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I’m a Lover, Not a Fighter

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I recently saw a commercial for a gym that is contributing to the fight against cancer with the slogan “Join the Battle”.  That is an admirable cause but this jargon completely turns me off.

Why the hell do we have to phrase everything like this?

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How successful has the War on Drugs or the War on Poverty or the War on Whatever really been?  I think it’s time we stopped waging war on anything.  War, huh, good god.  What is it good for?  Absolutely nothing!  Say it again!

The one that makes me the angriest though is the War on Obesity.  What the hell?  Since Obesity is not something that can exist apart from a person, it’s essentially a war on fat people.  It’s telling fat people “you should not exist and we are going to obliterate you.”

Do you see this object?

Venus of Willendorf (circa 24,000 B.C.E.)

Venus of Willendorf (circa 24,000 B.C.E.)

It’s called the Venus of Willendorf and it’s tens of thousands of years old… and it’s fat.  Fat people have always existed and will always exist.  Thin people get diabetes and heart disease and whatever else is attributed to being fat.  Perhaps there is more involved than just some extra adipose tissue.  But because fat currently offends our cultural aesthetics, we won’t bother to look into it any further.

Here’s some more pre-industrial fat images just so you get the point.

Mother goddess circa 4000-2500 B.C.E.

Mother goddess circa 4000-2500 B.C.E.

423px-Peter_Paul_Rubens_034

From a Peter Paul Rubens painting (approx. 1640 C.E.)

Fat lady and skeleton man from the 1860's.

Fat lady and skeleton man from the 1860’s.

Regardless of what you think, waging a war on anything is an extremely hostile way to handle things.  Why not try more inclusive language?  Fear only motivates for so long before it exhausts and turns off the average person.

I think the name of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign sounds positive but its focus is still way off.  Encourage people to move more because it can make you feel better not just because it might make you lose weight.  Weight loss is not a cure-all.  Being thin is not the end-all be-all of life and health.  Thin people die every single day, even the healthy ones.  This being human – No one gets out alive.

And war is an incredibly unhealthy frame of reference for making any beneficial changes in life.

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