Bizarro appears before you today courtesy of Contraceptive Lingerie.
When this cartoon appeared in the paper I got an email from a reader asking me why I don't like fat people. I get this kind of mail every time I do a joke about weight, usually from a person who claims that they eat right and exercise but are simply genetically predisposed to be large.
I am well aware that this kind of person exists and on the rare occasion when I make a fat joke, I am not poking fun at those kinds of people. In this case, however, I am not poking fun at fat people of any sort. This is simply a bit of word play: What kind of food would they serve in Heaven? Soul food, of course. If a soul eats too much of it...
So my sincere apologies to any readers who thought this was a cheap shot at large people. It was not, but I can see how it could be interpreted that way.
One objection I have to the "I eat right and exercise but I'm genetically disadvantaged" position is that obesity, especially among children, is epidemic in the U.S. and the "genetic defense" is far too often used completely erroneously. For the vast majority of people, eating right and exercising are plenty enough to keep them within the realm of what was a normal-sized American 40 years ago. But these days, a "normal-sized" person in the U.S. is someone who is under six feet tall and for whom anything smaller than an XL T-shirt is too tight. It's very difficult to even find a Medium T-shirt being sold at a public event where shirts are for sale. Vendors bring L, XL, XXL, and XXXL, because that's what sells. (And the majority of these shirts are not being sold to young men who are going for the baggy fashion thing.) This sea change in a couple of generation's time isn't a medical mystery. The simple fact is that as a society, Americans are sedentary, eat garbage, and way too much of it.
Class picture, 1970........ Class picture, 2008
The complaints many have about the fashion industry selling rail-thin girls as an ideal are warranted, to be sure. Being underweight is as dangerous as obesity. But I believe the movement to accept obesity as a natural or healthy state for more than a tiny percentage of the population is equally wrong. The added stress this puts on our already crumbling health care system is reason enough to fight this epidemic, especially among children. I'm not advocating discrimination against overweight people any more than I advocate discrimination against LGBTs or Muslims. But to my mind, being proud of obesity isn't much different from being proud of anorexia. It's just a more mainstream condition.
Just my two-cents worth, as usual. Sorry if I offended anyone and hope you got a smile out of the cartoon.