Throwing Weight Around

29 Aug

Why in the world is it okay to make fun of (New Jersey) Governor Chris Christie’s weight? The barbs and remarks began to gain momentum when he ran for office. By now they’ve become practically a requirement when his name is mentioned. These (usually very un-funny) jibes aren’t political in nature (though likely invoked by non-supporters.) They don’t reference his platform or governing. They’re more of the junior high school “fatty fatty” genre.

Why? Is it merely because it’s so easy? We see a large person in front of us and the (lame) comments come to mind? Probably not. Is it because he’s not just obese but bombastic? If he were affable, less caustic and perhaps a bit humble, would we not feel the need tease? Maybe.

People in the political spotlight will always endure some teasing. It’s how we manage our “Stars! They’re just like us!” issues. For at least a decade we’ve made every joke (and non-joke) about HIllary’s pantsuits. Sarah Palin’s choice of clothes, hairstyles and accessories were more newsworthy than her speeches. Male candidate’s hair is often the subject of junior high school-ey note. But these all seem playful (slow news day) observations versus the mean spirited remarks about Christie’s weight.

Perhaps people see the accumulation of his poundage as the result of his character. Maybe, despite every marketing attempts of the diet industry, we really do believe that obesity is the result of our own doing. Maybe, as we ‘grow’ as a nation we are also increasing our sense of self-loathing. Or maybe we just don’t like what the guy says or stands for and we’re not terribly clever in how we express it. Hopefully that is not the case. There are many valid reasons to dislike the governor and they should be expressed. Making fun of his weight isn’t just distasteful it detracts from what we should be discussing.


Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Cultural Critique


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2 responses to “Throwing Weight Around

  1. Bill Batson

    August 29, 2012 at 8:59 am

    When you stand in front of a national audience and call for truth telling, you invite truth telling. The Governor’s Body Mass Index must be of concern to his physicians and Garden State Residents, friends and foes alike. The stress of his office put an additional strain on his heart. But the truth is, Christie needs to lose weight.

    Then there is the separate question of providing leadership in the fight to manage our nation’s obesity epidemic.

    I agree with you 100% that humor in this regard is inappropriate and counter productive. But an intervention might be just what his doctors order.

    • brendatobias

      August 29, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Very well said! I am concerned that name-calling detracts from much needed crtitique


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