Dear Regan Chastain And Her 9,670 Anti-Fat Shaming Hysterics: 1) It’s Satire and 2) Stop Trying To Censor Expression You Don’t Like

Nice, Regan. You can dance. Now get a sense of humor…

There was  an unanticipated side benefit of visiting Alas! A Blog, cartoonist Barry Deutsch’s home for the furious left-addled, as I researched the previous post. I also caught Barry giving space to fat-activist (not fat activist, for that would be rude) Regan Chastain as she fulminates against an Esquire U.K. feature by writer Giles Coren called ““I Don’t Care What My Son Becomes… As Long As He Isn’t Overweight.” Chastain is furious, and apparently Barry agrees. I presume he’s signed her Change.Org petition that demands that Esquire pull the post as “hate speech” (sigh!) and fire Coren.

For in her petition Chastain says that Coren…

Calls his 4-year-old son a “fat little bastard” and a “chubby fucker”

Says that “to bring forth upon the world a fat son is indeed a shame before God”

Says that he would rather his son be a “crackhead” than be fat.

Says about fat people: “I’d kill them all and render them down for candles.”

He ends the piece by saying that he “tries to look at the positive” but “other times I think, “I’d best get the chubby fucker’s jaw wired before he’s old enough to stop me.”

Read the article. Is there anyone out there who can’t tell that the article is satire, and intended to chide parents who obsess over their kids’ weight? How about the photo he posted with the article, showing his “fat” son? This…

Does that not constitute a sufficient clue?

How about this passage?

“I try to look on the positive side. Such as the possibility that having a fat adult son — who I will unquestionably continue to love with all my heart no matter what — might help me to lay aside my prejudices regarding fat people and bring me to a more respectful place vis-à-vis the fat and ever fatter future we unquestionably face as a race. And that being grotesquely flabby, sweaty, knock-kneed and impotent would mean that Sam was unlikely ever to have a girlfriend or any mates or be invited to parties, so he’d have more time to work at becoming a nuclear physicist or getting filthy rich and supporting me in my old age.”

 Regan doesn’t get the joke, and, apparently, neither does Barry. For this, the remedy is a class in social satire. They won’t be able to handle Swift’s A Modest Proposal immediately, as it might provoke a psychotic episode, but maybe after the first four or five classes, after perusing Twain, Wilde, W.S. Gilbert, Gogol and others, Barry and Regan will finally be ready for the hard stuff, like Tom Lehrer, Lewis Black, Monty Python, “The Simpsons,” “South Park,”and Seth McFarlane.

Or maybe not. I don’t really care that Chastain has underdeveloped literary instincts and not only can’t take a joke, can’t recognize one, but this metastasizing leftist tendency to try to punish writers and speakers who social justice warriors like Barry don’t appreciate and to stop people who want to read and hear them from doing so is far, far more unethical and dangerous than real fat-shaming, which is not what Coren is doing in his spoof. Hate speech is just speech somebody doesn’t like, but trying to censor writers and ideas is proof positive that an advocate lacks the wit and integrity to win an argument.

Of course, trying to win an argument with a satirist whose satire you mistake for sincerity is not only impossible, it makes you look like an idiot.

18 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media

18 responses to “Dear Regan Chastain And Her 9,670 Anti-Fat Shaming Hysterics: 1) It’s Satire and 2) Stop Trying To Censor Expression You Don’t Like

  1. You can’t fix perpetually offended stupid people like Chastain.

  2. By the way, I did not intend this to be Bash Barry Day. But this one, which I stumbled on, could not go by unaddressed.

    • Have you ever gone morel picking, when you mean to fill like… half a bucket, but then you keep walking and there’s more, and more, and all of a sudden, you’ve filled your bucket, turned your jacket into a pouch, and are considering taking off your boots because you found a few more and need something to hold them in? Amptoons is like that, except the mushrooms are bullshit.

      (I’m “Jeff” by the way.)

  3. JP

    Aren’t you against satire articles in general?

    • Just bad ones.
      For the record, I don’t much care for the article in question; t’s ugly without being funny enought to justify the ugliness. Still, it’s obviously facetious.

      • Chris

        For the record, I don’t much care for the article in question; t’s ugly without being funny enought to justify the ugliness. Still, it’s obviously facetious.

        This is my position.

        • charlesgreen

          Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry complains to his shrink about his (goy) dentist telling Jewish jokes.
          “Are you offended as a Jew?”
          “No, I’m offended as a comedian! He’s awful!”

  4. charlesgreen

    “…trying to win an argument with a satirist whose satire you mistake for sincerity is not only impossible, it makes you look like an idiot.”

    Ah ha ha ha ha good one!

  5. Chris

    I presume he’s signed her Change.Org petition that demands that Esquire pull the post as “hate speech” (sigh!) and fire Coren.

    Why presume? Why not ask him? I’m sure he’d give you a truthful answer.

    It was clear to me that the article was satire. However, it is bad satire. The target of most of the jokes isn’t clearly fat-shamers; it is fat people. I realize satire can often walk a fine line between mocking bigotry and engaging in it, but this piece stumbles drunkenly over that line and then falls on its own dick.

    I wouldn’t sign a petition asking Corey to be fired, as I do not care about Esquire magazine. I also wouldn’t call this “hate speech,” as that term has sadly become conflated with laws banning free expression, instead of meaning simple “speech which is hateful.” But if I were a fan of Esquire, or if he wrote this for a publication which I cared about and wanted to be kept in good quality, I might write to the magazine expressing my opinion on his quality of writing, and I would hope that the magazine would drop him for not being a very good writer.

    • Barry won’t speak to me. Told me never to darken his inbox again. Then later, wrote ME. I told him to stuff it. We have a very mature relationship…

      But you really think he’d give that nut a guest post on his blog and NOT sign her petition? The former is a much bigger endorsement than the latter.

      • JutGory

        That would be a good post: the ethics of burning bridges. He wanted to; he reconsidered; you doubled down. I am pretty sure you have addressed similar things before (though maybe not in the ephemeral online context).

        For me, I try not to burn bridges. Maybe I should burn more. But, generally, absent a personal betrayal, I won’t cut people off, especially if it is something of little or no consequence.

        I don’t mind Barry. He pointed me here. We would likely agree on almost nothing. But, if I met him, he would probably be a normal person (unlike a certain purveyor of ethics….). Anyway, I still peruse his site. though less often lately. It gives me a different perspective. Even if I disagree, it helps fight off confirmation bias.

        Though I agree. I did not think much of those last two comics you highlighted.

        -Jut

        • It’s a very rich site, and a virtual encyclopedia of social justice warrior talking points. Exhaustive and exhausting. And I find Barry personally complex and fascinating. He had a couple Comments of the Day. Like some people I could name, I got to where I could almost count down to his responses on certain topics, and predict them almost to the word.

          Later, I found out that Barry allows a link to one “conservative” site on his blog—as if it is a rare, exotic freak—and he had Ethics Alarms as his token. I dispute the designation, but on a hard left site, the New York Times seems objective. After Barry banned himself here, he took the link off.

          You will note that Alas! is still among the Ethics Alarms links.

    • Isaac

      It isn’t any better or worse to shame fat-shamers than it is to shame fat people. Both are fair game.

  6. John Billingsley

    Poe’s Law: “Without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers or viewers as a sincere expression of the parodied views.” Sometimes even drawing them a picture isn’t a clear enough indicator.

  7. Other Bill

    Here’s a funnier one by ol’ Giles:

    http://www.esquire.co.uk/culture/news/a9113/giles-coren-moves-to-the-country/

    Maybe you have to a be British yuppie parent to get the fat article. The British do have a thing about fat people, particularly fat Americans, i.e., all Americans.

    • Other Bill

      Not really fair to Swift to mention him and this guy Coren in the same sentence. Maybe Larry David. Cut from the same Yiddish cloth.

  8. Andrew Wakeling

    Thanks. Giles Coren is just wonderful. I suspect you need a Pom background to really get it.

  9. The comments on Barry’s blog are weird. Barry concedes that the article is tongue-in-cheek, but argues that the disgust with fat expressed by the author is genuine. That makes no sense, but it makes even less sense to post Chastain’s attack and the petition when Barry knows that she’s misrepresenting Coren’s intent. Then another commenter cites “it’s just a joke” as a rationalization and a dodge, when it IS just a joke, if (in my opinion) not a very well-executed one.

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