Dear Barbara Ehrenreich,
This is satire.
This is just lazy.
See, one of them exposes and mocks society by catching the reader up in appealing rhetoric and then twisting the tourniquet tighter and tighter until she can’t breathe.
The other one consists mainly of appropriation and regurgitation of other people’s tired cracks about fat and overconsumption. You know, I don’t even think you’re a fatphobe, and that kinda makes it worse. You don’t believe what you’re saying, but you also ignore the ways in which it might be hurtful — and, frankly, unfunny and belabored and bland. You’re not being righteously angry or interestingly vitriolic and you certainly aren’t being bitingly satirical. You are phoning it right the fuck in.
I mean seriously, harnessing the energy of all that Mountain Dew and chips we eat? Lord, next you’ll be telling me airline food isn’t tasty.
Look, I see what you were trying to go for. It’s sort of an M. Night Shyamalan kind of approach, where you got high and had what seemed like a brilliant idea (“whoa, what if we ran our overconsuming Hummers off our overconsuming fat?”) that wasn’t really that brilliant anyway and that you then wrecked with lazy execution. I mean, hey, fat, that’s inherently funny, right? Especially if fat people are being damaged and punished for the overconsumption they must be engaged in. That’s just fundamentally funny. No need to do any work.
Satire can appeal to people’s worse natures, yes, but only until it exposes those ill natures to them in a slow but irrevocable revelation. It’s not supposed to appeal to people’s worst natures (“Fat people aren’t really people, so their bodies should be harvested for the rest of us!” “Heavy consumers, who must also be heavy people, deserve to become gaunt and malnourished!”) and then just kind of snicker along.
Honestly, I’m not disgusted by the ideas in this article, like some of the people who’ve pointed it out to us. Hell, I had to dig hard to formulate those two illustrations of our worst natures (and hint: when it’s not clear what you’re satirizing, there is a problem with your satire). What I am is disappointed. I like you, Barbara, and I want to see you do good work. Fat jokes? Come on, you are better than this. You couldn’t even make the last paragraph make sense — so liposuction will improve our self-esteem because we’ll be proud of ourselves for how fat we are now that we’re thin? Did you just not have your coffee?
Please watch some Colbert and get back to me, okay?