Obese Tuesday

Obesiality207Forget about the Pope retiring, the North Korean nuclear sabre-rattling, the State of the Union, the BIG news of the week is Rex Reed’s scathing review of the new movie, Identity Thief  starring Melissa McCarthy, in which he describes the star as “tractor-sized”, and “a female hippo”. Now I must admit that I have somehow missed most of Ms. McCarthy’s previous offerings until I happened to catch the movie Bridesmaids on HBO last week. Melissa is perfect in the role of the crazed future sister-in-law and made me laugh out loud numerous times through the film.

Be that as it may, Reed showed no mercy to the actress in her latest movie, and his review sparked a firestorm of criticism for mentioning her considerable girth at all. Likewise, there was much debate about a White House physician’s observation that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could never fit into the Oval Office due to his weight. Christie’s response was to “shut up” but there is increasing evidence that sea level rise on the East Coast is not due to global warming, but rather that the land mass is sinking due to the added weight of obese politicians. (Russ Steele; take note.)

Obese persons have become the new pariah in the War Against Everything We Hold Dear in Western Civilization. Whenever there is a report about it on the news, we are treated to camera shots of fat people waddling down the street, although we only see them from the neck down so as not to embarrass the individuals. It is a touchy subject.

Of course, the left is on the case, pointing out that obesity is second only to tobacco in the rising costs of healthcare. The same people promote the legalization of marijuana, trying to convince us that pot smoke is medicine. Uh huh. Take a gander at the residue in your hashpipe sometime. That’s what the insides of your lungs look like, especially when you hold the smoke in to get all the THC.

It’s really about revenue. Politicians and their friends see pot/soda/tobacco as a cash cow to fund all kinds of new bureaucracies and the new jobs of the 21st Century. In any properly organized society, they’d just outlaw these things instead of profiting from them.

The real issue is addiction and self-control. If you have more moons orbiting you than Jupiter, it should be obvious that your body mass has created its own gravity field. Likewise, if you can’t walk more than twenty feet without gasping for air, it could be time to quit smoking.

That’s where I find myself these days. I picked up the nicotine habit as a teenager, and even though I’ve managed to kick many other addictive substances (alcohol, cocaine, Demerol) I still battle the cig habit. Ironically, one of the things that scares me is that I’ll quit and turn into a blimp. My dad quit at about the same age I am now, and gained 100 lbs. (His nickname used to be Slim.)

So I’ll continue to fight the urge to inhale smoke and whatever bizarre concoctions the fast food industry throws at me. (Have you seen the commercial with the sexy babe on the beach eating a dripping grilled something-or-other? Who’s looking at the sandwich?)  And I expect to be criticized for my shortcomings. There are no sacred cows. We all get roasted, and rightfully so. Rex Reed is a jerk, but one thing you’ve got to say in defense of Melissa: she didn’t get famous on her looks. Can you say the same thing about the Kardasian crew? Maybe I’ll go see Identity Thief, but hold the super-sized popcorn and soda.

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15 Responses to Obese Tuesday

  1. Brad Croul says:

    Re: “take a look at your hashpipe”. For a smooth and mellow smoke, head down to your local “tobacco” shop and invest in a bong. Lol!

  2. Brad Croul says:

    Laissez les bon temps roulet! (pun intended)

  3. Greg Goodknight says:

    Given that Britain has socialized health care, they’ve been more interested than us in actually figuring out how much bad behaviors cost the body politic. Here are some numbers from Forbes:
    “The lifetime costs were in Euros: Healthy: 281,000 ; Obese: 250,000 ; Smokers: 220,000″

    The study’s conclusion: “Although effective obesity prevention leads to a decrease in costs of obesity-related diseases, this decrease is offset by cost increases due to diseases unrelated to obesity in life-years gained. Obesity prevention may be an important and cost-effective way of improving public health, but it is not a cure for increasing health expenditures.”

    Sorry, no. If you live longer, you get more health care delivered over many more years. Nothing is better for balancing the book on health care costs is for a smoker to die of a single massive heart attack just before retirement.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/03/22/alcohol-obesity-and-smoking-do-not-cost-health-care-systems-money/
    http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050029

  4. Rex Reed is SO yesterday. Who cares what he thinks?

    When I gave up the evil weed in ’98, I gained 25 pounds. But I figured if I could kick an addiction like nicotine, losing some weight shouldn’t be that big a deal. I eventually dropped 35 pounds.

    Go for it.

  5. George Rebane says:

    Yeah, if I’m forced to kick in for stenting your clogged plumbing, then it’s natural that I turn a gimlet eye on what you shove down your pie hole. But I’m not sure that we all want to live by always regulating away the next thing that can potentially harm us, I know I don’t.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      From a post of mine in Moderation Hell, probably because of a couple of supportive links:

      Given that Britain has socialized health care, they’ve been more interested than us in actually figuring out how much bad behaviors cost the body politic. Here are some numbers from Forbes:
      “The lifetime [healthcare] costs were in Euros: Healthy: 281,000 ; Obese: 250,000 ; Smokers: 220,000″

      I don’t believe this includes pension or their equivalent of Social Security benefits. In short, there’s a real monetary benefit to society for people to smoke in their productive years. Be nice to them, they’re your ticket to a solvent Social Security and Medicare system.

      • Greg:

        This may work for Social Security, but not Medicare. Most Medicare money is spent keeping people alive in the last year of their lives, and I’m sure creative health care professionals can find a lot of ways to spend money on people with terminal lung cancer.

        Then there’s all those long-time smokers dragging around oxygen tanks. I wonder what that costs us annually?

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          George, you’re missing the point: in Great Britain, the actual lifetime expenditures is lower for the obese and even lower for smokers. You don’t have a moral right to make the lives of the obese or smokers miserable because of the money spent for their health care; they get less spent on their behalf than normal weight non-smokers. Everybody dies of something, and IIRC something like half of your lifetime medical expenses are incurred fighting the last thing that kills you. If you are a male obese smoker, that final expense will probably much earlier than if you’re a non smoking, height/weight appropriate woman primarily of Asian descent. The most one should be looking at is a clear shuttling towards palliative care when the signs that the final illness really is the final illness are clear.

          ttttalking ’bout my generation, if we don’t want our kids and grandkids to be impoverished, we need to let go when there really isn’t any hope.

  6. Tom Odachi says:

    Reed missed the memo that McCarthy is a comedienne! Like you said RL — she didn’t get famous for her looks.

    I haven’t used hard drugs in years; quit smoking tobacco (THE “evil weed”, according to George :) almost 20 years ago and my weight didn’t really fluctuate; I don’t drink alcohol any longer; but I do still use the other weed, I mean medicine; and I try to eat sensibly and exercise daily.

  7. Judith Lowry says:

    In the first place, by this time in his life, Rex Reed, of all people, ought to have learned a little something about tolerance. It has been noted that in his youth he looked exactly like the singer Adam Lambert, only more flaming. He needs to know that being fat is like being gay, sometimes folks are simply born with the tendency. So, ya know, live and let live FCS.
    I loved Ms. McCarthy’s inventive turn in Bridesmaids, as a chubby, straight, butch girl who didn’t feel the need for makeup or any other kind of pretense. Brilliant.
    Can’t wait to see her in Identity Thief.

    • rlcrabb says:

      We went to see Identity Thief today. I’d give it a “C” rating. The script is mediocre, as evidenced by Jason Bateman’s titanic screw-up in the beginning of the movie. Bateman gives his social security number to a complete stranger over the phone, which would lead one to believe that he must be The Dumbest Accountant In The World. The recipient of the information, of course, is Melissa McCarthy, a credit card scam artist. I won’t give anything else away, but you can probably figure out what happens next.
      McCarthy saves the movie from becoming a total disaster. She is a talented performer who will hopefully get some better roles in the future. ( Bridesmaids was a much better vehicle for her comedy. Thanks, Kristen Wiig.)

      • Judith Lowry says:

        I agree, Bridesmaids was better vehicle for Ms. McCarthy. But Identity Thief is still number one at the box office this week, according to Yahoo. Might be the Rex Reed blowback effect.
        Whatever it is, you go girl!

  8. Greg seems to have missed MY point: Any Medicare money we save from smokers dying early will be offset by what we spend on their final illness. Maybe its time for…dare I say it…death panels.

    No, Judith: being fat is not like being gay. Gays don’t have a choice, but most fat people do.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      George, *you* are missing the essential point, virtually all non-smokers have final illnesses, and they also cost a lot of money. That reformed smoker or slimmed fattie (me, I’ll cop to remaining big boned) will still die of something that Mediscare will spend money on.

      Except of course the massive first heart attack, aka “widowmaker”. Even thin people have those, and the underweight have as bad a morbidity problem as the overweight… what do you do to get them to pack on some muscle and fat?

      If being fat was a “choice” for most who are, there wouldn’t be so much money being wasted on diet books and yo-yo weight loss programs. The sad fact is that dieting generally doesn’t work for lasting weight loss.

      Then there’s smoking, which truly is a purely voluntary act; all you have to do is not light up again. But one that’s so hard to kick that at least one high profile program to detox junkies gave up on forbidding smokes to their addicts… kicking cigs was too hard.

  9. Judith Lowry says:

    George,

    Actually, some folks do tend to corpulence and cannot really help it. But yes, there is an epidemic of obesity in our country and now China!

    My point is that you and I do not know which obese people are genetically challenged or just plain gluttonous. So it is unfair to judge.

    We do know that, either way, our food supply is not helping the problem.
    Fat, sugar and salt sells. It’s about profits for the food corporations.
    So, some tolerance is in order.

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