The Elephant in the Room

Jack Marshall at Ethics Alarms reports that Time Magazine’s cover story is called “The Elephant in the Room”. It’s about Chris Christie. Yup, their cover story’s title is a fat joke. Time thinks that that’s in good-enough taste to print.

The Ethics Alarms post is right on in its description of Time’s use of “a desperate, tabloid-style habit of using intentionally gross, disturbing or controversial cover graphics”, but it quickly takes a strange turn….

As I have mentioned here often, fat-bashing and weight-related slurs are among the three culturally acceptable forms of prejudice (the others are anti-elderly and anti-male) embraced by the Left, including journalists, when they want to denigrate a denizen of the shadowy right—even one who peeks into the light of moderation from time to time, like Gov. Christie. (Hillary, last I looked, was looking decidedly portly and long in the tooth, but she’s a woman, see, and also a “progressive.” Would Time ever, ever dare to reference her age or weight on a cover? If the National Review did, would it not instantly be used as more proof of the Right’s “war on women”?)

In what universe is Hillary Clinton “decidedly portly”? It occurred to me that it was possible she’d gained weight recently and I hadn’t noticed; I did a Google Image search on her and found photos showing most of her body here and here. I guess I wouldn’t quite call her thin, but “decidedly portly” she’s not. I suspect the reason that her weight is not generally being mocked is because she has a lot of size privilege relative to Christie. I’d guess that Clinton’s BMI is around 25 or 26, and Christie’s is probably over 40.

I remember reading a news story or two about George W. Bush being just barely overweight, i.e., BMI of 26. (I dug one up, but I don’t recommend reading it.) Strangely, although George W. Bush was neither progressive nor a woman, I don’t remember anyone, left or right, making fun of him for being fat. A search for “george w. bush fat” doesn’t turn up anything on the first page actually calling him fat, though a couple photoshopped fat versions of him pop up in the images. Most of the first page of a search for “hillary clinton fat” is articles about the “2 fat thighs 2 small breasts” buttons that were sold at a California GOP convention. (Actually, her breasts don’t look small to me, not that that’s one of the qualities I look for in my politicians.) The only exception is a Daily Fail article about an author saying that Clinton looks “overweight and tired”. On the other hand, Michelle Obama has been mocked for her supposed weight problem (though not on the left, as far as I’ve seen).

I’m not exactly inclined to take a statement that we’re surrounded by anti-male slurs seriously, and even less so when the writer demonstrates moments later how much more harshly women are judged for even slightly straying from the thin ideal.

As to the “long in the tooth” bit, I will say that I agree with Paul Campos that if we’re really concerned about health, we should be more worried about Hillary Clinton dying in office than Chris Christie. But we’re not really concerned with health, are we?

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One Response to The Elephant in the Room

  1. Pingback: Time Makes Fat Joke About Chris Christie On Cover | Alas, a Blog

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