The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22010   Message #237106
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
01-Jun-00 - 07:29 PM
Thread Name: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
Subject: RE: BS: Why Do People start biased, imflammatory
Yes bbc - you have indeed made a positive contribution to the Mudcat, and long may you continue to do so. The picture gallery, and the list of birthdays, and the profiles make an enormous difference to the cohesion of this odd virtual community; and there've been numerous posts where you've said things that deserved to be said, and responded to requests for information and so forth. This long and boring post on my part is not a criticism of you and your concerns..

"The "fat American" thread was the straw that broke my proverbial camel's back". That's a good analogy. And the thing about it is, the last straw isn't what really breaks the camel's back, it's all the other strws and branches and logs. (And there have been some which I feel merited the kind of response you made to this one.)

One reason I've posted here is because I feel an unfair load of antagonism and suspicion had been expended by a number of people against the man who started the thread in question.And it looks very much as if he may have been driven away by that, and I don't like to see that happen.

GUEST John Evans explicitly said that his purpose in starting the thread was to share his belief that his country uses too high a level of resources, and that somehow this needed to be reduced. He quoted a statistic that "if everyone ate as much as the average American, we'd need 5 earths to feed them." If that statistic is accurate, I cannot see how his conclusion is either extreme or offensive.

As for the headline, that was designed presumably to pull people in, and it succeeded. Normally I tend to find myself arguing in favour of some the kind of things that get put down as "political correctness" ( a term I detest) - but this time I really do not think this use of language deserves to be attacked as over-offensive.

In this context the image of a fat American is a metaphor, founded in an aspect of the real world. It's a bit like Pete Seeger singing about being "Waste high in the Big Muddy". He was singing about his country being involved in a particular war, and using an image about being stuck in a swamp which both had a general reference, and echoed the reality of what was an actual common experience of conscripts in the war.

No, all Americans are not fat. In fact for various reasons being fat is often associated with being poor in America. But America does indeed consume an enormous amount of the resources of the planet, and "fat" is an image reflecting that. That doesn't means there's any simple answer to the problems raised. And the thread reflected that.

The point I'm making is that there's a valid argument around these kind of things, and it's not about anti-Americanism. Still less is it about being anti-fat people.