I remember hearing about this argument on some documentary. People love to tell smokers they should stop smoking because it’s bad for their health…but why can’t we tell someone who is morbidly obese that they shouldn’t eat unhealthy foods because it’s bad for them? If a friend pulls out a cigarette everyone has an opinion. But if your friend orders a 2,000 calorie meal, everyone ignores it.
Makes me really say HMMMM.
Time for me to get out of my car and go workout lol
@fitzoey, I’m going to answer this, partly because I have thought about it too, so I guess I want to work through it a bit. Let’s see.
My first response would be the one Miss Manners would give: that actually, it’s NOT okay to tell someone who smokes that they should stop. Why? Because first off, they already know it’s bad for them, and second, it’s really none of my business. It’s actually quite rude to tell anyone how to behave under almost any circumstances, unless you are their parent.
But let’s say that we decide that this is one of those rare occasions when it IS okay to butt into someone’s business. It’s a moment when someone is about to harm themselves, like, “Don’t put on that shirt, Hercules, it’s poisoned,” or “don’t step on that rusty nail!” Maybe we can argue that smoking falls into that category. It’s been scientifically proven, in multiple studies, that smoking actually causes lung cancer, and so somebody who smokes is actually harming themselves, and so maybe we can argue that it is actually an act of love to say, “hey, please don’t harm yourself!” And then, of course, there is second-hand smoke. So perhaps we are allowed to say, “hey, please don’t harm me, either!” So perhaps there is an argument to be made for asking someone to not smoke. Although, honestly, I’m 100% sure that Miss Manners would still want you to keep your yap shut and, instead, leave the room yourself.
This STILL does not make any room for us to tell someone not to eat a huge, fatty, sugary meal. First of all, no real causal link has been established between obesity and illness. At best, it’s a correlating factor, meaning that it occurs simultaneously with illness. So, for example, people who get diabetes are typically, though not always, obese. People who get heart disease are often - but not always - obese. And so on. But simultaneous occurrence is not causal. A classic example of this is, people who get lung cancer typically have very yellow or even brown teeth. But the dark-colored teeth are not causing the cancer! No. Both the dark teeth and the cancer are both caused by something else — the smoking. So, back to disease and obesity: it’s true that obesity often accompanies illness. But no causal link has been established. And that’s why you will often find people who are thin, yet have high cholesterol, or diabetes, or heart disease, or have a stroke… the causes of all these diseases are still not fully understood. (If you would like to read a whole book about hilariously bad science related to these issues, pick up Gary Taubes’ book “Good Calories Bad Calories” some time.) So, my point here (I do have one) is that we can’t really say for sure that someone is about to harm themselves when they eat an immense, fatty or sugary meal.
In fact, even the fact that they are obese is not necessarily evidence that they are harming themselves. There are plenty of examples of people who are quite fit, yet pretty large or even huge. They eat immense meals and it fuels their epic performance. Is it probably true that many obese people are not sumo wrestlers or OLY lifters? Okay, I can concede that. But my point is, we have no real way of judging the book by its cover here.
So my final analysis is, Miss Manners is right. We should mind our own business when somebody orders a massive meal and eats every bite, because they aren’t necessarily harming themselves and ultimately, it’s just not really our business.
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- creating-katie said: fix your bronzer w/ alcohol! Google it :)