The Body Politic
Chris Christie is making headlines again this week, but it’s not because of politics. Once again, the pearl-clutching obesity warriors are concern-trolling the New Jersey governor over his weight. In the past, when his size was brought up or joked about, Christie mostly shrugged it off. Now, he’s fighting back.
Dr. Connie Mariano, a doctor who once served as former President Bill Clinton’s physician, and who apparently has the power to make a cross-country diagnosis based on appearance alone, publicly expressed concerns about Christie’s health and said she “doesn’t want him to die in office.” Christie took extreme offense to her remark and replied in his famously no-nonsense way:
I find it fascinating that a doctor in Arizona who’s never met me, never examined me, never reviewed my history or medical records, knows nothing about my family history could make a diagnosis from 2,400 miles away. She must be a genius.
He also said:
My children saw that last night. And she sat there and said on TV, ‘I’m afraid he’s gonna die in office.’ My 12-year-old son came to me and said, ‘Dad, are you gonna die?’ If she wants to get on a plane and come here to New Jersey and ask me if she wants to examine me and review my medical history, I’ll have a conversation with her about that. Until that time, she should shut up.
There have always been fat politicians. But because the obesity panic has become so prevalent, some are more concerned with the fat and not what they’re actually doing in Washington. I may not be a fan of all Christie is doing in office, but I could care less that he’s fat while doing it.
But people like Connie Mariano can’t — or won’t — shut up when it comes to fat. Many people of size, famous or not, have been what I like to call “armchair diagnosed.” All of us fatties are riddled with disease and are waiting to drop dead at any moment. When we prove that we are healthy, the armchair diagnosticians then reply “Well OK, you may be healthy NOW, but eventually you will develop diabetes, heart disease, a stroke, etc.” And fat people who do have one or more of these diseases are now made to feel even worse for being sick in the first place.
Genetics be damned to armchair diagnosticians. Fat, and fat alone, is the only cause of any ailment we may come down with, and weight loss is the only cure. The sad part is, many of these fat people feel they deserved to be shamed, so they get weight loss surgery or start a diet plan or sign up for The Biggest Loser. Sometimes those decisions lead to disastrous results which can create health problems that probably weren’t even there in the first place.
Chris Christie isn’t on board with total Fat Acceptance just yet. He says despite being very healthy, he “has a plan.” But whatever that plan is, it’s none of our business, just his and his doctor’s. We need to stop treating bodies, especially fat bodies, like they’re public property. How much we weigh, how much we eat, and how we choose to conduct our lives (so long as it’s not breaking the law) should not be up for world discussion unless we decide to make it up for world discussion.
My grandfather said this about the Chris Christie weight controversy: “It’s nobody’s business. If he wants to lose weight, it should be his choice and nobody else’s.” To which I replied, “If everyone would focus their energy off weight and onto actual issues plaguing the country, think of all that would get done.”
Maybe that’s something Connie Mariano and her fellow pearl-clutchers should take to heart, and be more concerned with the body politic and not just the body itself.