and family in an undated photo. Since he was governor of Arkansas for ten years, it’s likely he was governor when this photo was taken. Indeed, it may have been right around the time he gave clemency to Maurice Clemmons.
John Hagan, who sent the photo, writes:
The photo really tells a story in my opinion. What’s become of our nation that we elect such swine?
Perhaps because such balloon-humans represent much of the population. We’ve discussed before the spectacular, unnerving, looks-like-speciation overweightness that is common in various parts of the country. The overweightness is not an accident; it’s an expression of our culture, which consists of expansive appetite (in all senses of the word) plus an absence of boundaries. It fits right in with liberal Christian compassion.
Also, as I’ve mentioned before, on Christmas Eve 1998 I heard the then Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, the ineffable Frank Griswold, give a homily in my church in which he said we should accept and approve of fat people just as they are. Just as, according to liberal Christianity, we should accept and approve of every type of disorder, just as it is, because, as the previous, hyper-liberal Pope of the Catholic Church put it, since the advent of Christ all humans are Christlike, simply by virtue of being born.
A female reader writes:
On the subject of extreme fatness, it occurred to me recently that the temporal effects of gluttony and lust have reversed themselves in the modern world. Until very recently, only the very rich could suffer from obesity, gout, or diet-induced diabetes, while the physical effects of sexual incontinence were usually inevitable and visible to all. Now we can hide and evade social diseases and unwanted children, but the physical effects of gluttony are on display.
However I think it’s pretty rotten of you to post pictures of Huckabee’s fat children. It’s not their fault their parents are how they are.
But this is a photo that the family formally posed for, even wearing coordinated outfits, obviously for publication, and most likely while he was governor. So while my title may be a bit cruel (though I think it’s the kind of mocking of the unacceptable that characterizes any healthy society), I don’t see how posting the photo itself can be seen as wrong.
The female reader replies:
Minors can’t choose to remove themselves from this kind of happy- family propaganda.
Of course, when I first saw this photo I didn’t know about the dog torture. Now I feel sorriest for the two other siblings. I sure wouldn’t want to have my face associated with this family for the rest of my life.
Jim C. writes:
“Also, as I’ve mentioned before, on Christmas Eve 1998 I heard the then Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, the ineffable Frank Griswold, give a homily in my church in which he said we should accept and approve of fat people just as they are. Just as, according to liberal Christianity, we should accept and approve of every type of disorder, just as it is, because, as the previous, hyper-liberal Pope of the Catholic Church put it, since the advent of Christ all humans are Christlike, simply by virtue of being born.”
We should neither accept nor approve of “fat” people. Just make them pay a higher premium for health care and higher ticket prices on airlines. Why demonize porkers?
While my language was tough, I don’t think I was demonizing anyone. I was saying that the extreme overweightness that has become common in America in recent years—in this case shared by several family members and highlighted in a formal photograph of the First Family of Arkansas—is very bad for individuals and society and should be strongly disapproved, instead of being nonjudgmentally accepted. The use of rude language like “porkers” is one way to express such salutary disapproval.
Alan Levine writes:
Thought your displaying the picture of the Huckabees would have been a bit unkind … if done to anyone else. These people deserve it! Aside from the fat, their complexions are remarkably florid. A bit too much alcohol consumption, as well, perhaps?
Another point, or counterpoint to yours about obesity: Although obesity is by far the more serious problem, we also have the problem of women starving themselves to look excessively slim to match models and actresses few men would have found atractive forty or fifty years ago.
Charles T. writes:
We are in a cultural war that has escalated beyond words and is now claiming the lives of innocent people at a rapidly increasing pace.
Huckabee is a public figure. He promotes outlandish displays of compassion for violent criminals which claims the lives of four police officers. Huckabee deserves criiticism from every corner of this country.
Show the photos. Mock the liberals. Mock the pseudo-conservatives who are really liberals. Expose them and mock them at every opportunity.
We are not in Sunday school anymore.
Bruce B. writes:
The British, more than the continental Europeans, seem to be a nation of porkers too. I’ve seen this myself and had my observations confirmed by several friends who lived there.
Karl D. writes:
A very simple fashion tip seemed to blow by the Huckabee family and or their stylist. Wearing stripes and obesity is just a no no. ; ) Seriously though, obese people as yet another protected class really get under my craw. Don’t treat me differently but treat me differently. In some circles even the word “obese” has become an insult. I just came back from the dentist’s and I swear to you that besides the entire staff being all female, at least 80 percent were morbidly obese (meaning they can’t stand for more than ten minutes at a time). And they have no problem with it since they are surrounded by fellow grazers.
I find it especially disturbing when morbidly obese people work in the medical field. Nothing blows your mind more then going to a cardiac specialist to find his entire support staff not just obese, but SUPER OBESE and sharing two large pizza pies! I took my family member and did an about face out the door. It was like going to a lung specialist and finding the entire staff smoking Camels unfiltered! How can I take the doctor seriously? Once again, non-discrimination as the highest moral value. Business and health be dammed.
Gary Moe writes:
To some extent the number of overweight people today is a reflection of our collective lack of discipline, I’ll agree with you. I’m overweight myself—I wish I weren’t, but I’m in no position to make excuses either.
I did want to point out that in addition to his sermonizing about illegal aliens and whatnot, Gov. Huckabee is a “true believer” on the weight issue having lost 100 lbs. and kept it off. He has made comments that suggest he sees promoting healthy eating and weight control as legitimate functions of the government, even to the point of passing legislation if that’s what it takes.
I don’t care whether the politician promoting such nonsense has an “R” or a “D” behind their name, this is slippery slope stuff, a soft tyranny in the making that will quickly harden. Suppose we do get a President Huckabee, after Obama passes some kind of government controlled medical program. Would Huckabee even think about repealing the legislation. Not a chance; he’d tell us that costs have to be cut and you know where that will lead.
The lifestyle police are much more cagey than they were 90 years ago with prohibition. Then it was a full frontal assault, mainly led by women, whose primary aim was to get men to behave, and I am sure there was an element of elite-versus-middle class tension as well. Today the busybodies are much more subtle, using scare tactics to modify people’s behavior when in fact life expectancy has never been greater. But the goal is the same, control. I believe it was Mencken who observed that “the urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”
Female reader writes:
Make fun of Governor Huckabee, his wife, and any adult children all you want. But there is a young girl in that picture. Grow up.
John Hagan writes:
I believe your female reader is misunderstanding the context in which the Huckabee family picture was posted. I was not making “fun” of the family when I sent along the picture to you, and I don’t believe you posted the picture with that intent.
I was struck by how surreal it was/is that this individual is a credible candidate for president of the United States. Only in the United States of 2009 could someone like Huckabee be taken seriously.
Obviously if he looked the way in 2008 that he looked in that picture, he couldn’t have been a candidate.
John Hagan replies:
Lol, I still look at him in the present as the same guy who was in that picture. Idiosyncratic of me I know, but I still see the fat man in him to this day. This guy ate himself into type 2 diabetes. I suppose I know too much about him, and his personal foibles to ever feel anything but utter contempt for him.
LA expands on previous comment:
In fairness to Huckabee, he doesn’t look that way now. He famously lost a lot of weight and deserves credit for that. Obviously if he looked the way in 2008 that he looked in that picture, he couldn’t have been a presidential candidate. At the same time, he did look that way during most of his ten year governorship of Arkansas. He succeeded to the office on the conviction of his predecessor in July 1996, and he left office in January 2007, ten and a half years later. According to Wikipedia, he was obese when he became governor, weighing as much as 300 pounds. He was told by doctors in 2003 that he had to lose weight or die. So he was obese when he succeeded to the governorship, he was obese when he was elected in his own right in 1998, he was still obese when he was re-elected in 2002. During seven of his ten years as governor he was obese.
So, while it’s true that he wouldn’t have been taken seriously as a presidential candidate if he had been obese, he was taken seriously as a governor and as a two time successful gubernatorial candidate while grossly obese.
So John Hagan’s point holds. Only in America.
And, just to complete the picture, Huckabee was also grossly obese in 2000 when against the urgent pleading of prosecutors he commuted the sentence of the future mass murderer Maurice Clemmons.
Apart from the weight issue, I have been dumbfounded since Huckabee’s appearance on the national stage that anyone could take him seriously. He seems like a clown, such an obvious huckster. At the same time, I have to admit I found him intriguingly different and oddly charming at first, but that lasted about five minutes.
Here’s Wikipedia on Huckabee’s weight problem and weight loss:
When elected governor of Arkansas, Huckabee was obese. In 2003, physicians diagnosed him with type 2 diabetes and informed him that he would not live more than 10 years if he did not lose weight. Huckabee acknowledges that he has weighed as much as 300 pounds (135 kg). Prompted by this diagnosis (as well as the subsequent death of former Governor Frank D. White, whose obesity contributed to a fatal heart attack), Huckabee began eating a healthier diet and exercising. He subsequently lost over 110 pounds (50 kg). The New York Times called the weight loss so rapid that “it was as if he simply unzipped a fat suit and stepped out.”
Although Huckabee has stated that he never smoked nor drank, he declared himself a “recovering foodaholic”. Huckabee has publicly recounted his previous burdens as an obese man: the steps of the Arkansas capitol from the entrance of the building up to the Governor’s office were so long and steep that he would be out of breath and exhausted by the time he reached the top of the stairs. He secretly feared that he would be interviewed by media at the top of the steps, and that he would be too out of breath to respond.
Huckabee has discussed his weight loss and used health care reform as a major focus of his governorship.
At an August 2007 forum on cancer hosted by Lance Armstrong, Huckabee said he would support a federal smoking ban, but has stated that he believes the issue is best addressed by state and local governments.
Huckabee has completed several marathons: the 2005 Marine Corps Marathon, the 2005 and 2006 Little Rock Marathon and the 2006 New York City Marathon. The 2005 Little Rock Marathon featured an impromptu challenge between Huckabee and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Huckabee completed the marathon in 4:38:31, defeating Vilsack by 50 minutes. He wrote a book chronicling his weight-loss experience, Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork. Huckabee was one of 10 recipients of a 2006 AARP Impact Award acknowledging his work as a “health crusader.”
Terry Morris writes:
Your female reader wrote:
Make fun of Governor Huckabee, his wife, and any adult children all you want. But there is a young girl in that picture. Grow up.
Ha, ha. My understanding is that that particular photo was taken at least several years ago, therefore (unless I’m mistaken on that point, which is entirely possible I suppose) the young girl in it is at least several years older now. Plus, she doesn’t look particularly fat to me by comparison to anyone else in the photo nor by what I would consider to be the average person’s standards.
What was it you were saying about emotion-driven females? Oh, oh, that’s a whole ‘nother discussion. Almost forgot. :-)
I agree with Terry that since the Huckabee daughter is not one of the obese people in the photo, which is dominated by her obese father and brothers while she, of normal size, and even perhaps petite, is standing to the side, she is not being made fun of; and since the photo is (I would guess) at least seven years and perhaps ten years old, she is not a young girl now but a grown girl or woman. So I agree with Terry that the reader was being excessively sensitive.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 30, 2009 02:13 PM | Send