Don’t say ‘fat’

The social media troll mob accuses Florida conservatives of trying to pass a “Don’t say gay,” law even when the word ‘gay’ isn’t in the law; and body positivity Moonies swarm people who use the word “fat” – even though fat will really kill you.

Welcome to the discombobulated, self-absorbed purposeful ignorance that is modern liberal culture – the kind of indulgent entitlement folks in Ukraine are less and less occupied with lately.

In Kansas we have a reputation for plain speaking – we think of it as a noble virtue. But words that have meaning, as words are supposed to,  should be free to roam like the buffalo – not fenced and foibled and flat out falsified.

Liberals in Florida did their best to malign a legislative proposal in that state recently that would have prohibited public schools from teaching sex education, masturbation and gender reassignment to kids in kindergarten through the third grade – that’s 5 to 8 year olds, mind you. They branded it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill with the idea of inflaming gays and gay sympathizers and lazy media, who never actually read the bill or didn’t care that it was misrepresented anyway, to oppose it.  They succeeded in impressing that brand on the mainstream media as well as companies like Disney and others cowering in their offices in fear of not being seen as sufficiently “woke” in the eyes of Liberal America. 

But after folks actually read the bill and figured out the word “gay” never actually appeard in the text of the legislation anywhere, the whole branding campaign kind of went the way of New Coke, for those you old enough to remember what that was. 

In fact when people were actually apprised of the specifics of the bill, the results were revealing. A poll conducted for The Daily Wire news service revealed 64 percent of 1,000 Americans surveyed said they opposed classroom instructions on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3, or at any level if it is not presented in a manner that is age or developmentally appropriate. Twenty-one percent said they oppose the bill. Sixty-eight of parents – people who actually have kids, mind you – supported the actual language of the bill.

The “Don’t Say Gay” fiasco paints a good picture of the power of words and how they can be disconnected from facts in order to spread biased misinformation. Other words that could literally save lives, however, are actually banned because they might hurt someone’s feelings.

Like the word ‘fat.’

The net of it is this: Fat people had a way bigger chance of being hospitalized with Covid, and a way bigger chance of dying than people who aren’t fat. But Dr. Fauci and the media and all the people who love to argue about what rights you should be willing to give up out of an “abundance of caution” spent the last two years arguing about worthless paper mask policies and whether you loved someone else’s grandma enough to get a Covid vaccine – instead of telling the well-known truth that obesity significantly boosts Covid’s death punch.

The website reviews data available in the summer of 2020 that spells it out. An international team of researchers pooled data from scores of peer-reviewed papers capturing 399,000 patients. They found that people with obesity who contracted SARS-CoV-2 were 113% more likely than people of healthy weight to land in the hospital, 74% more likely to be admitted to an ICU, and 48% more likely to die.

It was no surprise for healthcare workers who deal with the outcome of our fat way of life on a daily basis – obesity impairs immunity, leads to chronic inflammation, heart disease and diabetes and makes blood prone to clot – all bad news for your health in general but a combo deal for the danger of dying from Covid. America is fat – some 40 percent of U.S. citizens are, and Kansas is in the top 12 states with higher than 35 percent obesity in the population.

Yet ‘fat’ warnings never got the billing in the Covid beat down the way other threat factors did – being elderly for instance, or God forbid, not wearing a mask or not getting the shot. We seemed to have no problem demanding that people give up their rights during the pandemic, but we didn’t dare tell them one of the best things they could do was to lose a few pounds – because, well, that would just be mean.

The taboo is pretty clear, especially for women. When plus-size model Tess Holiday announced last year she was anorexic and in recovery, some people questioned how she could be anorexic when she’s obese. She replied that they didn’t know the science, and accused them of trying to “dim her shine.” It wasn’t about the health aspects, she said, it was about ‘loving herself.’

Whether we’re smokers, alcoholics, drug addicts – it’s hard for health professionals to get a message across when our focus is on reveling in our deficiencies because we’re all entitled to feel good about ourselves.

Such ridiculous word soup is the opium of Liberal culture and it may help us paint a reality we think we’re entitled to, but it won’t keep us alive.

Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.