Weight…It Went Away?
September 14th, 2019 – It was a tale of two late-nights when the issue of fat-shaming and obesity hit the airwaves. Last week, HBO’s Bill Maher closed out his show with a seven-minute segment on the lack of personal responsibility in our healthcare concluding with the suggestion that fat-shaming needs to make a comeback. CBS’ James Corden chewed on that idea for a week, and then spat out a pretty personal response.
Corden, who usually keeps tone and content light-hearted on The Late Late Show, said he watched Maher’s appeal for fat-shaming at home and realized he needed to use his platform to speak out.
“Fat-shaming never went anywhere,” Corden said. “Ask literally any fat person, we are reminded of it all the time. If making fun of fat people made them lose weight, there’d be no fat kids in schools, and I’d have a six-pack by now.”
Maher seems to think that the art of fat-shaming has been cleared from the table and wondered why overeating wasn’t treated with the same judgment as drinking or smoking.
“I know this is a controversial thing to say now in today’s America, but being fat is a bad thing,” Maher said. “We shouldn’t taunt people about it and overeating shouldn’t be singled out as the only vice…but there’s no smoking acceptance. There’s no drunk acceptance. When did it become taboo in this country to talk about getting healthy?”
While Corden acknowledged that Europe may not have quite as many overweight people, he pushed back on Maher’s categorization that this is simply an American issue — pointing to his own body.
“Here in America, we look at fried chicken and think that’s a good start. Now put it on a bun and add bacon and cheese. And something no one even thought to put on it. Make my mouth cum,” Maher joked. “What’s Elizabeth Warren’s plan for that?”
The Real Time host believes we shouldn’t rely on presidential candidates to balance our scales but on the power of public shaming.
“In August, 53 Americans died from mass shootings. Terrible, right? You know how many died from obesity? 40,000. Fat-shaming doesn’t need to end; it needs to make a comeback. Some amount of shame is good. We shamed people out of smoking and into wearing seat belts. We shamed them out of littering and most of them out of racism.”
“We can all keep pretending that healthcare is an issue between you and the government, but it’s really between you and the waitress. It’s not just about being able to see a doctor. It’s also about being able to see your dick.”
Corden assured Maher that he could see a dick…on HBO. He also laid out the absurdity in thinking that shaming will make those in poverty afford healthier foods or that shaming will magically make a genetic condition reverse.
“Fun fact: if you shame obese children, Whole Foods will give them free salads. I’m kidding. That’s not how Whole Foods Works.”
While Corden took a few digs at Maher’s punching-down approach to a healthy lifestyle, he did concede that the comic made some good points and was likely coming from a sincere place of concern. After landing a few more jokes, Corden closed the segment by asking Maher to consider what he’s putting out into the world.
“We’re not all as lucky as Bill Maher. We don’t all have a sense of superiority that burns 35,000 calories a day,” Corden said. “It’s proven that fat-shaming only does one thing. It makes people feel ashamed. And shame leads to depression, anxiety and self-destructive behaviors…like overeating. Bill, please hear me when I say this: while you’re encouraging people to think about what goes into their mouths, just think a little harder about what comes out of yours.”