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Rod Liddle Advocates Violence Against Fat People

Rod Liddle at The Spectator had a rather... violent... reaction to Conservative Party leader David Cameron's claim that fat people are to blame for their own problems (a whole mess in and of itself). He tells of his experience in a checkout line behind a fat woman:

But now [Cameron] has told these awful people it’s all their own fault that they are hideous, poor and stupid I felt thoroughly empowered; liberated almost. So instead of doing nothing I set the fat mother on fire with my Zippo lighter and, on the way out, kicked the smallest fat child hard in the gut. Nearly lost my boot, too; entire leg almost swallowed whole.

An offensive blend of stereotypes, pure hatred, and ignorance. He spreads out a bit to cover other topics (poverty! single motherhood! alcoholism!) but, let's face it here, the guy is calling for fat violence. That is most definitely not OK. And here it is, in a magazine, masquerading as an editorial. Even if it's a fantasy of his, some sort of sick fantasy, airing it in public only goes to show what an incredibly stupid person he is. Thanks for letting us know. [Thanks, Mark!]

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DeeLeigh's picture
July 16th, 2008 | Link | At first I thought "Oh, that

At first I thought "Oh, that can't be serious. It must be meant ironically." But reading on, no, it really is amazingly vile. Unbelievable.

At first, I thought "It must be a really trashy magazine, to publish something like that." Asked my husband (who's British) and he said it's fairly well respected. It won't be for long if they keep publishing that kind of garbage.

There's "provocative..." and then there's hate speech.

vesta44's picture
July 16th, 2008 | Link | Antisocial behaviour needs

Antisocial behaviour needs to be stigmatised, not treated as an illness to be cured.

That is one of the first lines of the introduction to this piece of slime masquerading as an article. Maybe that should be applied to Liddle as well? Since what he's advocating be done to fat people is antisocial behavior, maybe he should be treated exactly as he wants to treat fat people. I'm sure there are a few nasty stereotypes that can be applied to him the way he applies stereotypes to fat people. See how much of a bigot/fanatic/zealot he is about hating fat when people start making fun of him for being an idiot.
Because being silent on something like this isn't going to make it go away. Sometimes, fighting back and using their weapons against them is the only thing that might get through to them and let them know how wrong-headed and mean-spirited they are (I say "might" because sometimes you just can't change a bigot/fanatic/zealot's mind).

WLS - Sorry, not my preferred way of dying. *glares at doctor recommending it*

Ollybeth July 16th, 2008 | Link | Like DeeLeigh, I thought it

Like DeeLeigh, I thought it had to be satirical, a Modest Proposal-type response to Cameron. But no, it's an utterly hateful piece of fatphobic nonsense with a big dollop of classism to go with it. I wish I could say I can't believe it got printed, but the way things are right now, I believe it all too well. But it's still somewhat shocking to see it just laid out like that, without even an attempt to tone it down.

richie79's picture
July 16th, 2008 | Link | Ugh, Little Rod, as I like

Ugh, Little Rod, as I like to call him, rears his ugly head once more. Unfortunately he has previous in the fat hate stakes - he seems to be working his way round various right-wing media outlets spouting his particularly vile brand of sizist BS like a latter-day Giles Coren.

And as with Mr Coren the absolute rabidity of that hatred makes me seriously wonder if there's something else going on in his head. Closet FA? Rejected by a fat girl (he does seem to have a particular issue with the existence of fat women and girls)? Fat chick stole his candy as a child? Guess we'll never know.

Whilst the Spectator (previously edited by new London mayor Boris Johnson) is slightly better regarded than the usual tabloid weekly, that's really not saying much. Though printing stuff like this (then running one of Rob Lyons' pro-FA pieces the very next day!) doesn't seem to have done the Times much harm.

As with that Anton du Beke 'fat people should all be shot' piece I suspect the sensationalist mass media are giving these people a platform because they know their views evoke such heated reactions on both sides of the debate. Light the blue touch paper and all that...

"if you think fat people have no self-discipline, consider the fact that they haven’t killed you yet." - Miss Conduct, Boston Globe

secondhelpinglaura's picture
July 16th, 2008 | Link | Reading this made me hungry

Reading this made me hungry for Kentucky Fried Chicken.

buttercup's picture
July 16th, 2008 | Link | What a reprehensible piece

What a reprehensible piece of slime.

Bree's picture
July 16th, 2008 | Link | Just more fuel for the fire.

Just more fuel for the fire. These "journalists" know that ranting about fat people will drive trolls to their articles and make comments agreeing with them faster than Forrest Gump running in a marathon.

People can write about the worsening economy, the presidential elections, genocide in other countries, and it gets a tepid response. But as soon as you write about us disgusting, smelly, ugly, overeating fatties and how we should be shot, set on fire, sent away to our own planet/island/whatever, sit back and watch as everyone comes running to play another round of Fat Hate Bingo. And I hate to keep breaking out the topic of race, religion, and sexual orientation, but substitute an ethnic group, gays, lesbians, or a religious denomination, there would be public outrage.

Rod, come on, grow the hell up. It's just fat.

Bilt4Cmfrt's picture
July 16th, 2008 | Link | Troll Alert: It seems one of

Troll Alert: It seems one of the more ignorant commenters from this bit of . . . Journalism? Simpleton Scribbling? Chimp-with-a-dungstick scratchings? In any case one of the commenters has discovered BFB and has shown the intellectual capacity to actually spell the name right. Probable Ignorance and hate inbound (YAWN).

To any who happen to drift in from that exercise in asshattery- Yes- There are places where Fat People go to discuss their experiences and No- We are not going to just STFU and waddle away. Interested? Stick around. Don't like it? Deal. Or Don't. You'll find most of us really don't care WHAT you think.

Everything great and worthwhile in human life is an accumulation of hundreds
and sometimes thousands of tiny efforts and sacrifices that nobody ever
sees or appreciates.
- Law of Accumulation

Moody Blue's picture
Moody Blue
July 16th, 2008 | Link | This just shows how "little"

This just shows how "little" Liddle really is...I would like to plant my boot where the sun don't shine on him, but I wouldn't want to contaminate my footwear.

AnnieMcPhee's picture
July 16th, 2008 | Link | Count me in as one who

Count me in as one who thought it must be Switf-ese satire at first. But, no. Though the fire part was a slight exaggeration, it was an exaggeration of what he really believes.

I'm not against social stigmas - for example, there is a definite stigma against using racist epithets in public, and rightly so. And he's right about alcoholism and drug addiction being largely self-inflicted, though with full recognition that once begun, those things can really trap a person, causing the person to genuinely need help and sympathy in order to escape the clutches of the addiction. Though I'd add that it takes a bit more than deciding to stop - people always seem to forget or not realize how medically dangerous withdrawal can be; quitting often requires medical intervention to fight the dangerous withdrawals, even from alcohol.

But does he seriously think there is NOT a stigma on people who are fat, alcoholic, smokers, drug addicts? What planet would that be on? I'd like to visit. And really, a social stigma does not consist of "shouting abuse" at people FFS - what a stupid thing to think. That isn't what a social stigma is, ulness you're fucking 8 years old on the schoolground. Jeez.

To the incoming trolls who will likely never have their comments see the light of day here, let me direct you to my blog in case you're interested - I might not publish your comments either, but they'll probably give me a laugh. Smiling

Zero isn't a size, it's a warning sign. - Carson Kressley
The Kevin Pease Beer Fund Foundation - Won't Someone PLEASE think of the psychology students?

JennyLinsky July 16th, 2008 | Link | I don't know what to make of

I don't know what to make of this article. The parts about fat people sounded like Meme Roth on crack.

But in the first paragraph, the author actually pointed out that povery was not the fault of the poor! Indeed, he called out some Tory politician for blaming the poor for their own plight.

And his statement that alcoholism and drug addiction are the fault of those who excessive use alcohol and drugs are correct. He even conceded that drug addicts need help.

Clearly, the guy is not stupid. He's just a mean, obnoxious fatphobe.

Meowzer July 16th, 2008 | Link | For serious. Throwing rocks

For serious. Throwing rocks at my head and calling me names is not going to make me thin. It could make me a shut-in, but I'd be a fat shut-in. Probably fatter than I am now, actually, because being a shut-in would make me almost entirely inactive, not to mention that I'd probably drink a lot more and spend a lot more time sleeping it off. I'd never go anywhere unless I had a vehicle to take me door to door. That's what you want, dude? Have at it. You can wank yourself with the illusion that I don't actually exist all you want, but it's not going to improve my health.

Cariad July 16th, 2008 | Link | From one or two comments on

From one or two comments on the Spectator site, at least some individuals remain convinced that this is indeed satirical writing, despite the fact that it's as funny as an orphanage on fire.

Many of the commenters called hypocrite on Liddle for being a "single father" and suspected smoker. I only read one page of comments, though.

The single mother bit particularly puzzled me. It caused me to experience Dan Quayle flashbacks, which is guaranteed to put me in an ugly mood. I thought most people decided at least 15 years ago that heaping blame on single mothers was, on the whole, awesomely mean-spirited.

Annie, I cannot agree with you that alcoholism and drug addiction are "largely self-inflicted". Are you referring to a scientific study, or just your personal suspicions? I am not sure what you even mean by "self-inflicted", actually, so maybe I am just misunderstanding you. Addictions have genetic components same as body size, and reactions to drugs can be as individual as metabolisms.

AnnieMcPhee's picture
July 16th, 2008 | Link | Cariad, I'm referring to the

Cariad, I'm referring to the act of picking up a drink and drinking it, or purchasing drugs and then using them. These are conscious choices. And I have been through some pretty nasty alcohol withdrawal myself, and definitely did drugs in the 80s, but clearly it was I who drank the alcohol that led to it, no? No one was forcing me to do it. I'm sorry if it bothers you, but that's the reality. I do agree with him that a person can become trapped in a state of constant drinking or drugs and need help, compassion, and medical attention to stop; that doesn't mean they got there through no choice of their own, like getting cancer. And no, it's not the same as being fat, unless you accept that fat is caused simply by eating a shitload of food and not exercising - IF that were indeed the cause of fat, I would agree that it was in the same category as the other things. However, I think there's enough reason to believe that that is not generally the cause of fat. Drinking, however, is the cause of alcohol intoxication and withdrawal. So...I don't know what you want.

Zero isn't a size, it's a warning sign. - Carson Kressley
The Kevin Pease Beer Fund Foundation - Won't Someone PLEASE think of the psychology students?

Cariad July 16th, 2008 | Link | Hi Annie, Not sure why you

Hi Annie,

Not sure why you sound so angry/defensive, and it doesn't bother me, I just do not agree with you. No apology necessary, actually, so not sure why one was offerred.

I have done a ridiculous amount of drinking in my past (not proud of it, just trying to illustrate). But, I have never been an alcoholic, i just sort of grew up and stopped. There is a difference between doing something too much and doing something compulsively. Yes, my drinking was self-inflicted, but I do not claim to have overcome an addiction. There are genes linked to alcoholism, and probably more genes will be found that influence addictive behaviors. I strongly believe that if I had a different set of genes, I would have needed help to stop drinking, perhaps from the moment I first tried alcohol. The closest I have come to an addiction is anorexia, which is classed as part addiction, part OCD. I think my genes have something to do with that ongoing battle as well, and would take umbrage with someone telling me that my eating disorder experience was "self-inflicted".

Thanks for the reply!

paul July 16th, 2008 | Link | Let's keep this on topic

Let's keep this on topic folks. Thanks.

AnnieMcPhee's picture
July 16th, 2008 | Link | I don't know why something

I don't know why something being compulsive (or genetically inclined) would mean it's not something the person themselves is doing. Or started to do. Everyone takes a first drink, a first line of coke, etc. And every one thereafter, actually. {shrug} I don't think the issue was whether they could stop without help, but whether it was self-inflicted injury, which it clearly is.

I saw that some commenters there do still think the editorial is a satire, and it really starts off like one, and there are elements throughout that still seem so...that's why I was counting on Richie to know this guy and set us straight. There seem to be too many factors against it. I hope there is some clarification on that - if it was satire it was only good for the first page and thereafter it sucked donkey balls. And if it was serious (which it seems to be) that makes the first page extra, mondo horrible.

Zero isn't a size, it's a warning sign. - Carson Kressley
The Kevin Pease Beer Fund Foundation - Won't Someone PLEASE think of the psychology students?

Cariad July 17th, 2008 | Link | Hi Annie, I see where you

Hi Annie, I see where you are coming from, I just do not agree that alcoholism/drug addiction are really self-inflicted in most cases.

I did want to clairfy, before leaving this topic alone since it is going off course, that I did not mean that fat or thin had any comparison to addiction (in most cases) other than there seems to be genetics involved in both. What I was (admittedly clumsily) trying to say was that I might eat 2500 calories a day and be 100 lbs, someone with my same build/activity-level/whatever might eat the same number of calories and weigh 200 pounds. Similarly, I might have had 100 or 1000 or 10000 drinks in my past and never trigger alcoholism because I strongly believe there is no gene to help this process along. Someone else might start feeling that compulsion from the word go, and I don't see that as a self-inflicted injury. Beyond the genetics, the analogy between fat and addiction doesn't work for me, and can get into some really unpleasant territory. Brits have different standards for diagnosing alcoholism/addiction. They do, overall, see much more personal responsibility in that realm, so the idea that this writer proposes, that addiction and fat can both be overcome with willpower, does not really surprise me.

I read most of the article to my British husband, who has a great sense of humor I might add. He felt the writer was probably serious, too. I trust Richie's assessment as well. I think if it was satire, the onus is on the writer to find a way to make this crystal clear. Even satire does not make saying anything and everything acceptable, though, so I guess it doesn't really matter to me if it was meant to be satire, I found it painfully unfunny.

Dirty-Blonde Amazon July 16th, 2008 | Link | This whole thing just

This whole thing just screams 'political correctness double-standards' to me...

If you make ANY comments about a person's gender/race/sexual orientation/ religious background - even if it's not Negative - you can be sued and/or lose your job.

YET, attacking someone for their weight - no matter the reason - is totally acceptable and in some cases encouraged. Fat isn't a race like black or white, it's not a religion nor a sexual preference, so it's not considered a 'hate crime' that requires friggen rehab.

It's Jerks like this guy that push and shove and hurt and separate people over superficial appearance 'guidelines'...

Discrimination hasn't disappeared - it's just changed targets.

wriggle99 July 17th, 2008 | Link | And no, it's not the same as

And no, it's not the same as being fat, unless you accept that fat is caused simply by eating a shitload of food and not exercising - IF that were indeed the cause of fat, I would agree that it was in the same category as the other things.

Really? OK self inflicted fatty over here, although I think it's only fair to state that I ate the most when I developed disordered eating triggered by trying, on a constant basis, to lower my calorie intake. I also was quite inactive, due to clinical depression. Although I've always felt at fault for being fat, I never felt it was my fault, because I have been trying since the age of 7 to prevent becoming fat and when I did, to attain slimness. Funnily enough I've always felt totally responsible for my depression and still do, even though it lasted a long time, it was through my own stupid choices that it occured. Although this has sometimes made me sad, this feeling has neither killed nor cured me.

We all differ in what we feel responsible for and I'm not sure why. I think that we have to accommodate both feelings of culpability and innocence.

secondhelpinglaura's picture
July 17th, 2008 | Link | Why did this become a

Why did this become a personal confessions of inner conflict thread?

richie79's picture
July 17th, 2008 | Link | Annie, to clarify, I'm

Annie, to clarify, I'm fairly certain this isn't satire. The Spectator is not Private Eye, and as I said, he's expressed the same views in other outlets in the last few weeks. According to Wikipedia, Liddle was a serious journalist once, editing the highly-respected Today programme on BBC Radio 4 and winning several awards for it, and I remember his brief stint presenting a political TV show with the equally fat-phobic Kate Silverton (who herself then headed downmarket by becoming a common fixture on the rather trashy BBC Breakfast).

However more recently he seems to have adopted a policy of deliberately courting controversy; he was 'forced to resign' from the BBC due to comments in his Guardian column about fox-hunting, has attacked both atheists and the faithful depending on his mood, accused two of Britain's Muslim leaders of holding anti-Semitic views, defended the far-right BNP and slagged off Geordies by comparing them to 'monkeys and morons'.

If he wasn't to begin with, the guy is now a fully paid-up member of the Troll Club; unfortunately some silly person gave him the deputy editorship of a national magazine, hence elevating the regard in which his rantings are held above that of the common or garden message-board ranter. Ironically as a heavy smoker and adulterer (allegedly cutting short his honeymoon to 'comfort' his mistress) and subsequent absent father he has much on which he could be criticised should we so choose.

"if you think fat people have no self-discipline, consider the fact that they haven’t killed you yet." - Miss Conduct, Boston Globe

swimmersteph's picture
July 18th, 2008 | Link | Getting back to the original

Getting back to the original post - what a sad human and total waste of space.

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