During the presidential campaign I checked http://www.fivethirtyeight.com, like, several times a day. As one whose gifts lie not with the maths* I really appreciated his analysis, and the mounting sense of excitement I got that Indiana might go blue.
Yet even Nate Silver suspends his just-the-numbers-ma’am approach when it comes to obesity. Here he suggests that it’s “certainly true of Americans is that they don’t elect very many fat governors.”
CERTAINLY true. Well, okay. Please bring on the mathematical certitude then!
Running through pictures of the 50 sitting governors, I come up with only about 10 (20%) who are distinctly overweight, and only 3 (6%) — Haley Barbour, Bill Richardson, and Sonny Perdue — who are clearly obese. This compares with percentages on the order of 65 percent and 30 percent for the U.S. adult population.
Ah. So we’re using the rigorous look-at-the-pictures-and-see-if-someone’s-fat-fat-fatty-fat-as-determined-by-male-onlooker method for the governors, and then assuming that will track with the BMI’s, errm, fanciful standards for “overweight” and “obese.”
And what follows is a lot of stuff that you’ve all heard before [edited to add: and, actually, some nearly-there guesses about what it means that "fat" is now a political vulnerability. -AS]. Including Nate Silver demurring that “my classifications are probably a bit conservative given that overweight is the new normal in America.”
(Er, no, dear. It’s really not. “Normal” is the new “overweight.” You know when I first suspected, though, that you would not already be squared away on that point? When this post appeared at 538; and no, it wasn’t written by YOU, but rather by Sean Quinn, BUT STILL. IT IS YOUR BLOG. That’s when I first got wise to the fact that I was likely eavesdropping on a doodily doodily dood conversation, and not so much participating in a smart-people-talking-politics conversation. I mean, really? “Just for kicks!” Hee hee! “Just for kicks, here’s a leering photo at a woman, y’know, working in American politics.” So that’s now TWO kinda douchey things, fellas, that I know of. And I haven’t read your blog since the election, really. Might I gently suggest that you all suck on some male privilege mints before speaking further?)
Anyway, all that is just to say: on that “Signs of the Obesapocalypse” you have hanging on your fridge, please add “Governor-Electorate Corpulence Disproportion” right under “Declining Mitten Sales” and “Barbie Cankles.”
* – Side note: I actually enjoyed math until I had a math teacher in eighth grade who would say things, in class, like: “Oh, all these mistakes in the textbook? Are because there were so many women on the editorial board!” Or, “Hey! Let’s make a list of all the things that women are good at! Let me get a very very tiny piece of paper…” Now, would I have been a brilliant mathematician had it not been for him? Who knows; probably not. But that was it for me and math. Eighth fucking grade. Awesome, dude. “Children! Children! Future! Future!” [/jazz hands]