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.