A Surplus Population

January 14, 2009

“Well, if they’d rather die, they had better do it and decrease the Surplus Population.” – Ebenezer Scrooge

Chewing The Fat: Requiem. by Dave Hingsburger. 

A friend of mine posted this article. I read in horror a tale about paramedics who were called to the aid of a 59 year old man. H had called for their aid because of a heartattack. Operators who had remained on the line, however, listened as they agreed to let the man die because he was fat. 

I was horrified at the thought of this being true. How could people choose to let a man die? I’ve read those articles that rail against the obese as harbingers of doom, carrying disease and pestilence, weighing down our health care system and pushing their health cares on us. I especially love the *health experts* who decry obesity as a strictly modern phenomena. That is not historically accurate at all, and I’ve got the pictures of King Henry 8th to prove it….

But to decide to let a man die? 

I had to fact check it: Paramedics arrested after allegedly ‘neglecting’ dying man | The Guardian

There it is. It actually happened. 

Two paramedics actually let someone die because they judged his lifestyle, rather than save him because that’s what they’re paid to do. 

I hate fat phobia. But what I hate more is the skinny idiots in this world who have only ever had five pounds to shed who say that fat phobia is a made-up fear that fat people use to feel victimized in a victim-centric culture. 

A couple days ago, Jack Cafferty  at CNN blogged about his outrage over our nation’s rise in obesity (Cafferty File: Obese America), not checking to see what the study was based on, and disregarding the many comments protesting the findings of the study. Most doctors disregard Body Mass Index (BMI) as a viable way of measuring whether a person is healthy or not. But man, obesity sure makes Jack Cafferty (who I usually like) pissed off. This is not his first fat-centric rant.

But fat phobia is rampant in our culture. If you aren’t aware of it, you probably aren’t also, now or in the past, a member of the people discriminated against.

But this is unheard of. This is scary. The writer of the article above put it best, and made me cry when I read it:

“A note of fear creeps into my life. What would ambulance attendants see if they came for me. A fat, disabled guy, in an apartment full of wheelchairs, long reachers, and grab bars. What value would my life seem if it was just my body they saw – not my connections, not my routines, not my hopes and dreams…”

-Dave Hingsburger (Chewing The Fat: Requiem.)

What does any of us see when we look at a fat person? Shoot, I know FAT PEOPLE who are FAT PHOBIC. People who make stupid judgments about how a person lives and who they are the second they size up their body size miss the point of what health is all about. I know skinny people who eat nothing but junk and never work out, and I know big people who work out four times a week, weight train and eat healthy, moderate organic diets.

Bemoaning “Life’s not fair!” doesn’t make life anymore fair, but maybe telling Barry Baker’s story might encourage those of us who hear it to be more fair in our assessment of each other. These cruel, quick judgments are hurting our society more than sugary sweets do.


We all need to be better than we are presently.


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