Lessons in Obesity: Our Kids, Chris Christie and Melissa McCarthy

Posted on October 5, 2011 by


SNL Melissa McCarthy

Living in the east coast bubble, I often say that I my kids are immune to childhood obesity. What obesity? My kid is a rail. His friends are rails. They’re over-scheduled and neurotic, yes. Obese, no. (Okay, that’s not totally true, according to the “How Obesity Threatens America Report, 2011″ New Jersey runs around the same ratio as California. Our obesity rate is at about 20 percent.) But there’s one big man on campus around the parts where I’m from and he happens to be the governor. His name, just in case you haven’t seen him screaming at people on You Tube, is Chris Christie.

I actually don’t agree with most of Chris Christie’s politics, but during our hurricane evacuations, he was pretty hilarious yellin’ at people to get off the beach in Atlantic City. “You’ve maximized your tanning time,” Christie said. “Now get the hell off the beach!” It was pretty classic New Jersey and I fell a little in love with him the way you love Tony Soprano. He’s all lovable… but from very far away.

With allll of this said, Christie is supposed to be the big bubba on campus who is going to save the Republican party and kick Obama to the curb, who is no longer running for president, is getting some slack about his weight. According to the critics, politicians shouldn’t be so big. Writer Daniel Engber says on Slate’s XX Factor:

I expect we’ll soon have some more substantive analysis of this electability question from political scientists. Until then, we’re stuck arguing about what it means for a politician to be fat on the merits (or maybe the demerits). Should girth matter in the voting booth? Writing in theWashington Post, Eugene Robinson offers Christie “a bit of unsolicited, non-partisan advice: Eat a salad and take a walk.” Kinsley wonders whether Christie can get our national appetites under control, since he hasn’t “gotten his own under control first.” Obama has struggled with his addiction to nicotine, says Kinsley, but it’s a lot easier to control what you eat than what you smoke. “With a determined, disciplined effort, Christie could thin down, and he should.”

Wasn’t Bill Clinton a little on the chubby side when he was running — they caught our favorite president in a number of donut shops back on the campaign trail. There were also a number of other chubby presidents. Teddy Roosevelt. WIlliam Taft. Of course, they were pre-television. But I don’t get the feeling that Christie is going to be such a Nixon. Meaning, do his looks really matter? It’s his largess and big mouth that people like. After all, Christie is brash and to the point like Jackie Gleason. Can you imagine a thin man screaming, “To the moon, Alice!” I could name a number of round entertainers who swept us off our feet. (Notice how I’m not using the “f” word? It really bugs me.) Right now, we get to relish in the awesome Melissa McCarthy who rocked her big ol’ self and gave SNL a serious ratings boost.

In this skit, she’s playing a desperate woman who’ll drink a bottle of ranch dressing. It’s a silly food joke–but look again. It’s so much more. She’s portraying the inner gluttonous person in all of us who LOVES food and wants to GORGE. Isn’t this what Thanksgiving is for? Isn’t that what Doritos are for? Don’t we all feel like Melissa McCarthy’s character in this skit (look around 3:44) when she turns to the skinny girl, the “normal” one and says “We all hate you. We hate your guts.” Because she’s saying so much more. Stop being perfect. Stop calling me out on my desperate attempt to get into a commercial. Stop being so skinny. She’s portraying all of us.

I compare the goal to be thin to The Little Engine That Could. I can be  thin. I can be thin. I can be thin. I have known people who have been on diets their entire life and nothing has changed for them over the long haul. The only thing that’s the same? They’re always on a diet. Me, I threw out my scale a long time ago.

There is a point where we must accept ourselves for who we are. This is my body. This is my shape. This is my mummy tummy in a bikini.  I’m not promoting anything resembling obesity or anything unhealthy. My kids–sans the once-in-a-while trip to McDonald’s–are fairly healthy. I’ve had a couple of shots of wheat grass. But I also make sure my kids have tolerance for people of all sizes. Not everyone is rail thin. And yes, I get that there are children who are unhealthy in this country who are eating foods filled with garbage and food coloring and it’s affecting everything they do and that this is a problem. I’ve seen a few episodes of MTV’s “I Used to Be Fat” and it’s heart breaking. I would never want to see a kid get to a point of self-neglect. But as an adult, you’re going to have to live your life the way you see is fit for you and your family.

Are we really ready to say that a man shouldn’t run for president because he’s overweight, and more that his weight is a bad example for our kids and our society? That’s going way to far for me. There are more concerns than a governor’s eating problem! What people do with their bodies are up to them. Not up to us.