Shaq Attacks Fat Kids

Shaq’s Big Challenge, the latest fatty-hating reality show, debuts in a few days. This has, apparently, made Shaquille O’Neal an expert on obesity; he’s been appointed to the Florida Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness (one can assume he does have a little experience with that, at least), and will be meeting with Governor Charlie Crist next week to discuss a plan to “expand his crusade against childhood obesity… to Florida’s schools.”

That’s just fantastic. It’s high time our state governments started consulting more professional athletes-cum-reality TV stars on matters of public health.

And you know what’s even better? Shaq’s personal approach toward “helping” fat kids.

O’Neal described being in the show as “very emotional,” especially when physicians tried to reason with the children. O’Neal said he tried to use “scare motivation” and tough love to motivate the children to change their habits.

Oh, thank FSM. Finally someone recognizes the real problem: fat kids simply aren’t subjected to enough shame and fear. Because if they were, they’d be thin. Obviously. Also, “very emotional”? You mean we get to watch fat kids cry while their doctors berate them? AWESOME! Can’t wait!

Shaq’s Big Challenge is, in fact, all about addressing problems that have gone too long overlooked. Executive Producer Rick Ringbakk explains their real motivation:

“On the biggest level, I hope it gets more people talking about the issue. Obesity kills.”

Yeah, I’ve definitely noticed how NO ONE in this society wants to talk about how “obesity kills.” It’s a crying shame the way the media refuses to touch this subject, doctors keep telling people it’s perfectly fine to be fat, the culture holds up fat people as heroes, and fat children walk around with loads of self-confidence and healthy body images. We are clearly in the grip of a mass delusion that fat is just peachy — but fortunately, Shaq and ABC are here to liberate our minds. Whew.

And Shaq is, of course, just the man for the job, since at 7’1″ and 335 lbs., he’s clinically obese. I’m sure that means they’ll devote a portion of the show to examining why BMI is horseshit, instead of just glossing over that fun fact.

Oh, wait.

O’Neal also talked about his own weight. “I’ve been a freak of nature,” he said. “They’ve never seen a specimen of my sort.”

Man, don’t let me forget to set the TiVo.

11 thoughts on “Shaq Attacks Fat Kids

  1. What, did Shaq find that his adult life didn’t offer enough opportunities to bully those damned fat kids he hated so much in school? Perhaps adult fatties just weren’t getting his school-bully juices flowing, what with all that crazy-high self-esteem that fat adults tend to have. No, he’s got to find actual school kids to tear down now?

    Seriously, this is disgusting. And what a mixed message! “Kids, there’s no bullying allowed in school,* so we’ve asked Mr. O’Neal here, with his incredible physical, financial and social advantages, to take go onto TV with some school kids to do your bullying for you.”

    * Not that such rules do much to actually keep it from happening.

  2. “I hope it gets people talking about the issue”? Boy, I want a 6-foot-square piece of that rock they’re living under.

  3. Everyone: hee hee.

    Laura and Jess, you are so right on. Especially about enlisting MeMe. Heh.

  4. What’s really sad is parents had to sign up for their children to be publicly humilated on national television.

  5. Ok, I completely agree that it is not right to humiliate kids. The idea of this show is a bit over the top. Also, kids are still growing. If they are chubby now and loose 20 lbs, what happens when they have a growth spurt? Many kids need those extra pounds. On the other hand childhood obesity is a growing problem, and it does pose a health concern. I think they are just going about this the wrong way. What about better physical education and health programs in school?

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