Maybe it’s only a matter of time – indeed, it may already have happened – before our uninvited house-guest Covid-19 is accused of being ‘fat-phobic’; illogical Woke logic has long since disregarded facts about poverty or Vitamin D deficiencies and has branded the coronavirus racist, so I guess (if we momentarily sidestep the Trans crowd) the next group on the league table of the Oppression Olympics that Covid has singled out for special treatment will be the obese. Not even sure if ‘fat-phobic’ is the correct term; is fat now referred to as the F-word? No, it can’t be on account of us having FAT-shaming. Big, we are told, is beautiful and not remotely unhealthy – if recent fairyland magazine covers are anything to go by, anyway. We couldn’t simply have curvy models closer to the average shape most women would recognise; we had to have huge ones just to hammer home the point. Funny how there is never any middle ground in this argument. We go from borderline anorexic to grossly overweight in one fell swoop.
Fine to celebrate an unconventional body image if the individual in question is content with it; but to promote obesity as some sort of desirable lifestyle choice seems as recklessly irresponsible as the ‘Heroin Chic’ look that some supermodels (or superwaifs as they were labelled) embraced in the 90s. But, hey, we live in the age of 2+2=5, so to suddenly declare that being a lard-arse is ‘cool’ is hardly a surprising development. The internal damage done by obesity is, of course, something only the Man with X-Ray Eyes has intimate access to, but one could say the same about smoking. Indeed, if we are to have wealthy fatties selling themselves as ‘body perfect’ and flying in the face of all medical advice as they do so, why don’t we reintroduce billboards and magazine ads for fags? We all know cigarettes are bad for you, but so is stuffing your face with sugary foodstuffs; both are down to individual choice, after all – no one forces a Big Mac into someone else’s mouth any more than they stick a lighted cig in it.
But I guess this is a time when individual responsibility is an unfashionable concept and the heavy eater or the heavy smoker are not to blame for the poor state of their own health; we’ve all been so infantilised that individual autonomy characteristic of the grownup is out of the question. If we have to ask the state permission to go for a walk like we used to ask our mums if we could play out, it’s no wonder we look to blame others for our own personal failings. We’re not responsible for anything we do anymore, and that includes what we eat. True, some do have genetic (and mental) conditions of which obesity is a by-product and these necessitate legitimate medical intervention; but the majority of obesity tends to be self-inflicted, either unconsciously (though simple ignorance) or consciously (though not giving a shit). Don’t point any of this out on social media, however. How dare anyone claim the overweight are obese because they eat too much shit and don’t exercise! They’re just as valid victims as all the rest! And whatever you do, don’t dare suggest that selling the overweight as ‘glamorous’ is a bad idea; that’s almost as heinous as saying men can’t menstruate, lactate or give birth. If anyone ever doubts this line of insane thinking is approaching a fanatical religious doctrine, just tweet some common sense facts that contradict the narrative and watch the fun begin. War is peace, as someone once observed.
Perhaps the uncomfortable truth that countries with some of the worst cases of obesity have suffered some of the highest death tolls during the pandemic backs up the inevitable ‘fat-phobic’ nature of the coronavirus. What else could it be? A report by the World Obesity Federation says that the fattest nations have had nine out of ten Covid deaths linked to the overweight state of their populations, with fatalities far higher in countries where 50% or more of its people are obese. Indeed, here in blobby old Blighty, we’ve had the third highest death rate whilst simultaneously being at No.4 in the world’s fat chart. Obesity certainly seems to favour the West; Far Eastern countries have suffered fewer Covid deaths and also coincidentally have far lower rates of obesity among adults. Japan appears to have addressed obesity as part of their pandemic package, whereas over here one of the heavily-promoted projects during the brief break between lockdowns was the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, which felt like the Government sponsoring the nation to binge on bad (or fast) food, even when there was already a well-established connection between a poor diet and susceptibility to contracting the coronavirus. Not that obesity wasn’t recognised as a ticking time bomb before the events of the past twelve months intervened, but Covid-19 gate-crashing the feast has perhaps highlighted just how much of an accident waiting to happen obesity was.
Talking of the apparent success with which Far Eastern countries have tackled the coronavirus in comparison to the Western nations, turns out North Korea is the biggest success story of all. According to the ever-dependable Pyongyang Ministry of Information, not one single Covid death has been recorded in the country, which is pretty impressive, especially when one considers North Korea’s proximity to China. The response of the Democratic People’s Republic to the pandemic has been, according to the UN, to impose ‘drastic measures that have exacerbated human rights abuses and economic hardship for the country’s citizens’. This is particularly tragic on account of the absolute absence of human rights abuses and economic hardships that existed there prior to Covid, something for which North Korea has always been celebrated.
Infamously one of the most isolated nations on the planet, the pandemic has seen North Korea strengthen its borders even further, but the loss of trade with China – coupled with the international sanctions already in place – has hit it hard. China provides North Korea with 90% of its trade, but the past year has seen an 80% drop in that trade. The sudden absence of farming tools and fertiliser vital to the country’s agricultural economy was made worse by serious typhoons and floods even before the monsoon season, pushing millions to the brink of starvation. Humanitarian work has all-but ceased and relief aid remains in limbo at the border with China. At times like this, it’s sadly ironic that a nation in which so many of its people are experiencing severe food shortages is fronted by one of the most roly-poly world leaders. I guess if there is to eventually be one Covid death recorded in North Korea, Kim Jong-un would appear to be more vulnerable than most of his people, what with him being such a fat bastard.
The vaccine – of which North Korea is set to receive 1.7 million doses, evidently as a preventative measure – is clearly a sensible requirement for anyone over a certain age, though this should have been the group within society that was ring-fenced right at the beginning – ditto anyone (to regurgitate that familiar phrase yet again) ‘with underlying health conditions’. And, despite what several stupid American magazine front covers would have you believe, being grossly overweight is indicative of an underlying health condition. Not to worry, though – even those who watch what they eat remain in the firing line. A few posts back I predicted an inevitable new mutation of the virus would magically appear to once more postpone the lifting of restrictions, and – hey presto! – we now have the Brazilian variant; keep a look out for the Narnia variant, the Neverland variant and the Somewhere-over-the-rainbow variant coming soon to a lockdown near you! But chances are it might favour you most of all if you’re on the obese side.
© The Editor