So, we haven’t touched Wall-E around here so far because others have handled it ably, Pixar-loving* trolls are a pain in the ass, and as far as I know, none of us have seen it. But I’ve got to send some love out to Daniel Engber for this Slate article on exactly why the “easy analogy between obesity and ecological catastrophe” is a big load of hooey.
[T]he metaphor only works if you believe familiar myths about the overweight: They’re weak-willed, indolent, and stupid. Sure enough, that’s how Pixar depicts the future of humanity. The people in Wall-E drink “cupcakes-in-a-cup,” they never exercise, and if they happen to fall off their hovering chairs, they thrash around like babies until a robot helps them up. They watch TV all day long and can barely read.
It ought to go without saying that this stereotype of the “obese lifestyle” is simply false.
Be still, my heart! And yeah, it bloody well ought to go without saying, but as reactions to Engber’s piece at both Jezebel and Gawker** illustrate, sometimes it doesn’t go even after you fucking say it. Sigh.
Anyway, go read the whole thing and enjoy one of those rare, exhilarating moments when someone outside the fatosphere actually gets it. And hey, now that I mention it, those moments haven’t even been that rare this week. For another dose of “surprisingly humane” attitudes toward fat people, go follow Michelle’s link to a MeFi post wherein a fat woman asks the hivemind if it’s okay for her to wear a bathing suit in public — and they say hell, yes! After that, head on over to the NYT’s Well blog, where Tara Parker-Pope approvingly quotes a bona fide medical doctor who says crazy things like, “Perhaps I am too easy on people, but I don’t like to lecture people on things they already know. I don’t like to say the obvious: ‘You need to lose weight.’” Granted, the doc also goes for the obligatory, “Yes, obesity is a problem,” and says he still helps people try to lose weight — and as always at the NYT, you should not read the comments. Dear god, DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS. But any doc who says, “Instead of patronizing obese patients with a lecture, I try sympathizing with them,” gets at least a small, un-sloppy kiss from me.
Finally, since we have no fluff today, please feel free to use this thread as a place to talk about summer movies other than Wall-E, or anything else that pops your cork.
*Like Rachel, I actually am basically a fan of Pixar — although like every feminist blogger in the universe, I would really love to see them produce an ass-kicking female lead character one of these days. I watched Monsters, Inc for the first time recently and adored it (a couple of throwaway fat jokes notwithstanding), though that might just be because the Mean Whasian Baby, now a Mean Whasian Toddler, looks and sounds exactly like Boo. In any case, I am not anti-Pixar. I am anti-lazy, crappy satire that relies on ridiculous stereotypes.
**As your Sanity Watchers leader, I will not link to those posts, but you know where to find them if you must.