Fat jokes aren't necessary. June 12, 2003 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Was this really necessary? [more inside]
posted by eilatan to Etiquette/Policy at 12:53 PM (80 comments total)

I happen to be a fat person, and I've got to say that I feel pretty damned unwelcome here I read remarks like that. Or ones that say fat people are lazy slobs who would be able to lose weight if only they'd do X, Y, and Z. I don't like feeling like I need to prove myself to be one of the "good" fat people who exercises and eats right and who is therefor absolved of fault for their persistent fatness. Why I--or anyone else--happens to be fat is no one's business but mine and my doctor's.

On the occasions when people have cast aspersions on people for their race, sexual orientation, disability, whatever, it's made extremely clear that it's not acceptable behavior. I don't think anti-fat comments are acceptable or appropriate. Frankly, comments like the one I linked are a blot on what is otherwise a place that's (mostly) populated by intelligent, well-spoken, and witty people.
posted by eilatan at 12:54 PM on June 12, 2003


You're absolutely right. Sadly, we must be grateful that the nastiness of this particular comment is now an aberration rather than the rule; if you go back to earlier "fat" threads, say before this year, you'll... well, you'll wish you hadn't. (Which is why I'm not digging them up and linking to them.)
posted by languagehat at 1:08 PM on June 12, 2003


On the bright side, the comment was made by a guy just begging to be called "Shit Sandwich."
posted by COBRA! at 1:14 PM on June 12, 2003


The thread is hopefully going to be deleted soon. And considering the awkwardness involved in obesity-related threads I'm glad.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:17 PM on June 12, 2003


Is anything we say here really necessary?
posted by xmutex at 1:19 PM on June 12, 2003


What languagehat said, excepting only that, having participated in those earlier "fat" threads, I wouldn't call nastiness on this topic an aberration. This particular subject seems to bring out the absolute worst in many posters I otherwise admire on a distressingly regular basis.
posted by clever sheep at 1:21 PM on June 12, 2003


On the Metafilter of an alternate universe, people who make comments like these are forced to publish accompanying full frontal shots of themselves so all may judge them on their relative merits...
posted by taz at 1:22 PM on June 12, 2003


And that's extremely bad writing on my part. Gah. Oh well.
posted by clever sheep at 1:23 PM on June 12, 2003


As loathsome as I think the comment is, it's also worth noticing how, whenever a weight thread pops up, MeFi users who otherwise seem pretty well-balanced suddenly become the thinnest-skinned people on the planet.

full disclosure: slightly pudgy but atkins is working wonders
posted by GeekAnimator at 1:33 PM on June 12, 2003


I agree it's stupid and offensive, but the sad truth is that Matt lost control of this site as far as personal insults go. He'd rather banish TheJesseHelms for expressing his personal opinion elsewhere than dealing with the borderline Tourette-like behavior often displayed here.
posted by 111 at 1:35 PM on June 12, 2003


Hah. The first time I ever posted on a fat thread, I was very low key and was instantly pounced upon by darukaru and aaron, who were rude, sarcastic, and put words into my mouth. If you think the slim have a monopoly on abusiveness in the fat threads, then you haven't been paying attention.
posted by NortonDC at 1:39 PM on June 12, 2003


So, you're looking for a big fat apology?
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:42 PM on June 12, 2003


no 111, TJH was banned for inciting a flamewar. Read the threads. It's Matt's site and I wouldn't blame him at all for shutting down the server, because of someone like TJH's asinine actions or the ones in the "fat threads".
posted by mkelley at 1:44 PM on June 12, 2003


Yeah, 111. This thread is where that comment belongs. Inciting a multi-site riot is not equivalent to making a flip and inconsiderate comment within the cozy confines. You are comparing apples to oranges, IMHO.
posted by trharlan at 2:02 PM on June 12, 2003


You are comparing apples to oranges, IMHO.

Am I? It all boils down to freedom of expression. You shouldn't be punished for voicing your opinion, but you should be punished for insulting other people. That's all.
posted by 111 at 2:09 PM on June 12, 2003


For what it's worth, I try like the dickens to avoid the fat threads because of the shit that goes on in them. This one I stuck my head in on because it was a double post and I thought I'd be nice and point it out--it was while I was composing my comment that the other comments were posted.

Normally, I do ignore this stuff. I've posted a few times in some of the earlier fat threads, but it doesn't seem to help matters. Nothing does. And I don't know if there is anything that can help matters on this particular subject. But I don't think ignoring it and pretending it doesn't happen is a solution, either.
posted by eilatan at 2:31 PM on June 12, 2003


111, I'd liken the shouting of 'you all suck!' at a klan rally and running back to your family's house to be much akin to the old 'yelling 'fire' in a crowded theatre' exception to freedom of expression.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:33 PM on June 12, 2003


111, picking a fight on our behalf with the gang down the street is a tad more than just voicing your opinion. Matt has every right to protect this site's reputation, despite the best efforts of its resident shitheads. Voicing that opinion had consequences for this site in general and Matt in particular (who more than anyone else is identified with this site). TJH's free speech requires that Matt put up with the crap he wantonly generates?
posted by mcwetboy at 2:35 PM on June 12, 2003


It's always amusing to see grown people whine and cry about the big bad people on the Internet, with their harsh words and mean names. Heaven help us, someone's feelings might get hurt! *at which point my face becomes filled with mock concern*

On the occasions when people have cast aspersions on people for their race, sexual orientation, disability, whatever, it's made extremely clear that it's not acceptable behavior

Just a key thing to remember, here; you can't change race, sexual orientation, or a disability. The fact remains, there are methods by which a person can lose weight.

Regardless, I know I'm not going to change anyone's mind with what I've written, so I'll just amuse myself with the concept of a thin-skinned fat-ass.
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:41 PM on June 12, 2003


On the occasions when people have cast aspersions on people for their race, sexual orientation, disability, whatever, it's made extremely clear that it's not acceptable behavior

That's because those are conditions for which the sufferer are not accountable. Obesity and the aforementioned conditions are not analogous. I don't think that issue is one that can be addressed on Metafilter, but likening being overweight to being gay, handicapped or a member of an oppressed minority does a disservice to members of those groups.

Mind you, I'm not saying that being fat is contemptible, I'm just saying that likening fat-hatred to using an ethnic slur doesn't hold up. That said, obesity threads always turn into pissing matches that defeat the purpose of this place. Stupid as it sounds, there should be a ban on discussing weight on Metafilter.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:50 PM on June 12, 2003


Oh please. Those people insulted Matt on the thread, called him a censor because he made a friendly gesture towards their site. If that's a case of repeat offender, OK then ban TJH, but it is a double standard considering the level of sheer namecalling MeFi has reached: "I'll just amuse myself with the concept of a thin-skinned fat-ass"
See what I mean?
posted by 111 at 2:51 PM on June 12, 2003


111: you don't laugh much, do you? Too busy looking stern and serious, perhaps...
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:55 PM on June 12, 2003


I for one enjoy fat jokes.
posted by xmutex at 3:01 PM on June 12, 2003


111: you don't laugh much, do you? Too busy looking stern and serious, perhaps...

This is not a South Park episode, you know? Don't insult other people unless you're man enough to tell it to their faces.
posted by 111 at 3:03 PM on June 12, 2003


ooh! We're questioning each other's manhood!
posted by xmutex at 3:03 PM on June 12, 2003


And one again the person complaining about people's bad taste simply invites more of it, because certain people just won't shut up about the same damn things. No we do not need to re-hash the fat debate, and especially not in metatalk.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:07 PM on June 12, 2003


This is not a South Park episode, you know? Don't insult other people unless you're man enough to tell it to their faces.

And how do you know I wouldn't say it to someone's face? I have it on very good authority that I'm just as big of a jackass -- if not bigger -- in person as I am on the Internet.

Tell ya what, you write down a list of everything I can and can not laugh at. While you're at it, why not burn down some libraries. You know, so no one else gets offended, anywhere, ever.
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:13 PM on June 12, 2003


What exactly is the process by which little shitheads become self-styled folk heroes, anyway?
posted by Space Coyote at 3:16 PM on June 12, 2003


You people suck. You know that right? Seriously.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:20 PM on June 12, 2003


I'll tell ya when i make it to self-styled folk hero, man.
posted by jonmc at 3:21 PM on June 12, 2003


I see posts using "retarded" as an insult, I see posts using the word "gypped" and other similar racist terms...do we really want to post a thread to Metatalk every single time?
posted by bargle at 3:22 PM on June 12, 2003


What exactly is the process by which little shitheads become self-styled folk heroes, anyway?

Amtrak keeps refusing my offer to race the Acela on foot while driving spikes into the tracks. Gotta do something.
posted by yerfatma at 3:23 PM on June 12, 2003


What exactly is the process by which little shitheads become self-styled folk heroes, anyway?
They post on MeFi.
posted by dg at 3:25 PM on June 12, 2003


Amazingly, in about two and a half hours this thread became yet another example of the exact thing it was meant to criticize.
posted by 111 at 3:32 PM on June 12, 2003


Amusing. I was completely unaware of the racist overtones of the word "gypped". Having said that, if anyone ever actually got offended if I used it, it'd be awful hard to keep from laughing.
posted by GeekAnimator at 3:32 PM on June 12, 2003


Dark Messiah, from your own comments, I know you're self-invested in being a cooler-than-thou jackass. So you certainly won't care at all that from this corner of the room, your comments about thin-skinned fat people make you look incredibly thick.

Works for you, and since there's nothing I can do to make you care who you might hurt, I'll try not to care either-- though I'll be saddened if your need for image support contributes to eilatan deciding that as a lot we're not worth her time.
posted by clever sheep at 3:37 PM on June 12, 2003


I'm proud to say that the original post's comments remained polite. I almost didn't post the link for fear it would become... well, this. Why is fat among the most contentious issues on MeFi?
posted by ferociouskitty at 3:41 PM on June 12, 2003


After my heart bypass, I went from US Marine fit to 275 pound blimp. I've been there, and let me tell you, I thought that 'fat broad on a horse' comment was funny!

Then again I am back down to 190 and 15 pounds away from my original weight. YMMV. ;-P
posted by mischief at 3:44 PM on June 12, 2003


y6y6y6 - We know we suck, the debate is whether or not fat people suck. Please try to stay on topic in the future.
posted by cohappy at 3:48 PM on June 12, 2003


Don't insult other people unless you're man enough to tell it to their faces.

Spoken like a man with no email address, blog, or really any personally identifiable information on his user page. Then again, that's understandable. You wouldn't want someone to look up your place of business and send the owners a letter trying to get you fired because they disagreed with your viewpoints.
posted by jonson at 3:50 PM on June 12, 2003


jonson, there's a dead horse waiting for you in the next room. you want to go beat it in private?
posted by clever sheep at 3:52 PM on June 12, 2003


What makes you think I'm referring to that?
posted by jonson at 3:54 PM on June 12, 2003


And for the convenience of both Dark Messiah and jonson, why YES, I am a sanctimonious jerk, and I've got a big nose and freckles, and my mom has an entire wardrobe of combat boots.

And on preview, jonson, if I was mistaken in that assumption, you've got my heartfelt apology.
posted by clever sheep at 3:56 PM on June 12, 2003


you want to go beat it in private?

That's my advice. Goddamn small-minded cops.
posted by yerfatma at 4:07 PM on June 12, 2003


jonson, there's a dead horse waiting for you in the next room.

Yeah.. I sat on it. Sorry.
posted by PrinceValium at 4:35 PM on June 12, 2003


Dark Messiah, from your own comments, I know you're self-invested in being a cooler-than-thou jackass. So you certainly won't care at all that from this corner of the room, your comments about thin-skinned fat people make you look incredibly thick.

DUde, I'll be very honest, I wish I was cool...

Nevethteless, the best part about this argument is that it was the concept of a "thin-skinned fat-ass" (i.e. the wording) that amused me, not that any particular person happened to be one. I purposely left that vague -- sans name association -- to see what you little PC cretins would do.

Thanks for proving to me that quite a lot of you are overreactive cowards. (I'd call you all pussies, but I wouldn't want to offend women...)

Tell me, do you people gasp when someone swears in public?
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:38 PM on June 12, 2003


I love the fat chicks.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:41 PM on June 12, 2003


I guess I'll shelve my post about overweight Israeli vegan SUV drivers if it's going to lead to this kind of thing.
posted by crunchburger at 4:43 PM on June 12, 2003


For fuck's sake - what's going on in this thread? Eilatan, please don't feel that people like Dark Messiah speak for us all. This is just a heap of crap.
posted by jamespake at 5:03 PM on June 12, 2003


I guess I'll shelve my post about overweight Israeli vegan SUV drivers if it's going to lead to this kind of thing.

Ha ha, crunchburger! To make it perfect, post it on MeTa saying you weren't sure it was good enough for MeFi but was too good to waste and what do people think. People here love that sort of thing.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:12 PM on June 12, 2003


Dark Messiah, you mentioned gasping when someone swears in public, and that just makes my day. Earlier on, thinking about your posts, I kept flashing on an image of pre-teens on my bus route swearing a mile a minute. They obviously felt they were being edgy and cool and dangerous--just like you--when really it was just so laughable. It's just so amazingly Warren Cheswick, and I don't think I'll ever see your name again without making that connection.

You can call me a PC cretin--I'll cop to half of it all the time and the other half some of the time--and ya know, it just doesn't matter very much. It's not like I take you seriously, and I suspect that goes for much of the rest of the cretin crowd.

I know very well you're a self-conscious blowhard and a troll. Despite addressing you, I wasn't posting for you, really. The motive that pushed me to react to anything you said in the first place was just to signify to posters I do respect, like eilatan, that your perspective isn't universal. I don't really care if you shut up or not. Rather, I want her to stay and feel at home. That's what counts.

The world is a hard enough place on its own, and people don't need to go out of their way to make it worse for others. Laugh all you want at other people's flaws--think of the worst insults you choose. Write them out in your journal and treasure them for all time. Nobody's stopping you. But that's different than insisting on spewing insults to someone's face, and to attack them in front of others and encourage similar behavior.

You're quite glib and good with the insults, little boy, and I'm not. But I am good at talking to really upset and depressed people and trying to make their lives a marginal slice better. And I wouldn't trade with you.

And on preview: crunchburger, I bow humbly in your radiant presence.
posted by clever sheep at 5:18 PM on June 12, 2003


I love the fat chicks.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:41 PM PST on June 12


mr_crash_davis, I am only about ten pounds overweight, but do I qualify? I think I have a crush on you, you so sweet! ;-)
posted by madamjujujive at 6:10 PM on June 12, 2003


madam, is that really him? *swoon*
posted by clever sheep at 6:13 PM on June 12, 2003


I love the fat chicks.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:41 PM PST on June 12


The Crash_Davis monolith. I admire your spirit in really getting behind this issue.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 6:20 PM on June 12, 2003


clevershark... dude, don't rag on warren cheswick. =)
posted by GeekAnimator at 6:21 PM on June 12, 2003


err... clever sheep. i humbly apologize
posted by GeekAnimator at 6:23 PM on June 12, 2003


WHAT
THE
FUCK
EVERYBODY?

That said, obesity threads always turn into pissing matches that defeat the purpose of this place. Stupid as it sounds, there should be a ban on discussing weight on Metafilter.

Then why are you doing it??

Man, I'm outta here. Eilatan, sorry about the train wreck. And I have to take back what I said about "aberration." Guess it was those rose-colored glasses Miguel sold me when I was drunk.
posted by languagehat at 6:27 PM on June 12, 2003


I've been a member for nearly two years and reading for longer than that, and the constant shit that flows from people when this subject comes up finally got to me. I thought perhaps posting about it in the grey would cause some people to stop and think, but I guess I was wrong, and it's turned into yet another pissing match over whether or not fat people have the right to exist. I apologize for even bringing it up. I should have known better.

And no, I'm not taking my ball and going home, but I think I'll shut up for a while and stick to the fluffy threads.
posted by eilatan at 6:33 PM on June 12, 2003


I don't really care if you shut up or not. Rather, I want her to stay and feel at home. That's what counts.

If you'd like, I'll set up a booth where you can give everyone a hug and tell them that their feelings are very important.

As for those kids who you hear swearing a mile a minute, I'll agree with you -- they're utter trash. The thing is, they don't think they are being "edgy and cool", they're just completely stupid. Sift through the "fuck this" and "motherfuck that" and you've got pure, distilled idiocy.

Now I'm going to go have a heart chuckle, then I'm gonna go have a few beers with my big fat buddy Brian who's got 100+ pounds on me. I like Brian, he doesn't let fat jokes bother him -- maybe I should introduce you.
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:42 PM on June 12, 2003


I have a black friend.
posted by ferociouskitty at 6:43 PM on June 12, 2003


Sure, I'll have a few beers with Brian, but not if we have to sit with you...Warren.

(Apologies to GeekAnimator. And, come to think of it, to Warren too, for the unflattering comparison.)
posted by clever sheep at 6:58 PM on June 12, 2003


Are people just keeping this thread going to see how deeply dark messiah will dig himself? Such things never end well...
posted by Space Coyote at 7:10 PM on June 12, 2003


my fat friend's breath smells like fat people food
posted by cohappy at 7:58 PM on June 12, 2003


I have a really bad headache. Can you people keep it down, please?
posted by konolia at 8:47 PM on June 12, 2003


I can't. I'm anorexic. [rimshot]
posted by cortex at 9:17 PM on June 12, 2003


The best thing about this place is the pure, unadulterated love which flows through the threads and how, as it settles on each member they are somehow blessed and revitalized. Metatalk: Good for the soul.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:39 PM on June 12, 2003


cortex: bulemic, you fool, bulemic. get it straight. christ.

that said, all of you should sit in the corner for a moment. we all love this site, and i hope it's not just hippie san francisco telling me that we should all love each other.

no, i blame berkeley. fucking liberals.
posted by fishfucker at 3:18 AM on June 13, 2003


Hmm. Diaper rash, with secondary symptoms. Seasonal.

We could probably avoid this sort of outbreak if every MetaFilter membership included a complimentary tube of Boudreaux's Butt Paste.
posted by Opus Dark at 4:28 AM on June 13, 2003


yeah,
its like a love in here at times , forgive me everybody , (and i know you will) but sometimes i do get nostalgic and hanker after the good ole bad ole days when complete arseholes would post on this site every time they felt like they had a chance to bully someone.
i must admit i much prefer post- rapture metafilter though.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:31 AM on June 13, 2003


Geez, not only did I double post (I searched for 'Mexico', 'beach resort' and the link itself and nothing came back, dangit.) but the post also resulted in this MetaTalk discussion. I posted the article because I thought it was interesting that a place like this exists. (And yes, I would fit right in there.) Looks like I stirred the pot on this one. My apologies, folks.
posted by debralee at 4:56 AM on June 13, 2003


Just a key thing to remember, here; you can't change race, sexual orientation, or a disability. The fact remains, there are methods by which a person can lose weight.

In every single case? Because I think your broad brush will only paint bigotry. Physical obesity, as you point out, may be curable. But I'm not sure that's so true of flabby thinking.
posted by walrus at 7:17 AM on June 13, 2003


LOL, ferociouskitty, lol...
posted by NortonDC at 8:32 AM on June 13, 2003


Fat Art
posted by Witty at 9:38 AM on June 13, 2003


fishfucker: yeah. Two seconds after I hit post, I went, ah, crap.

Then I went into the bathroom and horked.
posted by cortex at 10:18 AM on June 13, 2003


This is not a South Park episode, you know?

oh, but it is, kenny.
posted by quonsar at 10:47 AM on June 13, 2003


For the record, I am skinny and pale with awful chicken legs, and a near-fro half the time. My buttocks are covered in a light fur, I'm spotted with moles, and I get zits.

If you want to make fun of me in some amusing way, take your best shot.
posted by scarabic at 4:01 PM on June 13, 2003


actually, it's bulimic, you two.
posted by scarabic at 4:05 PM on June 13, 2003


how do you know your buttocks are covered in a light fur ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:37 PM on June 13, 2003


That's bound to turn someone on.
posted by Witty at 6:26 PM on June 13, 2003


At least he's bbeing truthful.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:52 PM on June 13, 2003


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