An open letter to somebody who used to be my friend.
When we were friends in New York, what kind of fat jokes did you tell about me?
I'm curious, because your Facebook posts reflect a real hatred for bigotry, hypocrisy and oppression for everything, except weight. You tear public figures to shreds over their hatred of gays, immigrants, women and religious beliefs. Chris Christie gets fat jokes. Really? Despite all your posturing of being a social liberal and a lover of all people, you still believe it is okay to publicly ridicule people because of their appearance.
While I am disappointed in you, I am not surprised. Weight is the one remaining socially acceptable bigotry. People will lose friendships, jobs and political offices over remarks about blacks, women, religion and disabilities. But say something offensive about a fat person and they get a standing ovation. It is still cool to hate fat people.
Of course the hatred is encouraged. You can’t watch television without seeing six commercials an hour for weight loss products. Celebrities are paid handsome sums to tell the world that fat people are disgusting, unloved and worthless. And people like you follow along.
I lost a friendship with a famous political satirist because I got tired of seeing him on stage and on television making points with fat jokes. I finally asked him, if Chris Christie looked like Tom Cruise, would he embrace his politics? He told me of course not. Then, I asked him, why does everybody else get skewered on politics, but Christie gets fat jokes? And he said, because they’re funny.
He also defended himself by saying fat people could change if they wanted to. Gee. Where I have I heard THAT before? Yes. Fat people can lose weight. You have no idea how many times I have shed the equivalent of a whole person from my frame. But there is something in a fat person that is different, and can’t win the battle to keep it off. In terms you might understand, it isn’t much different than a gay man deciding to go straight by sleeping with women. Can we discuss how that usually plays out?
The gay community is particularly unforgiving of weight. Waif like bodies and abs of steel are the accepted and expected normal condition for a gay man. The majority of the gay community treats overweight men the same way the Westboro Baptist Church treats the gay pride parade. The only thing worse than being gay and fat is being gay, old and fat.
You had your picture taken as part of the NO H8 campaign. You have posted it repeatedly, as have many of our mutual friends. It is your sign to the world that you are part of the campaign to wipe out hatred. Yet every time you make or post a fat joke, you are showing the world that hate is is still perfectly acceptable when it’s aimed at people who are overweight.
So let’s end this where we began it. With politics. I have no love for Chris Christie. Attack his politics, his hypocrisy, his failed financial policies, stupid transportation policies or how he has abandoned the people of New Jersey. Hate his bully tactics and love of cronyism. But hating him because of his weight is no different than people who hate Obama because he is black.
Every time you make a fat joke, you are punching your overweight friends in the face. Every time you ridicule a politician, celebrity or tourist based on their weight, you are telling anybody you know who is fighting that fight that, deep down, you think they are worthless.
At one time I valued your friendship. I thought you were smart, funny, opinionated and a joy to know. But I’m coming to realize that underneath lays the same hatred and bigotry that fuels bullies on the playground and gay bashers in the Village. I can’t respect that. And I’m not going to be quiet about it anymore. You are entitled to your opinions, and I doubt they will change. But please delete the NO H8 picture and knock off the impassioned essays about acceptance and tolerance. They’re just not true.