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Traveling While Fat

Check out this article in the New York Times.

This brave soul wrote about his experience and how he manages his air travel. As could be predicted, he got SLAMMED. To be fair, there are some good comments. One woman praised the man for his travels, and she told the story of her large friend who, while traveling through Thailand, would sit in the square of the villages where he arrived and would allow children to touch him for good luck (apparently touching the Buddha is considered lucky and children tend to touch fat people because of it). She said it made him happy to make so many people happy. Talk about making lemonade!!!

A plurality of the negative comments fall into the predictable categories:

  • Category 1 -- Largest -- Fatties don't know/don't want to know/don't care what is their impact on the rest of the non-fat world around them. I bought my seat, don't take over half.
  • Category 2 -- Fatties as the new "Ugly American" ( these comments are particularly odious)
  • Category 3 -- Next Largest -- The concern trolling "for your health" and its corollary "you are raising my health care costs"
  • Category 4 -- Mixed bag of awful:
    • Subcategory 4A -- "Fat people are Ugly/smelly/_____" (fill in desired adjective)
    • Subcategory 4B -- Just plain, astonishingly, unbelievably offensive and low. My PERSONAL favorite douchebag of the day wrote that he/she would come up with a business to get fatties to pay her to live in a third world country, live in huts, be exposed to diseases, and grow local food which would be the only thing they would have to eat. They would absolutely lose weight that way. Let's not forget infectious diseases as a weight loss strategy.
    • Subcategory 4C -- Just plain huh? One commenter referenced her chemotherapy in a way that was most confusing. Chemo as a weight-loss plan? I hope not. A couple of others pointed out that, no, the Buddha was not fat -- the Chinese just depict him that way.

Check it out folks. Help balance out the fat hate in my hometown paper. I continue my comment campaign against the trolls who hang out at Tara Parker Pope's blog in the Times, but here are a few more who got their fresh meat.


WARNING -- Some of the comments could be triggering to some.

Body Love Attack!!!! | Big Fat Kiss-In

Dannan October 22nd, 2010 | Link | Very tempted to comment

Very tempted to comment saying that they should all be pleased by the article and this gentleman, since my prefered way to travel is to sit on my neighbour and use my free seat to hold my mound of iced jam doughnuts.

I won't, since it probably will not help in the slightest.

Tempted though. *cackles, rubs hands together* Oh, imagine the anger.

I'll reign myself in, now.

lilacsigil October 22nd, 2010 | Link | I'm certainly not going to

I'm certainly not going to read those comments, but thank you for passing on the Buddha story! (But no, we don't *know* what Buddha looked like - some cultures depict him as tall and squarely built, some as fat; no-one depicts him as thin. No version is magically true because it pleases your aesthetics, people!)

When I got thyroid cancer, my mother said, "Trust you to get a cancer that makes you *gain* weight!" I think she meant it as a joke but it wasn't funny to me.

sarahj October 23rd, 2010 | Link | Do you know what I find

Do you know what I find amusing? The same people who can't stand to be "touched" by us evil fatties absolutely have no problem verbally (and sometimes physically) abusing our bodies.

Alyssa October 24th, 2010 | Link | Traveling while fat

I enjoyed most of article except the "self-deprecating" humor the author used in an attempt to appease nonfat readers. He should note by the reader comments that this approach did nothing to curb their venom. Although there was a mix of comments, I was struck by the level of rage and hatred expressed by many of the commenters. Yes, it's uncomfortable for all involved to be crammed into tiny airline seats in the "economy" section, but I do not see that same level of rage and hatred expressed toward those with long legs who spread them during the flight touching theirs. (This is an experience I have had many times.) The outsized outrage toward fat fliers is prejudice pure and simple. Some of the commenters noted this in perhaps gentler terms than mine. However, overall I was disappointed by the crassness of many of the comments. I usually find NYT reader comments fairly enlightened. Not this time.

AndyJo's picture
AndyJo
October 24th, 2010 | Link | Humor doesn't help

Absolutely agree, Alyssa. His humor didn't help calm the ravening hordes. The "one piece of cake too many" reference is a case in point.

However... I actually found the comments on this article less horrid than the ones that greet any articles on obesity (or even remotely related to it) on the Tara Parker Pope blog. There are a bunch of trolls out there that just LIVE for the next article and pounce on us fatties like something worse than wolves (I won't insult wolves).

Very sad... But there are days the NYT commenters are as bad as any commenters for any tabloid. There was one where there were so many ones reported as inappropriate that they were removed -- blocks of 5 and 6 in a row. That one was shocking! I think that TPP entry concerned plus size clothing. I'd have to look, but comments-wise it was a whole new level of awful.

--Andy Jo--

richie79's picture
richie79
October 25th, 2010 | Link | I have to say that having

I have to say that having become accustomed to the tenor of fat-loathing comments on the Daily Hate site, I found these remarkably balanced by comparison. For every negative rant about our 'social responsibility' to prioritise weight loss there was another defending the right of fat people to travel, pointing out that crying children / long legs / body odour / excessive use of cologne etc all pose a similar level of inconvenience to having one's space 'invaded' by a fat person, that for many, being fat is no more a choice than being tall and that (gasp!) thin people eat 'junk' and don't exercise too, and that companies which neglect to accommodate and make provision for all their customers shouldn't act all surprised when some of them are inconvenienced by that oversight.

Of course, the post which stood out for me was that which made the point that the hardening of attitudes against fat people is just one of the numerous manifestations of the process whereby people are increasingly being turned against one another and artificial 'them and us' divisions promoted and exploited by a mass media that weilds a worrying level of influence over public opinion, primarily as a method of deflecting attention from the role of the rich bankers, executives and politicians in creating an economic and social situation which some would argue benefits them considerably.

"What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right" - Albert Einstein

Wanderer's picture
Wanderer
November 26th, 2010 | Link | Buddha Budai Buddha...

Looking it up, the character that the author (like most BHMs) resembles is Budai, a traditional Chinese deity of happiness and/or contentment. But since the confusion is caused by the Chinese having nicknamed him "the Laughing Buddha", it's hardly anyone's fault.

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