Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yesterday's Handicap Post

I like it when a cartoon or post generates a lot of debate, as yesterday's did. I'd like to mention a few things about my post and chose to do it here instead of in the comments so that it would not be missed.

I agree with most of the comments left, there are many people whose disability is not visible and whose legitimate health problems led to their obesity. I recognize that and was not speaking of those folks. Over a dozen of both my wife's and my family are overweight, several are morbidly obese, which is the state of most Americans. And, like most Americans, none are this way as the result of disability or lack of education or choices. All are this way because, as is human nature, they want what they want and they don't care what the consequences are until it is too late. I'm not immune to this thinking, either, and certainly have my problems with things I want that may not be in my health's best interest. It takes a lot of discipline and/or conviction to overcome our tasty, convenient, deadly American lifestyle.

America has become a singular nation of laziness and lack of personal responsibility. Yes, our politicians and corporate overseers are at fault for leading us here, but it isn't exactly a secret where we are and what it is doing to us. We just refuse to give it up.

So it is to most Americans with no good excuse for their poor health that I speak, not those with legitimate disabilities or legitimate reasons for their weight difficulties.

My apologies for not making that clear, and thanks for all the input. I love honest debate.


Robert Finis said...

Give Dan a break; you can't see how gross we all are without occasionally wanting to piss everyone off.
But then maybe that's my personal misanthropy speaking.

derekamalo said...

not for nothing but things are what they are

there was no attack on handicaps,jews, fatties you name it..

several people have chose to attack dan when hes made cartoon of obese people or seemingly seemed to be taking a shot at the obese

it is what it is

im a very big guy...cause i just had hot dogs and fries for breakfast and plan on having possibly pizza for dinner...yes pizza with everything

dan choooses to be a times im more impressed about this then other things he does cause a i never knew exactly what a vegan ate til i chose to look it up...i was stunned no cheeses, eggs or any dairy or sea food unlike a vegetarian

so a vegan is one of a kind

not my cup of tea but i respect it and if dan comes out looking slim and in good shape thats his choice and hes able to tell others its how he doesnt get obese

dan is not prefect by the way ( i know i can say this cause hes mentioned it on his blogs he has a thing for scotch and cigars) which is what he meant by spot on blog today i think

but it is what it is most ameriicans like me who are fat - obese cause of the wrong choices we make and if we want to blame it on a medical problem then so be it but most cases that covers 5 percent

all us fattys know diets dont work weve all lost 50 pounds to put back on 70 as the metabolic rate drops and our body things its starving and so on

but a vegan menu is not a diet its a lifestyle ...

and if he chooses to discipine himself to this nature and stay slim then hes entitled to his opinions like everyone else.

nick said...

Robert - when you throw your opinion out into the great wide public, you open yourself up to debate. Dan needs no break.

julie said...

Well color me shocked - Danny's lap dog Derek agrees with absolutely everything Danny says on every subject.

Penny said...

"All are this way because, as is human nature, they want what they want and they don't care what the consequences are until it is too late."

My late Mom, God rest her, was the poster child for this. She was inactive and overweight most of her life. She was not morbidly obese, but only about 20 pounds overweight. Still, the human body just does not age well when carrying around extra weight, and "use it or lose it" TOTALLY applies to the human musculoskeletal system. Every pound of additional weight puts four pounds of pressure on one's knees with every step. Those 20 extra pounds on my Mom's frame may not have seemed like they were destroying her knees, but they were. She had to have both knees completely replaced just to keep semi-functioning.

Her muscles failed from atrophy. Her bones lost density from the same thing. (Bone density increases with weight-bearing exercise because as the muscles grow stronger they need a stronger anchor; the body deposits more matrix into our bones. It's stunning how many people don't know this basic concept.)

At the age of 65 or so Mom finally realized what dire straits she was in and started trying to do something about it. She sincerely tried to undo decades and decades of inactivity and junk food...she gave it a tremendous effort. However, it was literally too late for her. She spent the last 20 or so years of her life in a substantial amount of pain and being really unhappy about her lack of ability to get around. It took her literally a few minutes to swing her legs out, put weight on them, stand up and close the car door. Even going to the grocery store became an ordeal.

My 82 year old Dad, on the other hand, has been active his whole life. He looks, acts and moves like a man in his 60's. He's currently making me an arch-top guitar by's taken him a while to complete it because he's also busy doing things like going for his daily 3 mile walk. He doesn't walk quickly, but dammit, he does it.

Comparing my two parents and watching them age has been one of the more gigantic lessons of my life.

This is a serious, serious issue in this country, and as the Boomers grow older as a group it's going to impact EVERYTHING about daily life in the U.S.. We've become a nation of whiners who refuse to take responsibility for even our own actions, much less the impact of them on the greater good. God help us all.

Mary Sunshine

La Framéricaine said...

I come from the position that hyperbole and anger are the twin towers of comedy, so your cartoons and your earnestly held opinions--with which I rarely agree because they are moralistic, judgmental, and lacking in nuance--are not particularly surprising, while, naturally, being, simultaneously, hilarious. That's the nature of at least one dimension of humor.

Nevertheless, from my point of view, your preoccupation with the heft of others, for whatever reason, is less a commentary on them than a reflection of your own bigotry and prejudice.

If one were to use your assessment of something as benign as perceived disabled parking abuse, one would also have to assume that you figure that you lost your chance at a seat in college because a minority took it, your chance at a high-paying job because a woman took it, and that poor people and those currently being foreclosed on are, by definition and social status, not the "chosen" of Gawd, per John Calvin.

Anyway... All that aside, I, as an example of the vagaries of both weight and disability, weighed 125 pounds on a 5'7" frame on 6/17/82 when I crushed my ankle after being ejected from a Vespa in a fluke accident. I went from abled to disabled in about 5 minutes, have stayed that way for 26 years, and will stay that way permanently.

I can pass in the abled world, a blessing and a curse. But, that baseball bat banging into my ankle if I "walk" is ever-present, though invisible. The parking Nazis are always giving me static...

My weight went up about 20 pounds in the aftermath of that flip of the coin. However, when my mother put a bullet in her temple in a closet 9 years later, my weight went up 60 more pounds over a period of 7 years. Then, it went down over a period of 13 months. Go figure...

Many Americans are obese. It concerns me, too. The French, for the first time ever, now have obesity social problems, and so it goes around a world in which physical labor is no longer central to daily life and "food" is systematically processed.

As is demonstrated daily, badgering and stigmatizing the hefty people will not create the necessary paradigm shift to reverse the trend, only education, encouragement, and political action will.

Keep those cartoons coming. I always get a laugh out of them.

derekamalo said...

lapdog ....foow foow

im dyslexic

and yes in this case im in total agreement..
agreed 96 percent so far but cartoonist guest week nodda

doug nicodemus said...

man you posts generate a lot of hot's fun watching the calories flow

julie said...

Whatever it was you just attempted to type, I'm sure it was thoughtful and witty.

Miss said...

(This is to other commenters also, after the last cartoon.)

While I appreciate the explanation, it doesn't change my own point-- think before judging.

Someone looking at me would likely assume I cost them more in healthcare, that I am lazy with poor eating habits, that I have chronic health issues, etc-- none of which are remotely true. While some of it was true previously, it isn't now; however, despite my lifestyle changes my weight has not changed. I am, however, even healthier.
I couldn't care less if someone LIKES my fat, or if they think I'm attractive; all I ask is that people not make immediate assumptions about me, and treat me like a human being. That's what most fat people want, to be honest-- you should check out blogs like for their views of issues like those. Just remember it IS a blog, like yours! So opinions will differ. :D

And as I said before, I still love your cartooning!

xyling said...

Well, said, Dan. I think an even greater issue than laziness is this country's thin skin. These days you can sue someone for hurting your feelings, and that has made us clam up and stop expressing ourselves.

PIRARO said...

Good points made by all today. I thank Robert for advocating for giving me a break but agree with Nick that when you put your opinions on a public stage, you don't really deserve one. I've been taking heat for my cartoons and opinions for over two decades, so I'm used to it and always willing to defend my position and admit when I'm wrong or have gone too far when I think that's the case. Thanks for all the input, everyone.

pepe165 said...

It's so easy to make fun of Americans where as it's difficult to fun of Europeans. I cannot think of a good joke or such for anyone living in the Old World. Anyway, please Americans, continue your lifestyles, I need you guys for my stand-up comedy act. Thank you very much and have a nice triple cheese burger with extra bacon, no veggies, thick with mayo with super super super super size French fries and sodas.

Mike Duffau said...

Well said Dan! I always knew you have a heart of a champion. There's always a message to your cartoons and folks tend to overlook it. Keep up the great work and the wisecracks.

KZ said...

I see people using the spaces reserved for folks with disabilities and often find myself judging. I try hard to remind myself that I do not know the whole story - usually.

I also see people who I know do not have a disability, but have the hang tag they carry for when Mom is in the car. They then use the hang tag for themselves.

Then there is my mom, who should have a permit to park closer, but has never considered herself to have a problem.

Then there is me! Obese. I park far away most days because I want the exercise and have yet to find a diet that works. The weight is mine, the fault is mine. I do not think it is a disability, despite all the problems the extra weight causes. I will keep trying to lose weight - I do not want to get worse. It has been an interesting chat. Thank you for starting this topic.

aleann10 said...

Hi Everyone! Just thought I would add that I read an article about a month ago on that basically argued that obese people don't really cost more money throughout their lives because they die so much sooner than thin people. It is actually the thin people who cost more over their lifespans because we (I'm thin) need so much care at the end of our very long lives. However, I do believe it was mentioned that the obese do cost more to companies in that they miss a lot of work due to health problems that normally don't occure until later in life for the non-obese. For the record, I have obese family members and seeing their daily misery is one of the things that motivates me to be a vegan (although animals rights is a much bigger motivator) and get my butt to the gym. It looks like more pain than I would want to deal with on a daily basis, but maybe I'm just a wimp in that regard ;)

A said...

There is a very, very fine line between tolerance and permissiveness. One is a great idea all around, the other does no one any favors. In this case, you treat the person suffering from self-inflicted obesity (notice I said SELF-INFLICTED - I acknowledge that there is a very small minority of people out there who are not at fault for the condition that they are in) the SAME WAY you would treat everyone else. No better, no worse. That would constitute tolerance, and it's a great thing. Permissiveness would be giving them handicapped parking privileges, thus absolving, even rewarding, their lack of discipline and self-destructive tendencies.

Personally, I don't think Dan crossed the line between tolerance and permissiveness at all. I'm glad he clarified his position today, but he's right. Society expects us all to make nice and let everyone hide behind excuses for their bad behavior while we absorb the consequences for their actions.

I'm not just talking about self-inflicted obesity being classified as a "handicap," either. The handicapped parking issue, and the fact that it's even a matter of debate at all, is just a symptom of the gross entitlement our present society feels. Give me. Let me have. Let me take. Let me do. Be very, very understanding, don't make waves, make nice, be permissive (only I'll call it "tolerant" in order to get you to do what I want you to do). And then hand me a check or a parking space or whatever kind of special treatment I deem necessary when it all falls apart on me, because if you don't I'll sue you and get it anyway.

Such is today's collective attitude.

julie said...

Just coming online here, and already posted another missive in the original thread...

BTW Dan, I loved yesterday's cartoon. I thought it was hilarious.

MY whole concern is about the whole "responsibility" issue, and I posted extensively in the other thread about social engineering and the responsibility our government has towards our citizens.

I'm not saying we should play the victim part, and clearly we can seek out healthier choices.

But take the single black mother with 6 kids who goes and gets a college degree. Sure, it's possible, but how many other single black mothers with 6 kids never made it to college because it was just too much of a challenge?

If the Federal Government provides scholarships and daycare to these mothers, don't you think more of them would go to college?

It's the same thing with food. Small changes could make a HUGE difference in the overall obesity rate of the population.

Start by outlawing trans fats. They did it in New York. Do the same with High Fructose Corn Syrup (it ain't your Grandma's Corn Syrup).

Create programs to teach about healthy alternatives... even simple changes like eating baked instead of fried chicken or brown or Basmati rice instead of white rice
can make a big difference in calorie intake and overall mood and blood sugar level.

We need to make it easier for people to be healthy. Right now our "diet" choice in this country is to eat Subway instead of McDonald's.

Yes, of course that's not true, but when you're dealing with the mentalities of overworked Americans who have a half hour to hour lunch break... they go for the easy choice.

Good nutrition does not have to be hard, and the FDA and Congress should help by outlawing harmful products and setting nutritional requirements.

fido said...

hey guys as most of you may know my grandpa or as they say in french pepere possesses a virgin ass

i thank all of you anonymous, fran, dan, derek, jeremy, julie and tons of others for voting me funniest blogger..

its very well appreciated especially this year being such a downer for me with my pepere and his virgin ass and stuff

Peaches said...

I'm not sure which comments were worse. Wednesday's or Tuesday's. I wish I didn't try to catch up on the last two days of comments.

Mr.Piraro, you don't need a break, but you do need a break from some of the frequent commentees on here. People like Fran, who have nothing better to do than to complain about how unfunny your comics have been. Which is unfortunate because you're the one with the successful comic that makes money. This Fran person, if you're so funny, how come you don't have your own successful comic??? Get over yourself and stop whining. I have better things to read then you're bitching. I'm sick of pepere's virgin anus. Sorry, but I stopped reading all your comments. I'm not even going to go there. I noticed you're blog is under review. So.... And I can't remember what this Julie person said. Its forgettable.

Tuesday's comic was funny. Considering how many North Americans have a relativistic philosophy, I'm surprised by the amount of people who mare passing judgement on this comic. I'm sure half of these people say "to each is his own", the minute someone says something public, everyone else develops a strange sense of moral backbone whether they advocate it at home or not.

Ps. I have a sick tendency to to look to see whether a vehicle has a handicapped permit or plate visible on the car to justify their usage of the parking spot.

fran said...

Peaches - The tired "if you know so much why don't you do it?" argument, eh? A weak response by someone with nothing to say. No, I don't recall mentioning what I do for a living. I didn't realize my opinion was only valid if I did. If you want a censored blog consisting of a sea of raving comments by sheep with no minds, find another blog. You'd fit in nice there.

Yet another insecure blogger bothered by a negative opinion...

derek said...

leave fido alone

windsagio said...

I ended up deciding to post afterall, altho' its late;

The anger of the responses here and especially in the original thread bespeak a certain guilty feeling; maybe thats just internet cynicism, but still.

That being said, having worked for many years now with the truly disabled, pulling up to a store wiht a lift-van, and being unable to get a spot where you can activate the lift because of that fat *^%# over there who took the last disabled spot (no it hasn't happened TOO often, but once is enough to get your blood to boil), you take a pretty jaundiced view of things.

You can privilege check me if you want, but seriously.

Jeff said...

La Framéricaine said..."political action will"
I agree with 99% of what you said except this. You want government to tell people what they can and can't eat? This sounds like a huge mess to me.

Jeff said...

julie said...
"We need to make it easier for people to be healthy. Right now our "diet" choice in this country is to eat Subway instead of McDonald's."

How much easier can it be to go to the store and buy bread and ham/turkey/whatever you want, and make your own sandwich? Part of the problem here is that people can't make a meal for themselves. You don't have to buy Subway to eat healthy. Make your meals yourself!