Update Mike Bloomberg, current owner of New York City’s mayoral title, has graciously allowed (by not yet banning) me to re-publish this article which expresses a sentiment dear to Mayor Bloomberg: that he knows best. In art, in habit, in what to eat. His newest crusade—and it is just that: a righteous jihad against the sins of the body—is to banish pop (also known as soda) if the pop is sold in containers too large to be held comfortably in Mayor Bloomberg’s hand (he is an awfully small man).
I cannot but agree with him. He knows best, not just what is best for himself, but what is ideal for all of us. And the reason he knows what is best is that he is a member of government. And there is no higher power than that.
Update And see this.
Time magazine has it right: “Everybody knows obesity is a massive problem in the U.S.” I know it. And so do you.
Time says we need to be willing to “demonize excess poundage” just as we shame smokers. All the techniques that worked in getting people to quit smoking need to be employed to get people down to their ideal weight. We need a war on the fat.
It isn’t just the fat being fat. What really concerns me is passive obesity. Sure, I’m thin, and damn proud of it. I take care of myself. I eat right, I watch Good Morning America, I exercise. On weeks where there are positive reports of the benefits of red wine, I drink exactly the recommended amount. But on those weeks where articles appear on the harmful effects of alcohol, I abstain. I take vitamins. I follow Michelle Obama’s lead in eating. I am healthy.
But there are a lot of fatties out there and it’s getting so it’s impossible not to be around one. People have a right to be fat, but only in their own homes—but maybe not if they have children.
Suppose you’re with a group of healthy thin people at a restaurant recommended by the New York Times. The people at the table will order what is right, what is good for them. This is made easier because, at least in New York City, and thanks to the efforts of Mayor Bloomberg, transfats (and smoking!) have been banned. You can only get them if you’re prepared to break the law, which is what many fat people do.
Anyway, now imagine a fat person joins the group. What happens? Gluttony, that’s what. Passive waves of obesity are given off by the fatty. He over-orders and over-eats. That’s what fat people do. This forces the superior thin people to do the same. They can’t help themselves! Whereas before the thin behaved themselves, when a fat person arrives the thin suddenly find themselves adding an appetizer or opting for dessert. Butter is slathered on rolls. None of this would have happened had the thin dined among themselves alone.
So, just like we did with smokers, the first thing we should do is change restaurant behavior. We can’t ban fat people from gathering publicly. Not at first. That would be considered draconian and would set the program back a decade. Instead, we should create separate areas for fat people, just as we used to do with smoking sections. We’d set up troughs at which the fat can feed, and elegant tables in another area for the thin.
You see the difficulty, of course. Unless the barriers are airtight, the waves of passive obesity will waft over to the thin side. The hope is that the barriers lessens the impact of these waves. But I’m afraid that reliable statistical studies (p < 0.05) show that even brief exposure to fat people increases the risk of obesity.
Obesity is bad for you. Sure, some fat people tend to live a little longer than thin. But they’re living longer as fat people. This is shocking.
I care about these people. Dammit, I really do. My (unclogged by plaque) heart bleeds. I am sincere. This is what counts. Sincerity. I live in Manhattan and I have a PhD from an Ivy League university. In science. Not only does this equip me with the knowledge of right and wrong, it gives me license to dictate to others what is best.
I shouldn’t say this, because it’s delicate. But these fat people, especially those fatties with fat kids, just don’t know what is best for them. I do. I’ve studied the subject. I’ve read scientific papers by earnest people. They agree with me. Something has to be done.
The real problem is that most people just don’t have the intelligence to know what they’re eating. They are mere dupes of corporations who sell them food that is bad for them. They are powerless in the face of advertisements for fudgesicles. They see fat people on TV who are portrayed as jolly and happy. They are slaves to their genes which force them to gorge on blubber and salt and sugar, all of them bad.
What is bad should not be allowed. What should not be allowed should be controlled and regulated by the government. Government intervention is the only way to successfully control obesity. Mere exhortation by personal introspection, by doctors, family members, the clergy, and the guys down at the bowling alley isn’t going to cut it. Let’s face it. We need a program. We need taxes. We need to stop the obese before they eat again.