13 October 2008

Jamie Oliver's fatsuit is an insult to us all

It was bad enough when he lumbered around in a fatsuit for cheap publicity. Others have pointed out that the fatsuit shares a lot in common with blackface (check out Marisa Meltzer's essay in Bitchfest, for example), so I won't go on too much about that, I'll just say that it's clear the man hates fat people from his nauseating and stereotyped performance.

Maybe I should temper that to hatred plus disgust plus pity for fat people, as illustrated in his latest obesity intervention TV programme. I know there's a lot of fatphobia on the airwaves but I haven't seen such a condescending depiction of "the obese" since Jonathan Ross described fat people as (I'm paraphrasing because I don't have the source in front of me, but I'm not far off): "stupid, dopey, loveable friends" back in the 90s.

Oliver comes across as some kind of wannabe Dickensian philanthopist, I'm surprised he doesn't have a nosegay to protect his delicate nostrils from the stench of poverty as he does his rounds amongst the tragic and ignorant fat poor.

Here are some alternative ways to improve poor people's health:
  • Free education at all levels
  • Access to the same housing, education, jobs and healthcare that middle class people have, without anyone actually having to become middle-class
  • Strategies that target stigma and discrimination and encourage assertiveness, self-expression and pride
  • Coalitions between oppressed groups
  • Well-funded community-generated Health At Every Size projects
  • Or, nothing. Leave poor fat people alone, stop making them a moral crusade and give them space to get on with their lives.

Fuck off back to your organic garden, Oliver! Fuck off to Tuscany! Stay the fuck away from the estates, nobody needs you, you are part of the problem!


Anonymous said...

Have you thought about sending Jamie Oliver a copy of this post?

And/or having it published in the Guardian?

Charlotte Cooper said...

@anonymous: Why don't *you* send him a letter? Or write to the Guardian?

Bri said...

I so have a post coming about Mr Oliver. He gives me the shits big time.

purplegirl said...

I haven't seen much of Jamie Oliver; although at some point I did see one of his specials about school lunches. My impression was that he honestly means well, but is still an arrogant food snob. The thing with the fat suit, though? Yuck. I don't see why people think this is a) funny or b) appropriate.

dolia said...

I work around the corner from Jamie Oliver's restaurant. I'm thinking of getting a T shirt made ;)
Fuck off back to his organic garden and his Tuscan Villa. Yes!

Charlotte Cooper said...

@ bri: he gives me the shits too.

Charlotte Cooper said...

@ purplegirl: I agree, I think he means well, but it's the wrong kind of meaning well, a meaning well that causes more damage than good.

Charlotte Cooper said...

@ dolia: I want that t-shirt too!

wriggles said...

I think he started off meaning well, when you hear him talk, in the first programme about school dinners- you know he meant it then. Where I think the rot began to set in was when he started hanging around with a certain 'nutritionist' and such and started making it about obesiness and such nonsense.

Mind you, he seems to be on his way there himself, I've said this before and I'll say it again, his BMI is definitely on an upward path. If he thinks 'eating right' is the key to slimness, why isn't it working for himself? I think we should be told!