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Alton Brown: "Be Ashamed" of Your Fat Body

We've talked about Alton Brown before. The bespectacled host of Food Network's Good Eats has had his ups and downs with his own weight and feelings on fat people. On that BFB post, he spoke incredibly ill of his own body. And if you saw one of his previous Feasting on... specials you may recall his OMG I NEED TO DO SITUPS NOW BECAUSE OF ALL THIS HIGH-CAL HIGH-FAT FOOD routine which became truly old, sad, and upsetting.

Unfortunately, Brown has come out of the fat-hating closet for good in a recent interview that got picked up at Ecorazzi. His words:

”I've struggled with weight all my life, and probably always will. But I was on my most recent book tour I was shocked by the number of overweight families,” he says. “People would come up to me and say, ‘Oh, we love the Food Network.’ Well, no (expletive); did you eat the TV? There’s only four of you and you can’t ride in an elevator together. I’ll probably make fat people angry, but we need, as a culture, to be ashamed. It’s not “… healthy.”

Angry? Check.

I'm angry because it's another case of a food celebrity (Jamie Oliver) trying to shame all of the fat people away. And on top of it, it really seems to be a situation where Brown has had negative body images ("all [his] life" mind you) and when he sees fat people, he's reminded of what he could be... maybe, if his set point is higher than its current spot... and he's afraid of that. So I really do think this comes from a place of fear and ignorance ultimately.

Brown unfortunately makes the foolish mistake of wrapping fat people up with the issue of sustainability, because clearly fat people don't eat local foods ever, don't cook for themselves (HELLO YOU ARE ON A COOKING SHOW, TELLING PEOPLE HOW TO COOK) and eat crap all the time. And man, it's another instance - another! - of someone using fat people as scapegoats for everything that she/he sees as wrong with the world. Does Brown honestly, truly think that if everyone was thin, everything would be better? That McDonald's would go away? That our food and eating patterns would change? If he does, boy, that speaks volumes.

In the end, though, anyone who decides to consciously say, "You know what? Screw you - you all should be ashamed of yourselves and your bodies" is someone who doesn't deserve any more of my time, attention, nor money. Alton, you're damn right I'm angry. I'm ashamed of you and your childish, ignorant attitude. [Thanks, Dreama.]

Boing Boing's Continuing Fat Hatred... ugh. | Hard Drive Dead - Back Soon! Really!

Melena September 27th, 2008 | Link | Yeaaaah.....see, I think

Yeaaaah.....see, I think you're missing the point a bit. You said, "To denigrate and yes, hate them because they have done or said these things and then reject their good works is to do what we are demanding the world not do to fat people." To compare one saying something hurtful to people simply being fat is a false analogy. The former is a willful action, and the latter is a physical characteristic. Completely different things.

Whether someone says something sexist, racist, classist, or sizeist, I tend to believe that they mean what they said, celebrity or no. So, if they indicate that they believe bigoted things, I stop giving them my money or attention. This goes for IRL people, or famous people. It has nothing to do with WORSHIPPING them as a HERO....it's that I don't keep the company of jerks, and because I don't support bigots. Simple. There are lots and lots of people out there. Lots of them making cooking shows. Lots of people making cooking shows and not hating on others...and I'll turn my attention there, instead. Because Alton Brown doesn't get my unconditional loyal viewership.

I believe people are responsible for what they say. When I say things, I mean them, so I assume others do, too. Like someone at Shapely Prose once said, Words Mean Things.

You are certainly free to enjoy the works of those whom hold a worldview that you personally find repugnant, but I choose not to.

Marshfield September 26th, 2008 | Link | I like Guy Fieri, too.

I like Guy Fieri, too. Playful and funny and a fan of food that's actually tasty. Love Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

"dished up with gravy made from the meat fat and juices, "

Meat fat and juices are healthy food, in my book--even more so when part of a hearty soup based on long-simmered bone broth. Perfect for Fall. (I'm a big fan of Mary Enig's work.)

wriggle99 September 26th, 2008 | Link | Oh I'm happy to correct you.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but Jamie Oliver at least seems to have positive motivations.

OK, Keshmeshi, I think you are right in the sense that when Oliver started out, I think there was real and genuine emotion, love even, for the children of the UK. He spoke with feeling about young children their bodies forming, being fed dressed up forms of industrial, food slurry, rather than being introduced to the world of food available to them.

His heart, in my view was definitely in the right place, unfortunately, hate is a more ready feeling when it comes to food and I'm afraid he has succumbed in a most unpleasant way to it.

As for the British diet being appalling, first off I've just about run out of patience with the superiority complex of people who think eating vegetables = sainthood, give it a rest, you are not better than others because you pretend to enjoy eating things you force yourself to eat-something that in the context of others food would be virtually called , feederism if not certainly greedy and unwise.

Eating vegetables-the ones with a high water content I'm presuming, doesn't make you it doesn't make you healthier or better morally than those who eat according to what they require, without fear of self appointed experts and bullshit science that has decided the results ahead of time and crowbars whatever it can bother to gather into it's hypocrisy; do you really think they eat how they tell you to eat, purlease. Cease and desist your appalling unsubtle judgements on what other people eat until you have got something worth saying.
And as for my own area, in 'deprived inner city London', I can't so much as fart without encountering shops and stalls selling fruit and veg- for miles, they all stay in business, so unless they are doing things I don't want to know about, people are buying them, possibly even eating them, so there Sticking out tongue

Well you did ask!

Mare November 22nd, 2008 | Link | My letter to FoodNetwork -- Re; Alton Brown

I have been an *avid* fan of the Foodnetwork for many years; from the first day it was offered by my Cable company- which, I believe, is at least 10 years ago!
My 4 top chefs from your channel are Paula Dean, Emeril, Rachel Ray and Alton Brown. However there are many other shows and chefs that I enjoy as well.

But I am sorry to say that I am scratching Alton Brown off my list. I can not express my level of disappointment in him after reading his horribly derogatory remarks (given in an interview, and then repeated by bloggers and newsletters everywhere!) regarding "fat people."
How dare he degrade and disrespect the fans (who support his show and buy his books) with such rude, childish comments and bigotry! How very UN-Christian of him!

Being a long time student of psychology, I understand he was speaking out in that manner as a way of masking his OWN fear and self-loathing regarding his own body image and self esteem. But that does not excuse his behavior, only makes it all the more PITIFUL.

*** I will NEVER watch Good Eats again, nor will I watch Iron Chef, or any other Foodnetwork program that features Alton Brown in any capacity whatsoever.***

Stick a big fork in Alton's love-handles, he's totally "done" in my book...

Please pass this message along to Mr Brown, and inform him that his name is now associated with plenty of sneering and scoffing on many Fat Acceptance and Anti-discrimination websites and blogs everywhere!
He should be ashamed of himself and his disregard for the people who helped him get where he is (was) today.

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