Alright, now I’m pissed
You baseless bastards. Not you, my readers, I love you. But I’m so fired up about this shit. I’ll follow the standard format of me posting a link that maybe one of you will click, then I’ll do my best to summarize without bias and then you’ll know why I’m so pissed.
First, here’s the bullshit article.
Before I begin, I want to be safe. I want to exclude the small percentage of people who have legitimate diseases or conditions which prevent them from living an active lifestyle, or those with hormone/chemical imbalances. Also, for the purposes of this rant when I refer to ‘the public’ I am referring to people with the mental capacity to choose their own lifestyles. I think you understand what I’m trying to say here.
Now here’s my attempt at a non-biased summary:
The article poses the question of whether or not the very real and very sad obesity problem bearing down on our country and the world is a result of a lack of willpower. The article suggests that it is harder and harder in the modern world to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The article clearly intends to impress upon the reader the idea that the obesity problem is a result of the way our lifestyles, society and environment have changed, while outdated regulations remain. For example, the article states that there’s a shortage of healthy food that farmers are permitted to grow in this country due to an outdated restriction, which should be lifted. The article cites the lack of sidewalks in many neighborhoods, implying that people are less able to walk to and from their destinations than they have been in the past, resulting in heavier people. The article cites statistics about the amounts of time most schools allot for required physical activity (gym or recess), which is admittedly pathetic. All in all, the article strives to postulate that obesity is the natural or unavoidable result of the environment that many (most?) Americans find themselves in in 2012. I tried really hard to be fair here, but as usual you’ll only know if you click and read. Here it is again, same article.
This is bullshit. The only idea that the article gets right is that there is no single ‘magic bullet’ solution, and I can even argue that point a little later. But here’s why it’s bullshit: if you are overweight, that article just victimized you, and I view this as a bad thing. Another tiny point is that, the argument is fundamentally and literally invalid.
I’m going to break this down into pieces and then take a dump all over it. It goes out of its way to state the main point, which is that people are overweight not because of “lack of willpower on the part of individuals” but rather because food industry and lawmakers need to begin using “multiple strategies…to make the U.S. environment less “obesogenic.””
Huh? What the fuck does that even mean? Don’t worry, before I committed to writing this post I made sure I had my bullshit separator.
We’re fat not because we lack willpower, but because it’s too easy to become fat.
How did I arrive at that definition? Well, here’s an actual definition of the word obesogenic. It basically means a variety of factors which, when combined, contribute more to people becoming obese. For example, a Sizzler buffet is more obesogenic than a salad bar. Today’s US environment is more obesogenic than that of the 1970’s. These statements are facts…so what’s my problem?
Look at my underlined statement again. If you’re obese, it’s not that you lack willpower…it’s that it’s been made too easy for you to get that way.
Can anyone sit me down and explain to me how giving in to something that’s easy is different from having a lack of willpower? Resisting something that’s easy is literally the perfect definition of displaying willpower! I’m not even using my opinion yet – this is just a fucking literal interpretation of this statement, watered down to its base elements. Fucking, Sharon Begley, your argument is invalid. That’s like saying I’m not responsible for cheating on the test because they made it too easy to cheat! Am I no longer responsible for my actions, my choices, if the shittier choice has simply been made very tempting? I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS AND SOMEONE JUST UPPED THE DOSE.
And that’s just a literal interpretation. Here’s my opinion. The second that you start saying I’m no longer responsible for my actions or choices, you victimize me. I am not a fucking victim or a slave and neither are you, no matter how much you goddamned weigh. Unless you ate a thousand burgers and decided to not go on a hike for the past five years because Professor X was controlling your mind that entire time, YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM. Bullshit like this seeks to comfort and coddle the public and take the blame off their shoulders, seeks to point the blame at a structure or a policy. How will people learn if they’re being told it’s not their fault? How can they? If you’re not in charge of and accountable for your own choices, who is???
Sharon, you are enabling.
Of course a ton of those policies are outdated and need to be changed. Of course children should exercise more, in school and out of school. And of fucking course people should bike or walk more, get outside and exercise more. But that doesn’t excuse the kid or adult who makes a choice to eat like shit and never exercise. If you argue that it DOES, then you victimize those fatties because you’re saying they’re not in control of or responsible for their actions. Well then what ARE people responsible for? It’s easier to sit around and play video games or troll the internet all day than it is to exercise. It’s easier and often cheaper to eat like shit than it is to go buy vegetables and somehow convert them into something tasty. Companies that make money off of sedentary lifestyles know this, and intentionally use this for the purpose of…correct, making more money. But these people, and ALL people, are still making a choice. When you tell me it’s not my fault because it’s been made too convenient for me to choose incorrectly, why would I ever want to do anything differently?
Ever since we figured out how awesome thumbs were humans have been making tools and using technology. But it wasn’t always a step on the path to becoming lazy bastards. Once upon a time tools and technology were needed to survive, but now that we can survive just fine we are getting lazier as a species. In First World Countries, the VAST majority of new tools that are created are created for the purposes of indulgence; how to do something easier or more efficiently. This would be great if people were all robots and we all had balance programmed into us, but we’re not and we don’t. We’re people and people are inherently lazy, a sad fact. We have more technological advances and shortcuts than we’ve ever had in all of history, but we don’t yet understand how to balance them correctly with activity in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Think of all the things that can be done with the swipe of a finger today that you couldn’t do five or fifty years ago. Everything got too easy too fast, and people who could not find balance became unbalanced. It is that simple. These people need to try harder. It is in fact, a question of willpower.
If mistakes are made they need to be identified as mistakes; only then can they be corrected. If I led an unhealthy lifestyle and treated my body like shit and I’m now heavy as a result, that’s not societies fault, it’s mine. And if I eat responsibly and stop drinking every free night I have and exercise more and start getting in shape as a result, I want at least a little bit of fucking credit and I’m guessing that you do too. What do I want credit for? Resisting the urge to take the easy route and be a lazy bastard. This is a phenomenon which is sometimes referred to as “showing some fucking willpower”.
When you strip the responsibility of the error off of those at fault, you simultaneously strip any credit from those who chose responsibly.
The obesity epidemic facing most First World Countries right now is very real problem that exposes a fundamental flaw in human nature, not a magical absence of responsibility or separate societies held in thrall, comprised entirely of victims. Do we need a societal overhaul comprised of MANY different solutions and changes to address this problem? Yes, of course we do. But Sharon Begley, do not placate me with diffusional bullshit when I do something wrong and do not withhold credit from the people who do have the willpower to choose responsibly. Unless you fit into the disclaimer paragraph at the top of this post, there is always a way. I am responsible for all of my choices, the good and the bad, no matter how difficult or convenient they’ve been made to appear by current societal trends.
Sharon, after reading your bullshit article I’m only going to work out even harder tonight, because I know I am choosing correctly.
And you will not rob me of my power of choice or the weight of its outcomes.