The Conventional Wisdom
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard people say something along the lines of “Everyone knows fat is bad.” There was a breif time period where it was pissing me off a lot and so I started making notes intending to come back with a huge post about how dumb people who accept the conventional wisdom as fact are with lots of examples. But then it happend so much that learned helplessness took over and I just cried silent invisible tears.
Today I was reading a really interesting article by Matt Taibbi on a completely unrelated topic. It is talking about Sarah Palin and her relationship to the media. ( If you find non fat politics interesting it is well worth a read if only to read the phrase “eternal asshole of white resentment.” Though there is some sexist language, pussies, really matt? You couldn’t come up with a two syllable word for your haiku that didn’t also insult my body?)
The essential gist is that Sarah Palin is getting piled on now because she has lost the support of the establishment. It’s not the individual journalists opinions who matter, but the opinions of the higher ups int he publishing and media companies. The Conventional wisdom is no longer behind her, so the media is piling on.
I think this is pretty much exactly what has been happening to us fatties for about 2 decades now. It is better for ratings if fat is bad, and it is better for the diet and cosmetic industry if fat is bad. Therefore it is better for the owners of companies that sell advertisements and rely on ratings if fat is bad. Therefore the conventional wisdom is that fat is bad.
Obviously, like every issue it is more complicated than just the not totally altruisting motivations of journalists and their bosses. But I think that thinking about how the conventional wisdom evolves and where it comes from is really important.
The next question to ask for fat acceptance is how can we make HAES the conventional wisdom? My own pessimism says it can’t be done because no one profits from people trying to be healthy regardless of weight. But maybe I’m wrong.