"santa Isn't Fat By Accident"

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THE PLANK DECEMBER 4, 2006

"santa Isn't Fat By Accident"

It's so hard to escape the PC Police these days! As the venerable Dylan might put it, they'll stone you when you call a bad thing "gay," they'll stone you when you fete Columbus Day, they'll stone you if you love foie gras and veal, and now they'll even stone you if you want to skip a meal! This from this week's National Review (sus req):

Get ready for Fat Studies. ... The University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee is offering a course titled "The Social Construction of Obesity." There is no such thing as being fat, you see; "fatness" is just a figment. Nor is there any substance to claims by "scientists" that "obesity" is linked to diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease. Those are just ploys by the oppressive power structure ...

OK, "Fat Studies" as an academic discipline is totally silly. But NR's mocking the idea that an oppressive power structure is out to keep the fat man down forces me to exhume perhaps my favorite NR article ever printed, Dave Shiflett's "Chief of the Fat Police", an extended, philosophy-and-pop-culture-suffused rant against the oppressive power structure out to keep the fat man down.

It also, in the course of defending fat individualism in the face of societal pressure ("The message [Clinton] and his ilk hope to pound into the public consciousness is that every time we order French fries we do damage ... to the nation's economy"), berating us for cultural imperialism ("Parents in those sad nations [Angola, Botswana, and Malawi] would strap their children to the back of a shark if they thought there was a one in ten chance he'd drop them off at an American beach with a Wendy's nearby"), and providing positive fat role models ("Santa isn't fat by accident"), definitely qualifies for inclusion in what the New York Times article on which this week's NR blurb is based calls the "fat liberation" canon.

--Eve Fairbanks

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