Creative Destruction

May 18, 2006

Let’s Not Discuss Dick Cheney’s Weight

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ampersand @ 10:41 am

Although I’m a big fan of Shakespeare’s Sister, I didn’t like her choice to include, in a post about that “I Am Man” Burger King commercial, a quote from Vanity Fair about Dick Cheney’s weight. Here’s the quote:

The extent of his atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries, which, if it extends beyond the heart to the brain, can cause hard-to-recognize changes in cognition) is unknown. Bypass surgery itself has long been associated with subtle changes in neurological function. At age 65, Cheney is easily 30 or more pounds overweight, seems to have slacked off on what was once a more rigorous diet, and appears to suffer from recurrent bouts of gout. At a roundtable lunch with reporters a couple of years ago, two who were present say, he cut his buffalo steak in bite-size pieces the moment it arrived, then proceeded to salt each side of each piece.

Uh-huh.

1) Why is this even here? SS’s take on the Burger King Ad, is that it says being a man requires eating unhealthy food. She then makes the leap from unhealthy to fat, because – why? No healthy people are fat? All thin people are healthy? All people who eat Whoppers are fat? All fat, unhealthy people got that way eating whoppers? She then jumps to Dick Cheney’s eating, because Cheney is “one of the manliest men of them all,” and he’s fat and unhealthy.

2) I really, really hate the way people feel entitled to monitor what fat celebrities eat. (And do I need to point out the obvious problems of observer bias and reporting bias?)

3) On average, folks who are 30 pounds “overweight” live as long (or slightly longer) than folks at the “ideal” weight; and there’s no evidence that losing 30 pounds would make Dick Cheney live longer.

4) Cheney’s fatness was dragged into the post because Cheney is a disliked political figure (just as Bill Clinton’s alleged chubbiness and overeating was, as I recall, brought up by conservatives back in the 90s). It is only in a climate of widely accepted prejudice against fat people that Cheney’s fatness can be used in this political fashion.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a fan of Shakespeare’s Sister. I don’t accuse her of bad motives or anything like that.

But it’s off-putting to follow a link to an ally’s site, going “oh goody, SS on the stupid Burger King commercial, this will be fun!,” only to have a metaphorical door slammed in my fat face.

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6 Comments »

  1. But Amp, don’t you understand? He’s fat, and thus eeeeeeevil.

    Comment by Robert — May 18, 2006 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  2. I’d argue that his fatness and his evilosity are orthogonal to each other. 🙂

    Comment by Ampersand — May 18, 2006 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

  3. I’d agree that your use of ‘orthogonal’ here is correct, but I’d set the English language police on you for ‘evilosity’.

    Comment by Daran — May 18, 2006 @ 1:57 pm | Reply

  4. Screw the E.L. police! One of the best things about the English language is that it’s so easy to wordify when necessary.

    Comment by Ampersand — May 18, 2006 @ 2:49 pm | Reply

  5. in his defense, Daran, evilosity is a legitimate field of scientific study 😀

    Comment by Adam Gurri — May 19, 2006 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

  6. “Evil” is a perfectly good noun as it is. Creating verbose versions of already-existing words is evil.

    Hmmm, there’s no already-existing word for this. We need one: perhaps a portmanteau of “evil” and “verbosity”.

    I’ve got it: “Evilosity”!

    Comment by Daran — May 20, 2006 @ 3:21 am | Reply


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