Sorry, liberals, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t call foul when Rush Limbaugh and his conservative friends of Fox utter inappropriate, below the belt outbursts. It’s not all coming from the right. The left has its hand in the pot too.
What the left is guilty of is invoking “bully culture.” The most recurrent and perhaps most troubling display of bullying from the left are fat jokes about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
HBO’s late-night political comedian Bill Maher has landed quite a few fat jokes on Governor Christie’s behalf. Even Christie himself has exchanged fat jokes with David Letterman on Letterman’s Late Show.
On one segment, the Governor ate a donut. In another he said, “A billion dollars will be spent on potato chips for Super Bowl Sunday, and that’s just at Christie’s house.” This is not to say that fat jokes are out of bounds for comedians. Christie says jabs about his weight are, in fact, “fair game” for comedians–that he isn’t bothered at all by jokes about his weight.
The point is not to harp on late-night shows like David Letterman and Bill Maher, but rather to assert that the accompanying mainstream news coverage of liberal bullying is problematic.
MSNBC and CNN correspondents regularly take liberties at discussing Christie’s weight, sometimes outright laughing on air at the Republican Governor from New Jersey. MSNBC’s Chuck Todd said that Christie’s medical records would become what Mitt Romney’s tax returns were for the fascination of the American public.
Other liberals, if not contributing to the snide comments about Christie’s weight, are guilty of enabling the behavior.
These fat jokes seem to come at a politically inopportune time.
They come at a time when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is battling the multi-billion dollar American soft-drink industry, and its supporters, to ban large sugary drinks, as an act against growing healthcare costs due to the rise in obesity. The ban would limit the size of sugary drinks to 16 ounces in New York restaurants, food carts, and theaters.
Sugary drinks, which Bloomberg’s own news corporation and Menes Tau at Patapaa reported, were associated with as many as 180,000 deaths worldwide and 25,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
The jokes come at a time when the bullying problem in the U.S. has reached extreme outcomes. Multiple cases of cyberbullying resulted in suicides, later prompting the White House to hold its fist conference on bullying prevention in 2011.
The digs on Christie’s weight also come at a time when the presidential administration is taking obesity extremely seriously–as first Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign tackles the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.
The dance moves we see Mrs. Obama engaging in with kids all over the country should not be confused with amateur performers videoing themselves and uploading it on YouTube. Mrs. Obama’s dancing is rather, part of a larger initiative to increase exercise and physical activity among children who spend increasingly more hours each day in front of screens (televisions, computers, smartphones, video game consoles, electronic book readers, PDAs, and a host of other handheld devices).
We must consider what model these media fat jokes present for children to follow. Apparently, liberal news correspondents allege that it’s politically correct to make fun of someone’s weight as long as the person is OK with it. However, it is unlikely that this line of reasoning would suffice at, say, your local primary school.
What’s more, such thinking transforms Christie, and other victims of bullying, into agreeable punching bags.
And where does it end?
Is it alright to make fun of someone’s physical appearance–weight, height, hair, gaze, stance, or dress–but not their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation? (Because once you insert those latter categories, the bullying would move into hate crime territory–the upper echelon of unacceptable bullying.)
Is this anyway to treat a potential 2016 Republican presidential nominee?
The line between discussing Christie’s weight as a legitimate concern and sniggering about it by the water cooler is a thin and blurring one. Former White House doctor Connie Mariano said in an interview with CNN that she’s worried that Christie, if elected to presidential office, may have a heart attack or a stroke or even die in office.
Mariano’s expert point of view, however, came from not having examined Christie herself but only from having observed his appearance. Her perspective could have been well-meaning. Yet, if doctors could really diagnose health issues at first sight, we would all spend less of our money on healthcare.
The topic of bullying has also gained popularity in book publishing and academic worlds. An interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary field known as Fat Studies has become increasingly popular among academics who research intersections of media, culture, health, biology, and psychology of fatness and notions of the fat body.
According to New York Times writer Leslie Kaufman, the subject of bullying has risen in popularity as a genre of books aimed at children–from elementary school ages to teenagers–to also targeting adults. Anti-bullying books have become a profitable genre, from the elementary-grade picture book Bully, the middle grade book The Bully Book, to the recent young adult book Sticks and Stones.
An October conference in Missouri will host 300 authors with books on the topic.
Beyond publishing books, publishing houses have also kickstarted anti-bullying campaigns around their books. Should the Democratic Party be the subject of one of these anti-bullying campaigns?
A close examination unearths hypocrisy in the way that liberals deal with issues like bullying and obesity. Bullying and obesity cannot be, on the one hand, serious issues that exact the most urgent national attention and action, but also issues that in light of a few jokes, lose all their seriousness.
You can’t have it both ways.
Bullying has too often become a rite of passage for young children and teens, and now for political candidates. Of course public figures put themselves and their bodies under intense public scrutiny, but we all must agree when innocent, harmless asides become reoccurring staples and when fair plays go out of bounds.
All political views aside, Democrats, Republicans, and independents, alike, must universally agree that no party should campaign on a pro-bullying platform.
Yes! Thanks! Liberals are hypocrites if they want to think that bullying Chris Christie is acceptable. It is not. And they need to stop.
I have seen too many jokes on this topic and it has been no other than liberals enacting these ‘fat’ jokes. Chris Christie eating a doughnut on a show gives these idiots no freeway to continue to bully him. In retrospect Christie’s behavior is exactly what children do when they are bullied – internalize the bullying.
But it doesn’t mean they don’t suffer from it – and Christie could be suffering from the shame that comes with it too. This is really an unhealthy behavior and it must stop!
I just don’t want to hear in the media one day that Chris Christie’s kids are being bullied in school likewise.
This is sad – the sheer hypocrisy by liberals that is often dressed in jokes!
Health to Michelle Obama constitutes of both internal and physical, both diet and the mental and emotional state. They are all interrelated in a way. Throughout her life, she had been privileged of making the perfect choices for herself, and she considers herself fortunatefor this. Even her husband encouraged her everytime to figure out what she actually wanted to do, as they both understood the simple fact that physical happiness is connected to all the components of a healthy lifestyle, and hence she wants to pass on these concepts to her daughters. ”:’
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