The ridiculousness continues...

There is a new security threat to our country: obesity.

(If nothing else, the sheer creativity of the fat-o-phobes is impressive. I have to hand it to them on many levels. They never stop thinking.)

Really. I shit you not. In a recent news article covering a governor's conference, former Republican governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee said that obesity was America's most pressing problem, to the point that it was an issue of national security.

"Today we hear a lot about the war on terror, how we need to fight it," said Huckabee, who lost 110 pounds several years ago when he was governor of Arkansas. "Let me ask this question: Who's going to fight it in the future if we're a generation so sick that we don't have the capacity to show up for work?"

Or, dear Mr. Huckabee, what if we have a nation that's so freaking obessessed with food that they can't focus even if they DO show up for work? Who knows how much you could have improved your great state of Arkansas if you weren't dieting so damn much. And rumor has it you had gastric bypass surgery, so don't give me all of this dieting bull. If you did, just 'fess up. You'd look much less like a wanker if you admitted it in the first place.

Okay, I'm going to stop this random rant and get back to the point.

Basically what was said at this "conference" was a bunch of standard anti-obesity hype. Americans eat too much junk and velcro their fat asses to the couch every night with a bag of potato chips.* One of Mr. H's glorious solutions? Test all kids' body fat percentages.

I object to this on several levels.

First, the only really accurate way to measure body fat is by either DEXA scan or by submersion in a special tank thing. I don't think they're going to be dunking a bunch of 6-year-olds anytime soon. It's expensive as hell. So if you do measure body fat, you're going to be getting crap numbers anyway. It's pointless and just serves to shame fat kids even more. They don't need it. Even kids (like me) who weren't fat but told they were by classmates don't need this shit. I always thought I was fat. I wasn't small (85% height and weight for age), but I was healthy as a horse.

Second, there is no evidence that this works. None. Study after study has been done and there has never been one shred of efficacy. Of course, some people are quite determined at this, and their theory is that if a single-pronged intervention doesn't work, we just need to try harder. Because one of them has to work, somehow.

Unless you're working with a flawed theory. It's like trying to make me tall. You can try stretching me like Gumby, but the only way I'm going to grow is by putting on a pair of stiletto heels. Which I will then take off and use the heel to give you a lobotomy.

Of course, this wasn't the end of things. There had to be one more classic anti-obesity comment, didn't there?

"You've got a serious situation with a generation of kids coming up so unhealthy they won't be able to pass the military physical," Huckabee said in an interview after the panel discussion. "We keep talking about the war on terror- who's going to fight it if we don't have enough people who are healthy enough to show up and pick up a backpack?"

I suppose one solution would be don't start completely pointless, futile and unnecessary wars. And, failing all else, we could just sit on the enemy.

*If you do decide to do this, I would highly recommend kettle chips. They're extremely tasty, especially the sea salt and cracked pepper kind. Salty stuff usually isn't my thing, but these...damn.


Pavlovna said...

i laughed out load at your last paragraph. so maybe we'll end up a nation of incapacitated truck-sized beings, but i think that would do wonders for our foreign affairs.

i HATE HATE HATE the frenzy about weight and obesity. people. are. so. fucking. OBSESSED. i don't know the numbers to know whether obesity is an "epidemic" or whether it's our attitude toward weight that has changed and prompted all this anxiety, but i kind of get the sense that weight is the latest fixation in the subconscious war on mortality.

i'm a fan of kettle chips also. they're almost as good as your keen insight and wit. =)

xox - pav

carrie said...


Your grip on foreign affairs seems to be stronger than our current head of state, so maybe you should consider running for office. ;)

This war on mortality. It's interesting how so many people want to live forever. I don't. When it's my time, I hope that I'll take it in stride. Then there's the war on morality (or war OF morality). Fat=bad, lazy = immoral. The general sentiment is "get off your lazy asses and DO SOMETHING about your weight."

I realized I am currently without kettle chips. Then again, my DVD player is on the fritz and my TV reception sucks, and besides I lack velcro to securely attach my ass to the couch. Another day, I suppose.

em said...

I laughed at your last paragraph too!

Obesity is the latest catch cry and a popular topic for the politicians (how can you go wrong - kids, health, education... you've got a winner!)

Kirsten said...

Testing body fat percentages on kids? *blink* Jumping Jeebus on a pogo stick, like shame and being put on the spot ever helped anyone. And isn't Arknasas the state that put kids' BMIs on report cards? Just what kids need these days--more pressure to be perfect.

Libby said...

Wow. Just... wow. *sigh*

Libby in DC

Jeanne said...


Personally, my favorite image is of a stiletto lobotomy. Yeah, there's a lot of people I'd like to do that one too...

Thank you for standing up and speaking your mind!!

I, for one, agree whole-heartedly with you. It's horrible the amount of pressure that our society is heaping upon on young ones - no wonder EDs are on the rise!

thinking of you...

Kettle chips ARE awesome - I haven't had the cracked pepper ones though. Have you had kettle corn? Mmm, mmmm yummy. 8-)

Sarah said...

It's the money, honey.

Right now, politicians who want $$$ for pet projects can't go wrong by saying it's for security. Safety. The Good Of The Nation.

No evidence of efficacy required.


carrie said...


You're right- obesity fits into so many different categories that no wonder so many people latch onto it.


Jumping Jeebus on a pogo stick? That has to be one of the best phrases I've heard in a long time.


Kettle corn is another of my (many) weaknesses. I love it. Can't turn it down.

And being in stilettos would make me want to give anyone a lobotomy.


Everything's about money. Politicians get it, health care research can/has to focus on it because they can get grants that way. That's a pretty surefire way to get grant money- put "obesity prevention" in the title. Because "pointless research" typically doesn't get the big bucks, even though it's the same thing.

bron said...

Unbelievable. That's all I can say.

Carrie, keep on being strong and keep your sense of humour, as you settle in to your new situation. It's very stressful moving and starting somewhere new, but you and Aria can do it and beat Ed once again.

Take care,

Katy said...

It blows my mind sometimes how insanely DUMB our government is. I'm trying to follow Huckabee's logic and failing. Here's what I see him saying:

1. Obesity bad.
2. Nation has too many obese people.

3. Must make obese people thin.

To do this:
4. Measure their body fat?!?!

I'm confused--hasn't he already established that there are too many fat people? Why does he need to measure again? How is finding a DIFFERENT WAY to tell people they're fat going to make them un-fat? Does he honestly think that kids who have been ridiculed by their peers, berated by their doctors, and generally been told by society that they're unacceptable, will suddenly be spurred to lose weight upon hearing their body fat percentage?

It's insane--according to this government, we can't even pay to insure all the kids in this country so they can get basic health care, but this guy wants to spend who KNOWS how much money to give kids expensive tests--not treatments, TESTS--that they don't NEED while still failing to provide them with the benefit of regular visits to a pediatrician?!?! Fucking blows my mind.

I suppose I really shouldn't have expected more from a guy who doesn't believe in evolution.

(And if I was going to glue MY ass to the couch in front of the TV, personally, my salty snack of choice would be parmesan Goldfish crackers. But to each her own, I suppose...)

Katy said...

Whoops, sorry my comment got so long *blushes*...guess I feel strongly about this! My comment could've been a post all it's own!

carrie said...


Thanks. Aria is "hiding" again. I'm beginning to think that she's aware I can see her, but that I won't disturb her if she has her head stuffed under the couch.


You know, I never thought about it that way. If we "know" that too many kids are "obese" why bother measuring that fact? And for the odd kid who hasn't been informed by his/her peers that they are "too fat," blessed be to them. I mean, heaven forbid they grow up to accept and like themselves. We wouldn't want that.

And the parm goldfish are good too. I like the spicy nacho, except that gets gunk all over your hands. I used to eat Cheetos with a toothpick so that I wouldn't get orange all over.

Charlynn said...

Mm, kettle chips. No other kind compares.

lauren said...

you so hit the nail on the the head in this post, it is so crazy to me how our world is so taken over by weight and food and obesity, it is sad and scary to me. Having a little one really makes it a reality! Thank you for your sweet comments lately, you are great support!
Ps those damn kettle chips are deadly! YUM
Love you Lauren

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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