I've never read such a steaming pile of horseshit in my life as this recent op-ed piece by Dick Cavett (here is the text of the article--need Times Select to get it from NYTimes site). Yes, I for one really enjoy the "approval" given obesity by showing fat people on TV being compared to the approval given the existence of the KKK or the Nazis (in his words, both "domestic and third Reich") by showing them on TV.
He has no right to decide if he APPROVES of showing fat people, fat people just ARE. People. Not a condition. Not to mention, the numbers of fat people on TV? Don't remotely represent how many fat people there are actually are in the US. We're coming to get you, Dick.
I can't even believe somebody who's wrestled with mental illness all his life would only get this far, which is to say, nowhere at all, in his sympathy for the human condition/recognition of everyone's humanity. Unfucking believable.
Showing a fat person is not a "tacit endorsement" of the fact that "it's OK to be fat." It's an overt endorsement of the fact that IT'S A MOTHERFUCKING PERSON. Would he prefer they are swept out of his sight?
Since the KKK and the Nazis and the Mafioso aren't enough, Cavett also drags up freak shows as a point of comparison. With just slightly more slobbering criticism on his part, I might start to think this dude's a closeted fattie-lover.
As is, I just think he's a fucking asshole and I managed to lose whatever respect I had for him in one fell swoop. And I'm unimpressed with the Times, which usually manages much more even-handed coverage of size issues than this, for printing it. Try, just try, replacing "fat" in his piece with another human adjective. Say....oh, I don't know, completely at random I want to say SHORT. Then how would it sound?
Mr. Cavett would counter by saying short is a state one can't change, fat is. It's often not (short argument: otherwise it would), but even if you don't believe that, what are you going to DO about it? Extinguish the fatties? Keep them off your screen? Hope they don't exist? Do like the Nazis and get rid of them? Do I really need to point out the internal irony in his non-argument here? (It's tired and bad to use the Nazi thing to make a point, but he's the one that brought it up.)
What a fucking idiot.