In a Fat Snit

4
Posted July 23, 2009 by Jimmy Fowler in Blotch

If ever there was an example of America’s screwed-up relationship with food and physical appearance (a pathology shared by the skinny as well as the fat), it’s in the current web debate over whether Obama’s nominee for surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin, is too fat for the post of national health czar. My favorite quote came yesterday from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who declared in typically stentorian tones: “Some say she could be as much as 40 pounds overweight.” Are we vetting a surgeon general nominee here, or evaluating a piece of livestock?

This is another example of willfully confusing physical attractiveness — the pop ideal of it, that is – with health. My guess is that if Pres. Obama – tall, skinny, and photographed regularly jogging and playing basketball – hadn’t copped to sneaking the occasional cigarette, it wouldn’t have occurred to anyone to challenge the status of his health. And don’t give me that bunk about the surgeon general requiring extra scrutiny because of his/her position as a “health role model” — Dr. Benjamin could be “as much as 40 pounds overweight” and still exercise regularly and have normal blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. This is way more about appearance – the appearance of a professional woman who wants a job that will regularly put her before a national audience – than it is about health.


4 Comments


  1.  
    Obama's Seat

    She’s drawing a lot of defense from the conservative sources I’ve read today, Nordlinger at NRO freakin’ loves her.

    But you have to admit in today’s atmosphere of blame for health care expenses, the flesh-blessed are the new smoker.

    And she *is* the SG nominee – if she is perceived as overweight, then of course that’s going to draw some comment.

    Were she a nominee for any other post, it wouldn’t be an issue. And it won’t be an “issue” for long, because she’s apparently a very worthy person, and a good nominee.




  2.  
    anthony.mariani

    As Jimmy indicates, you can be technically “overweight” but still healthy. But we’re a nation of spin, and if there’s one issue that can be spun in any direction ad infinitum, it’s weight versus image.




  3.  
    Jennifer Kim

    >>>Dr. Benjamin could be “as much as 40 pounds overweight” and still exercise regularly and have normal blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.>>>

    Nice try — but this rosy picture does not describe most overweight people.




  4.  
    Jennifer Kim

    Appointing an obviously overweight SG is a great idea!

    Now, how about a junkie as a drug czar?

    A deserter for Sec of Defense?

    For Sec of Transportation, someone with a suspended drivers license?

    A high school dropout for Sec of Education?

    A tax cheat as Sec of the Treasury, who heads up the IRS? (Wait — Obama has already done that!)





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