Thursday, July 2, 2015

Chris Christie Fat Jokes

So you don't get to be more than a hundred pounds overweight without eating a few more doughnuts or cheeseburgers than you should. But does that mean it's okay for Jimmy Kimmel to joke that the White House chef is worried Chris Christie will turn the presidential mansion into a White Castle?

Chris Christie eating a doughnut
on the David Letterman show
Or that the New Jersey governor should select a running mate who is 600 pounds so he'll look thin in comparison?

Or that he's not fit for the Oval Office ... unless they widen the door?

While these monologue fillers may elicit a mild chuckle, are they really funny? And how do they affect people who are overweight and struggle just to get through the day?

Recently Jerry Seinfeld said he refuses to play college campuses any more because young people are so politically correct you can't make a joke without offending them. Our society in general has become so prickly and sensitive it's practically impossible to make a jab about any group without hurting someone's feelings.

That said, certain groups are off limits -- unless you are a member of that group. Which means gays can make jokes about gays, Latinos about Latinos, blondes about blondes, etc.

Should Jimmy Kimmel
pick on someone his own size?
Maybe Kimmel's jokes would be funnier if he were fat like Christie because he'd be poking fun at himself at the same time. It's okay to laugh with someone -- not so much at someone.

If I were morbidly obese and had to hear fat jokes night after night, it would probably make me feel worse about myself. Which would make me depressed and less likely to take action to change my situation.

I would also be subject to discrimination by people who judge others based on their weight.

"Overweight people have much less of a chance of getting a job, they have much less of a chance of keeping a job ... (and) they are paid less than those who are thin," David Birdsell, dean of the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College in New York, told ABC News. "In this era of exercise, we impute moral failings to people who don't rein in their weight." 

Still, it's not a comedian's job to make society fair or increase the self-esteem of people who don't fit a socially ideal mold. Whether in good taste or not, comedians like Jimmy Kimmel will continue making jokes about Chris Christie and other outliers when the audience stops laughing.

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