- CRITTER TALK
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The thing is, we also have a thing called ‘freedom of speech’ and, along with that, ‘freedom of expression’. I suppose the two can amount to pretty much the same thing much of the time.
This makes it a wee bit problematical. We actually do have the right to offend someone with what we say. We also have the right to express views that others may find offensive.
Things did get a little ‘out of hand’ at one point, which resulted in the laws on these freedoms being ‘tweaked’. While we all retain the right to say things and express our views irrespective of some finding either offensive, we can no longer incite hatred or violence with impunity. Quite right too.
However, there seem to be quite a lot of people who are determined that we shouldn’t be allowed to say anything that upsets anybody.
I often refer to these people as ‘the offended generation’. They are, primarily but not exclusively, young. Well, younger than me anyway.
There is some project, or what ever they are calling it, happening lately in many British infant and junior schools.
This project is in regard to the worryingly high numbers of ‘obese’ children. Many of them are obese when they first start going to school. In my day, they were simply known as ‘fat’ but, apparently, you can’t say that anymore. It might upset the poor little wobbly dears.
Back in the 60’s you got the odd fat kid. They were often bullied. Children can, as we all know, be very cruel sometimes. Just ask a few legless spiders, if any are still around after having their legs pulled off.
Moving swiftly on to the 21st Century and fat kids rarely get bullied anymore – which is a good thing – but mainly because there are now so many of them – which is a bad thing.
On BBC Breakfast this morning, two women running one of these project things, aiming at helping parents prevent their children from becoming entirely conical in shape, were trying to explain how they go about it without upsetting the parents.
Clearly you can hardly say “Excuse me, your child is a lard ass, I’m here to help”. Well, you can under the laws of freedom of speech but, I doubt it would get you off to the start you were hoping for.
So, diplomacy all the way and, sensibly so.
BBC Breakfast also had a parent on, who, along with her children, had attended some of these meetings. She purred about how helpful these meetings were, and talked about ‘healthy eating’ and how the project had helped her get her children to exercise more.
Unfortunately, the fact that she appeared to be wearing an extraordinarily tight fitting Bedouin tent, into which you could have probably fitted several Arabs, along with their camels did, I suspect, rather negate her enthusiasm with many viewers.
It does make me wonder whether being all ‘nicey nicey’ actually helps at all.
I was waiting, in vain, for the interviewer to say “Well, it’s clearly not helped you much” but, sadly, as he wanted to retain his job, he didn’t.
The UK and the USA both have obesity crises going on. We have way too many fat people wobbling around. It isn’t good for them as they will, without a shadow of a doubt, end up with ailments they might well have avoided if they weren’t the size of a small moon.
Being all ‘nicey nicey’ about it and not telling them they are going to die young because they are grossly fat is, in my view, a dereliction of duty by the medical profession.
Now, before anyone gets all huffy about what I am saying, I freely admit, I need to lose a couple of stone in weight. I am overweight. I don’t look overly fat, except I have got a bit of a tummy and, for some unfathomable reason, a chin more than is entirely necessary.
My legs, arms and other bits, on the other hand, are all pretty average in size. This gives the impression that I may have been put together at the end of a shift on the assembly line, and they only had a pot belly left. Also, they wanted to use up the extra chin that was mysteriously still there, otherwise it would go to waste.
I once worked with a very nice lady. Unfortunately, when she bent over after dropping her office paperwork on the floor, it was akin to a total eclipse.
She sadly died in her mid-forties from weight related ailments, including diabetes and other things. They had to make an especially large coffin to fit her in and, in a final indignity, a hoist to get her and her coffin onto the table for the cremation.
Her weight had nothing what so ever to do with any medical condition whether physical or psychological. It had everything to do with the fact that she loved food – if it was edible and within reach she would eat it.
Both her son and daughter were well on the way to being the same size. Oddly, her husband was so thin, he looked like you would have to hold him down in a reasonably brisk breeze. He said he was just genetically predisposed to looking like an unusually large stick insect.
We need to stop all this rubbish about ‘body shaming’ – given the clear exceptions of those unfortunates who, through ill health, have gained weight – and start telling it how it is.
I am fat. I’m not as fat as many, but I have no problem with somebody telling me I am fat, especially if they are telling me for my own sake.
Will it make me ashamed of my body? Nope. Most of my body is fine, it’s just this tummy and this extra chin.
Being all politically correct and ‘nicey nicey’ clearly isn’t working. The obesity crisis is getting worse so, a change of tactics is in order.
“You’re going to die horribly because you are too fat unless you lose weight” is not ‘body shaming’. It is caring. Perhaps, to some extent, it is being ‘cruel to be kind’ but a politically correct ‘kid gloves’ approach has failed abysmally.
Letting your kids get just as fat as you – not a bit chubby, but grossly fat – is akin to child cruelty.
Something must be done before they have to start making cars, aircraft and trains double the size just to fit us in.
An absolutely huge lady sat down next to me once, on a flight to Portugal. I didn’t want to be rude or unkind but, frankly, there was absolutely no way I could have sat at the bizarre angle necessary for the entire flight.
When she sat down she occupied almost a third of my seat. Her mass pushing me into a sort of squashed up position.
“Excuse me? Could I have my seat back?” I asked with a winning smile. She was not amused.
What? You wobble onto the plane, force your blubbery behind into my seat and expect me to spend the entire flight going numb in various parts of me?
Besides, how the hell could I disembark at the other end? The air crew would have had to try and bend me back into shape again before I could stand up, let alone walk again.
No, I’m sorry. We need to address this issue head on and without all this ‘politically correct’ body shaming stuff.
And we need to do it now, before the combined weight of all the fatties causes the ground to collapse and we all end up at the center of the Earth.