Massey University (New Zealand) Fat studies scholar Cat Pause ( I cannot determine if this was her real name) has died suddenly and unexpectedly. The PhD specialized in “Fat studies” and lectured on “fat positivity,” how to fight “fat stigma,” and achieving well-being for overweight people.
She was just 42 years old. [Notice of Correction: My original source said she was 50. That was wrong.]
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day—it’s more of a query than a quiz, really—is
What is the most ethical reaction to this news?
I ask because I’m puzzled, frankly. Obviously, it’s a tragedy for a woman to die so young. On the other hand, as Capt. Hook used to say, this doesn’t exactly validate her life’s work, does it? If you devote your research to showing how being obese is nothing to hide from, worry about or accept criticism for, I’m inclined to say that you better make damned sure you don’t drop dead suddenly at the tender age of 42. Isn’t this like defiant smokers getting lung cancer before retirement age, or Timothy Treadwell, aka “Grizzly Man,” getting mauled to death by a bear at 46?
Stipulated: It is mean and heartless to find such outrageously predictable demises funny, or to think, “They asked for it, they got it.” So what should we think that is constructive as well as compassionate?