Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Big Fat Bad Idea

I don't watch reality TV. Even if I did, I would not be tempted by this recent offering from TLC. The show reportedly follows a father-and-son team who perform bariatric surgery on "obese people who have opted to undergo weight-loss surgery in an attempt to regain their lives."

And here I thought obese people had lives, even without undergoing the risky-but-oh-so-profitable procedures performed by these butchers--I mean surgeons.

The producers would have you believe that this father and son are dedicated do-gooders out to make the lives of Fat People better by surgical mutilation, we know better.

We know, for instance, that nearly 40 percent of those who underwent such surgery last year had complications within 6 months, including vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, reflux, abdominal hernia, leaking at the surgical site between stomach and intestine, and infections of one sort or another.

We know that 7 percent of those who had the surgery had to go back to the hospital within 6 months to treat complications of the surgery.

The producers of this incredibly offensive show describe the father and son as "passionate" people "who have dedicated their professional lives to raising awareness about obesity."

Raising awareness? Um, did we need our awareness raised on this issue? Do those of us whose BMI qualifies us as overweight or obese just not realize it? Is there anyone living in America--heck, in the world--who hasn't been inundated with anti-fat propaganda and prejudice?

Captain Kirk was wrong; fat is the final frontier. And this show is one big fat bad idea.

1 comment:

carrie said...

Harriet,

I agree with you completely. Obesity awareness? As in there wasn't enough? How about: obesity sanity? Wouldn't that be nice?

As for the title of the show. Would they ever call a show about eating disorders "skinny medicine"? Big Medicine to me seems more about the insurance industry conspiracy rather than obesity.

Why can't they just have a show on learning how to accept your body as it is?