Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A troll among many trolls

I don't normally bother with trolls, but this one sent me an email to my work address that is so vile, I have to share it here with all of you.

Barry, I suspect you are what I think of as a self-loather. Maybe you were once fat. Maybe you're fat now. Maybe you're deathly afraid you will be fat in the future.

Personally, I love how you toss aside research in favor of your own baseless and warped opinions. That Barry, he sure knows better than those high-falutin' doctors who actually research this stuff!

Since you think shame is a good health-care strategy, I'll take your idea a step further and see if shame is a good strategy for curing haters like you. Probably not, alas.

I hope my readers will respond to you in the same spirit in which you wrote to me.



I was mystified and angered by your article in the Times today. Are you actually arguing that obesity is a healthy lifestyle? Are you really saying that fat people have no control over their food intake and amount of exercise? Eating too much is nothing to be proud of, just as drinking too much alcohol is nothing to celebrate. You are lying to yourself if you think you are not shoving far too many calories into your mouth. You're fat because you can't control yourself--it's that simple.

The reason we stigmatize obesity is because it really is a choice, unlike skin color, ethnicity and the religion you were raised in. Obesity is a signal to others that this fat person is living an important part of his/her life totally out of control. It signals a lack of self-discipline and a warped sense of self-worth. Your position on this means means you're proud of your lack of control about how much, and what, you eat. It's delusional to be proud and pleased that you are out of breath when you climb stairs, that you are heading for a horrible old age--if you live that long, that making love to your partner is a problem instead of a happy event, and that you can't perform simple tasks from properly wiping your ass on the toilet to picking up an earring you've dropped.

Delusional: For example, you state that the emotional stress of the prejudice against fat people causes the health issues that result from obesity. That is not science, that is nonsense. We know stress can be a contributing factor to poor health, but you're trying to blame others for the conditions you create by eating too much. Reminds me of alcoholics saying they drink too much because of all the pressure on them to stop drinking.

On the one hand you blame doctors for relating to obese people differently than normal weight folks because, as you say, doctors believe fat patients won't follow orders, won't show up for appointments etc. Then later in your article you say fat people don't show up for doctor appointments because they feel bad about themselves and worry about how doctors will relate to them. Doctors know from experience that fat people miss appointments and can't or won't take care of their own health. Of course they relate differently to people like you who disdain main stream medical advice.

When Lincoln University tried to help fat kids get well and avoid incipient heart and other diseases, you condemn them for their efforts. What you fail to understand is that your stance actually kills people by making gluttony and self abuse through food a good choice, a choice to be proud of. What you are doing diminishes the real harm of prejudice which punishes innocent people for the color of their skin or their ethnicity--things they can't and should not want to change.

But obesity is a lifestyle choice, like smoking and alcoholism, a self-destructive lifestyle choice that harms the people who choose to follow that course. Anyone can get thinner and improve their overall health. It is not easy but rarely are the important life choices easy. That doesn't make your choice a virtue. It is difficult to diet and exercise on a regular basis and change your attitude about stuffing as much food as you can into your face. We've all heard the reasons people live your way, and none of them are good, abuse as a child, the comfort derived from eating lots of fatty creamy things, the hit of sugar, the bad habits of a deprived upbringing blah blah blah. We rightfully despise drunks who abuse themselves and others, ruin careers and the lives of those who love them. Similarly obese people are wearing a big sign that says "it's all about me and screw you who object to my overeating, it's costs to society, it's bad example to young people, it's strong signal that I'm out of control. I do it because it feels good and I'm proud of that." This is called selfish and irresponsible--nothing to be proud of.

Think about the damage your article has done. Making a virtue out of a lifestyle that any scientist, medical person or just plain educated folks know is harmful. Shame on you.
Barry XXXX
NY

PLEASE NOTE: THIS THREAD IS NOW CLOSED.

36 comments:

wriggles said...

The reason we stigmatize obesity is because it really is a choice, unlike skin color, ethnicity and the religion you were raised in.

I'm sensing there's an odd one out here.

I also wonder if we should all inform Bazza, that the genetics of race did not prevent prejudice at all so that rather torpedo's his premise.

I might take time out to personally thank Mr. Fast for his * penetrating analysis of self acceptance.

I'm off to 'pick up one of my earings' (to hell and blazes with the other one).

Errrgghhgpuffff.

Phew.

* mansplaining

Chrissy said...

No Barry , Shame on your for misinterpreting and twisting the information to suit your own rage at what fat symbolizes to you. Shame on your for trying to use your obvious education to harm another self worth. This is very common, a person defending their angry pre judgments on the person they pre judge. You rationalize and explain away the facts discussed in the article with totally unrelated beleifs.

The main misuse and twisting of the information is that fat people will not follow a doctors advice, Hog wash, it is stated that this is a PRE JUDGEMENT not on what they learn from that person but what they ASSUME about that person. The result is the shying away from visiting doctors AFTER having been treated in such a manner. This is what the article dealt with, not the argument of health versus unhealthy. Lets stay with the intent and main focus and not muddy it with excuses for bad behavior.

I dealt with it in my search for answers to my genetic disorder attacking my kidneys.

I spent YEARS destroying my body with bulimia/anorexia because of the indoctrination that fat people are stupid, ugly, dirty and shifty.My self worth was placed in my being thin no matter what...it was more important that my interpretation of myself. As my new doctor said regarding my recovery from alcoholism and addiction compared to my discussing my weight: "No one ever got pulled over to fat driving"

Reading comprehension is a glorious thing, try it.

Flannery said...

@wriggles: I dunno, he might have a point. I mean, have you ever heard of anyone being stigmatized because of their religion, skin color or ethinicity?
You have?
Oh.
All through history, you say? Right up until this very moment?
Oh.
Whoops!

Eh hem.

Dear Barry,

How sweet of you to explain my life to me! No WONDER I couldn't make any sense of it! I needed you, Mr. Man, to tell me how it actually is! Because obviously you live my life! Is sexism fake, too? It's probably my fault, too. Wow! How did I manage before you?

Obviously I've never ever been on a diet in my life! Haha! All I ever do is stuffstuffstuff my face OMNOMNOM. (And even if I did, that would have absolutely no baring on who I am as a person, and it wouldn't be any of your mansplaining business.) It couldn't possibly be because there is PROVEN SCIENCE OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN that long-term weight loss is NIGH IMPOSSIBLE and dieting usually leads to regaining MORE than you actually LOST in the first place.

Oh no. Certainly not that.

I am not as kind as Harriet. So I am going to tell you exactly how to fix your life in two easy steps:

1. Go [do something extremely rude and physically impossible]. Several times.

2. Go to hell.

Thanks! You have an awesome life, now.

P.S. Interesting that his last name means "to go without eating for a long time."

noceleryplease said...

I don't listen to anything from anyone who doesn't know the difference between it's and its.

A small quibble, I know, considering the rest of this spew... but there it is... that's my line in the sand.

And he uses "it's" wrong REPEATEDLY.

So - proof - moron.

Carrie Arnold said...

Obesity is a lifestyle?!? I'm sorry, I can't wrap my head around that one. Obesity is merely a medical term (of dubious utility) that tells you how much you weigh, relative to your height. Is being African-American a "lifestyle"? Is being female?

And, frankly, even if obesity is hazardous to your health, so is self-hate and prejudice. There's also this small fact: we don't have any proven, scientific ways to help people lose weight and keep it off. Not on a large scale basis. So hating yourself for something you can't change (and no one else can either) seems like a tremendous waste of time and brain power.

One that, as noceleryplease so brilliantly put it, could be used to figure out the difference between "its" and "it's".

JeninCanada said...

"You're fat because you can't control yourself--it's that simple."

I got about this far and my eyes just about rolled themselves right out of their sockets. OF COURSE it's that simple! Genetics, medication, old injuries, new injuries, disease, those things have absolutely NO BEARING WHATSOEVER on hwo fat I am. How could I have missed it!? I'm just fat because I'm an out of control eater. Wow.

*headdesk*

bigliberty said...

I love it. A well-articulated theorem based entirely on a false premise.

Because, dear illogical one, body size is not a choice for the vast majority of people: http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=bigliberty.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ajcn.org%2Fcgi%2Fcontent%2Ffull%2F87%2F2%2F398

...no matter how much you wish it so.

bigliberty said...

Whoops, sorry, that link should have been to this article: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/87/2/398

zach said...

Hhmmm...There's no doubt in my mind that Barry crosses a line here in his response, but I'd be lying if I didn't have some similar thoughts today when I read the article in the times.

Granted, our society has become far too obsessed with "virtues" of thinness, and people of all body types and sizes should be happy as long as they are comfortable with who they are (and their opinion, ideally, would be the only one to matter). However, health, nutrition and obesity are also major problems in our society. The simple fact of the matter is, as a nation, we eat too much of the wrong stuff to keep our bodies healthy and we don't exercise enough. I'm not saying that everyone needs to be a size 4, or have a 32" waist, I'm someone who struggles with weight myself, but the fact of the matter is that we need education and tolerance on both sides. Our society both needs to become more tolerant and more understanding of people with different body types (and realize that things like BMI are a bunch of garbage), but that doesn't mean that we need to say that obesity (especially at it's more extreme side) is a positive thing.

Instead of arguing over the stigmatization of "fat people," let's work toward becoming a healthy, happy nation of tolerant and understanding people.

Anonymous said...

My main focus was addressing the issue of being proud that you're fat. People who are fat due to injuries or other things they can't help, please accept my apology. Most people who can't or won't control how much they eat and become obese, not all, but most, are kidding themselves if they think this is a good lifestyle, good for them and society. Obesity is a big problem.
It's irresponsible to write about being proud of that. Ms. Brown has a right to disagree. Making a virtue of any addiction is wrong, in my view, and that's what I was writing about.
I obviously hurt some people and I feel really bad about that. I never intended that but now realize that my anger at Harriet Brown--which was directed only at her ideas and her article, was published by her and hurt others. I really do understand the complexity of this issue. I stand by my criticism of Ms Brown's pride in being unable or unwilling to control her weight.

Barry

Harriet said...

Zach,

If our national discourse was about health rather than weight, I'd be on board.

Let's talk about access to fruits and vegetables. Let's talk about an economy that makes it hard for a parent to stay home with a child. Let's talk about poverty and Big Food and advertising to children. Let's talk about victory gardens and cooking from scratch and learning to tolerate others who are different from ourselves.

But the minute we come back to talking about pounds and waist sizes, we're dysfunctional. And the conversation becomes absolutely pointless.

Lori said...

However, health, nutrition and obesity are also major problems in our society.

Why add obesity to that list? If we simply focused on health and nutrition, rather than focusing on health and nutrition as they relate to body size (which is what happens when we add "obesity" to that list), what would happen? I imagine we'd only be healthier, happier, and a lot more rational about appearance.

There will be people who naturally have a BMI over 29.9, while they are eating well and getting in lots of physical activity. That may be due to genetics, to a medication they take that causes weight gain, to a health condition that causes weight gain, or some combination of all three. As long as we consider "obesity" in and of itself a problem, we are denying the natural, normal variations in human body size.

Harriet said...

"My main focus was addressing the issue of being proud that you're fat. People who are fat due to injuries or other things they can't help, please accept my apology."

Barry,

You're still not getting it, are you? What does "being proud that you're fat" mean to you? We're talking accepting yourself and loving yourself as you are, right now, not when you lose 10 pounds or 20 or 100. That's called self-esteem, baby, and let me tell you that without it you have a might hard road to walk in this life.

And you're not getting the rest of it, either. Read "Rethinking Thin" by Gina Kolata, and then tell me that anyone can be thin if they a) work hard enough at it, b) want it enough, c) aren't a big fat lazy loser.

You have no idea why people weigh what they do. You don't understand the first thing about metabolism. You don't, for instance, know that most SSRIs and other psychiatric meds are well known to cause large weight gains in people who take them. Should people choose to be depressed or anxious rather than fat?

Go educate yourself. Then you can have an opinion about these issues. Right now you're just one more ignorant ass.

Toby Wollin said...

I think ol' Barry there is a charter member of the MeMe Roth Fan Club. Unfortunately.

kyleth said...

Barry doesn't seem to be interested in empirical studies. That would take too much effort beyond parroting what's been spoonfed to him already.

Anonymous said...

Harriet, stop making our disagreement over obesity policy an issue of I'm vile and you're not. Please read my latest email to you for a more nuanced response from me.

For the blog, please don't edit too much of this--you have a right, it's your blog, but please:

According to what I read the vast majority of fat people are obese due to the amount of calories they consume versus the amount they use--much too many calories consumed. As some on this blog have said, dieting is very difficult and we often fail. About 80% of alcoholics fail to stay sober. Most smokers try repeatedly to quit and more than half fail. By your reasoning people who are obese with the associated health risks should be proud of their bodies and not worry about trying to lose weight. It's too hard for most people. Maybe. But those who want to should not be discouraged by articles in the Times giving them a pass, telling them it's the doctors' fault, the stigma problem, the prejudice wounds. Obesity kills and injures people, like smoking and drugs, and we should do all we can to encourage a healthy lifestyle including making obesity something we do not take pride in. I mean it when I say I apologize for hurting people who are fat, whatever the reason. I was attacking Harriet's article and not fat people.
Barry

Harriet said...

Barry:

"According to what I read," you say.

Show me the studies.

My article cited a lot of research. You show me some research that supports your point of view.

And by the way, my article did not "give people a pass," whatever that's supposed to mean. It pointed out how harmful weight-based discrimination is. And I'll stand by that conclusion.

But don't take my word for it. Read "Rethinking Thin," by Gina Kolata. She followed a very dedicated group of people in a university-sponsored research protocol who set out to lose weight. Some did. Two years later, guess how many had kept it off? Guess how many had gained it back and then some?

Despite what you have "read," metabolism is far more complex than a simple calories in, calories out. Each person's metabolism is different. And metabolism adapts to cycles of deprivation (dieting). There is no one who fully understands the complexities of metabolism. But here's a different scenario than the "fat people are gluttons" one you seem to support:

Why are people fatter now than they were before? There are a variety of theories about that. One, the rise in SSRIs prescribed for depression and anxiety. SSRIs have been documented to cause weight gain in those who take them over the long term. They mess with the satiety response in the brain. Plenty of other medications cause weight gain, too, including insulin, which is a growth hormone.

Two, the BMI chart cutoff for obesity changed overnight in the 1990s. So to some extent our standards have changed.

Three, obesity is strongly correlated with poverty. Millions of people in America, one of the richest countries in the world, do not have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and high-quality food. They can't afford to send their kids to after-school karate classes or ballet. They don't have cars to take their kids to such classes even if they could afford them. Hell, their neighborhoods aren't safe enough for their kids to play outside.

No doubt there are other factors. One thing that has not changed, however, is human nature. People today are no more gluttonous, lazy, weak, fill in the blank than people 100 years ago. So yes, we have to look outside the individual for explanations and solutions to the health problems in our society.

And another thing that hasn't changed is the fact that shame and stigma do NOT bring about positive change. If you really really care about fat people's health--and it's not just about your own self-loathing or fat hating--then you would be talking about positive changes our society could make to support the health of all citizens.

Instead, you're writing nasty emails to people like me.

living400lbs said...

Rethinking Thin is useful, but I would recommend Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon. Bacon focuses not just on the research against dieting but also on how nutrition and exercise can improve health independent of weight.

Here's a preview: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/mar06/health0306.htm

La di Da said...

Smoking and drinking are behaviours. Being fat is not a behaviour. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise (assumed voluntary for this purpose) are behaviours which in some people lead to weight gain, but because of human metabolic variation, some people do not gain weight at all or only a little. Yet because of the lack of immediately visible "proof" of their supposedly wayward lifestyle, they do not suffer the stigma that fat people do. Why should fat people be singled out and assumed to be "doing it wrong" when slim people who lead the stereotypically lazy, gluttonous lifestyle are assumed to be models of good health? Should we all go around wearing a placard which states our blood lipids, glucose, pressure, illicit drug levels, kidney and liver function, and all the myriad actual signs of health just so people like Barry know just who deserves stigmatisation? Should certain wheelchair users have to wear a notice stating that they became disabled because they were an alcoholic who drove drunk and crashed? Because if you think it's ok to treat people like they're wearing a scarlet A, why should you draw the line at adipose tissue? Surely everyone's health is up for equal scrutiny if it is to be up for scrutiny at all?

"Love the sinner, hate the sin" doesn't work for homosexuality (or anything deemed aberrant or immoral) and it does't work for fatness.

Barry, I gained health only because I learned to ignore people like you and demand equal treatment from medical professionals. Your way doesn't work.

Miss Plumcake said...

Sad, sad, little troll. We don't get many on the Manolo for the Big Girls blog, but they're almost always WAY more about the troll's own brokenness than it is about anything anyone said.

lifeonfats said...

Shame will never make all fat people thin Barry. Not in this lifetime.

And I call bullcrap that you're concerned about health. Like most so-called concern trolls, they just don't want to see fat people around them period.

Fat people don't need fixing. Only ignorant attitudes like yours.

Meems said...

Barry, it seems that you're the one taking things very personally here, especially for someone who makes claims about obesity based on hearsay.

Obesity does not directly kill or injure all that many people. At its extreme, it may cause mobility issues or make people prone to injury, but that's no guarantee. What actually contributes to all those horrible diseases that are generally associated with obesity (high blood pressure and cholesterol or diabetes) is a combination of genetic factors and a sedentary lifestyle.

Obesity is not a disease, nor is it an addiction. Comparing eating "too much" with smoking or drugs is a false analogy; people MUST eat in order to survive. We do not need to smoke or shoot up or drink in order to survive. By definition humans must be addicted to food so that we do not die.

The issue isn't that anyone should "take pride" in being fat, but rather that all people have the right to accept and appreciate their bodies as they are. Hating myself is not conducive to taking care of myself - if shame in my body makes me feel unworthy, why would I bother taking care of myself?

You're attacking Harriet's well argued article clearly without even looking at the research to which she links. Perhaps you should do that. While you're at it, read "Heath at Every Size."

Anonymous said...

'I mean it when I say I apologize for hurting people who are fat, whatever the reason. I was attacking Harriet's article and not fat people.'

Fail, Barry. Nobody made you write such a harsh and offensive article. Nobody voted you King of the World or The Only Person Whose Opinions Are Correct.

Your choice of language is aggressive and hateful. Yes - your hatred comes through loud and clear. Is it power-based? Is that why you are coming down so hard on people who suffer?

Believe it or not, some people believe that fatness is a natural part of the spectrum of human shapes and sizes. Some people believe that alcoholics and other addicts are human beings who suffer dreadfully, and would like to see such people released from the tyrrany of their addiction, and in fact don't despise people for their suffering. Some people believe that it is wonderful to be healthy but that we don't cross over into Public Enemy territory when we lose our health, for whatever reason.

If you don't intend to offend people, keep your opinions to yourself. And if you have concerns about 'health' there are plenty of great ways to lend assistance and support without spewing forth venom.

Perhaps take a leaf from Harriet's book and put your energies into supporting others positively by accepting Humanity for what it is. Now, there's a crazy concept ...

And please, if the reactions of these comments shames you, try to own it. You chose to write that letter. We don't like what you wrote. Deal.

Len

Abigail said...

Barry,

I’m what Harriet would call “a thin person.” I know that because she’s called me that often enough. I’m actually at the higher end of what we refer to medically as “normal weight.” I eat whatever I please, and that includes an unreasonable amount of sweets and fatty foods. I’m lucky. If calories in equalled weight, I’d be morbidly obese.

I hear where you’re coming from. Your theories about self-control could have come out of my mouth when I was younger. It makes sense, based on what you and I were taught. But not everything we’re taught is true. I had my “aha moment” about weight when I was in medical school and was assigned to read about the experiments done with volunteer conscientious objectors. They were put on a very restricted diet and they lost weight. Fewer calories in, less weight. Just like we expected. Then they were given access to their normal diets again, and to everyone’s surprise, they gained weight over and beyond what they had lost, even though their caloric intake was the same. This is a result of natural selection. When we take in less calories, our metabolism slows down, so that it takes fewer calories to maintain each pound of weight. This is a useful evolved response to famine. But after the famine, the metabolism stays low, and as a result, weight increases.

When I was in residency, the studies came out showing that dieting (artificially induced famine) causes weight gain in the long-term. Yes, I said that correctly. A lot of people originally pooh-poohed that as bad data, but it’s now been replicated many times. I thought back on that experiment, all I knew about endocrinology, and everything I’d observed among the girls and women I’d known through my life. It makes perfect sense. A restricted diet causes weight loss, but slows the metabolism causing long-term weight gain. We have girls setting themselves up for a life of obesity caused by the fact that they start dieting in their early teens, but that’s a different issue.

(An interesting tangent: artificial sweeteners, which many people encourage overweight people to use, also cause weight gain by messing with metabolism. I’m not making this up; there are excellent studies done on this. The taste receptors in your mouth taste sweetness. This sends a message to the islet cells in the pancreas to produce insulin, which allows your body to metabolize the calories it has taken in. But with artificial sweeteners, the calories aren’t there, and the insulin release causes temporary hypoglycemia. Your endocrine system is exquisitely responsive to feedback loops, and the islet cells say, “I get it. Sweet doesn’t mean calories, so I’ll stop producing insulin when I taste sweetness.” Ergo, the rest of the food you eat isn’t metabolized as well. Keeping a diet exactly the same except substituting sugary soda for diet soda will cause weight loss. Another case of calories in not being equal to weight. But just try to convince a chronic dieter who has used artificial sweeteners all their lives about that, and you’ll discover that overweight people can hold on to outdated beliefs just as tenaciously as anybody else.

(cont'd in next post)

Abigail said...

(cont'd)

It’s going to take a generation for the truth about weight and dieting to trickle down, just like it took a generation to accept women in the workplace. Meantime, Barry, I hope you’ll educate yourself with the scientific facts that dieting does not cause weight loss instead of accepting the conventional wisdom. One of the most important things I do as a doctor is I look at what I was taught in med school (“autism is caused by refrigerator mothers”) and what science has discovered in the meantime (“autism is multifactorial and not related to parenting”). This means admitting that I made mistakes in the past because I didn’t know then what I do now. It would be a grave disservice to patients if I weren’t willing to learn newly proved facts. In the case of prejudice against obese people, it’s a grave disservice to everyone, thin, fat, and in between, not to be willing to look critically at the new data. I hope you’ll be willing to look at the data. I don’t blame anybody for believing what they were taught, but I have a lot of respect for people who are willing to question what they were taught.

For the record, it took me and other professionals years to convince Harriet of everything I’m saying here. Nobody likes to admit that their core beliefs are wrong. And there is a huge difference between accepting your weight and being proud of it. There may be people who are proud of being overweight, but I’ve never met one. I truly admire the ones who have had the courage to accept their bodies as they are.

Do I still have any vestiges of prejudice when I see someone who is obese? Of course I do, just like I worry more when I see an African-American man approaching me on an empty street, even though I’m a firm believer that racism is wrong. But in both those cases, I’ve decided to do everything I can to fight my false prejudices.

Sarah said...

Let's just say for argument that ALL cases of obesity are caused by too much food and too little exercise. Here is my response - so what? And I throw the same question to Barry - so what?

It's not illegal to eat "bad" food. It's not illegal to be lazy. It's not illegal to be fat. Have you ever heard of "autonomy?" It's a basic concept - the individual (adult) has the right to make a decision for themselves free of coercion. You can morally justify all the hatred against fat people in the world, but you can't stop a fat person from engaging in behaviors you see as morally wrong - because they aren't illegal. You have NO RIGHT to dictate YOUR moral decisions onto the body of another adult.

Same goes for smoking and drinking. Preach all you want, people are still gonna do it. However, there are some KEY differences. I don't give people secondhand fat when I stand next to them. I don't kill innocent people when I choose to get behind the wheel after being too fat. Biology dictates that humans have to eat to survive. Our ancestors packed fat on because they didn't know when they would eat again. We do not have to drink alcohol and smoke to survive.

My actions do not cause harm to other human beings, only to myself. Nobody has suffered because I'm too fat. Not even myself - I'm in VERY good health, despite tipping the scale at 312. My blood pressure is normal. My blood sugar is normal. My cholesterol is normal. My lungs and heart are strong. But that's a moot point, because my personal health should NOT define how I should be treated in society.

As for "the children?" Maybe you should wonder why so many young girls are developing eating disorders at an alarming rate. Gee, maybe it has to do with the stigma placed upon fat people? NAH!

I also take issue with your statement of how we can't choose our religion and ethnicity. Religion is always a choice. Everybody is born with absolutely zero knowledge on concepts like God. It is taught to us, and we can choose to reject it. And it wasn't beyond mixed-race people in the Antebellum South to "pass" for white in order to survive in a society that was harsh to free blacks - either that, or they chose to identify with the black community regardless of the "lightness" of their skin/hair/eyes.

Anyway, it would behoove Barry to educate himself for the good of society. We've seen what hate has done to people - it has literally destroyed and killed millions of people. Obesity? Not so much. Maybe like 25,000 at the MOST EXTREME estimate? And those medical costs? Like 2%, compared to the enormous costs we use on the elderly? Maybe if we just didn't get old! We can all choose not to get that way by dying young! PROBLEM SOLVED! (sarcasm)

Plus, just TOTALLY ignore how life expectancy keeps shooting up and how we're actually MUCH healthier than our ancestors and such.....

Regina T said...

"I mean it when I say I apologize for hurting people who are fat, whatever the reason. I was attacking Harriet's article and not fat people.
Barry"

So what is your alternative Barry? Is it your goal that fat people hang their heads in shame? Perform self-flaggelation? Crawl under a rock? How about continue in their practice of self loathing and hatred? Do you think self pride is a BAD thing? Because that IS the other side of this. You are afraid that fat people everywhere will love themselves for once, thus creating an imbalance in your universe of ill-informed "beliefs". To that I ask, what would you have us do? Do you think it's possible to unzip our fatty layers of skin and step out into the light? You wish to deny me the RIGHT to basic humane treatment such as being taken seriously by a doctor when I go seek medical treatmen, fly on an airplane without the purchase of two tickets, expect courteous treatment from the general public while I spend my money, and have a life that is not filled daily with negative stereotypical assumptions about my life based solely on my appearance? Or do you wish for me to never step outside my doorstep, hate my body with a fiery passion, and apologize to everyone for my existence? Because THAT is the what you are saying when you spew your "don't be proud of being fat" hate speak.

The point of Ms. Brown's article, in my opinion, was to reiterate the FACT that the obese are treated with such negative stigma that this very treatment does more harm than good. Beyond that, it may even contribute to the health factors that we face. At the very least, that stigma often causes us fatties to delay seeking treatment for serious and non serious health conditions due to the very real truth that medical issues will be blamed on our weight, or worse yet, ignored. In addition to the medical community despising us, we have uphill battles to fight in regards to fair employment practices, receiving medical insurance, getting a promotion and equal pay, and basic courtesy from the general public.

How sad for you that you have fallen prey to the charletons who shout from the rooftops about the $cost$ of obesity, while behind your back they are laughing at how easily you have been deceived by their fear mongering. Blame the fatties!!!! THEY are the reason I'm raising your insurance rates! THEY are the reason health care is so expensive! THEY are the cause of global oil consumption! THEY caused your 401K to tank and were at the root of the housing crisis! In the meantime....our profit margins have risen 40%...even in a RECESSION! See how easy it is to distract the public from our unethical business practices???

Bottom line Barry....you have no right, not even if the evening news tells you so, to blame the fatty for wanting a life free of discrimination, disrespect, and not being taken seriously. You would be hard pressed to find a fatty who hasn't been on at least one diet. Who hasn't pursued at some point in life the fantasy of being thin. Now here's the part you need to pay attention to.....DIETS/LIFESTYLE CHANGES/EATING LESS & EXERCISING MORE.....DON'T WORK! You see, we all have these basic survival skills that are so strong, so powerful, that make it nearly impossible to starve ourselves for a long period of time...OR WE DIE! It is not a moral failing, lack of character, matter of ethical behavior.....it's basic survival....Biology 101. Decry the ills of the obese all you want Barry.....while I continue to love myself despite the hatred of a nation.

Anonymous said...

Nice how he contradicts himself in his first paragraph. "Are you really saying fat people have no control? Face it, you are fat because you... have no control!"

Kiersten Patterson, WA Australia said...

OMG, I am so ANGRY!!

Hey Barry,

To hell with you and your spew of vitriolic mouth crap.

I invite you to come and spend a week with me, while I weigh and measure and record every GD thing that goes in my mouth; while I walk, swim laps, or ride my bike and also do resistance training WITH a personal trainer (who is also a nutritionist) EVERY DAY EXCEPT SUNDAY (that's the day I do a spring water fast).
I also invite you to observe my weekly weigh ins, which, sadly, produce nothing in the way of LOSS--which confounds my trainer, but even SHE is slowly coming to the realisation that NO, you can't just necessarily change your body with sheer will power and self control--something she and I argued about a lot our first couple of weeks.
Because believe me, jerk off, when it comes to will-power and self control, I have both in spades. calories in, calories out my arse. Even my trainer/nutritionist can't work it out.

Oh wait a minute--I'm fat so I have no credibility whatsoever. I am obviously binge eating when I'm alone. Let's forget the fact that I am rarely alone, and never long enough to binge, and also that I have nothing to binge on in my house. Unless you count organic veg & fruit. BTW, I shop with my trainer, because I got tired of her implying that I'm lying about what I buy and eat (yeah, it's pain, but I am making a point by engaging, and paying for, this kind of thing--she's making a killing off me!)......Oops, forgot--I'm fat so I am also a liar about what I eat, how often and how much. Lie lie lie, feed feed feed gorge gorge gorge.....that's all I know how to do, right? Wait a sec--let me also touch on the "fact" that I am not working out nearly hard enough. Despite reaching and maintaining my target heart rate, while being monitored by my trainer, I am simply not putting in enough effort. Lazy, unmotivated, sloth of a fat slob, right?

Wow, you've opened my eyes--how did I miss that? I have been blind all this time! I see now how effing wrong ALL fat people are.........we are all scum, we all should NEVER be allowed to wander the streets in an effort to keep from offending someone.

In fact, maybe we shouldn't be allowed to LIVE at all!

You know what, Bazza? You're nothing but a hate monger. I hope all your fears come true and you are somehow crushed and suffocated to death by a fat person who's had a heart attack so they can't get off you in time to save your sorry self. You know, since all fat people are going to die in about 15minutes from the strain and stress of the fat on our bodies.

Most sincerely,
Kiersten Patterson

AMS said...

I emailed this man myself. I have done extensive research on the subject of weight discrimination in the doctor's office and my findings were astounding. Also, when I was 12 years old (and mildly overweight, but certainly not obese) I went to my family doctor for a breathing problem and he looked me in the eye and said, "Let's talk about not eating the whole box of cheez-its in one sitting." Not only was his advice crass and unsolicited, it make me wary of doctors for years to come.

Bilt4cmfrt said...

"I was mystified and angered by your article in the Times today."

This? Would be the key phrase for me. 'Mystified' I get. There is a frack-ton load of misinformation, non-scientific myth making, and conventional wisdom folklore orbiting around the supposed 'Obesity Crisis'. And that's without even getting into the Big Medicine / Big Pharma / Mega Insurance generated hysteria or the media stoked moral panic. So, yeah, I can see how a lot of people might be confused about the messages their getting. Especially if their disinclined to question those messages or used to just believing what their told.

'Angered' though? Why exactly? What about that article angered you so much? If your NOT fat, it really had very little to even DO with you. The subject revolved around the discrimination and bias that FAT PEOPLE experience. And this makes you angry because. . . . ?

I'm not expecting answers. In fact, being fat, I don't believe I need them. People like you have made it pointedly clear how you feel about us. Which would be one of the deeper aspects of the article. The point of my questions -what I think you and people who, obviously, have such an unreasoned hatred of fat people need to examine in theirselves- is Why. There is DEFINITELY a problem here. What people like you need to realize is that the problem is not necessarily obesity or the PEOPLE who are fat (yes we're talking about people. Another point of the article you seemed to have missed). The problem here is the people who feel that fat is a problem that needs to be fixed. As if the fat PEOPLE (again; we are human beings) they are talking about have no say in the matter.

We exist. We are NOT stupid. We can speak for ourselves and you DO NOT get to dictate what we should or should not be. I would strongly advise you to get used to it.

Nancy B said...

Abigail wrote: "One of the most important things I do as a doctor is I look at what I was taught in med school...and what science has discovered in the meantime. This means admitting that I made mistakes in the past because I didn’t know then what I do now. It would be a grave disservice to patients if I weren’t willing to learn newly proved facts. In the case of prejudice against obese people, it’s a grave disservice to everyone, thin, fat, and in between, not to be willing to look critically at the new data. I hope you’ll be willing to look at the data. I don’t blame anybody for believing what they were taught, but I have a lot of respect for people who are willing to question what they were taught.

...Nobody likes to admit that their core beliefs are wrong. And there is a huge difference between accepting your weight and being proud of it. There may be people who are proud of being overweight, but I’ve never met one. I truly admire the ones who have had the courage to accept their bodies as they are.

Do I still have any vestiges of prejudice when I see someone who is obese? Of course I do, just like I worry more when I see an African-American man approaching me on an empty street, even though I’m a firm believer that racism is wrong. But in both those cases, I’ve decided to do everything I can to fight my false prejudices."

I applaud your critical thinking, open-mindedness and admission of/self-challenge to your own prejudices, Abigail. How much more progress we would make in all areas of our society if we took a similar approach in our daily living. I wish that there were more health care professionals like you. Thank you for your self-analysis, compassion and tolerance, even for Barry!

Harriet said...

Me too. Go Abigail!

Lorene said...

Such anger. You don't address what we should do if we are eating healthily and still not losing weight. I know that concept might make your head explode. Pity. Not.

Karen said...

Now, *there's* a question. I changed to a healthy diet, started exercising, lost 30 pounds and stopped -- still in the "medically obese" category. This was three years ago. Now what am I supposed to do? Expand my exercize program so that it absorbs all my free time? Cut calories to a dangerous (and probably unsustainable) level. I'm currently eating between 1600 and 1800 calories, and I do yoga, walking and weight training. And I have a BMI of 33. For some of us, we'd have to turn into obsessive-compulsives in order to be thin. Yeah, I take care of myself. But I also do some other things with my life. Why shouldn't I be happy with myself?

Harriet said...

You absolutely should be, Karen!