Maxed out 

The skinny on fatism

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Being predominately a Whistler audience — ever optimistic, I presume an audience — you may be forgiven for not noticing the single most threatening scourge currently facing planet Earth. No, it’s not climate change, terrorism, the frustratingly elusive Quest for Sustainability, cross-border shopping or the Harper Conservatives. It’s the OBESITY EPIDEMIC!

Obesity and epidemic have become so inexorably linked, like drug warlord or political pundit, that they should actually be one word: obesityepidemic. While epidemic still retains an independent vitality and can successfully be linked with other words, obesity is quickly losing the ability to stand alone. Come to think of it, those swept up in the obesityepidemic are also quickly losing the ability to stand alone. But that’s neither here nor there. It was, however, a cheap fat joke.

And that’s the cool thing about the obesityepidemic — you can make jokes at its expanse. That’s because fatism hasn’t been outlawed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Au contraire, mon cher. Fatism has, in fact, grown in lockstep with the obesityepidemic and shall forever continue to do so, thereby defying what one might think of as the will of the majority. Those caught up in the obesityepidemic aren’t yet a majority but their ranks are quickly swelling — my god man, have you no shame — toward that magic number of 50.1 per cent.

What’s worse, for some observers, obese is becoming mainstream, coming out of the walk-in closet so to speak.

Obesity, unlike leprosy, is hard to disguise. Black isn’t as slimming as you might imagine. Nonetheless, until recently the obesityepidemic was relegated to reality as opposed to reality television. If you wanted to see really obese people, you had to turn off your TV and go outside.

But now, apparently, obese people are showing up on mainstream television. That is to say, they’re appearing on commercials as opposed to being the butt of fat humour on sitcoms. I don’t know that for a fact, since I always assumed remote controls were specifically designed to deliver us from commercials, but I have it on good authority.

Dick Cavett told me so. For those of you who have never heard of him, and for those of you who share my sketchy ’60s memory, Dick Cavett used to host a cerebral talkshow on U.S. public television. The several dozen people who regularly watched him loved him. He was witty and intellectual and rarely fawned over his celebrity guests, Katherine Hepburn being the notable exception.

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