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Fat People Kissing on TV, Andy Warhol and the Perils of Our Internet Age

4 years ago
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Andy Warhol was exaggerating only slightly when he made his now infamous statement: "In the future, everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes."

Of course Warhol made that pronouncement in 1968, long before the Internet era. And he was prophetic except for the fact the information age gives everyone 15 nanoseconds, not minutes, of fame. This week, one heretofore unknown Marie Claire blogger named Maura Kelly got her 15 nanoseconds when she wrote:

". . . yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other . . . because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. "

A dumb statement, we can all agree, no? Even those of us with a bit more avoirdupois than we would like have . . . well, anyway, dumb or not, the comment catapulted Kelly to her moment of fame when the Marie Claire posting went viral, and drew 28,000 mostly angry responses from readers.

Mike & MollyToo bad. Yes, the whole situation is too, too bad for a variety of reasons. Ms. Kelly was responding to a question from her editor about a new CBS sitcom called "Mike & Molly," a show about an obese couple who met through Overeaters Anonymous. The question was whether she would feel uncomfortable watching two fat people kissing, and it was posed in response to CNN reporting that the show "has drawn complaints for its abundance of fat jokes [as well as] cries from some viewers who aren't comfortable watching intimacy between two plus-sized actors."

The whole matter is also too bad because if one bothers to read Ms. Kelly's entire article (instead of the one insulting sentence), she actually makes some highly informative statements. Among them, that promoting obesity in the media is bad for Americans' health and costly to our already-overpriced health care system. Sad, but true.

Too bad, too, because she may not like watching fat people kiss on TV, but quite frankly, I don't like watching skinny people kissing on TV, or in real life (exception: weddings). I feel about sex in the movies or on TV the same way I feel about it in real life. If I'm not part of it, I don't want to be watching anyone else do it, no matter how fat, skinny, beautiful or ugly they may be. But Kelly, of course, slapped down an already self-deprecating segment of the population that needs no additional bashing -- to wit, the two-thirds of American adults who are overweight.

And too bad, lastly, because it is so typical of what happens on the Internet these days. Someone can write an absolutely legitimate, informative piece, most of which evanesces into the blogosphere without notice. But the insults, they go viral!
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How shallow we have become as a nation if we can't tolerate diversity on television. Shame on Maura Kelly for her narrow-minded comments. There is something about everyone that someone else will not like or find disgusting, but does that mean we should all just blurt out what we don't like or find repulsive? No! To preserve what is left of civility, it would be nice if people could learn to think, and look in the mirror, before uttering hurtful, hateful words. Also, the blanket assumption that "fat" people are always responsible for rising health care costs is often just a convenient tool used to mask ugly prejudice. I have been overweight all of my life. My husband has always been normal weight. He has diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and back trouble. I have a bunion. We have been married 45 years. Fortunately, he was mature enough to look beyond my extra weight and loves the person I am inside. Too bad more people can't lose the prevailing juvenile fantasies about what constitutes "beauty" and realize that prizes come in all packages.

October 30 2010 at 2:26 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I have no problem with this show or obese people,much better than watching shows like brothers and sisters!

October 29 2010 at 8:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What utter garbage. It doesn't matter what anyone looks like. Knocking them, hating, being disgusted by them simply because of their looks is wrong, the sign of a tiny, disgusting, self-absorbed mind. In no way shape or form does the act of two obese people kissing promote obesity. It is aimed, however at promoting acceptance and tolerance, which obviously you and Marie Clare could use more of.

October 29 2010 at 8:22 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

It's funny. We've seen fat MEN kissing their wives and girlfriends, since the early days of TV. We had Jackie Gleason on The Honeymooners and William Frawley on I Love Lucy, and since then we've had Jim Belushi, Kevin James, Dennis Franz, Tom Bosley and lots of other overweight men on various shows, all seen kissing women. The difference in all of those cases is that they were fat men who were kissing thin women. Now that we have an obese man kissing a woman who is (gasp!) NOT thin, suddenly there's an outcry. This isn't about health, it's about treating women as objects, not human beings.

October 29 2010 at 8:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tanirocker's comment

Excellent point!

October 29 2010 at 8:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

There are too many hungry people in the world. A lot of them are children.

October 29 2010 at 7:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fat peeps are discriminated against more than any race ever has. They get from every race too, not just one color. Too bad, I would rather be fat than look fake and look like a holocaust survivor.

October 29 2010 at 1:30 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to biigwillstyle's comment

If you don't like being discriminated against...move more and eat less!!!

October 29 2010 at 1:47 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

I happen to be 91 years old and I loved kissing all my life. Happily I had a wife that loved being kissed by me. We were married 61&1/2 years and never had an arguement. When I would get upset and get angry, my wife would hug me and kiss me and in seconds I was over my madness. I lost her 3 years ago and I talk to her every night when I go to bed. I know that the time will come when we will be together again. I knew her all her life as she was my sister's girlfriend from childhood. She was an only child and I was the oldest of seven. God bless her.

October 29 2010 at 12:05 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

How is a show about 2 people falling in love promoting obesity? How about all the so called reality shows promoting alcoholism, reckless sex, adultery and any other disgusting thing they can come up with? I guess that's all fine as long as the deviants are thin.

October 29 2010 at 11:40 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

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