Saturday, December 10th, 2016

I think my master’s thesis will be on the effects of chocolate covered Oreo cookies

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Ann Althouse opens up her New York Times and discovers between the ads for Kentucky Fried Chicken an article on Fat Studies.

During her sophomore year at Smith College, Ms. Director attended a discussion on fat discrimination: the way the super-sized are marginalized, the way excessive girth is seen as a moral failing rather than the result of complicated factors. But the academic community, she felt, didn’t really give the topic proper consideration. She decided to do something about it.

In December 2004, she helped found the organization Size Matters, whose goal was to promote size acceptance and positive body image. In April, the group sponsored a conference called Fat and the Academy, a three-day event at Smith of panel discussions and performances by academics, researchers, activists and artists. Nearly 150 people attended.

Even as science, medicine and government have defined obesity as a threat to the nation’s health and treasury, fat studies is emerging as a new interdisciplinary area of study on campuses across the country and is gaining interest in Australia and Britain. Nestled within the humanities and social sciences fields, fat studies explores the social and political consequences of being fat.

Is this really necessary? An academic discipline dedicated to chewing the fat? An academic department dedicated to weighing the sociological scales on scale-tippers? Couldn’t this be better handled by academic departments already in existence, like the culinary school at MATC? Or are we determined to have more academics producing more books that will end up on bookshelves unread next to the latest fad diet books.

And for those of you who don’t think there’s any fat left in the UW System budget to cut,

At the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee* {sic}, the subject has emerged in a course, “The Social Construction of Obesity,” taught by Margaret Carlisle Duncan, a professor in the department of human movement sciences, who takes a skeptical view of the “war on obesity.”

I suppose Willie Sutton might have said that if you’re going to study fat people you have to go to where the fat people are. Looking for a fat person in Milwaukee to study is like looking for donut crumbs in a Milwaukee police patrol car. Heck, if Duncan does her research at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet I might be willing to be a test subject. Just keep passing the egg-rolls.

*Add insult to injury the fatheads at the New York Times hyperlinked UW-Milwaukee to their archive for the “University of Wisconsin.”

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