Sunday, January 20, 2013

Twenty-First Century Jokes

A lazy Sunday afternoon watching a Futurama marathon comprised of episodes I’ve seen fifty times isn’t exactly the most productive way to spend a day, BUT there’s no shame in my game, yo.

During the commercials, the trailer for, “Identity Theft,” appeared before for me for the first time. The basic premise is that a businessman’s identity (Jason Bateman) is stolen by a harmless-looking woman (Melissa McCarthy of “Mike and Molly,” fame) and shenanigans and chicanery ensue.  Anyone who hasn’t been in a coma for the last few years knows that, “Mike and Molly,” and thusly Melissa McCarthy have been the target of ill-placed fame for being a show about “two fatties in love.” In fact, one journalist thought it her place to tell everyone in the world about how disgusting it was that a show like this would portray fat people being happy enough with themselves to love someone else. 

Anyway, there's a spot in the trailer where the beautifully lithe dancer-looking girlfriend (you know, she doesn't look quite White, Black, Latino, Indian or Asian, but she's "hot," and totally sweet in a messy bun and leggings) compares McCarthy's character to a hobbit and Bateman so sassily quips, "I'm goin' after Bilbo." Et tu, McCarthy and Bateman? Another fat joke? Another wacky comedy at the expense of the fat lady? 

I know that Krusty the Clown has made a career out of this kind of thing for Simpsons fans everywhere, but fat jokes are about as hilarious and cutting-edge as the flapping dickie or the The Three Stooges eye poke. Not only are they not funny because I'm fat, they're not funny in spite of the fact that I'm fat. 

Fat jokes have become the easiest way to criticize someone's physical appearance without being seen as cruel or shallow. In fact, fat jokes have often been laid on the line as a way to "help," fat people realize that they're in the middle of a medical crisis. A newscaster in Minnesota or Wisconsin or somewhere cold and snowy got made an amazing rebuttal to a "concerned viewer," that thought that she was setting a bad example for her female viewers. It is my hope that women like Jennifer can stay as classy and respectful as she has in her rebuttal instead of lowering herself to the level of the redundant funny fat lady laughing with the bullies. It's no place to be, Melissa McCarthy.

The next time I see a girl wearing high heels, I'll remember to call her a disgusting street-walking prostitute out of concern for her foot health. I mean why not? It's the same thing. 

Fat jokes don't hurt just the fat lady, they hurt the fat lady's husband/wife/partner, her children, her family and her friends. Fat jokes will usually get an eye roll from any fat lady that's confident enough in herself to realize how base and stupid they are, but fat jokes will invoke shame from those that aren't strong enough to see through to the heart of their maker. 

Do you want to show a fat person some concern? Befriend them. Get to know their story and encourage whatever path to good health they may travel. Give a little love. 

"It's so easy to laugh. It's so easy to hate. It takes strength to be gentle and kind."

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  1. I thought the same thing when I saw that trailer. Horrible. Great analysis here.

  2. This movie pisses me off on so many levels. Well, the trailer. I'll not see the movie for any number of reasons -- mostly because I know it won't be funny. I wish that Hollywood had good roles for fat women and men -- other than playing the fat, funny friend.

    The new anchor's response to that hateful email is priceless. Her last line is relevant to everyone! Too often we allow the one bad comment to erode our self-esteem, in spite of numerous comments that should build it.

  3. Thank you for posting this. Stupid fat comments make me mad...