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L. Neil Smith's
Number 692, October 14, 2012

"We must end war before it ends us. We
must outlaw conscription, end all taxation,
disarm the state, and arm the people."

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Ms Mouse

Chewing the Fat
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

I received an indignant e-mail message yesterday from a group whose mailing list I stay on because their utter stupidity, insanity, and corruption—expressed in a nearly infinite variety of manners—provides me with an endless supply of ideas for articles like this one.

It's the same reason I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh.

These folks would probably call themselves "progressives", partly because they've damaged the word "liberal" beyond repair. In a world of murderous politicos, monetary and social collapse, and barbaric wars fought for no sane reason that anyone with half a gray cell can think of, their view of what's important would be funny if it weren't pathetic.

They are the same ethically and intellectually challenged cretins whose principal enthusiasms include telling everybody else what they can't eat or drink and what they can, keeping children (and everybody else) away from the temptations of Devil Nicotine, and flying here and there about the planet in giant, kerosene-guzzling, smoke-belching jet aircraft, attending events aimed at purging society of anybody who carelessly leaves "carbon footprints" behind, wants the highest law of the land—the Bill of Rights—enforced, prefers genuine monetary metals to paper trash, or conscientiously practices the humanly art of self-defense.

According to the outraged effluence that seeped into my Inbox, this week's vile demon, who must be hunted down and sanctioned with extreme prejudice, even as Rome is burning, is ... you won't believe it ... you'll think I'm making this up ... wait for it ... Minnie Mouse.

"W", as the current parlance would have it, "TF?"

Naturally, this group would want me to mention their name. They're up in arms because a New York chain of department stores, in greedy collaboration with the Disney corporation, is putting up "a holiday window display" (by which they mean Christmas, of course) featuring Mickey's main squeeze "wearing a designer dress—and distorted so she looks ... extremely tall and skinny ... like she's 5'11" and size 0."

Now if this were France, where they've banned runway models deemed to be too thin, outlawed the use of words like "mother" and "father" in favor of "Parent 1" and Parent 2" (which somehow sounds like something out of Dr. Seuss), actually believe Jerry Lewis is funny, and, despite the crystal clear lessons of history, in an act of irrationality of almost Bloombergian demenitude, elected a socialist government to cure their economic problems, it would be easier to understand.

But nooooo ...

"What's the world coming to," the mailing's author, Ragen Chastain of the so-called "Fat Acceptance Movement" demands to know in at least medium dudgeon, "when we're telling little girls that Minnie Mouse is too fat?" The question is only rhetorical: as with most "progressive" campaigns like this one, there's no way to respond to her except by signing an online petition agreeing with her. Far too much risk, one would presume, of being laughed at by her readers and advised to get a life.

She goes on anyway. "I work with kids who have eating disorders, so I'm not exaggerating when I say the message this sends is deadly." No it isn't. "According to one study, hospitalization for children younger than 12 with eating disorders went up 119% from 1999 to 2006 ... I don't think [that the villainous department store chain] and Disney should be telling little girls that Minnie Mouse needs to be skinnier ... "

Where to begin? Well, for starters, Disney and the department chain didn't say anything even remotely like what Chastain is accusing them of. The cartoon of Minnie as a high-fashion model is what it is: a cartoon. Given what Minnie's looked like for the past 70 years, the unassuming little mouse-next-door, it's extremely funny, exactly as it was meant to be, and could easily be interpreted as a lampoon of stylish skinniness. I think Chastain owes them an abject apology and thanks.

Second, given the fact that "progressives" are pathological and habitual liars—I cite their constant, unadulterated lies about "climate change" for example, as well as everything they've ever had to say about private weapons ownership—why the hell should anybody believe the lady's statistics about another invented malaise, "eating disorders"?

My personal guess is that, exactly much like "multiple personality disorder", nobody ever suffered from this "disease" until they heard from the media that it exists. Even if it does, at least it usually removes their faulty genes from the pool before they have a chance to replicate.

The cynical truth is that this is nothing that shrinks should ever be consulted about; there's too much conflict of interest involved. The majority of "psychologists" are whores, plain and simple, their bloated incomes dependent on others in their trade "discovering" and "curing" the latest imaginary sickness. If you dislike, distrust, or resist the government, for example, then you're suffering from what they're presently calling "Oppositional Defiance Disorder"—which makes you an O.D.D.-fellow, the name of an Internet group I belong to proudly.

As far as Disney and the department store chain are concerned, even children are vastly less suggestible than "progressives", all of them grimly determined to protect us to death, would have us believe. Nobody ever got a real disease—or for that matter, was irresistibly compelled to take a rifle up onto a rooftop and shoot at people—because of anything on radio, television, in the newspapers, or in magazines.

I will concede that there seem to be more fat folks in the world these days than when I was young, more than half a century ago. Kids would stare and whisper to each other if they saw a fat lady walking down the street, and I still remember the 400-pounder who sold my family the mobile home that we took to Newfoundland to live in, because he looked so much like the average Wal-Mart shopper does today.

At least half of my closest friends are fat. I myself was a fat guy, all through the 70s and 80s, until a pair of heart attacks and a diabetic seizure convinced me otherwise. But to try building a socio- political movement based on obesity is insane, like basing a movement on acne, or halitosis. And ironically, according to Wikipedia, the founder of the "Fat Acceptance Movement" died of diabetes. I can't think of anyone who actually enjoys being fat or thinks of it as a right.

Instead, I would point out an obvious (once someone thought of it) anthropological fact. Our species' history has largely been the story of narrowly avoiding death by starvation. As hunter-gatherers we did fairly well, but switching over to agriculture—especially involving a single staple crop—was, as author Jared Diamond pointed out years ago (inspiring me to write the novel Pallas), a huge mistake in many ways.

One unintened consequence is that, for the first time in over a million years, since about the middle of the 19th century, we're having to cope with the opposite of starvation, a surplus of food, especially carbohydrates, evolution hasn't had time to help us deal with.

And yet, if there is some sort of epidemic happening here, of fatness, and perhaps even of Type 2 diabetes, the "progressives'" first impulse (as always) has been to blame the victims, hang the guilt around their necks, and try to nag their extra weight off. That's certainly been Michelle Obama's strategy, although she really ought to put her on backside in order before she messes with kids' lunches.

Hey tell me, Michelle, what's the point of saving children's lives, if your idiot husband turns around and bombs them with his drones?

As some have suggested, it might also have something to do with the kind of sugar we use. For centuries, it was sugar derived from cane or beets. Lately, it has mostly come from corn. But as corn is diverted to fuel production we may discover that there is sugar, amd then there is sugar. Coca-Cola, perhaps unwilling to pay higher prices, and weary of seeing folks go to the effort of buying the Mexican version of their product, has announced that they'll soon be using cane sugar again.

Meanwhile, however, the fanatic fatties waddle on: "Studies," they say, thrusting their lower lips forward in a militant political pout, "warn again and again of the dangers of promoting an unrealistic body image. Eighty-one percent of ten-year-old girls say they're afraid of being fat, and forty-seven percent of girls in grades five through twelve say they want to be thinner because of the pictures they see in magazines ... There is nothing wrong with tall, thin women. There is something wrong with changing a beloved children's character's body so that it looks good in a dress that almost nobody looks good in." Once again, the phrase "get a life" comes to mind. Have you even looked at it? It's a cartoon, you simpleton, get over it.

Liberals do so adore arguing over aesthetics and even enforcing them at gunpoint. The phrase "unrealistic body image" sounds imposing and erudite until you consider a couple of facts. How can such a figure be unrealistic if the writer takes time to assuage "tall, thin women"? Given a little artistic exaggeration (which is what distinguishes a cartoon from a portrait) that's what my wife looked like 35 years ago when we first met. It's what my daughter looks like now.

"Earlier this year, Seventeen magazine agreed to stop photo- shopping all models after 75,000 people signed a petition asking them to do so ... if enough people sign my petition, we can convince [them] and Disney not to distort Minnie Mouse to make her look tall and skinny."

Exactly how trivial is it possible to get, in this world of tyranny and bloodshed? If the "criminals" won't back down, will the fat fascists promote legislation to seize Minnie and her fellow 'toons and keep them from being used for their idea of evil instead of good? Popular cartoon figures have been used to promote other statist causes.

Why not this one?

Look: here's the way it is: although being overweight was once considered beautiful during the Renaissance, it probably isn't very good for you. I was fat once, myself, and struggled with it in vain for decades, until the right combination of horrible things happened to me and I began to lose weight without any effort that I can think of.

But we live in a world of political excess, government gluttony, and more savage brutality than Hobbes' "state of nature". Whether you're pro-fat, like the woman who's worked up about Minnie, or anti, like Michelle claims to be, it's more important to do something about war than anything else. A hydrogen bomb doesn't care whether you're svelte or zaftig. We must end war before it ends us. We must outlaw conscription, end all taxation, disarm the state, and arm the people.

By then we may understand that being fat, or not being fat, is nobody's business but your own and it has nothing to do with Minnie Mouse.

L. Neil Smith is the Publisher and Senior Columnist of L. Neil Smith's THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE, as well as the author of 33 freedom-oriented books, the most recent of which is DOWN WITH POWER: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis:
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DOWN WITH POWER was selected as the Freedom Book Club Book-of-the-Month for August 2012

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