30 July 2008

Media: fat people and silly season

Here's a handful of crap from the Mail and the BBC from the past few days.

Having fat friends makes you fat too, which is kind of odd since the Mail also reported in April 2007 that every women needed a fat friend, especially Kate Moss, who is pals with Rachel Mordecai and Beth Ditto. Meg Ryan's in a fat suit, oh dear, and kids are going to get fat reports which will hopefully shame them into becoming world class athletes and winning the country some gold in 2012. Bad science strikes again in this generic report about the obesity gene but who believes that genetics guff when maintaining weight loss is easy as long as you exercise rigorously for five hours every week. Meanwhile, the Greeks are getting fatter. It's a global epidemic!

It would be nice to blame this week's rash of fat panic headlines on the silly season, which has just begun. But I don't hold out much hope for stories like these getting any more stupid as the summer unfolds because they are already a full-time staple of the British media. Part of me wants to see exactly how ridiculous reporting on fat can possibly get - I'm sure we're not at saturation point yet - yet I despair that this kind of stuff gets reported at all. I want to believe that people aren't so stupid that they believe what they read, but it's hard to hold on to that fantasy sometimes. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and dissociative when you think about the scale of self-perpetuating fat-hating propaganda. I do my best to turn off, or not think of it as being real, or else I get sucked into a vortex of puny sarcasm (see above). Yet I wonder how far it can go. There's such a huge, relentless volume of this stuff that it's only a matter of time until someone runs a newspaper or a TV channel, or a media empire, on the back of it.

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