UPDATE: There is some persuasive, if not conclusive evidence that “Cheryl” is a hoax. As usual in such cases, my analysis is the same regarding the conduct whether it actually occurred or is merely hypothetical. All forms of media hoaxes are unethical, unless they are obvious or flagged by the perpetrator before other media picks them up as factual. I detest them, and I detest those who create them.
If she follows through as promised, a Fargo Morehead, West Fargo, N.D. woman we know only as “Cheryl” will be handing out fat-shaming letters to trick-or-treating children who in her unsolicited opinion are too fat. The letter, sealed but certain to be read, if not immediately recognized, given the pre-October 31st publicity, by the unlucky children receiving them tells parents of the costumed kids she considers porkers that they need to do a better job parenting.
Cheryl is a presumptuous, meddling jerk, and if I got handed such a letter by my child, Cheryl would have to worry about a lot more than toilet paper in her trees and flaming bags of poop on her doorstep.
If she does not want to participate in the charmingly archaic yearly tradition of Halloween, her one ethical choice is to turn off her lights and erect a sign that says “No candy handed out here. Go away, please.” Adults who hijack the purpose of Halloween, which was still, the last I checked, fun, are rude and unkind, as well as intolerant cultural dictators without a sense of fairness or community. This applies to those who withhold the traditional candy and hand out toothbrushes, dental floss, frozen spinach or other unwelcome “treats.” Adults who hijack the purpose of Halloween and in the process call the innocent young visitors to their home fat while chastising their parents make me want to re-examine my objections to re-education camps.
Cheryl, signalling her likely status as a Hillary Clinton fan, cites “It Takes A Village” to justify her completely unjustified incursion into child-rearing, meaning that she is one of those warped denizens of the totalitarian left who believes “the village” has an inherent right to raise your child whether you want it to or not. In reality, if it’s filled with people like Cheryl, I don’t want to live in that village, much less have it inflict its Soviet priorities on my family. The fact that my kids or yours knock on Cheryl’s door one day a year on the reasonable assumption that she isn’t a fitness Nazi does not grant her leave to start calling them obese or telling us that we’re bad parents. She, on the other hand, is a rotten neighbor, a poor role model, an officious meddler and, if she is a parent herself, someone whose own child needs a hug, and probably therapy.
Not that I’d send Cheryl a letter telling her this, because I, unlike her, respect the autonomy of others. Oh, I know what you’re thinking: once we’re all paying for each other’s health care, we’ll be dictating menus and exercise regimens, and taxing parents who let their children collect candy that isn’t sugar free.
One outrage at a time is all I can handle.
Halloween, as most sane people know, occurs once a year. Now, if my child rang Cheryl’s door bell every night asking for Crisco and doughnuts, I agree that she would have the obligation to let me know that my kid has a problem. But a bag of candy once a year doesn’t make anyone fat, any more than St. Patrick’s Day makes twenty-somethings alcoholics, or finding Easter eggs leads to high levels of cholesterol.
Cheryl is the one in need of instruction here, as she has absorbed the toxic, if increasingly popular, attitude that strangers, often with government support, have an intrinsic right to tell us the “right” way for our children to look, eat, think and live. We might also look into what it is in our current political discourse and education that is creating creatures like Cheryl, who would be less welcome in my home than the average werewolf.
Back off, Cheryl.
You’re a menace.