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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Fatty! You're Fat! Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat!

So says Giles Coren writing in last week's Sunday Times. He feels rather pleased that obesity is now associated with the middle classes. This is based on some research carried out at Leeds Metropolitan University. (Perhaps , he suggests, this is because the poor have been eating low fat low cholesterol meals in the form of all that horse).

He claims that he has been victimised for his anti-obesity stance from left wing liberals who have interpreted his opinions as thinly veiled class snobbery.

The term "Middle Class" used to be used pejoratively, according to Coren, so he suggests that we should now assign the word "fat" to everything we hate. This is because we are no longer in danger of meaning poor people when we use the word"fat".

So why are the Middle Classes now gaining weight. Clearly we can't blame ignorance or bad food any more. Coren blames obesity in part on a failure of moral guidance at a national, non-economically mediated level, propelling us to consume far more of the worlds precious resources than we deserve. Perhaps he is right. When I go into our local cinema I look at all the junk for sale, I ask myself do we really need all this?

On the opposite page in the same paper, Janice Turner writes about our obsession with the appearance of Michael Gove and Teresa May, the Home Secretary, who has just efforfully lost some weight. Why make comment on how they look? Their looks say nothing about their capacity to do their work, which is far more important. Her view is that the tyranny of looks is damaging public life, weakening debate and making poor, disrespectful satire.

At the same time,the erstwhile head of the All Party Parliamentary Body Image group (Caroline Nokes) described the conservative politician Eric Pickles as a jolly fat man. Now that's not right is it, surely she should know better.

So here we have two top rate journalists coming together in a perfect storm about how we should think about people who don't appear normal (weight wise at least). Isnt that soooooo .... fat!

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