"To resist a fattening norm, you need willpower. To reverse it, you need to promote responsibility, which implies blame. You almost certainly need stigma. And realistically, to add normal or underweight friends to your circle, you have to relegate others who are overweight. That may be bad for your fat ex-friends, who will lose your friendship as well as your thinness. But it's fine for you, since you'll have just as many friends as before."
Yeah? Friends of course being completely interchangeable. I'll just go and pick out a few thin friends from the store, will I, and never mind the qualities for which I chose my heavier friends - that woman with the brilliant mind, the man who seems to have qualities of emotional understanding others of his gender lack, the older woman who has such a caustic sense of humour... I'll get me a few boring, bland, tasteless skinnies with nothing to talk about but cars and diets and gym and clothes. Is that how I avoid putting on more weight? Nuh-uh - nothing could drive me to the dessert counter faster!
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Michael Balter
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2007 8:53 AM
Subject: Fat Lies: Obesity, laxity, and political correctness.

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.)


So why should we be reading stuff like this, when we could be reading lefty publications? Because leftists need to be part of the popular and current discourse, rather than off in left field, if they are to be effective in making changes in the world. It is so easy to simply write off a site like Slate, which as I have said before has thousands of times more readers than this list serve or any left wing site, when in fact the people who comment for it are much more influential than any of us are. And, believe it or not, sometimes people who are not leftists actually have some interesting and relevant things to say. The most important thing, however, is that the left remains isolated in its own publications and its own circles, and thus has little influence on the surrounding world. Everyone here should be familiar with what is written on a site like Slate or Salon. I am sure some here find these kinds of remarks from me arrogant and patronizing, but believe me I would not make them if they did not reflect what I see as a very serious problem and a lack of curiosity on the part of many leftists about why so much of the world is passing them by. The last time we discussed that particular question was pretty unsatisfactory IMHO.

best, MB


Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
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