Bioethicist thinks we should “shame fat people”

Daniel CallahanDaniel Callahan, a senior research scholar at the Hastings Center in New York, published a piece in which he calls for emphasis on social pressure against heavy people through ad campaigns and education.  The piece is entitled: “Shaming Obese People Tastefully.”

He thinks the following questions should be asked:

Are you pleased with the way you look?”

“Are you pleased when your obese children are called ‘fatty’?”

 “Fair or not, do you know that many people look down on upon those excessively overweight…making fun of them or calling them lazy and lacking in self-control?”

Callahan sites that his proposal should work because he stopped smoking because he was “shamed.” 

My take:

First of all Mr. Callahan, smoking is not the same as overeating.  You don’t have to smoke to survive.  You can at any time stop smoking and live.  You can’t ever stop eating.  Many obese people (including myself) have a problem with portion control.  Smokers can’t just smoke fewer cigarettes and still not be at risk to health-related complications.  They have to stop it all together.

Mr. Callahan you will never and can never understand why I’m overweight.  Frankly, it’s none of your business.  “Shaming” obese people isn’t going to make them magically stop overeating.  Most will just eat more because of the “shame” you so desire to place upon them.

What if I tell you Mr. Callahan that I think you look ugly and old?  Should I then shame you until you decide to get plastic surgery as to look younger and better looking?

Your title is an oxymoron.  “Shaming obese people tastefully.”  Seriously?!!!  The act of shaming someone can never be done in a good way.  Isn’t that the whole point?  Aren’t you trying to make someone feel bad about something?  How’s that tasteful?

I can’t stand when people take it upon themselves to scold me for what I eat.  If I wanted your opinion I would ask for it.  I know very well that I should lose weight.  I don’t need nor in any way desire to hear your opinion Mr. Callahan.  And to think I thought Paul Krugman was unbearable.

Well Congratulations Mr. Callahan you’ve certainly succeeded…succeeded in showcasing your stupidity and ignorance.  Hope you are happy that I find you even more intolerable than: Krugman, Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher.

You should ponder my disdain for your stupidity; rest assured that I will be enjoying some sweet, Caramel-Swirl ice cream.

Bon Appétit!


Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate


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About adrakontaidis

A conservative who doesn't pander to the GOP.

11 responses to “Bioethicist thinks we should “shame fat people””

  1. Kamil Zawadzki says :

    This is outrageous. You’re right that he compares something which you CAN live without (a cigarette) to something that you MUST consume to live (food).
    There’s a major difference.

    And it’s not even just portion control – which is something I struggle with daily, in addition to my personal struggle with quitting soda. There are, as you say, many reasons people might overeat.
    But it’s rarely just to say “oh I want people to feel sorry for me.” And it’s even more rare for it to be some sort of sadomasochistic desire to be made fun of.

    As smoking can be an addiction, food can be an addiction, too, and because you need to eat to survive, it’s one of the toughest addictions to break. (Not to mention there’s no support groups for food addicts like there are for recovering alcoholics.)

    In late 2011, I went to the gym consistently and though I eventually fell off the wagon and it’s been a struggle again since, I did see results. But one of the things that encouraged me was “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” on ABC, which chronicled a personal trainer’s work with one person each week and condensed months of work into a 43-minute-plus-commercials show. Most of the stories ended well, with the people involved well on their way to healthy living permanently.

    But there was one episode that bothered me very much. This one guy, he turned out to literally be a food addict. It was so bad that he even sneaked out of the house to go to the drive-thru, then lied about it and was found out because he didn’t clear out one of the receipts from his car. He even went to his friends to borrow money when his wife tried to stop him by taking away his wallet. That’s how bad the food addiction was. Sure enough, he went back up to his initial weight and by the end of the episode, the trainer told him that he couldn’t do this anymore and he couldn’t help someone who rejected that help at every step and, worse, deceived him, though he did refer him to psychiatrists or experts to address the addiction issue.

    I know the nature of reality shows is drama, but the way they parted was overly dramatic. The trainer made a big show of being disappointed, he barely even said goodbye to the guy, and in the last shot we saw of them in the same frame, the guy is in the waiting area looking over at the trainer who’s about to get on the elevator and the trainer just made a whole big thing of deliberately avoiding eye contact. While I get that he felt his time was wasted and the disappointment was genuine, it just struck me as an odd way to approach what was clearly a serious and deeper problem than simply not getting enough time on the treadmill or portioning out the right set of groceries.

    I don’t recall that they had a follow-up with how the guy was doing in regards to his food addiction, but it was just a very bothersome way to end that episode – it’s not just that it wasn’t a happy ending for all, but it was literally shaming the guy for something he truly had lost control over. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t help the situation if one of the people who spent the past few months fawning about how much he cares about you and wants you to do better refuses to make eye contact on the last day.

    I just don’t get people like this. Sorry, this was gonna be a brief response but when I remembered that show I just had to write about it…
    Also, who gives a shit about whether or not our government acts like a nanny state, when in our private society, we already have private citizens who take it upon themselves to publicly act like total dicks to people and act like they’re doing everyone a public service.

  2. Kamil Zawadzki says :

    As far as being shamed into quitting smoking, I’d like to tell Callahan: I’m sorry that your friends are assholes, dude, but that’s no reason to shift your bitterness onto other people who have issues of their own and pretend its some sort of intervention therapy.

  3. JF Owen says :

    OK, I’m with both of you guys literally and figuratively. I spent almost sixty years storing away all these excess calories, although the largest deposits have come in the last ten years. I am not giving all that up simply because some emaciated twit who doesn’t know how visually unappealing skin and bones are thinks that I should conform to his idea of normalcy. If I did that, how would I survive when the great famine hits?

    No sir, I have my stash and I’m keeping it. Honey, is Papa John’s still running that two fer special?

  4. Chubbster says :

    as a “chubby” person who has dealt with weight issues my whole life..having lost the weight and gained it’s not easy..but if some stranger wants to “scorn” me they better have good medical insurance because i have no issue with violence against people who disrespect me and on a side note what about scorning gays?

    • realtalkrealdebate says :

      I wouldn’t condone violence towards these ignorant idiots. Not sure what you mean about the last comment: “what about scorning gays?”

      I assume you are talking about the comment where a customer of another restaurant made homophobic comments against a fellow customer because he was gay. That customer was thrown out. I don’t know what he necessarily said to him, because I haven’t read the story. I am just glad that people aren’t tolerating other people’s intolerance. If you have a problem with gay people, eat elsewhere.

      Thanks for the comment!

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