How To Succeed in Research Without Really Trying

So let’s say you’re a medical professional. Forget having several square inches of a fatty’s thigh touch your thigh when you’re on a plane — that’s child’s play as far as you’re concerned. No, your row is harder hoeing. First of all, peering into fat people’s shopping carts and judging the contents isn’t just a hobby for you; it’s a duty that you take on in the name of public health, on the assumption that a doctor’s disdain is more potent and effective than that of a normal person. And as far as interacting with fat people, you don’t get the luxury of just ignoring them or insulting them on the internet like everyone else — no, you have to get all up in their business on a regular basis. It’s your job! And because you have to touch way more than just their leg in an airplane seat, your contempt has to be that much more fiery and glaring, in order to heat-sterilize you from fatty germs.

Sure, you could react to this situation by becoming one of the many perfectly lovely, compassionate, and professional doctors and nurses out there, but where’s the fun in that? Being a fair and benevolent physician is HARD and there is no GRANT MONEY in it, you sucker. (Being a trenchant and high-minded researcher might come with funds but is still really taxing. No thanks.) No, much better to put your little all into building an unassailable wall of research showing that fat people are going to die of every disease but not before bringing everyone else down with them. This does the handy dual trick of giving people a whitewashed podium from which to fling their poo — it’s not about bigotry, it’s about health! — and firing up public opinion against fatties, who are now to blame for the world’s ills. This is important, since all it takes for someone to lose weight (and thus, according to the research you’re crafting, to become instantly healthy) is for them to know that some people think they’re unacceptable at their current size.

But where to start? Well, some folks at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have a few suggestions for you.

1. Pick an arbitrary baseline. If you’re looking at anything that’s increased monotonically over time — man-made greenhouse gas production, automobile manufacturing, Abe Vigoda’s age, entropy –you can start measuring at any point and still turn up an increase. The trick is to choose a baseline that is far enough away to guarantee you’ll show a precipitous gain, while still being close enough to the present time that it doesn’t seem irrelevant. Remember, making it seem as though you must have a plausible rationale is much, much more important than actually having one!

2. Get a computer. Any mook can stick electrodes on a rat, but computer modeling allows you to ask all kinds of asinine counterfactual questions like “what if humans evolved from cats,” “what if dark matter were actually made of ladies’ panties,” “what if there were no fat people in the 1970s and also the 1970s was now,” and so forth. This is very original and therefore very fundable research — and depending on how you set up the model, you can make it find whatever you want!

3. Choose the parameters for your model based on impact rather than fact. For instance, if 25 percent of people in Great Britain are classified as “obese,” use 40 percent instead because it sounds way scarier.

4. Build your prejudices into the model in any way possible. For instance, if you assume fat people eat too much, you should make your model calculate that fat people will eat more food. If you don’t do this, your conclusion might only show that increased food production leads to more greenhouse gases! This could have a negative impact on the food industry, who may I remind you is NOT going to force you to have sex with it and then take half your stuff. Why go that route, when you can instead blame your simulated fatties for increasing the simulated production of simulated food because of their simulated boundless hunger?

5. While you’re at it, ignore other factors that could affect what you’re studying — if you’re looking at greenhouse gas emissions, for example, be sure to ignore the increasing population and cultural fascination with big honkin’ cars. The point of a model is not to simulate reality; it’s to present a constrained, idealized, paper-thin approximation of reality, and then assume that any discrepancies are reality’s fault for being so sloppy. That’s why they name them after these guys.

Voila — you’re ready to publish some social-ass science! Make sure you’ve lined up some reporters with shaky science literacy, short attention spans, looming deadlines and/or a propensity to exaggerate the anti-fat interpretations of scientific studies (either due to personal bias or because it allows them great range for puns on words like “heavy” and “bloated”). Hopefully the well-read, careful, or less time-crunched journalists are working with aforementioned trenchant researchers anyway, and nobody’s reading anything they write because they’re suckers. You, however, are on your way to leaving a lasting mark on the world, in the form of a link that douchebags can copy and paste when they want to argue that fat people are a proven menace.

Or if that’s too much work, you could just make some shit up.

174 thoughts on “How To Succeed in Research Without Really Trying

  1. Hey, if we’re bringing back the “1970s Lifestyle” that was so much about protecting the planet, can we bring back Agent Orange? ‘Cause that was AWESOME for the planet.

  2. You know, I have to wonder how much of the public freakout over this stuff could be minimised if science stories were consistently reported by people who, oh, I dunno, knew something about science? I’m not talking about experts in the field either, just journalists who took a few classes that acquainted them with the basics of how research works and “Statistics 101- how you can pretty much make them say anything you want”.

    Hey, I am a (freelance) journalist and yep, I’m still saying, just being a reporter does not mean that you’re qualified to report on science stories. A basic familiarity with science on some level is required in order to make any sense out of the information, and helps a lot in spotting research that has problems with its methodology.

  3. I’ve always said that automobiles cause entropy. And as you know, I call my calculations models because of all the work I did with Delia’s.

    This might be your funniest post ever.

  4. You know what might be a really good way of “calculating the increased food costs” between the 70s and today?

    1. Find out how much food production costs now.

    2. Find out how much food production cost in the 70s.

    3. Subtract. (Your calculator can do this part for you, if it’s confusing.)

    4. That’s it! There are no more steps. Interestingly, you do not need to decide what percentage of the population is obese in order to get results.

    This will work just as well for transportation costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and number of violent video games on the market. Because all of those things are about equally influenced by The Obesity Epidemic.

  5. Thank you so much, Sweet Machine. I only saw the headline of that and it made me want to barf. Who the hell comes up with this shit?

  6. I don’t think there’s been enough swearing lately, so I just want to say: holy fucking shit, you SP bloggers are ON FUCKING FIRE lately!

  7. But Linz, who will give me grant money if I let on that I use a calculator?

    Sweet Machine, obviously you can lie about that part. I’m just suggesting that people cut back on making shit up, not that they stop doing it altogether.

  8. FJ, by the end of the first paragraph I had an attitude and was pushing up my sleeves.

    But then I read to the end and decided it would be much more fun to create a jeans line and name it this

    ***”social-ass science”***

    instead.

    (Do you think I could get Anderson Cooper to invest?)

  9. I always did think we could be twins if I didn’t wear glasses.

    We still need to post that picture of us wearing the exact same clothes.

  10. You know, I have to wonder how much of the public freakout over this stuff could be minimised if science stories were consistently reported by people who, oh, I dunno, knew something about science?

    CASSANDRA THAT IS JUST CRAZY TALK. STOP NAO.

  11. You guys, it’s more fun this way!!

    It’s actually pretty entertaining if you look at it as a journalistic game of Telephone. Who knows what they’ll end up saying!

  12. LOL The Sun link – yeah, it’s totally people eating too much that’s killing the polar bears, you guys. See how surprised that bear looks? Apparently he just read your story too, that’s why he’s giving your photographer the “WTF” look.

    (PS, this would be what I meant about science-challenged reporters writing about science)

    I imagine management meeting at The Sun in which they discuss how their mission is to make the Daily Mail look intelligent and classy.

  13. I am in grad school for anthropology. Just so y’all know, my profs would flip their shit if such methodologically fucked research proposals came their way. So, at least some places are critical of douchebaggery in research.

    Also, according to that bbcnews article,
    “In the 1970s we had bigger portions of vegetables and smaller portions of meat and there’s been a shift in the amount of exercise we do.”

    Were more vegetables eaten in the 1970s? That certainly doesn’t jive with my family. Or my friends’ families.

    Maybe if in the good ole days of yore, when everyone wore polyester rhinestone jumpsuits, people exercised for 3 hours a day and lived on farms.

  14. I’m really, really curious about those dietary data, Krista. I mean… yeah. As a population we eat less than in past decades, and similar proportions of food categories. But some how it never gets reported. Reason: BORING!

  15. holy fucking shit, you SP bloggers are ON FUCKING FIRE lately!

    I was just going to say the same thing! I mean, about FJ and SM. Both of them knocked it out of the park today, while I was sitting on my fat ass eating bonbons! (OK, cereal. Only because I didn’t have any bonbons.)

    Of course, all this proves is that I am some kind of goddamned genius for convincing these two to come on board and improve the quality of (what was then) my blog by about a gazillion percent, for $0 a day. So I suppose I should still get some credit.

  16. This entry almost caused me to fall off my fat ass, I was laughing so hard.

    “What if dark matter were made with ladies panties”

    Brilliant. I might have more interest in dark matter if they could prove it was made out of ladies panties. Or from all those socks that go missing from the dryer.

  17. This is off topic but what is up with the prolific use of the word “douche bag”? It seems to me that this term is really derogatory to women. It implies that women’s bodies are dirty and their fluids are dirty. I am surprised to see it in this forum. Please somebody explain it to me cause I do not get it.

  18. I am in grad school for anthropology. Just so y’all know, my profs would flip their shit if such methodologically fucked research proposals came their way. So, at least some places are critical of douchebaggery in research

    You know, I was an anthropology major in college and in retrospect I’m amazed at how . . . you know, non-terrible my professors often were about things like not misrepresenting terribly gathered statistics as absolute truth or denying marginalized groups of all human dignity. Compare that to the stories a friend tells me about her sociology grad program which involves professors openly mocking, for instance, women and muslims and I have a lot more appreciation for my degree than I once did.

  19. This must be a proud day for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a school long renown for their work in cultural appropriation, forced assimilation and sweaty armpits.

  20. Request for Proposals:

    Thin People Against Fatties and Global Warming is accepting proposals from qualified researchers with deeply entrenched hatred and fear of fat people and/or interdisciplinary teams of people who mildly hate or fear fat people. Said teams will investigate, through manipulation of computer models with little construct validity, internal or external reliability, how the obeses are making the planet worse for everyone. This research MUST be perceived as credible by the ignorant masses, and thus any proposals wishing to identify the fact that we just hate looking at those fatties (who we would obviously never have sex with) will be rejected.

  21. Goodness. I thought I was just being snarky with that last comment, but boredom led me to check out this school’s web site. Turns out the web site is rather sad looking, including an invitation for undergrad students to take a year off to take their master level classes. (Is that normal in England?) This article is right smack on their front page. Seems they’re rather proud of it. And look! A email address where we can discuss this “excellent research” with the author! Oooo…

  22. I find it amusing that all of a sudden people are claiming to be the 70s’ as TEH GREATEST DECADE EVAH, because a lot of people would totally disagree. Okay, so the health-food craze started during that decade, but as we know, most low fat, low calorie stuff can be worse than foods that aren’t. And OK, I can bite that it *may* have been a little bit safer for kids to run around and be physically active outside more, and we didn’t have 5 billion video games and the Internet to keep the kiddos inside.

    Yet, there were still fat people in the 70s! Fat women, fat men, and yes, even fat kids! I sincerely doubt the panic level towards size and food morality was even at the point it is today.

    Not to mention, I don’t think ramming a silver spoon up your nose while sweating profusely to pulsating disco music and having unprotected sex with strangers in nightclub bathroom stalls could hardly be called clean living, you know? (And I LOVE disco music).

    Yeah, let me strap on my platform heels, Jordache jeans, halter top and rev up my TARDIS.

    Researchers just don’t get it.

  23. it *may* have been a little bit safer for kids to run around and be physically active outside more

    It wasn’t. I remember seeing statistics a while back that, while rates of child abductions and child abuse by strangers have always been low, they were higher in the 1970s than in the 1990s.

    Plus, kids were riding around on bikes without helmets and sitting unbuckled in the “way back” of station wagons.

    In terms of safety, American kids today are safer than kids have ever been in history. The only thing causing parents to keep their children locked in the house for fear they’ll be molested or abducted by a stranger is paranoia (and I’d say that “stranger danger” is right up there with the obesity epidemic in terms of moral panics the media has created). There is not a shred of empirical evidence to back up the common belief that the world today is somehow more dangerous for children than it was twenty or thirty years ago.

  24. Thanks for picking up on this – it’s been all over the uk papers for the past two days. As an environmentalist, this irritated the shit out of me. In a “whahey, here’s another reason for me not to do anything about my lifestyle because it’s all someone else’s fault” way. (and I am one of the people whose fault it is)

    Oh, and I was glad to discover I don’t exist – http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/ethicallivingblog/2009/apr/20/food-climate-change – 3rd from last paragraph.
    Cocks.

  25. Re: Douchebag

    Douching is NOT pro-woman.

    Douching is something we’ve always been told is necessary to keep our vaginas (which are self-cleaning, thank you) from being dirty, nasty and smelling BAD. Meanwhile, the chemicals in douches strip the lining of the vagina and do other untold disastrous harm to us, as well as convince us that our vaginas are, somehow, things to be feared, scoured, hidden, gussied up, floral-scented and patriarchy approved. Not only do douches do harm to us as women, they’re a form of keeping us in fear of our bodies, and under the thumb of those who would dare tell us that our parts are GROSS and need to be fixed, somehow.

    So we use douchebag to refer to anything or anyone that is harmful to women (or the population entirely) and entirely pointless, besides.

    Does that explain it?

  26. My husband has been working for a week on an NIH grant about meditation that his boss is totally unqualified to actually run, and it’s been a huge pain in the butt, and they are not going to get it.

    Too bad he didn’t see this, or he could have gotten funding for a study along the lines of “Why fat people suck at meditation.” I’m guessing somebody would cough up money to fund that.

  27. Plus, kids were riding around on bikes without helmets and sitting unbuckled in the “way back” of station wagons.

    I was born in 1966, and I never owned a bike helmet yet went everywhere on my bike. And several years ago, I remember seeing a show on Discovery (or some such cable channel) about the change in safety features for cars, and they played a clip from the mid-70s of an interview with a mother sitting in the driver’s seat. They asked her about using a seat belt for either herself and/or her child (a five-y.o. boy sitting next to her–yes, in the front seat, unbuckled), and she was irritated by the idea. Her kid didn’t need that confinement, and since she didn’t like to be buckled in herself, she wasn’t going to make her kid do so. And the government should stay out of her car!

  28. First car I was ever in, back in the late 80’s, didn’t have any seatbelts in the back. Seems the whole ‘tie your kids to the car’ thing is very recent indeed. I remember getting bored and periodically shuffling from one side of the car to another on long drives.

  29. Sorry for continuing the derail, but the douchebag thing has really been bothering me lately.

    indiegoddess, I agree that douching is anti-woman, and totally get your logic that doucing=evil, so calling someone a douche= calling them evil.

    But I worry that a lot of people hearing/reading a feminist using the word douchebag that way won’t understand, and will think it’s a funny insult because lady bits are dirty and shameful. Because a lot of non-feminists use douchebag as an insult, and don’t mean it in a subversive way. So it seems problematic to me.

  30. So we use douchebag to refer to anything or anyone that is harmful to women (or the population entirely) and entirely pointless, besides.

    Yep, indiegoddess nailed it.

  31. That’s why I put the asterisks around may. There is a moral panic when it comes to kids and stranger danger today. Kids are much more likely to be harmed by their own parents, relatives, or other adults in positions of trust they know instead of the stranger hiding in the bushes. And just like the media hyping up the moral panic about child abductions, they hype up the moral panic about fat people destroying society. Sometimes I don’t know whether I’m watching the news, or the Scare Tactics show Sci-Fi used to air.

  32. HarryLegs, if you keep changing stuff because people don’t ‘get’ it, you might as well toss out half the feminist movement. Far better to keep on the way you are and educate them till they DO get it.

  33. HarryLegs, I’m really not concerned about non-feminists reading this blog, since they are missing so, so many points to begin with. Reclaiming insults is always a problematic stance, but I think it’s a problematic stance worth grappling with (unlike, say, ironic hipster racism or just flat-out using insults against less privileged groups).

    In short: non-feminists reading this blog, suck my balls.

  34. Reclaiming insults is always a problematic stance, but I think it’s a problematic stance worth grappling with (unlike, say, ironic hipster racism or just flat-out using insults against less privileged groups).

    See also: “Fat.” I hear tell there are some people who mean something nasty when they say that.

  35. Back to the ’70s, even if people were thinner then (which they weren’t), wasn’t it the diet pills, the cocaine, the disco (OMG disco) and the fact that the baby boomers were 30 years younger? And to top it off, don’t forget the pre-HIV/AIDS rampant sleeping around. Yeah, let’s go back to then.

  36. I’m glad you wrote this so I didn’t have to read the coverage. I saw an article yesterday and amazingly enough a very similar train of thought regarding the researchers went through my mind…

  37. This is important, since all it takes for someone to lose weight (and thus, according to the research you’re crafting, to become instantly healthy) is for them to know that some people think they’re unacceptable at their current size.

    And, since our current Photoshoptastic pop culture practically guarantees that someone somewhere will criticize our current size no matter what it is, all women everywhere should be dropping pounds like crazy right now! I wonder if the Earth will spin faster?

  38. and the fact that the baby boomers were 30 years younger?

    That’s a really good point. Baby boomers, STOP AGING. You are wrecking the planet. It’s Science!

  39. I wonder if the Earth will spin faster?

    According to my model, yes!

    Okay, so the health-food craze started during that decade, but as we know, most low fat, low calorie stuff can be worse than foods that aren’t.

    “You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or ice cream or hot fudge?”

    indiegoddess, thanks for jumping in with the douchebag explanation — that’s exactly right.

  40. Wow, that article was scienterrific!

    Maybe, and I know it’s crazy talk, but just bear with me — maybe food production costs were lower in the 70s because the entire global population was smaller? I know, I know, that sounds too much like logic. No one would fund my study if it were made of logic! Never mind.

  41. FJ, are you sure you didn’t mean “social ass-science”? I mean that’s what these scienterrific folk are talking out of, after all.

  42. I meant “smaller” in terms of absolute numbers of people, not in the size of individuals. Vocabulary fail.

    Kaz, that makes me want to SMASH things. The 70s were so totally groovy, man! Sigh…

  43. The 70s? Really?

    That’s the Age of Perfect Health?

    Look, dude, I remember the 1970s. I was probably the only kid in my entire grade who didn’t get her sandwiches on white bread. Brown rice? Only hippies ate that. Health food stores weren’t these slick, shiny Whole Foods-type places, they were grubby joints filled with dry, flavorless yuck and wilted greens and mealy fruit, and they all tried very hard to convince you that carob was a good substitute for chocolate. (Er…NOT, unless you are allergic to chocolate.) I was the ONLY vegetarian in my high school that I knew of, the ONLY vegetarian at my summer camp. I ordered a vegetarian meal on a plane circa 1978, and it consisted in its entirety of GREEN BEANS WITH WHITE RICE.

    Nobody went to the gym. The most exercise anyone I knew ever did was doing jumping jacks to the Jack LaLanne show. I never heard the word “aerobics” until I was in my junior year of college (1982). Nobody ate “organic” anything unless they were, again, back-to-the-land hippie types. Nobody ate raw vegetables unless they were munching on carrot sticks or celery sticks because they were on a diet. Nobody knew from cooking veggies by stir-frying or steaming, either, and only rich people had microwaves, so when there were veggies to be had, we boiled the shit out of them.

    Oh, and my mom and all her friends smoked like fiends. Everyone still puffed away in the office all day. People smoked in the supermarket, people smoked in the movies, people smoked on planes, there was no such thing as a “nonsmoking section” in a restaurant, let alone one that was smoke-free. Nobody went outdoors to smoke at home, ever. You were the weirdo if you didn’t like it; if you had a respiratory problem and couldn’t be around smoke, you stayed home. Provided nobody else smoked in your house, that is, in which case you might as well have been sitting in that smoky restaurant.

    And nobody ever got diagnosed with diabetes until they had gangrene. Or heart disease until they had a full-blown heart attack. Or vascular disease until they had an actual stroke. But of course, higher threshhold of diagnosis couldn’t possibly explain the lower official rates of those diseases, nor could the fact that we were a much younger country. Even if you know those things are true, those hypotheses won’t keep the grant money rolling in. You have to make it sound like OMG EVERYONE JUST BECAME SO SELF-DESTRUCTIVE ALL OF A SUDDEN EXCEPT ME BECAUSE I’M AN ANGEL. That makes pretty much no sense at all, but whoever approves grants seems to be a sucker for it.

    Love this post, FJ.

  44. The only ‘groovy’ thing about the 70’s was finding a black bag full of my father’s old clothing and some photo albums while we cleared out the attic.

    For the first time, I understood why my dad used to get propositioned a lot from behind. Man had better hair than me back in the day, and smaller hips too.

  45. Meowser – Yes to all of that. Are these people just too young to remember the 70s? I don’t remember being served any veggies other than carrots, peas, potatoes or cabbage until the mid eighties. (Other than when we were in the Middle East or Asia) People ate more veggies in the 70s than they do now? Um, maybe in China. In America or Western Europe, not so much.

  46. indiegoddess, thanks for the explanation about the whole “douche bag” terminology. I am not pro-douching in any way. But I guess I think it is pretty hard to pull the whole irony thing off with this word. I agree with Harrylegs that this is a problematic usage. I think the point that comes across is that there is something bad or dirty about the vagina. Most people don’t get irony and would probably walk with the whole lady bits are dirty kind of thought.

    And SweetMachine, I think that asking about a terminology that is used often and not explained does not equal non-feminist. A simple explanation might be a more fair response than “suck my balls.”

  47. I, too, love this post, FJ.
    Fine, fine writing. Worthy of being read far beyond the confines of the fatosphere. Professors everywhere ought to require it as reading in their research methods courses.

    I’m one of those fat people who drives a small car, and I have driven said car that gets 35-40 miles per gallon since 2001. I have done the math, and it is more than two of gallons of gas that I have saved driving this car during that time.

    From the BBC article, this paragraph made me chuckle:
    Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the Faculty of Public Health said shifting the population weight distribution back to that of the 1970s would do quite a lot to help the planet.

    Well, Professor Maryon-Davis, build us that time machine then, won’t you? Think of all of the mistakes made since the ’70s that could be corrected! But what happens when the time-machine breaks, or people decide that living in the same decade for eternity is boring/dumb/painful? Is he thinking of a version of the ’70s that doesn’t include, as people have mentioned above, DDT, Agent Orange, high smoking rates, staggering world poverty, and doesn’t lack the medical advances of the past 30-40 years?

  48. A simple explanation might be a more fair response than “suck my balls.”

    summer, with all due respect, if we took the time to explain every point that non-feminists reading this blog miss, we would never get a chance to do anything else, and they still wouldn’t fucking get it. Using “douchebag” as an insult because douching is dangerous and misogynistic practice is common practice in the feminist blogosphere, thanks initially to Liss of Shakesville. For people who are capable of getting that, indiegoddess already explained it. SM was explicitly talking ot people who weren’t.

  49. I for one am pro-douchebag.

    Wait, that didn’t come out right ;) Something that is supposed to be good for me and my teeny ladybrain/icky ladybits, but is in fact actually useless at the least, and actively harmful at worst? Yeah, that describes a whole lotta shit that women deal with every day. I find “douchebag” a very useful term of insult.

  50. fillyjonk, obviously you can’t explain every word or terminology in your post but I think an explanation in the comments is not unreasonable since mine would not be the only tangent in these comments. Otherwise it seems to me you are preaching to the choir. I would hope that part of the point of this site is to educate. I think you can can pretty much guarantee that people will never get it if you never explain what you mean.

  51. Meowser: The 70s? Really?

    That’s the Age of Perfect Health?

    I know, right? When my mother was pregnant with me in 1971-1972, she was smoking, she was on speed (she was working as a nurse and told her doc that she was tired – funny that, considering she was pregnant and all – and he put her on speed), and about a month before I was born, she got so hammered she had to crawl up to her bedroom on her hands and knees.

    This yearning for idyllic times that never actually existed drives me around the goddamned bend. And it’s so frustrating to me that people are incapable of seeing that because they’re so panicked at the thought they might somehow become one of the obeses.

  52. Well, of course they had to conclude that obese people drive bigger cars. I mean, how on earth could a person with a BMI of 30 manage to fit behind the wheel of a small car?!

    And obviously height would have NOTHING to do with car size, while weight does. I don’t know any taller people (like my 6’5″ husband) who have trouble driving small cars because their heads hit the ceiling.

  53. I also wonder why, if these researchers are so convinced that people’s size is the problem, they are always focused on weight rather than height. We’ve been getting taller as well as fatter, after all. And, for all we know it might be easier to create shorter human beings than to create thinner ones. Maybe a good recommendation would be to malnourish our children so that they won’t keep growing to be so darn tall.

  54. obviously you can’t explain every word or terminology in your post but I think an explanation in the comments is not unreasonable since mine would not be the only tangent in these comments.

    I’m sorry, I must be misunderstanding something. What did you think this was? And who did you think SM was addressing when she said “suck my balls”? You read the whole comments thread, or at least her whole comment, before complaining about what was and wasn’t covered and to whom, right?

  55. Yeah, we used to eat SO HEALTHY in the 70s. Haven’t these people seen the Gallery of Regrettable Food ? Sure, a lot of those are from the 60s, but they didn’t go away without a fight. You know what was big in the 70s? Hamburger Helper and green bean casserole.

  56. Holy shit, FJ! How does one make assumptions without evidence, exactly? All the fatty mcfattersons must be driving huge cars, since their bums won’t fit in a Corolla? Really?

  57. WOW. I remember when the Car Talk guys did a bit on how comfort in cars is very individual – turned out Daniel Pinkwater’s favorite car is the VW Bug. He says they fit his body better than any car he’s ever been in. So, yeah.Fat person = big car, not so much.

  58. Thanks for the douchebag derail and thank you indiegoddess for the fantastic explanation. I am embarrassed to admit that I hear the term douchebag and sometimes think “Douching, is that something else I am supposed to be doing?” My vagina and I have such a nice relationship but then I see the ads, hear the culture, listen to other women and think I am not hip enough for enough for my pussy.

    I do not remove all or any pubic hair, take pills to stop menstruating, douche or add a any kind of fresh scent. At times this makes me feel out of sync with my own body instead of out of sync with the culture. This blog helps me so much in understanding that I am just fine and that indeed it is the screaming, dominating culture that is off.

  59. ‘People smoked in the supermarket, people smoked in the movies, people smoked on planes, there was no such thing as a “nonsmoking section” in a restaurant, let alone one that was smoke-free.’

    And my mom’s high school circa 1976 had a smoking section outdoors for STUDENTS! At the same high school these days, kids are threatened with expulsion for even bringing cigarettes onto school property, much less smoking them on a school-sanctioned student patio during lunch.

  60. Made of hilarious awesome, FJ.

    And there’s the Fogel lie lie lying liar business I sent to Kate – that tweaked me hard, but I was so psyched to see him called out (and in not-ally places, too – found it in Inside Higher Ed, which is generally anything but progressive about anything).

    I’m going to go evolve some dark matter cats in panties now.

  61. fillyjonk, I am not meaning to be a pain and obviously this is a tangential discussion. I appreciated indiegoddess’ explanation. It answered my question. But I felt SweetMachine’s response was basically “if you don’t get it then screw you, you don’t belong here.” And maybe she is right. But I do appreciate the site, and read it on a regular basis even if I don’t always understand the lingo.

    No need to respond I just wanted to explain.

  62. “what if there were no fat people in the 1970s and also the 1970s was now,”

    omg too funny! Love this post!

  63. OK, let’s see if this can help Summer out:

    Calling someone fat as an insult is dumb because fat is not bad, it just is.

    Calling someone gay as an insult is dumb because gay is not bad, it just is.

    Calling someone a douchebag as an insult is NOT DUMB because douching, and the apparatus used to douche (i.e., a douchebag), is bad and harmful to women on many levels.

    Perhaps you are very young and don’t even realize what a douchebag is. It’s like a big hot-water bottle with a hose and a nozzle, and it’s what women used before they invented those little single-serving plastic douche bottles. The douchebag was filled with warm water, and probably vinegar, and hung over the shower rod. Then the nozzle was inserted into the vagina, while to woman sat on the toilet or over the bathtub, as the vinegar solution squirted out the nozzle.

    Honestly, what part of that does not strike you as an awesome way to insult someone????

  64. 60s weren’t all that ideal either. Mom was on speed for weight loss when she got pregnant with me. She stopped taking the amphetamines the same day she quit smoking and said she mostly slept for about 72 hours. Then she started spotting and got put on bed rest for 6 months…!

    Of course she blamed all her weight gain on the pregnancy, meaning me, and losing strength/conditioning on the weight gain. I kinda wonder whether the 6 months bed rest might have had more to do with feeling tired and out of shape than the weight gain in itself, you know?

  65. I think sweet machine was saying that feminists reading the blog will read the reclamation explanation and get it, even if they don’t agree with the strategy. And non-feminists, who are the people who won’t bother to figure out/ask in what sense the term is being used, are NOT the target audience of this blog. That is, I think I don’t think she’s expecting everyone to “get it” immediately; if your feminism is what causes you to go “Hey, what’s up with that?” you can assume you’re not the person that sweet machine was addressing there!

  66. meowser for the win! Even though I wasn’t alive then, from what I hear from parents and others, I am also having trouble believing that the 1970s were some sort of enchanting frolic through an Arcadia of health and well-being.

    Also, I’d happily lug my own ass around on the two legs attached to it if were a) feasible and b) safe.

    The BBC site contains a link to another London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine-related story called…wait for it…”Obese blamed for the world’s ills.” (I think that about sums it up, eh?) It is illustrated with a large hairy belly; the caption is “The world’s obese population is rising.” Hells yeah! Start the revolution! Oh, wait, that’s not what you meant. How could I possibly have misinterpreted such an illuminating, hard-hitting, thought-provoking photo/caption combo?

  67. Lois Waller, on April 22nd, 2009 at 1:54 am Said:
    And my mom’s high school circa 1976 had a smoking section outdoors for STUDENTS!

    Yep, and the students whined about having to go outside. As a non-smoker, I was not particularly sympathetic. Particularly since they resolved this by smoking in the bathrooms, hack hack.

    I still want to know how anyone can argue that we are fatter and less healthy now than in the ’70’s when people live longer now. I mean, we may be fatter, on the whole, for all I know (smoking, speed, and other non-healthy-but-slenderizing stuff was more popular then), but obviously that fat hasn’t led to shorter lifespans. And figuring that out doesn’t even require adjustments in your number crunching for inflation or change in population size.

  68. Didn’t the Nazis set ghetto food rationing at 800 calories per day per person? And that was intended to starve Jews to death.

  69. Since it can be assumed that energy expenditure is approximately balanced by energy intake, it follows that total food energy consumption increases as BMI increases.

    I love how their assumption is the exact opposite of my personal experience. I eat about half now of what I did when I was “normal” weight.

  70. Wait, what about the explanation of the use of “douchebag” as a pro-woman insult to mysogynists wasn’t clear above? I’m confused, too.

    It’s the opposite of ironic, fwiw. It’s actually far more literal than how the word was used to insult before. This is what douching ACTUALLY is – pointless and harmful.

  71. volcanista, I’m not sure I’m interpreting this right, but it seems to me that the objection is that clueless people would show up here, see it, and then defend their own use of it by saying that all the feminists are saying it.

  72. But I felt SweetMachine’s response was basically “if you don’t get it then screw you, you don’t belong here.”

    And who did you think that statement was addressed to? That’s what I’m trying to get at here. Because what I keep mentioning is that it was explicitly addressed to “non-feminists reading this blog.” You can go back and check; it’s still there.

    it seems to me that the objection is that clueless people would show up here, see it, and then defend their own use of it by saying that all the feminists are saying it.

    emilymorgan, those people are already calling people cunts. Whether they think a bunch of hairy-legged dykes approve of them saying “douchebag” is the least of our fucking problems.

  73. ohhhh, okay. yeah, that you’ll encourage assholes (or, you know, douchebags) to use bigoted terms by reclaiming them is hardly a new argument, and one I don’t agree with.

  74. I guy at school that I have in the past considered a “friend” decided to share this on Facebook and when I said “I’m really insulted by this ridiculous study” he shrugged, pointed at the byline from the paper and said “I didn’t write it.” No. No you didn’t write it, but you chose share it and then denied culpability like you were forced to share it. That makes you basically a douchebag, which saddens me.

  75. First, I would like to say – love the blog, love the post. But I have a slight quibble. Mook can be an ethnic slur. While, I’m sure you didn’t mean it in that way, I wonder how you feel about using it now that you know… if you didn’t know already. :)

    Miss T

  76. For the record, at a church (UU) service where the topic of the morning was ethical eating (read: good for the environment, etc.) one out of the seven people who spoke could be considered thin and his topic was the workers who pick tomatoes for fast food restaurants and the horrible conditions and pay that come with it. Also, the average teenage boy consumes more food than any fatty any day of the week and is not necessarily fat.

  77. A sidebar story warned that walnuts may cause breast cancer.

    I asked my 8 year old son if walnuts cause cancer. He told me that foods don’t kill you or make you sick “unless they’re left out too long and then they can make you sick.” I asked him if he needed a million dollar science project to decide the answer. He said, nope, if walnuts caused cancer, people who eat them would be dying all over the place, and most people eat nuts.

    A child who had to ask me the other day if talking dogs and cats were real can produce a clear and compelling “clinical” aka obvious reason why walnuts can’t be causing breast cancer in under 2 minutes without prompting. His sense of plausibility is not completely absent, as it seems to be in many journalists and readers, let alone self-proclaimed scientists who do not understand the first thing about simple observation.

    Or are laughing at headlines all the way to the bank.

  78. Sorry I didn’t manage to make that clear.

    No, I know you were just reiterating the argument, sorry for sounding like I was yelling at you. :)

  79. And SweetMachine, I think that asking about a terminology that is used often and not explained does not equal non-feminist. A simple explanation might be a more fair response than “suck my balls.”

    And that is why I said “In short: non-feminists reading this blog, suck my balls.” A feminist analysis had already been given, so I figured feminists reading this blog could agree or disagree, and that’s fine. Non-feminists, to whom the feminist analysis would be a priori objectionable, are still invited to suck my balls. I also kinda figured that people would be able to figure out that “suck my balls” was a reference to a thread that ran just yesterday. Please note: I did not say “If you don’t get why saying ‘douchebag’ is awesome, suck my balls.” If you get the feminist analysis and disagree with me, that’s fine and intellectually honest. If you get the feminist analysis and go “but I’m not a feminist,” then I honestly don’t care about your opinion on this matter. “Douchebag” is a reclaimed word. Commenters have called me out on using “bitch” in a reclaimed manner; I disagree but respect that opinion. If you disagree with using “douchebag” on the grounds that it associates ladybits with nastiness, that is fine though we disagree. But if you disagree because you think people who already hate women now have more ammunition from hearing me say “douchebag,” well, I don’t really give a shit about people who already hate women. If it’s not about you, it’s not about you.

  80. Fat people need bigger cars? My 6’5″ husband can’t drive anything small because the damn gear shifts are where his knees need to go. He’s been driving gigantic, gas guzzling boats for decades. Clearly tall people are the cause of global warming.

    What, tagging a group of people with a visible physical characteristic and pinning the world’s ills on them is only for scientists? Well damn.

  81. non-feminists reading this blog, suck my balls

    I thought it was worth repeating.

    I will try to incorporate that into my blog, in this form:

    fat haters reading this blog, suck my balls

    I really owe you, Sweet Machine, in particular, a huge thank you for providing an example of how to use language clearly. I often fail at this. But you do it so well. So do FJ and Kate.

  82. Amy, I to do not douche, and the menstruating seems to be slowing down on its own. I also don’t remove pubic hair, and figure swimsuits that don’t cover my pubic hair are not for me!

  83. You know, after reading all the posts re: bringing back that great, healthy, ’70’s food… Is it just me, or did the rise of the obesity epidemic correspond almost exactly with the demise of Jello 1-2-3?

    If only we had that sweet, sweet, self-segregating (and possibly highly carcinogenic) dessert product back, I bet we’d all be slim like those enviable paragons from the past.

  84. But if you disagree because you think people who already hate women now have more ammunition from hearing me say “douchebag,” well, I don’t really give a shit about people who already hate women. If it’s not about you, it’s not about you.

    I actually feel like I need to elaborate on this point (possibly because I’m a little tipsy). Last year I wrote a post on why I find the casual use of “retarded” objectionable, namely, because it associates disability with badness, regardless of the intent of the speaker. I think it’s worth bringing up this kind of linguistic problem because I assume that many people who throw around prejudicial language simply are not aware that it is hurtful to people (i.e., they’ve never thought about it that way, probably because of privilege), or they are misguided about the capacity of people to be hurt by it (i.e., people with cognitive disabilities are too dumb to know “retarded” means dumb, and no one who is not disabled would be hurt by it either). A whole lot of people responded to that post by saying “Wow, I get what you’re saying and I’m going to think about it.” That, to me, makes it worth writing.

    Y’all don’t see what goes on behind the scenes in the moderation queue and the trolls we delete every day (unless they’re funny enough to be mocked). Well, last week, that post (nearly a year after it was written) got a comment that was in excess of 10 paragraphs, explaining in the most revolting terms possible that “retards” are the product of the devil raping women, and how they should all be kept as slaves and fed trash. It was actually longer than the original post. It made me feel physically ill and I couldn’t even look at it long enough to delete it; I had to ask Kate to do it. I cannot tell you how horrified I was to see that as a comment on what was a very personal post for me.

    The thing is? I don’t care if that person says “retarded.” That person hates disabled people with a viciousness I cannot begin to comprehend. That person will never, ever, ever listen to people like me, and that person will never care if you or I say “retard” or “person with cognitive disabilities.” That person thinks people with disabilities are subhuman. Terminology is not that person’s problem; that person’s problem is that zie is a psychopath.

    When we talk about linguistic subtleties, politically correct phrasing, and reclaimed words, we are talking about what they mean in the community we are building — we are talking about how we live with those words and phrases and what kind of risks we’re willing to take and what kind we’re not. Reclaiming slurs is about harnessing the power of a word from within the group in question. So as feminists, we can have a legitimate and interesting discussion about words like “douchebag” and “slut” and “bitch” and whatnot, and we can have legitimate disagreements. Many, many, many people who are anti-feminists really do hate women; all have been trained to do so, and some have that extra-special gift of psychopathic hatred (like the uber-troll mentioned above). Nothing we say will get through to those people. We cannot let our fear of them twisting our words to dictate what words we get to use, because they will turn anything we say into ammunition. Remember John McCain’s scare quotes around “health of the mother”? That is the level of viciousness and hatred we’re up against — that women’s health is just a term of propaganda and not words that mean things — from a US senator, no less!

    We are not responsible for the actions of people who hate us.

  85. This isn’t on topic, but I just want to complain- I’ve been to a number of lectures lately that have nothing to do with obesity or food or anything but where the lecturer feels the need to add a special little stab of fat hate at the end, to make their point more relevant to people’s lives, or something. I went to a talk on false memory research last week, and the last few slides were on how a great practical application of the research is to implant false memories of food-poisoning due to high-calorie foods, so that people could keep to their diets more easily. I had really enjoyed the talk up to that point. Ugh.

  86. I don’t know is anyone has picked up on this in the thread already, but has anyone noticed that the doctor they quote says that “staying slim is good for the planet” and whatever? STAYING slim? Because we are currently loading all the fat people into a big cannon and are due to fire them into space any minute now, so they can stop destroying our planet, and their fate will await you if you do not STAY slim. Put that donut down and think of the planet.

  87. All people are naturally slim, peenerbambina. It’s only that some of us start rampantly eating baby-flavored donuts and cough syrup and so on, and therefore become obeses. If we weren’t greedy and lazy, we’d stay in our natural state: slim! and pretty! and 26 years old forever!

    (I think this is really how such people think. The wording you picked out is revealing, isn’t it?)

  88. ” in addition to assuming that fat people ate more, they assumed they DROVE BIGGER CARS I SHIT YOU NOT”

    I was actually confused about that one. In the BBC news article it was mentioned they calculated the ‘increased transport expenses’ or what ever. And that’s weird because normally the discourse around cars is that there is too few people being transported by the same car. Which in my head equals less weight so how does a fat persons weight suddenly become a problem?

    I totally didn’t get it. But of course…they use bigger cars. All of them. Yeah. And thin people never ever drive big cars around all the time. Nope. Never seen a thin person driving alone in a SUV.

    Also, this amateurish study is steeped in what you could call the Cult of Myth of Individual Responsibility for The World’s Ills. Instead of discussing the food industry, agricultural over-production with great harm to the environment due to heavily subsidising or the economic relations that enables an unequal distribution of food on a global as well as local scale, we get totally non-sensical ‘studies’ about how the gross fatties are destroying the world.

    I’m getting a ‘oh, just shut up!’ moment here.

  89. “But of course…they use bigger cars. All of them. Yeah. And thin people never ever drive big cars around all the time. Nope. Never seen a thin person driving alone in a SUV.”

    Haha, Nina, yeah.

    Come to think of it, I’ve personally seen very few fat people driving Hummers and other hulking SUVs around, and I do tend to notice who’s driving those big-ass SUVs. (Perhaps because they’re unavoidable and intimidating and I’m super-paranoid when I’m on the road?)

    If body size needs to match vehicle size, well, I guess the thin SUV drivers I see every day need to trade in their current rides for Honda Fits stat.

  90. But I have a slight quibble. Mook can be an ethnic slur.

    Dammit, I specifically looked it up to make sure it couldn’t be an ethnic slur, went through the first page of Google hits, found that it had an innocuous 20th century origin basically meaning “blockhead,” and was very happy that there was a funny-sounding insult that means exactly what it sounds like it means. Now apparently the SECOND page of Google results links it back to a 19th-century slur. The connection looks really tenuous from where I’m standing, and the slur itself is obsolete, so in the interest of etymological consistency I’m going to let it stand for now, but I wanted to mention that I did specifically know that it WASN’T used as a racial term before you said it was. :)

  91. Nina, that’s a really good point. It’s not really surprising, though, because we still see articles and hear reports that use the statistics that Americans on average eat, like, 3500 calories a day. Which they get by taking the amount of total food produced and dividing by the number of people in the country, as though every piece of food produced gets eaten by people in the U.S.

    It’s great to be a scientist!

  92. No, no, volcanista. If we’re growing wheat in one country, shipping it to another for milling, shipping the flour to a factory somewhere else, shipping the bread to a supermarket back in the first country, then promptly throwing half of it away when it passes its sell-by date…

    ….well, those obeses are sure to be at the bottom of it somehow. I mean, just look at them!

  93. Being a mathematician, I have one phrase for this study:

    House of cards.

    That is all.

    (oh yeah, and GREAT post Fillyjonk, and GREAT comment, Meowser! Damn, made my morning!)

  94. I just wanted to comment on the “drive bigger cars” thing, because it embarrassed me and then infuriated me because I should have no reason to be embarrassed.

    I come from a family of giants. Straight-up, head-hitting-on-door-jambs, legs-too-long-for-even-tall-inseams, constantly-getting-asked-if-we-play-basketball (we don’t, we’re all scientists and musicians) giants. This is true for both sides of the family, though my Italian side is taller than my English side.

    I also come from a family of obeses. On my mom’s side of the family, the women are obeses (and some of the menz), and on my dad’s side of the family the men are the obeses (and some of the womenz).

    My brother and I? GIANT OBESES. He’s 6′ 9″ and probably about 375-400lbs, I’m 6′ 0″ and probably about 280-310lbs.

    So the car thing has been something we uniquely struggle with. For years I’ve driven compact cars, usually Subarus (they’re awesome on gas mileage and great for the winter, score!). My brother drives everything, he’s got this “way” of fitting (ever see a Vegas contortionist? Yeah. That). Thank the gods we’re flexible people.

    However, I can’t begin to describe how literally PAINFUL it is to drive a subcompact car if you are a GIANT OBESE (cue the Godzilla noises). Holy. Crap. I’ve been pulling my ankle off and on for about eight months now, because winter boots have thicker soles and hence that inch or so of extra length is doing my in. The tops of my thighs have to be squeezed in under the driving wheel, which is set at it’s highest height (it’s bad when I’m getting in or out, but I fit comfortable in this respect once I’m in the seat, so no dangerous driving, don’t worry!).

    So yes, some of us evil obeses DO shy away from smaller cars, though our sense of thriftiness usually calls us back. In fact, I’m looking to maybe do the Subaru Tribeca thing (I can’t believe Subaru has no hybrids yet, that ticks me off) as a compromise for leg room. I’m tired of feeling like I’m in a car made for a whole different race of humans than myself. And my poor brother – well, the poor guy feels like crap all the time because of the difficulties of his size.

    The point is, beyond the fact that this study is nothing but a house of cards, shaky assumption built on shaky assumption employing obsolete statistical methodologies, basically a study in how some researchers mentally masturbate to their all-encompassing fat-hate (I swear, hate is a fetish to some people), it’s also on-its-face offensive. I know, it’s obvious, but I figured I’d say a word or two for the giant obeses amongst us and our GASP BIGGER CARS CUZ YOU EMBARRASSINGLY DON’T FIT IN TINY ONES!

  95. One of the things I like about this site is that it takes really upsetting news like this and makes me laugh about it. It’s like reminding me that this kind of shit really isn’t worth my time, and that I don’t have to take these assholes too seriously (I can just have a good laugh).

    Also, I have to thank all the writers/comment-leavers on this sight: because of you guys, I have the confidence to exercise again. NOT to try to lose weight, because I realized that if I start exercising and DON’T lose weight… I am STILL getting healthier than I was! It is exciting. And surprise– I haven’t lost weight, but I have way more energy! Who knew?

  96. **note: I mean laugh about it because you guys’ writing is hilarious, not because your concerns are trivial– quite the opposite!

  97. as though every piece of food produced gets eaten by people in the U.S.

    This was a HUGE issue I had with the “study.” (Which wasn’t even a study — more here.) Food production isn’t food consumption! They apparently felt the need to figure out into whose gullet all the newly-produced, greenhouse-gas-emitting food was going, and thought the obvious answer was fat people — but the obvious answer includes things like EXPORTS and TRASH.

    ETA: Or what MissPrism said way more awesomely.

  98. Also, bigliberty, it depends a lot on the car — Dan hates driving our Civic long distances (though we lovelovelove it for all other reasons), mostly because of knee space, but I have a Giant Obeses (6′, >three bucks) friend who almost bought a mini Cooper because it was so comfy. But even if there were some kind of inherent shame to big people driving big cars, you’d be more than averaged out by all the tiny people driving big cars, Dan driving the Civic (and, more often, riding his bike), etc. Also, of course, just because they took a shot in the dark and happened to hit you doesn’t mean their method has any more validity or that the attendant judgments are correct. Even if you had no justification for driving a big car and were just doing it because you liked having a big car, or wanted to compensate for your tiny penis or whatever, “fat people are killing the planet because of their huge cars” would still be eye-poppingly dumb.

  99. I heard about this on the radio this morning. All they announced was that a) fat people eat more (obviously! That’s why they’re fat!) and b) fat people drive everywhere while skinny people don’t (obviously! That’s why they’re fat!).

    So what I’ve learned this morning is that I am fat because I am lazy and eat too much. Huh.

    Oh yeah, and because I have the audacity to be fat at the world, even the planet is suffering. The mere fact that my fatness is hurting the planet fills me with a feeling of omnipotence. Muhahahaha! Pass the baby-flavoured donuts!

  100. Little Robin, on April 22nd, 2009 at 1:37 pm Said:
    One of the things I like about this site is that it takes really upsetting news like this and makes me laugh about it.

    Yes! Thank you guys for being an invaluable resource!

  101. Well, FJ, I mean, if they used NHANES data or something, that would make it look like fat people eat the same as thin people, and that would skew the results of their study. They would end up all biased by reality.

  102. Yeah, Jessika, I was wondering about all the sudden media attention, when the exact same bullshit was put out there last year. Maybe it’s a springtime thing! (But hey, if they’re going to keep bringing it up, we’ll keep knocking it back down, I guess.)

  103. Well, FJ, I mean, if they used NHANES data or something, that would make it look like fat people eat the same as thin people, and that would skew the results of their study.

    More to the point.

  104. I think these sentences by Nina couldn’t be more true:
    Also, this amateurish study is steeped in what you could call the Cult of Myth of Individual Responsibility for The World’s Ills. Instead of discussing the food industry, agricultural over-production with great harm to the environment due to heavily subsidising or the economic relations that enables an unequal distribution of food on a global as well as local scale, we get totally non-sensical ’studies’ about how the gross fatties are destroying the world.

    This needs a big, big takedown.

    So much of this is a class thing. A those people thing. Don’t hate the bankers, instead blame the fat people.

  105. (But hey, if they’re going to keep bringing it up, we’ll keep knocking it back down, I guess.)

    More of an “if we don’t write about it we’ll never stop getting emails telling us to write about it” thing. :)

  106. I was wondering about all the sudden media attention

    Because it’s Earth Day! And, it just wouldn’t be Earth Day without blaming the obeses for everything wrong with the world.

    I’m looking forward to a lot of fat hate this Earth Day, and what I’m particularly hoping to see is people talking about how obesity is now a more serious risk to public health than starvation. Because, seriously, those 30,000 people who will starve to death today? I’m looking for some media-sanctioned excuses to justify not giving a crap about them, and if they come wrapped in justifications for hating on fat people, all the better.

  107. Sweet Machine, thank you for articulating something I’d been reaching for.
    I had a very similar discussion with another fat feminist friend about the images at adipositivity; of course, with a feminist, it’s easy to agree that (shaming) gaze can go fuck itself, theoretically, but my friend also was expressing a basic fear that the images could be used against other fat women. The vile hate us anyway with no provocation.

    They apparently felt the need to figure out into whose gullet all the newly-produced, greenhouse-gas-emitting food was going, and thought the obvious answer was fat people — but the obvious answer includes things like … TRASH.

    It’s bacteria and worms eating all that waste food! Global warming: the fault of worms.

  108. Just as I’ve deluded myself as to the amount of food I eat, my 35mpg, 12 yr old Geo Prizm is really a Cadillac Escalade. I just don’t know any better.

  109. Well, some of the food that’s produced but not eaten by people DOES go to waste, but some of it goes to animal feeds and a lot goes to industrial non-food use, actually. And we do actually ship some food out of the country, too!

  110. Fillyjonk,

    You’ve given me hope that I could drive a Mini Cooper! Those things are so cute. I’m not sure how it would do in our Massive Icy Hill which is the road to my house, but hey. ;)

    And just for the record, I’m definitely compensating for my tiny penis when I consider buying a larger car. I’ve got a very tiny penis — it’s so tiny it has negative curvature. Can I haz my Lincoln Navigator now? lol But you don’t have to worry about me being actually embarrassed by the study findings, just because the wind was situated in my direction when they stepped out to piss that day, it was more of a kneejerk shameful reaction which is a holdover from the days I thought the amount of adipose tissue on my body was related to my general worth. Old reflexes die hard.

  111. Yes, indeed, the Diet Machine Juggernaut is rolling out its annual Spring Shame edition. Oh, studies that aren’t actually based in science! The new favorite thing of Hydroxycut-like-substance makers everywhere.

    Can you see the new commercials now?

    “If you take our pills and lose your Evil Fatz you are HUGGING THE EARTH. Hydroxycut is GREEN!*”

    *(Left off the ads at the end) The same color you’ll be when the shit we put in the pills KILLS YOU!

  112. Just as I’ve deluded myself as to the amount of food I eat, my 35mpg, 12 yr old Geo Prizm is really a Cadillac Escalade. I just don’t know any better.

    Clearly, Christine, I’m there with you, because my Prizm is thirteen years old. (Last time I checked I got 36 mpg, but it varies.)

    Although I’m not fat (merely ‘overweight’), so perhaps it’s just an Explorer or something.’

    And my husband is 6’1 and has no trouble fitting in it, but maybe he’s just tolerant. Also thin.

    Oh, another class of people who buy bigger cars (especially cars with a larger distance between the ground and the floor)? People with disabilities or injuries limiting mobility.

  113. It doesn’t even bother me anymore, really. *snif*

    Oh, god, sorry, FJ. I’m losing my marbles. Thank you, Fillyjonk, for this fantastic post.

  114. That’s okay, Maddie, it actually doesn’t really bother me. I just heard that if you don’t protect your brand they can take your intellectual property rights away from you. ;)

  115. “what if humans evolved from cats,”

    Well we already know that one!

    He shows up around 7:08, but the fact that he’s evolved from a cat isn’t explained till the next part. :)

  116. Hey, if I’m so fat I don’t know that my salad is really a cheeseburger, and my old economy car is really a gas guzzling SUV, what else have I deluded myself about? Could my Payless sandals really be Jimmy Choo’s? Maybe I’m drinking from Waterford crystal instead of a plastic kid’s cup from Jason’s Deli. Heck, I’m probably watching TV on a 52″ plasma screen right now and don’t even know it!

  117. I love the way that the largest single factor impacting food production rates in the world in the past 35+ years is completely ignored:

    world population 1970: 3.7 billion
    world population today: 6.7 billion

    Hmmm…

  118. Oh can we have a SP fleet of Minis? Because I totally want one, too! Someday!

    A comment of the week feature is the best idea ever, but how will you CHOOSE??

  119. I actually prefer the term douchecookie not really strictly for the insult value, but more for the “huh what” look I often get as the person tries to figure out if I really insulted them or not, and mostly cause it is just so much fun to say… and that to me is definitely worth it.

  120. A comment of the week feature is the best idea ever, but how will you CHOOSE??

    I think that’s why we haven’t implemented it before, honestly. We could maybe have a thread on Ning for nominations?

  121. The front page of The Sun yesterday proclaimed that Fat people cause global warming. Honestly, that’s what it said.

  122. Back in the 80s or 90s I read a satirical commentary detailing all the benefits derived if everyone was less than 4 feet tall. Buildings could hold twice as many floors. Cars could be smaller. Less food would be consumed, etc, etc. It even went as far as recommending that people’s legs should be shortened/amputated to achieve this goal until the ultimate resolution of genetic manipulation results in everyone being a little person, or congenital dwarf. I think this proposal is pretty much on a par with those researched in the subject study. I wish I could remember the author and publication where the article was published.

  123. Actually, considering they’re making it harder for fatties to fly all the time then our carbon footprint would more likely be less! We’ll start looking for other methods of travel out of necessity and we’ll be offsetting all the everybody elses air travel!

  124. I’d also like to point out that dieters aren’t exactly low-consuming individuals. Dieting takes a lot of energy, money, and if I recall correctly, most diet food is heavily packaged in single-portion wrapping. I recall I’d have a dinner of Lean Cuisine and finish it off with some microwavable Splenda-ed brownie thing, and all told I had a small mountain of garbage from that (very unsatisfying) single meal. Compare that to just spooning out some leftovers into a washable bowl = zero garbage.

  125. Myself, I will thank all the douchbags to *not* suck my balls; ichh, their horribly slimy mouths can go suck their own balls, thank you very much.

    *shudder*

  126. Cat, I love it that you added the link from Red Dwarf. I’ve seen you refer to that show before and then others refer to Hitchhiker’s and it makes me so happy that I’ve finally found a community of feminists online who are also smart about their BBC sci-fi comedy!

    I also want to say that I very glad that you guys edit your posts and add humor to your rants. Being an extremely sensitive person, I have to be careful about spending too much time on some sites that although do a wonderful job of calling attention to feminist issues, they seem to only bring about anger with no place for the anger to go.

  127. bigliberty, you have a heck of a point. Add to that the emissions from travel that’s due only to dieting: attending Weight Watchers meetings, for example, or going to the gym (just for weight loss, that is, which is why *many* people go). Oh, and the waste produced and energy used creating “food” whose only purpose is dieting: how much fuel consumption is involved in creating Slim-Fast bars or shakes, for example?

    Also, when I was on the South Beach diet, a lot of people reported being too light-headed while on the first couple weeks of the diet to actually exercise. That implies that a certain number of them might have walked or biked somewhere, but because of that calorie and carb deprivation, they drove instead. And this is green how?

  128. KellyK, I recall figuring out early in my dieting days that exercising made the cravings and hunger much, much worse (about three or four hours later). The way I lost the most weight the fastest was to starve and drive everywhere (or have my friends drive me). Later on I tried to mix dieting with exercising, but I started to exercise binge bigtime and the only way I could get my fix was to go to a gym, which was a 30 min drive away and cost a bunch of money to join.Then, since I needed to eat and making food from scratch was out of the question because I had no time, and plus I need to count calories and points very precisely, I would buy pre-packaged frozen meals, those single-serving chocolate crackers masquerading as cookies (btw, zah? r u srs?), and so forth. Hence the mountain of waste.

    And that’s just the garbage. Think of all the extra processes that diet food goes through in order to be acceptably fake — I mean, “healthy”. So diet food itself is much more expensive (and energy-wasting) to produce, and you get much less of it.

  129. bigliberty, that’s the first thing I thought of when I heard about the whole “fat people consume more fuel” bullshit (which by the way, makes me think they just assume we disgusting fatties are just drinking the petroleum straight up – which actually might not be too far off the mark come to that). My immediate thought I jumped to was “these people can’t have dieted once in their lives” (but perhaps it’s either that or their refusal to accept anything other than fat = bad, or they’re motivated by companies who’d make money off this ideology – combination of all the above?) because the cost of the prepackaged diet food is so much more expensive and is so much more wasteful than regular stuff you can buy and then mix together yourself. But of course I didn’t care as much before because at least I would be THIN which of course trumped all else for a good 18 years of my life.

    I think now with bogus shit like this there’s come to be this conception of “good” skinnies and “bad” skinnies. And while, yeah, the world just fucking wants you to shut up and be thin already, doing it the “good” way, via Whole Foods and a zillion other yuppie-ised stores or brands/types of food is the new posh.

    Also, spinsterwitch, YES that is also something blatantly obvious that no one ever seems to think about when talking about “OMG food production and consumption is up!!11″ I mean really? We’ve pretty much doubled as a species, what’d you expect?

    Also, this might be a little off topic or just the conspiracy theorist in me, but part of me wonders how much people take into consideration the rising obesity rate with like… I dunno, something that might put it in perspective like the rising amount of friggin people in the world today, not the amount of people in the world in the 70’s. I know, I know “the percentages!” but.. I dunno, doesn’t it seem logical that with more people in the world there would be more room for any particular group of people to increase? (dunno if this is making any sense – just something that’s always bugged me)

    Also, another thought just struck me. If obesity levels are constantly rising (which studies seem to be pointing to actually showing a leveling off in the last few years) then doesn’t that indicate that more people who are obese are surviving? I can’t believe that everyone who would pick up an article and see it say “obesity rates have increased the past year by 5%!” and really honestly think that all those who were obese for the percentage to be studied died of teh fatz and then another huge chunk of the population caught teh obese death plus 5% more. (dunno if that’s making any sense either, just kinda the way I’ve viewed this shit since I started looking at it with a more cynical eye)

  130. Ostara, they did level off, like a decade ago (at least for women and children, I forget the numbers for men), and the rise was not corrected for an aging population OR increasing height. As someone smart pointed out on here a long time ago (who was that, anyway?), BMI does not scale correctly with height, so if you take two people with exactly the same height and width proportions, where one person is taller, the taller person has the higher BMI. That certainly wasn’t corrected in the curves, either.

    Everyone, all groups, are living longer than ever before.

  131. “and the rise was not corrected for an aging population OR increasing height. “

    Gahhhhh!! Seriously? Now that is just damn dishonest. Ok, the other stuff FJ was posting about is too (obviously), but seriously? Not adjusting for other factors like that is just irresponsible at best. Christ, I knew I was naive, but dang.

    And the BMI just makes me GAH all over again. I think I’m remembering the same comment as you made by some smart person and it was a really good analogy they made that illustrated just how bogus the dang thing is.

  132. No, that’s impossible. Cats are obviously the superior species and evolution is supposed to improve a species. Right? How do you improve on perfection? Cats everywhere are seriously miffed. Expect retribution.

  133. Yeah, it was that if you take the BMI of one cube of water that is 1m across, and a second one that is 2m across, you get drastically different results. It’s a very extreme example!

  134. Cats are obviously the superior species and evolution is supposed to improve a species. Right?

    Well, not quite. Evolution improves a species with respect to its environment — it doesn’t just “improve” it, there being no objective assessment of what’s “better” and no final goal to mark it against. Even the apparently perfect cat species could be ill-adapted to an environment where, say, devotion and passionate interest were critical for avoiding predators or attracting a mate.

    THE FACT THAT CATS DON’T GET THAT CLEARLY MEANS THEY’RE INSUFFICIENTLY EVOLVED

  135. @ FJ

    Ah but see, none of the usual rules apply to cats. So all your logic and science just doesn’t cut it.

    Cats would be superior in any environment so when it seems like they’re lacking, it’s really because there’s something wrong with the environment, not with the cats.

    Cats are the evolutionary peak (ask any cat) and we mere mortals are put on this earth to cater to their needs. True fulfillment can only be attained when you’ve made a cat happy.

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