The following article is by Mic Wright, journalist and writer. http://brokenbottleboy.tumblr.com/ It caused a bit of a storm in a biscuit tin. Read the article and then see what the fuss was about…
Attack of the flying fatties: why demanding rights for the obese just baffles me
On international flights, I am catnip for the seriously obese. Remaining within the allotted bounds of my seat, they see the opportunity to take up the space I’m not using, seeping across the border beneath the arm rests with so much blubber that it is more like an entire love control panel than love handles. This is the story of my fight with the flying fatties…
Flying from Newark to London Heathrow I was hemmed in for seven hours, unable to get up as the whale like married couple beside me slumbered, waking only to inhale their inflight meals. “We don’t have to pay for this do we?” they spluttered as the lilliputian provisions were sucked up from the trays and into the huge spittle flecked singularities of their mouths – no light or fried goods can escape their gravitational pull.
The smell was what hit me first about this pair: a mixture of slightly off butter, broken biscuits and bacon grease. Pinned against the window by their encroaching girth I couldn’t help but eavesdrop as they bitterly complained that airline seats are too small like a pair of inverted Norma Desmonds: “I am not big. It’s the seats that got small.” I know that I’m meant to be sympathetic but I just feel put out.
Pushed into half the space I’m entitled to, unable to get up to walk around because they sleep so deeply and are crammed so tight into their seats. Both sprang for seatbelt extensions just to circumnavigate their vast waistlines. Across the aisle their normal sized son looked on like a Fraggle adopted by a pair of Gorgs.
The world is being rebuilt for these behemoths. The Harry Potter ride at Universal’s Island Of Adventure in Orlando, Florida is currently being refitted to add seats for its more sizeable riders (the linked article is particularly great thanks to its reference to an “obesity sufferer”).
Buses are being retrofitted to add seats capable of dealing with the ginormous rears of a ballooning population. America is the empire of the eaters and gluttony is one of its biggest exports. Chocolate bars get bigger, burgers get taller, people get fatter. Soon, this will be a world designed for larger people.
Those of us who can hold off from that fifth piece of cake, that heart attack on a plate – watch the Food network in the US for more than five minutes and you’ll see that it’s raison d’être is creating new combinations of butter, fat and sugar – will be the unusual ones. We’ll have to ask for a shorter seat belt or slop about in the huge restraints of the huge people around us.
Sure we’ll benefit from bigger seats too but not without the creeping invasion of the guts and side flab of the flying fatties. You’re welcome to accuse me of being prejudiced. I probably am.
The idea that there is some inalienable right to overeat and expect special treatment sticks in my craw. I’m not arguing that there’s not a wide range of healthy weights but people topping 20 stone and demanding rights for the obese as if they are fighting this generation’s great civil rights struggle are kidding themselves. Just declare yourself People For Pie and be done with it.
Addendum: This post was originally published on the Pressthe.com site but pulled. The discussion about that decision and ‘freedom of speech’ on blogs can be found here:
QRG says: I was very annoyed on Mic’s behalf when his article was pulled from the collaborative blog, pressthe.com that he writes for, which was set up for tech writers to write about other things apart from tech. Some of the contributors (about 60 altogether) have said they enjoy the opportunity it gives to express themselves more freely, away from the constraints of their day jobs and other restrictions they face in ‘RL’. In my opinion, taking this post down is just one more example of writers’ freedom of speech being threatened. As far as I can tell the post was pulled after one comment by another contributor, who took offence at Mic’s description of ‘fatties’. I have written about freedom of speech before: https://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/category/freedom-of-speech/ If I worried about causing offence before I wrote anything, I wouldn’t write anything at all! So I am posting Mic’s article in solidarity and to remind myself, and you, dear reader, that writing is a form of expression available to all of us who have the privilege of literacy. We should not treat writing as a threat. It is the restrictions imposed on writers that are a threat to our ‘human rights’ , not what writers may or may not choose to say. Ask Hitler, ask Stalin, ask Senator McCarthy. And, you know, if you really are incensed by what some people write and say, you could always write your thoughts down…
— Michel Foucault