America’s collective wide ass has increased food portions and pushed the structural limits of pants. Now these wide posteriors are reshaping a classic ride from my childhood. Disneyland will soon revamp “It’s a Small World” so that its boats can accommodate more plump passengers. This mob of fat people, or “flob,” as I like to call it, has forced the world to change in a way that crosses the line.
It is a well-known fact that America has been getting fatter for some time now; over half the nation is overweight, while almost a third is obese. The average person’s consumption of high-fat foods, such as meats and cheeses, is incredible. The average American drinks more soda than water and typically consumes more than 30 pounds of cheese a year.
A social scientist is not needed to see the changes that our growing guts have spawned on society. Go to Carl’s Jr. and order a small soda. It is a trick. Most fast-food restaurants no longer offer a small size. Next, I dare you to order the large. They will practically hand you a keg. Serving portions have spun out of control in America.
The “flob” has also demanded social changes in the way it is treated. Every time a celebrity dresses in a fat suit as part of a joke for a movie or TV show, there are activists who compare it to a white actor putting on black face. It takes stones to compare the treatment of those who eat too much with those who were forced into the most brutal form of slavery the world has ever known for over 300 years.
Obese Americans are not treated like their skinny counterparts. They are stereotyped as lazy people with poor self-control. Obese people tend to have lower self-esteem and are at a higher risk for suicide, especially in the teen years. However, obesity is not comparable to racial identity. It is a health problem, one that is fixable with lots of hard work. People who protest every time celebrities put on a fat suit or when an obese person is forced to buy two tickets on a plane make you think that fatness shapes identity.
Using this assumption, the obese community wants us all to believe that if someone is obese, we should treat it as a disability. Take blind people. They are given special accommodations whenever possible in order to make their lives easier. Obese men and women want to be treated the same way. This claim is ludicrous, especially when you consider that obesity is a fixable condition. It may not be easy, but if a blind man were told he would no longer be blind if he ate his fruits and vegetables while exercising four times a week, he would do it.
Adding girth to the boats of the classic children’s ride only serves to perpetuate these ideas. By keeping the ride boats slim, they could serve as a harsh reminder that obesity is a problem. Every accommodation made for the comfort of the obese reinforces their claim that they are a separate minority and that not adhering to their demands is a form of discrimination.
The famous “It’s a Small World” ride is practically an American institution that has remained unchanged for over 40 years. Changes in Hollywood or the always-chaotic food industry are expected, but changes to such a constant in American pop culture are indicators of the change in American health standards. Millions of rear ends have placed themselves in those seats. They were built with the average tourist in mind. Widening those seats indicates that it is acceptable for the average tourist to be fatter than the same tourist 40 years ago. It is a benchmark of how far society has come in terms of circumference.
Events will not cease with this change of seats. America shows no signs of slowing down as the fat train barrels through chubby town. Soon, airplane and theater seats will be drastically widened. Eventually, other American institutions will fall victim to lowered standards. Imagine a world where the Lincoln memorial is given a gut and a box of nachos in order to better reflect the America he helped keep together and avoid hurting people’s feelings. The truth is that if you are fat, you must be told that you are fat so that you will do something to change it. If you are too obese to fit on a ride at Disneyland, make a note that you are overweight and do not ask them to change the ride for you.
Kevin Pease is a third-year psychology and social behavior major. He can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jeannette Brown
Thumbs down: The American Family Association. Despite failing in almost all of its efforts, the AFA is a monster that just won’t die. It continues to wage ridiculous boycotts against anything that breathes for not being “pro-family” enough. This laughingstock of an organization is now targeting McDonald’s because its vice president of communications has joined the board of directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. In the past, it has boycotted Crest toothpaste, Tide detergent and “Shark Tale” because it believed that the movie was trying to get kids to accept gay rights. While it’s a relief that the AFA’s laughable campaigns never accomplish much, handing out boycotts willy-nilly diminishes the value of boycotts for worthwhile causes … like boycotting the AFA.
Thumbs down: Attorney General Michael Mukasey. During a speech in San Francisco supporting warrantless eavesdropping and telecom immunity, Mukasey seemed to claim the government knew about specific calls from Afghanistan before 9/11 but lacked the legal authority to listen to the calls and thus prevent the attacks. Mukasey even threw in some tears … that is, some tears of lies. It’s simply untrue that warrants were required to listen to a targeted person calling from outside of the United States under the old FISA guidelines. It’s not entirely clear whether Mukasey fabricated the story or such a call ever occurred. Either way, the truth needs to come out; just spare us the disingenuous tears.
Thumbs down: MTV. MTV reported that rapper 50 Cent can no longer decide which candidate to vote for, as he previously switched from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. Clearly, if “Fiddy” can’t decide, then there’s no hope for the rest of us. MTV probably felt that it was important to inform us of the rapper’s views because who wouldn’t want to base his election decision on the opinion of such an “informed” rap star? It’s just another example of a useful report from MTV, which is surely what we’ve all come to expect from the channel that brings us such classy shows as “[fill in the blank with every single show on MTV].”