So, people rightly let William Saletan have it for his piece last week suggesting that people should trade their fat friends for thin ones, so as to avoid catching teh fat — while retaining the health benefits of multiple friendships! Win-win!
Today, he’s published a “clarification” of that piece, which is about two parts “Um, you’re getting warmer, I guess” to one part “OMFG, when in hole, STOP DIGGING.”
First, he says he probably shouldn’t have ended the piece by saying:
And realistically, to add normal or underweight friends to your circle, you have to relegate others who are overweight. That may be bad for your fat ex-friends, who will lose your friendship as well as your thinness. But it’s fine for you, since you’ll have just as many friends as before.
Maybe it’s not nice to speak these truths. But maybe being nice, when you should be speaking the truth—especially to your friends—is the problem.
‘Cause what he really meant was, of course you shouldn’t ditch your fat friends! And of course friends aren’t just interchangable like that! And of course you should stand by your friends!
He just forgot to say any of that. Honest mistake, y’all!
Then he admits he goofed in suggesting that eating too much and not exercising are the only things that make you fat. And to make amends, he busts out the Fat Bingo chestnut (actually, I’m not sure if it’s on one of the cards, but it should be), “Some people can’t help being fat, but most of us can get fat just by slacking off!” (“Slacking off” is his phrase, btw.)
Never mind that there’s absolutely no proof that naturally thin people could get fat just by “slacking off,” or that most fat people have “slacked off.” He admitted he shouldn’t have used an absolute! What else do you want from him?
An apology for saying we should stigmatize fat people more, perhaps?
Well, okay. It turns out he thinks you shouldn’t stigmatize the good fat people, but you should still stigmatize the bad ones. And since you can’t tell by looking if you’re dealing with a Good Fat Person or a Bad Fat Person, maybe you shouldn’t go ahead and act like a complete asshole.
But he really does believe there’s not enough stigma directed at fat people. The proof? FAT PEOPLE AREN’T GETTING THIN. If we stigmatized them sufficiently, they would!
It’s scientific, y’all.
But wait, that’s not enough proof for you? Well, let’s whip out that study showing that most overweight and obese people DON’T KNOW they’re overweight or obese!
And let’s not talk about the fact that all that study really showed is that people don’t know which BMI category they fall into, not that they don’t fucking know if they’re fat.
Let’s definitely not talk about the fact that this is an obese person:
Or that when the very same currently obese person was a size 6 she was in the “overweight” BMI category.
(Also, let’s not talk about her roots.)
Because those trifles clearly have no bearing on the study in question. FATTIES DON’T KNOW THEY’RE FAT! Someone must tell them!
Finally, his ace in the hole? A study that shows fewer people now agree with the statement “[a] person who is not overweight is a lot more attractive” than in 1985. Clearly, SOMETHING’S NOT WORKING!
Or, you know, people factor things other than looks into their perceptions of “attractiveness” Or they just don’t think thin people are a LOT more attractive than “overweight” people, though they might think they’re moderately more attractive. Or they just read that stupidly written question wrong and thought they were being asked to agree with “A person who is overweight is a lot more attractive.”
Or this group actually was defining “overweight” according to BMI, and were therefore saying no, a woman who wears a size 6 is not a LOT less attractive than one who wears a size 2.
But ZOMG, what if it really does mean fewer people think fatties are nasty? What would we ever do? IT’S CONTAGIOUS, PEOPLE!
Stop digging, Saletan. For Christ’s sake.