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Fat people: please stop existing.

In forums, BFBer vidyapriya tipped us off that a University of Toronto student paper, The Newspaper, printed an article entitled "10 Reasons it's not OK to be fat." It's an unbelievable, almost stunningly perfect example of fat hatred.

1. Public health care - why should the rest of us have to pay high taxes for you to eat yourself to death?
2. Nobody likes you. Except for, possibly, other fat people.
3. Even if you're successful, it just means you'll have enough money to become a drug addict and kill yourself like Chris Farley.
4. Because I don't want to ever have to think about fat people again.
5. Not only do you frighten children, but you're also setting a bad example.
6. You ruin pictures.
7. You ruin moments.
8. The thought of you ever having sex single-handedly ruins the day of at least 50% of the people whom you meet.
9. Because only aircraft are meant to be equipped with flaps. Their flaps serve a purpose.
10. It's fucking disgusting.

As vidyapriya put it, "I can't bear it when a university campus -- usually the environment in which I feel most at home and accepted -- is used as the locus for the dissemination of speech telling me that I do not have the right to exist." And it starts, of course, with the time-honoured tradition of blaming fat people for rising health care costs, even though a recent study demonstrated that fat people actually cost the health care system less (presumably because we drop like flies under the burden of our fat, not because we refuse to use discriminatory health care services or because we have less access to health care, but that is another story for another day.)

And, hey, fat people -- were you aware that no one likes you? The people in your family don't count; your friends don't count; your spouses and allies of the fat acceptance movement don't count; and other fat people CERTAINLY don't count, as they're not really human to begin with. (Plus they smell. Or they don't live long enough to have opinions that matter -- however you prefer to look at it.)

Picking on dead people who can't defend themselves is another time-honoured tradition in fat hatred. Haha! Chris Farley is a dead fat guy! Who had a drug problem! And really, there have never been fat people who succeeded in anything, anyway. Obviously, I can understand why you'd never want to think about fat people again, given that they're so well-represented in the media.

I also, personally, spend a lot of my time frightening children and setting bad examples.

And ruining pictures...

And ruining "moments," whatever those are...

And forcing everyone I meet to imagine me having sex...

And flapping my ailerons with no regard for decency...

And, of course, being disgusting, in a general fucking way.

Dear anonymous article-writer, you forgot some things:
-lazy
-smelly
-jolly
-smarter and funnier than you

Or you could have tried being honest instead:

10 Reasons I hate fat people.

1. Because thin people remain that way only through constant feats of heroic self-control.
2. Because fat bloggers are getting attention from the mainstream media and I still write for this shitty campus paper.
3. Because Chris Farley looks better in a Chippendales uniform than I do.
4. Because it harshes my mellow when people who look different than me demand "equal treatment."
5. Because when adults express personal autonomy by eating and exercising on their own terms, IT HURTS BABIES.
6. Because fat people's heads don't show up in photos, just like vampires don't show up in mirrors.
7. Because my fat roommate interrupted me having a "moment" with back issues of Cat Fancy.
8. Because I feel a powerful sexual attraction to fat people and am desperately overcompensating.
9. Because I thought of this really clever metaphor and needed to write an anonymous article to use it after I repeated it seven times to every person I encountered and they all told me to go away and stop touching them or they would call campus security.
10. Because my editor laughed at me for pulling my pants down when she said we had a couple inches to fill.

Thanks, vidyapriya! And also thanks to BirdmanDodd, who has posted some contact information for the The Newspaper, if you'd like to write in or call.

Guest Bloggin' | New University, Old Stereotypes

BirdmanDodd's picture
BirdmanDodd
April 6th, 2008 | Link | Excellent Glad I could help

Excellent Smiling
Glad I could help the fight!
I also posted a pic of the article there as well, thanks to Kristen
Also got some wicked comments at My Blog @ www.birdmanofsteel.com
and a really good response @
http://www.drewbeatty.com/?p=166

"One must want nothing to be different-not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not only bear what is necessary, but to love it."
Neitzche

rebelle April 6th, 2008 | Link | Loved it! Laughed loudest at

Loved it! Laughed loudest at Number 6; got a good chuckle out of 7 (and I AM a cat lady!) You go, Mich and Birdman! Smiling Smiling Smiling Smiling Smiling Smiling Smiling Smiling Smiling Smiling Smiling

Tiana April 6th, 2008 | Link | Fat people frighten

Fat people frighten children? Puzzled Wow, that one was new. In reality, I think that most small children love fat people. Smiling

BirdmanDodd's picture
BirdmanDodd
April 7th, 2008 | Link | IF they like Santa, they

IF they like Santa, they like Fat people
I remember once a kid called me Fat in a grocery store and I replied, don't make fun of fat people...Santa is fat too you know, he soon shut up

"One must want nothing to be different-not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not only bear what is necessary, but to love it."
Neitzche

sarahj April 6th, 2008 | Link | Huh. I might be offended if

Huh. I might be offended if the "author" had tried to come up with something original. It's a hyperbolic and shoddy piece of writing. It's so ridiculous, all I can do is roll my eyes.

But seeing that the piece was published in an university school newspaper, it seems a good idea to let the paper know how we feel.

The "honest" version has my vote. Smiling

vidyapriya April 6th, 2008 | Link | Thanks so much for putting

Thanks so much for putting this on BFB, Mich!
I love your 'counter-list'! (And I confess that I did click on your "imagine me having sex" hyperlink, just to see what on earth you could have linked to. Smiling )

Dear concerned BFBers, please do consider sending off at least a quick note to thenewspaper@gmail.com to voice your opinion on their journalistic standards. (Also, a fuller BFB discussion of this article and our options for challenging it can be found in the forums, under 'lipophobia on campus'.)

BirdmanDodd's picture
BirdmanDodd
April 7th, 2008 | Link | I got some good news I am in

I got some good news
I am in talks with Osprey Media and this story might get picked up by the outlets and we might get provincial coverage on this and who knows what'll happen beyond that.
I am being interviewed regarding this so whoo! Could use some back up on this and share in this experience Smiling

ALSO, I am conducting an audio interview with THE NEWSPAPER on Wednesday to address this issue and story and am getting an emailed copy of the article in it's entirity soon, so what questions do you want me to ask the author/paper?

"One must want nothing to be different-not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not only bear what is necessary, but to love it."
Neitzche

kelly_cs's picture
kelly_cs
April 6th, 2008 | Link | I agree that a

I agree that a letter-writing campaign is in order for two reasons. First, it's hate speech; Not against a protected class, granted, but outright nonetheless. And second, the University of Toronto is the largest university in Canada -- and what the hell are its journalism students doing?! Um, facts from an objective and unbiased perspective? Right!

At the same time, it's hard not to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of that list. If people thought that the list was serious at Point #1, surely that notion would be dashed by Point #2. Even then, if 65% of people are fat or superfat, then having only other fat people like you means you'd have A LOT of friends! Eye-wink

And for what it's worth, NAAFA really needs to update its Hall of Fame list.

Great response, MichMurphy!

BirdmanDodd's picture
BirdmanDodd
April 7th, 2008 | Link | This might also be worth

This might also be worth noting because of the Toronto connection

http://www.thestar.com/generic/article/108483#submissions

http://www.torontosun.com/ContactUs/contactus.html

http://www.640toronto.com/Station/ContactUs.aspx

http://www.680news.com/station/contactUs.jsp

Hit the Toronto news rooms and whose to say, maybe we'll get lucky

"One must want nothing to be different-not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not only bear what is necessary, but to love it."
Neitzche

biggoth April 8th, 2008 | Link | :)

MichMurphy wrote:

<<7. Because my fat roommate interrupted me having a "moment" with back issues of Cat Fancy.

FAT ROOMIE: "Dude, that's not what I meant when I told you you should get some pussy! Ewwww!"

lauria April 6th, 2008 | Link | If this had come out in my

If this had come out in my student paper when I was in college, it would have sent me into a shame spiral for weeks by merely confirming what I had always suspected. If I was in college now and it came out in the student paper, I would be up in arms. Thank goodness I'm more resilient now, but I'm sure there are some fat students at U of T who are going to be triggered by this.

melanie's picture
melanie
April 6th, 2008 | Link | Great take down :)

Perfect snarked response to this drivel. And I loved Peggynature's illustrations. Flap. Flap.

Cheers,

Melanie (Fatadelic)

waitingforrescue.'s picture
waitingforrescue.
April 6th, 2008 | Link | Fighting against vile hatred

Fighting against vile hatred with humor...I love it! Smiling

Kate Harding's picture
Kate Harding
April 6th, 2008 | Link | Ugh

There have definitely been days when I've been prouder to be a U of T alum.

Excellent rewrite, Michelle.

BabySeal April 7th, 2008 | Link | "8. The thought of you ever

"8. The thought of you ever having sex single-handedly ruins the day of at least 50% of the people whom you meet."

Which sane person think about the sex life of other people whom s/he meets randomly? This chap is seriously deranged, and has all the intellectual prowess of a not-too-bright kindergartner.

Jon_B's picture
Jon_B
April 7th, 2008 | Link | At least I can blog this....

At least I can blog this.... What squares are these on FAT HATRED BINGOOOO??? Puzzled

Wanderer's picture
Wanderer
June 24th, 2008 | Link | Fat Hatred Bingo

Well, card #1 has ""Won't someone please think of the children" and "Fat people are a burden on our health care system", while card #2 has "So, I'm supposed to think fat chicks are hot?" and "You're encouraging weight gain".

BirdmanDodd's picture
BirdmanDodd
April 7th, 2008 | Link | Today I expect a slew of

Today I expect a slew of responses from U of T

"One must want nothing to be different-not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not only bear what is necessary, but to love it."
Neitzche

abby1013's picture
abby1013
April 7th, 2008 | Link | ok yeah i frighten small

ok yeah i frighten small children. but its not because im fat Smiling

im glad this made it over here so we can have more people retaliate. Im working on an email to send their way.

#254- WE WILL EAT YOUR CHILDREN AND CRAP OUT TERRORISM!

sannanina April 7th, 2008 | Link | And it starts, of course,

And it starts, of course, with the time-honoured tradition of blaming fat people for rising health care costs, even though a recent study demonstrated that fat people actually cost the health care system less (presumably because we drop like flies under the burden of our fat, not because we refuse to use discriminatory health care services or because we have less access to health care, but that is another story for another day.)

To be fair, the study you mentioned was done by Dutch scientists in the Netherlands, and in the Netherlands access to health care for fat people is far less of a problem than in the States.

MichMurphy April 7th, 2008 | Link | Good point, sannanina. Maybe

Good point, sannanina. Maybe I should link to a study I found (I think it was a US study) that had stats showing that, while fat people did use some preventative services more, the total bill for their care was not increased. It might make more sense.

Bree's picture
Bree
April 7th, 2008 | Link | I loved your example of

I loved your example of ruining pictures. That was hysterical!

BabySeal, I think you offended not too bright kindergardners. Even dumb five year-olds are smarter than this buttmunch! Laughing out loud

sevendayswonder April 7th, 2008 | Link | MitchMurphy, you're

MitchMurphy, you're brilliant!!!!

Blatant fat hate seems to pop up prominently in student newspapers at least bi-yearly, if not yearly. It happened in my student newspaper in January 2006 and many people wrote letters. It is really important to combat these things, so I hope people will rally and send their letters of outrage.

amazonstorm April 7th, 2008 | Link | .... Okay, I wasn't sure

.... Okay, I wasn't sure what to say in response to the article, but I do love your rebuttal.

secondhelpinglaura's picture
secondhelpinglaura
April 7th, 2008 | Link | Perspective

Jesus Carb-Loading Christ! We're fat - we're not rapists.

BirdmanDodd's picture
BirdmanDodd
April 7th, 2008 | Link | I just called the Newspaper

I just called the Newspaper and am awaiting a response on it.
Going to record an audio interview with the person and see what happens

Time to pwn some noobs...new media style

"One must want nothing to be different-not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not only bear what is necessary, but to love it."
Neitzche

LLW April 7th, 2008 | Link | you ruin pictures, you ruin

you ruin pictures, you ruin moments: what my family said to me a thousand times while I grew up.

I always run my "what if this were about black people?" test:

1. Public health care - why should the rest of us have to pay high taxes when black people have more diseases?
2. Nobody likes you. Except for, possibly, other black people.
3. Even if you're successful, it just means you'll have enough money to become a drug addict and kill yourself like Jimi Hendrix..
4. Because I don't want to ever have to think about black people again.
5. Not only do you frighten children, but you're also setting a bad example.
6. You ruin pictures.
7. You ruin moments.
8. The thought of you ever having sex single-handedly ruins the day of at least 50% of the people whom you meet.
9. Because only aircraft are meant to be equipped with flaps. Their flaps serve a purpose.
10. It's fucking disgusting.

Pretty clear what kind of speech this is when you make that tiny change, eh?

GirlyGirl's picture
GirlyGirl
April 7th, 2008 | Link | I just don't understand how

I just don't understand how anyone would be ok with printing something like this? Does the person who wrote this ever want to find a real job after school? It just seems so irresponsible to allow something like this to be printed, on so many levels. Not only is it INSANE, it also reflects so poorly on the person who wrote it and whomever let it into the paper. It just doesn't make sense to me.

BirdmanDodd's picture
BirdmanDodd
April 7th, 2008 | Link | They emailed the whole

They emailed the whole article to me and here is the link to it

http://www.birdmanofsteel.com/Mar24p8.pdf

Now we have his name
Alan Osadetz
He's also on Facebook if you wanted to message him directly with your thoughts,etc
But we should email the Newspaper,and the university first and foremost

"One must want nothing to be different-not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not only bear what is necessary, but to love it."
Neitzche

Meowzer April 7th, 2008 | Link | HAHAHAHAHA, Michelle. Love

HAHAHAHAHA, Michelle. Love the pictures!

vidyapriya April 7th, 2008 | Link | so what questions do you

so what questions do you want me to ask the author/paper?

My question: Why would a writer assume that framing bigotry as satire exempts the things he/she writes from the larger system of societal power relations? I.e., saying 'it was just a joke' (which WILL be the author's/paper's response) does not make it 'okay'. (In fact, humour often reinscribes relations of domination in much more powerful, insidious ways.)

Bilt4Cmfrt's picture
Bilt4Cmfrt
April 7th, 2008 | Link | ALSO, I am conducting an

ALSO, I am conducting an audio interview with THE NEWSPAPER on Wednesday to address this issue and story and am getting an emailed copy of the article in it's entirity soon, so what questions do you want me to ask the author/paper?

BirdMan- If you DO manage to get this genius in front of a hot mic, enquiring minds want to know;

#5 on your lists includes the statement- "you frighten children". This struck me a poignant.
My question: Why do WE frighten YOU so much?

>>DAILY AFFIRMATION:
- As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I find
I can get in touch with my Inner Sociopath.<<

Bilt4Cmfrt's picture
Bilt4Cmfrt
April 7th, 2008 | Link | Hmmmm Does a double post

Puzzled Hmmmm Does a double post count as two questions? 'Cause I haven't even gotten into his odd sexual persuasions and questionable linage yet.

>>DAILY AFFIRMATION:
- As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I find
I can get in touch with my Inner Sociopath.<<.

FatShepherdess's picture
FatShepherdess
April 8th, 2008 | Link | "I agree that a

"I agree that a letter-writing campaign is in order for two reasons. First, it's hate speech;..."

I wholeheartedly agree with you!! Just plug "Jew" or "Black" or "Pakastani" in place of "fat" and imagine how quickly that author would have been slapped down! I don't agree with hate speech against *anyone*, even those I totally disagree with! If we can openly and legally hate-speech fat people where does it end? Who becomes the next target?

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." ~Mother Teresa

richie79's picture
richie79
April 8th, 2008 | Link | GirlyGirl and BirdmanDodd's

GirlyGirl and BirdmanDodd's post made me think. There has been much said in recent weeks about how employers and universities trawl Facebook et al for dirt which they can use to refuse people admission or employment, and how photographic evidence of someone's drunken high jinks or even alliance with unpopular political causes (looks nervously at list of SA groups in FB profile!) can count against someone. However this clearly doesn't count in the world of newspaper journalism, where one can disguise hate speech as biting satire without fear of career fallout.

As vidapriya points out, humour can indeed be used by a dominant group to assert their domination of an oppressed one. On the otherhand, as MichMurphy's fantastic original post shows, it's a powerful counter-weapon, not least because it can be used to demonstrate the sheer absurdity of a position. Keep 'em coming Smiling

vidyapriya April 8th, 2008 | Link | I wrote to many advertisers

I wrote to many advertisers in that publication, and have so far received only one response, from an on-campus student(-run?) pub. While the person who responded said he was really bothered by the content I described, he also said, that by encouraging people to not use their services while they continue to advertise in The Newspaper, I was only "promoting hatred against another identifiable group -- our business." Uh, this really seems to me like a case of not getting the idea.

paul April 8th, 2008 | Link | Wow

That's a stunning display of misunderstanding.

That business has a choice (dur!) to put an ad in their paper or not and we, as a group, have a choice to give them zero dollars and demonstrate the type of trash they're supporting with those ad dollars. That's how it works.

What was the name of the business?

GirlyGirl's picture
GirlyGirl
April 8th, 2008 | Link | Was the article supposed to

Was the article supposed to be satire? Because I have a pretty good sense of humor and I can generally pick up on when something is a joke but it doesn't read as satire to me.

I still don't know what "You ruin moments" even means. How can I ruin a MOMENT?

paul April 8th, 2008 | Link | BOOM

You just did!

And I'm ruining this one, too.

BirdmanDodd's picture
BirdmanDodd
April 8th, 2008 | Link | Well here is an email I

Well here is an email I received minutes ago from THE NEWSPAPER

Hey Michael,

I'm just too busy to do the interview, but if you'd like you can send some questions via e-mail and I'd be happy to answer them for you.

So guys, what questions do we want to ask the news paper?
I know I'll send the best ones in and make sure we get the response printed here and I'll even take a bit of my show on Friday morning and talk about it.

Good work guys!

"One must want nothing to be different-not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not only bear what is necessary, but to love it."
Neitzche

MichMurphy April 8th, 2008 | Link | Thanks for the pdf,

Thanks for the pdf, BirdmanDodd. Now that I've read the whole column by Alan whats-his-name, I'm left scratching my head. Was this an attempt at satire connected to the body-building book he somewhat sarcastically reviewed (but didn't actually parody?) If it was an attempt at humour, it fell totally flat. I'm not, obviously, much of a stand-up comedian myself, but I can totally appreciate ridiculous, immature humour. So can my husband. Neither one of us thought it was even remotely funny, if that was its intent.

I guess my question is: was this just filler? Is "outright offensive" the new "edgy"? And can we send Alan to a comedy-writing workshop, please?

Oh, million dollar question: Is Alan going to protest that he's actually a fat guy, himself?

vidyapriya April 8th, 2008 | Link | I guess my question is: was

I guess my question is: was this just filler?

My guess is, that yes, it pretty much was intended that way. (Try getting students to contribute pieces of writing to a second-rate campus paper at this time of year....)

My impression of the whole 'backpage' to that publication is that it's meant to be brainless humour -- but I think we all agree that this isn't humourous (one friend told me she cried when she read it), that it crosses the line, and that it reeks of the very sense of privilege that a university education should challenge -- but often cements.

AnnieMcPhee's picture
AnnieMcPhee
April 8th, 2008 | Link | I've nothing against black

I've nothing against black humor, even if it's about me. With the possible exception of the aelerons thing, (and that only if separated from the rest of the diatribe) there was no humor there, black or otherwise. If he was trying to be funny, he sucks. Alan. Stop that. And don't do it again.

Zero isn't a size, it's a warning sign. - Carson Kressley

Moe's picture
Moe
April 8th, 2008 | Link | I must be suffering today

I must be suffering today because that really made me feel bad. It's nice to see what a University education is doing for that person.
Thank goodness for the witty responses.

"They say that time changes things but you actually have to change them yourself." ~Andy Warhol

honeybuny April 8th, 2008 | Link | i haven't read through all

i haven't read through all the comments, but if someone else also pointed out how point #4 (4. Because I don't want to ever have to think about fat people again.) makes absolutely no fucking sense at all, just ignore this duplicate WTF comment.

Lizzy April 10th, 2008 | Link | Honeybuny, I think if you

Honeybuny, I think if you examine both #4 and #8, it's really telling. Do I think about every person I meet and how they have sex? Heck, no! But I do tend to think about sex when I meet someone I'm strongly attracted to.

To me it seems clear that he doesn't want to think about fat people ever again because of this tendency he has to picture them having sex, which he's embarrassed and ashamed by because society has taught him, like most people, that fat is both wrong and disgusting.

BirdmanDodd's picture
BirdmanDodd
April 11th, 2008 | Link | Letters we received today

Letters we received today from the University and the newspaper
itself
Also previous interview available @ birdmanofsteel.com

To: The Editor
The Newspaper

I am writing concerning a recent article in The Newspaper, entitled “10 Reasons it's not OK to be fat”. This article was highly inappropriate and is in stark contrast to the University's deeply held values of equity and tolerance. At the University of Toronto, we strive to be an
equitable and inclusive community, rich with diversity, protecting the human rights of all persons, and based upon understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of every person.

The leadership of this University has an unwavering commitment to providing a positive experience for all students. The article was demeaning and marginalized a specific group of people on the basis of their physical characteristics. We strongly urge The Newspaper to apologize to its readers and to refrain from articles of this nature in the future.

Angela Hildyard
Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity.

Editor’s Response

Just as Jonathan Swift did not actually consider eating children a ‘modest proposal’, Sasha Baron Cohen was not realistically proposing to “throw the jews down the well”; similarly, the newspaper does not actually believe fat people “ruin moments”.

The newspaper does not intend to put itself in such esteemed comedic company but what we do have in common with the aforementioned satirists is that our message has been misunderstood.

It seems an inherent risk in running satire is that it be misconstrued as something sincere, and this fate has unfortunately fall up the newspaper’s weekly satirical column, ‘the jock talk’. In a twist of misunderstood meaning, the body image obsessed persona created by the author of ‘the jock talk’ has bloggers accusing the newspaper of exalting the exact prejudice we have been mocking all year.

Two weeks ago, the column contained a crassly titled list “10 Reasons Why It’s Not OK to be Fat”. In pushing the envelope too far, we realize that the column became indistinguishable from the bigotry we were intending to satirize. We thank everyone who wrote in to let us know how tasteless this was and apologize to anyone who was offended.

"One must want nothing to be different-not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not only bear what is necessary, but to love it."
Neitzche

vidyapriya April 11th, 2008 | Link | Win!

I think I speak for all concerned when I say -- w00t!!!

This is probably the best we could have hoped for -- the University of Toronto stating that this article violates its own commitment to equity, and The Newspaper apologizing for pushing poorly-conceived comedy too far.

My deepest gratitude to everyone who wrote letters and posted messages of support!

BirdmanDodd's picture
BirdmanDodd
April 11th, 2008 | Link | We certainly pwn'ed those

We certainly pwn'ed those noobs Smiling
Kick ass!
Mentioned that on my show this morning
http://www.birdmanofsteel.com/TWIGfat.mp3

"One must want nothing to be different-not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not only bear what is necessary, but to love it."
Neitzche

BabySeal April 12th, 2008 | Link | That's really good news!

That's really good news!

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