My evolution from wannabe-thin-person to fat activist has been a long time coming. And I've lost a fair number of friends along the way, mostly people who for one reason or another could not, cannot accept the fact that people come in all shapes and sizes. Call it fatphobia, call it thin entitlement, call it self-loathing, call it prejudice of the rankest sort. Whatever you call it, it all boils down to judgmentalism.
So I don't know why Dick Cavett's rant in his New York Times blog should feel so especially and particularly mean-spirited and judgmental, but it does. Maybe because I used to like Cavett's TV show. He was witty in a way few other TV hosts were back then. So to have him tell the world now that, 1) it's not OK to be fat, and 2) fat people are "heavily larded folks", and 3) obesity is a "national tragedy," well, it feels like a betrayal.
It's the same feeling you get when you meet one of your favorite writers and he turns out to be an asshat. A nasty asshat who snarls at you, or--and this has happened to me--a sexist asshat who pats you on the head, calls you "doll," and asks for a cup of coffee.
Either way, it's like peeling off the jovial mask and seeing the hard face underneath.
And that's pretty much what Dick Cavett has done. To himself.
Mr. Cavett, you want to see ugly? Take a long, hard look in the mirror. Being thin does not mean being healthy. Being thin doesn't mean being attractive. Especially when such mean-spirited ugliness comes out of a thin person's mouth.