Anywhere you travel across this great land, you’re very nearly guaranteed to see obese people. Whether they’re wolfing down a score of Whoppers at Burger King or zipping through the mall on their scooters, with cell phones to their ears and an extra-large bucket of soda in the drink tray, their gelatinous buttocks spilling over the seat–blubbery humanoids are becoming an everyday facet of American life.
In our society, obesity is ubiquitous and inescapable: in the supermarket and at public events, at the mall or even the gym. However, there is one arena where America’s blubbery class is all but invisible: television. Corpulent faces are rare on television, and this is even truer in regard to commercials.
Some activists want to change this paradigm, and show America a swollen, spotty face like the one it sees in the mirror every morning. Monty Robinson of Let America Respect Diversity (LARD), an advocacy group for people of size, believes the best avenue for this accurate depiction is diabetes commercials.
Currently, most diabetes commercials look like this:
Does the man in this clip look like anyone you know who has diabetes? No, the man is an actor, who doesn’t have diabetes. His middle-age paunch is his only nod toward obesity; he is only pretending to have this largely-preventable, first-world malady.
Obesity activists point out that African-American characters are portrayed by African-American actors, and that Asian actors portray Asian characters. Why then aren’t diabetes sufferers portrayed by gelatinous fatsos? “It’s not fair,” says corpulent actor Randy Bumfield, “How is anyone supposed to believe that I just had my gangrenous leg amputated if I’m handsome, slim and trim?”
The reality is that the producers of these commercials will never see fit to accurately represent their target audience. Diabetes spots will continue to feature paunchy-but-healthy middle-aged actors, who think nothing of trampling underfoot the surprisingly-sensitive emotions of the doughy monstrosities they purport to represent. This doesn’t, however, mean that Americans of size need go entirely without recognition–not if the average citizen does his or her part.
So the next time you’re in McDonalds for a late-night McFlurry run, and you’re greeted by the barnyard sound of rank humanity inhaling its feed, don’t wrinkle your nose in disgust or take a photo to show your friends on Facebook. Instead, make a conscious choice for change, and approach one of these ‘people.’ Imagine how good he (or she) will feel when you tell him, ‘That should be you in the diabetes commercial!’
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In so many instances an American’s political allegiance boils down to his or her opinions on abortion. It makes a certain sense for someone who feels strongly enough about a single issue to be attracted to the political party which shares that view. A darker corollary is proving increasingly true: more people than ever seem to modify their beliefs on the so-called sanctity of life based on the political party to which they are affiliated.
The foes of legal abortion tend to be Republicans, while those who favor at least some access to abortions align themselves with the Democrats. The former call themselves pro-life, and the latter pro-choice. The pro-life and pro-choice movements have tags for one another as well, pro-abortion and anti-choice.
That’s quite a bit of name-calling between two groups who, based upon their core tenets, are both pretty hypocritical. The names these groups give to themselves show how they would like to be perceived as champions of life or of a woman’s freedom to choose her destiny. In the same spirit, both groups labor diligently to portray themselves as champions against an unspeakable evil. However, upon closer examination, it seems that both sides tend to go a little fuzzy when it comes to ideological consistency.
The most zealous among the Pro-Choice movement do not consider a fetus to be human until it is viable outside the womb, typically late in the third trimester. This despite the many instances of children born as early as five months who, thanks to advances in technology grow up to lead happy and productive lives.
These people regard embryonic humans as commodities, and have no issues whatsoever mortgaging the lives of children today to serve the hypothetical children of tomorrow. In contrast to this antiseptic callousness is the heated ruthlessness with which the choicers pursue their aims, having no shame in attributing sinister motives to anyone not in lockstep with their vision of a D&C as contraception. So if Michael J. Fox dies from Parkinson’s, I guess that’s just God’s will, huh?
However, when the death penalty is mentioned, the bulk of the Pro-Choicers are aghast: The state doesn’t have the right to kill anyone!, they breathlessly intone. Human life isn’t something to simply be thrown away!
Pro-Life groups, on the other hand, venerate the fetus. They make no distinction between aborted and unaborted fetuses, and in fact feature ghastly images of aborted fetuses on everything from protest signs to their dinnerware. In their mission to save a billion lives of the yet-unborn, they see nothing wrong in terrifying and humiliating the young women who, sometimes in the direst circumstances, find their way to a clinic. Moreover, the more lunatic among them see nothing ironic in blowing up clinics, killing doctors or various other terroristic acts in an effort to show how much God values human life.
However, the Pro-Life view of the death penalty harkens back to the Old Testament’s call for An eye for an eye. On this issue, it seems, theirs is a God of vengeance and retribution.
One thing which quickly becomes clear is that while both the Pro-Life movement and the Pro-Choice movement would like very much to believe that their politics stem from a clear and delineated moral code, it just isn’t so.
Both of these self-righteous influence gangs will continue to wrap themselves in terms like Choice and Life, words which their own one-sided agendas have rendered meaningless. Instead of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice, why don’t we call these hypocrites what they really are?: Pro Semi-Life and Semi Pro-Life.