Everything Phil says is true. And yet it does not change the fact that each individual fat person has to eat less if they want to be less fat. There is no contradiction between understanding the social and political context and stressing individual responsibility, as Claudia outlined so well in her recent post. This goes for all kinds of addiction. While we are waiting for capitalism to fall, we also need to deal with the here and now. To the extent to which we ignore this side of things, and refuse to read what others write about these aspects, we continue in our glorious isolation.
PS--btw in the United States, at least, obesity is fast approaching a cultural metaphor for the voracious swallowing up of the world's resources by Americans. Just as Americans need to give up their SUVs, they need to give up their Big Macs.
The social and political context is provided very nicely in Eric
Schlosser's Fast Food Nation (which was a best-seller) and to a
lesser extent in Morgan Spurlock documentary Supersize Me! There is
also Marion Nestle's more academic Food Politics (which makes the
simple point that food corporations need to stuff people full of as
many calories as possible to make more money). Other people on the
list can probably name a dozen other relatively mainstream books and
articles that make similar arguments.
Once you provide the context, of course, its plain where the main
cause of the problem lies. Slate, on the other hand, thinks we should
be "blaming and stigmatizing fat people." That's not only morally
obnoxious, it obviously won't work to solve the problem. But then its
not intended to, because as long as we have "fat people" around we
can continue to point the finger at them and divert attention away
from the underlying causes. Perfect!
At 8:53 AM +0200 7/28/07, Michael Balter wrote:
>Here is another piece from Slate, which I also personally find
>interesting even if it is not written by a leftist and even though I
>don't agree with all of it (it provides no real social or political
>context for the obesity epidemic, for example, something that a
>science for the people might be capable of doing.)