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Elliot Leavy

If one man calleth thee a donkey, pay him no mind. If two men calleth thee a donkey, get thee a saddle. - Old yiddish proverb

"The UK is the 'fat man' of Europe," writes Professor Terence Stephenson in Measuring Up, a report on the nation's obesity 'crisis' by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) back in 2013. "It is no exaggeration to say that it is the biggest public health crisis facing the UK today," the slimy bastard goes on.

This hateful report, which details how it will take several generations to remedy this 'crisis' affecting our nation and our children, doesn't end there – ascertaining that the 220,000 odd doctors in the U.K. today agree with this disdainful sentiment.

Ignore the stamp of masculinity in 'fat man' for a second, and consider how this will make one out of five children who are obese today feel. How it will force 25% of adults (a growing number) in our country today to live with the knowledge that doctors, with their Mengelian instruments and cold, prodding fingers, truly think about how they choose to live their lives. 

God help us all.

God help us all.

Why these professionals think they know what is and is not healthy we can never know. What is clear, however, is that there is a systematic attack on obesity and that it needs to stop. 

Except no, that's a bunch of nonsense. These are certified, well-meaning men and women who form a portion of society wherein many literally swear an oath to the medicine gods in order to uphold ethics in all that they do. The Left, who until recently could say with a straight face that it was the Right who were anti-Science, are seeming to drink from this poisoned chalice with ever increasing gluttony and gusto. Neither, it would seem, like Science any longer.

Enter Sophie Hagen, professional obesity-advocate-cum-comedian who last week attacked Cancer Research UK for "body shaming". The problem? Cancer Research UK's latest advertising campaign which alternated between handing out chips inside fake cigarette packets and asking people to guess what the biggest cause of cancer was after smoking. 


Did you guess it? Then you're a bigot. This is what Sophie decries as unacceptable by those trying to fight what I thought we all agreed on was a bad thing: cancer.

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Ms. Hagen seems like she has genuine compassion for many her fellow human being (those who agree with her anyway) and I don't mind a little cushion for the pushin' myself. In fact, after trawling through the narcissistic wasteland that is Twitter, turns out we like some of the same memes. But her attack on Cancer Research UK is just another alarm bell ringing in a symphony of outrage that somehow condems exercise as oppressive and obesity as fine. 

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Obesity is not fine. It is a huge cause of death and disease and is only overshadowed by smoking. I smoke, but I do not demand that the world accommodates my unhealthy behaviour and do not consider any critique of my decision to smoke as an attack on my identity. I also would be suspicious of anyone celebrating my smoking, and I don't suspect any true friend would. It is also worth noting that smoking is also decreasing in the West, whilst obesity is not. If Cancer Research UK is indeed fat-shaming with this campaign, then I can only conclude that fat-shaming is fine and is certainly not tantamount to whatever Ms. Hagen (who is selling out shows across the country and is about to release her first book) is alluding too. 

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That's what tantrums like this do, they debase the argument to a point where we have to speak in absolutes. There is a lot of genuinely despicable fat-shaming online, but if you associate this kind of speech with health warnings then you're massively overstretching the mark and directly putting lives at risk (not only your own) as you try to shut down the facts. Therein lies the problem with this dialogue. 

So I will say this to Ms. Hagen: obesity is not fine, yet it is ok to be fat. Whilst we are at it, you shouldn't be so shallow as to equate health with beauty. Informing the public of the risks of being obese is just part of providing informed consent so they can know what to expect if they choose to live the lifestyle that you do. But don't expect anyone to pat you on your big ol' back for being so, just as I do not every time I light up a ciggy. And don't expect science to bend over backwards (for it deduced a long time ago to expect no such action from you) to incorporate falsehoods into your distorted, hate-filled view of humanity either. You're a comedian, don't be so heavy all the time.  

Ironically, if Ms. Hagen had any shame at all she would make a donation to Cancer Research UK today. I never have, but, then again I'm a poor, self-obsessed twig of a man who hasn't been slagging them off for the whole world to see – don't let that stop you though.