Thursday, July 15, 2004

We "Other Victorians"

A propos of the previous post, it appears that I will now have to refer to "obese" "americans" [I will continue to insist, however, on the objective reality of SUVs]. Check out Paul Campos:

It would be difficult to come up with a better illustration of the distorting power of the war on fat than Critser�s explanation for why Americans -- specifically poor and working-class Americans -- are getting fatter, when being fat has so clearly become an enormous social disadvantage. According to Critser, it�s because America�s elites have been afraid to say or do anything to signal social disapproval of fat. Cowed by, among others, �a very vocal minority of super-obese female activists... the media, the academy, public health workers, and the government do almost nothing� to let Americans know that being fat is undesirable. This hypothesis, of course, is simply insane on its face.
Sound familiar?
[A] society which has been loudly castigating itself for its hypocrisy for more than a century, which speaks verbosely of its own silence, takes great pains to relate in detail the things it does not say, denounces the powers it excercises, and promises to liberate itself from the very laws that have made it function.
Personally, I find Foucault's persistant relevance infuriating. Why can't everyone stop being so fucking stupid?

Campos also writes:

I have no affection for conspiracy theories; and most popular accounts of how information gets interpreted and distorted by the media tend to be both too rationalistic and too conspiratorial. But I will say this: The experience of reading hundreds of articles about fat published in our nation�s major media over the course of the last few years, while at the same time actually studying the primary scientific research regarding the subject, is something that can make theories of manufactured consent and the like begin to look fairly plausible. As the joke goes, a paranoid person is somebody who suspects what�s really going on. Except that it isn�t always a joke: Spend three years reading the scientifically spurious propaganda of the diet industry dressed up as �investigative journalism,� and then get back to me.


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