1. a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.
2. a system or collection of such beliefs.
3. a custom or act based on such a belief.
4. irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, esp. in connection with religion.
5. any blindly accepted belief or notion.
–from the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, via dictionary.com.
And that The Telegraph heartily agrees with her, on accounta the fat.
The thing is, French doesn’t anticipate an early death because she’s ill, or because her older relatives died young, or for any other good reason that might logically cause one to suspect her days are numbered. She believes it because she’s just had a gut feeling about it since she was 6 years old. It’s a personal quirk, not a rational prediction.
She’s the first to admit that:
“What’s weird is I’m quite a logical person and there’s not much logic to that,” she says. “There are certain things I just know.”
And here’s what The Telegraph’s Elizabeth Grice has to say in response:
Unfortunately, in Dawn’s case, there is a logic plain for all to see. The article at the weekend in which she confided her thoughts on early mortality was accompanied by a happy picture of Dawn, mountainous in black, seated at a table with a plate of chips in front her.
Gorgeous, gorging, death-defying, death-embracing Dawn.
Once she was the voluptuous, self-confident beacon for big women the world over, the role model who gave them permission to enjoy their comfortable, unfashionable bodies. Now she is something else altogether.
Doesn’t she have just the tiniest inkling that allowing herself to become fat could have some bearing on her life expectancy? It would be insulting, surely, to imagine that she hasn’t acknowledged the proven link between obesity and heart disease. She must know that, statistically, she has a serious chance of dying early.
Just because, as she says, there is no history of early death in her family – one granny is 99 and the other lived to be 95 – can she really believes [sic] her death forecast is counter-intuitive? Who is she kidding?
Who is she kidding? I’m more inclined to ask who you think you’re kidding, Elizabeth Grice. I love that it would be insulting “to imagine that she hasn’t acknowledged the proven link between obesity and heart disease” — a link that’s, uh, not so proven — yet it’s somehow not insulting to assume she has “allowed herself” to become fatter, and she doesn’t realize people seem to think that’s unhealthy? Not the tiniest inkling?
‘Cause if she knew about the “risks,” she’d just go ahead and get unfat, obvy. This is why we need to raise awareness about the obesity crisis. Clearly.
Never mind that obese people are actually less likely to die early from cardiac disease, and that if they do have heart attacks, they’re more likely to survive them than thin people. Also never mind that having grandparents who lived into their 90s is actually a really good reason to believe you won’t die young.
Surely, it would be insulting to imagine our intrepid reporter would allow herself to be confused by the facts!
But wait, it must be me who’s confused. This isn’t really an article about fat-hatred, see. I mean, Elizabeth Grice nostalgically recalls the days when Dawn French was merely “voluptuous,” and gave the poor chunky girls permission to be a little bit fat. Permission to act as if they’re just, you know, normal human beings. What are women with “comfortable, unfashionable bodies” to do now, huh? Who’s handing out the moderate chubster dispensations these days? For the love of all that’s holy, THE WORLD NEEDS DAWN FRENCH TO BE ONLY SORTA FAT!
I could go on and on, as you all know too well. The ghoulishly “Gotcha!” bit about her father’s suicide and the quotes from the shrink who (presumably without having met French) calls her “remarkably uninsightful” — while asking such remarkably insightful questions as, “Why would anyone eat too much for years on end?” — could be a whole other couple posts right there.
And oh, wait, I can’t let this line — in which Grice acknowledges it’s possible that French’s premonition is for real — pass:
How are we to know the strength of her conviction that sooner rather than later she will say goodbye to baggy jumpers, chocolate brazils and crispy cakes for ever?
Yes, because that is exactly what Dawn French’s life is all about; that’s what she would be saying goodbye to, were she to die young. In fact, I do believe the autobiography she’s about to start work on will be titled Chocolate Brazils and Crispy Cakes Forever. ‘Cause I’ve Worked Hard and Become Incredibly Successful, by Dawn French, or I’m Smart and Funny as Shit, by Dawn French, or I Know Hugh Laurie and You Don’t, by Dawn French, just wouldn’t touch on the really important parts of her life: the unflattering sweaters and the food. ‘Cause — I don’t know if you realize this — Dawn French is fat.
But here’s all I really want to say about this article: Dawn French’s superstition about dying early isn’t hurting anyone. But the superstitions about fat and health — the beliefs, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a thing; the irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious; the blindly accepted beliefs and notions; and the customs and acts based on such beliefs — make a hell of a lot of people suffer unnecessarily. Just like Stevie Wonder told us.
Also, I hope Dawn French lives for freakin’ ever.