down on the laugh-up-the-sleeve factor, and we can’t have THAT. (And yeah, the Big Cat was great.)


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