Shaq Attacks Fat Kids

Shaq’s Big Challenge, the latest fatty-hating reality show, debuts in a few days. This has, apparently, made Shaquille O’Neal an expert on obesity; he’s been appointed to the Florida Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness (one can assume he does have a little experience with that, at least), and will be meeting with Governor Charlie Crist next week to discuss a plan to “expand his crusade against childhood obesity… to Florida’s schools.”

That’s just fantastic. It’s high time our state governments started consulting more professional athletes-cum-reality TV stars on matters of public health.

And you know what’s even better? Shaq’s personal approach toward “helping” fat kids.

O’Neal described being in the show as “very emotional,” especially when physicians tried to reason with the children. O’Neal said he tried to use “scare motivation” and tough love to motivate the children to change their habits.

Oh, thank FSM. Finally someone recognizes the real problem: fat kids simply aren’t subjected to enough shame and fear. Because if they were, they’d be thin. Obviously. Also, “very emotional”? You mean we get to watch fat kids cry while their doctors berate them? AWESOME! Can’t wait!

Shaq’s Big Challenge is, in fact, all about addressing problems that have gone too long overlooked. Executive Producer Rick Ringbakk explains their real motivation:

“On the biggest level, I hope it gets more people talking about the issue. Obesity kills.”

Yeah, I’ve definitely noticed how NO ONE in this society wants to talk about how “obesity kills.” It’s a crying shame the way the media refuses to touch this subject, doctors keep telling people it’s perfectly fine to be fat, the culture holds up fat people as heroes, and fat children walk around with loads of self-confidence and healthy body images. We are clearly in the grip of a mass delusion that fat is just peachy — but fortunately, Shaq and ABC are here to liberate our minds. Whew.

And Shaq is, of course, just the man for the job, since at 7’1″ and 335 lbs., he’s clinically obese. I’m sure that means they’ll devote a portion of the show to examining why BMI is horseshit, instead of just glossing over that fun fact.

Oh, wait.

O’Neal also talked about his own weight. “I’ve been a freak of nature,” he said. “They’ve never seen a specimen of my sort.”

Man, don’t let me forget to set the TiVo.

(Cross-Posted to Shapely Prose)

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25 Comments

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25 responses to “Shaq Attacks Fat Kids

  1. Oh sweet jaysus on a cheese cracker. Please, for the love of FSM, tell me that this is a joke.

    Even though I know it isn’t .

    And it pisses me off to no end knowing that those kids – and any kids watching the show – will only internalize more self-loathing, shame, and fear than they already do on a daily basis. Fucking hell!

  2. DBK

    I have suspected for some time that the motivation behind the anti-cigarette campaigns was the insurance companies and not a concern for the public health, and that we would soon see similar campaigns regarding being fat and, after that, being fat would become illegal. I just have this feeling about insurance companies being behind this somehow.

    But why would anyone give a crap what Shaquille O’Neill says? Terrific. Another washed up athlete gets a TV show to prove he used to have talent at something and is now just looking for more attention because he’s bored. And this one gets to screw with the heads of a bunch of kids. Also great. Sounds like he’s a great one with kids. Scare motivation? Sounds like a complete asshole to me.

  3. Maybe they’ll crossover with Paris and Nicole’s trip to fat camp. It amazes me that there is a never ending supply of people who respond to “epidemic” of having to look at fat people with “Say, has anyone ever thought to tell them to stop being fat?”

  4. Yup. And the teasers for this show are just hilarious! There’s one clip of Shaq holding a kid’s ankles while he does sit-ups. That kind of thing can squish gas out of anyone’s gut, but instead of having some fuckin’ class and ignoring it when he farts, he says “You can’t be farting on me, Whateverthekid’snameis.”

    Good work, that man!

    ‘course, there have been TV stunts showing that people motivated by the threat of humiliation will lose weight. At least until the “results show.”

  5. Melissa McEwan

    discuss a plan to “expand his crusade against childhood obesity”

    No one expects the Shaqish Inquisition.

  6. Kate Harding

    No one expects the Shaqish Inquisition.

    Dammit! That would have been a way better headline!

  7. nightshift66

    DBK,
    Well, of COURSE. I deal with insurance companies regularly, and their behavior would very often be a violation of RICO if they hadn’t taken the precaution of buying legislation that shields them from liability. But my favorite laugher has always been the government’s treatment of smoking and smokers. They appease one side with ads and restrictions, but never quite ban tobacco, or tax it out of existence. You didn’t really think the states and feds would give up billions in direct tax revenue that also reduces the amount they will spend in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, did you?

    But to the post topic: I’d say this was a great opportunity mishandled. Shaq is very popular with kids, and if he were leading a ‘be active, eat healthy stuff’ campaign he could do much good. But it sounds like fear, shame, and self-loathing will be piled on the kids.

  8. Pingback: Shaq Attacks Fat Kids « Shapely Prose

  9. Meowser

    I can’t bear to think of how many kids must be secret bulimics these days.

  10. I wonder if the producers of this show aren’t the same ones who devised the Fat Kids Can’t Hunt series, in which fat kids in Australia are paired with aboriginal tribes and forced to hunt for basic sustenance while an entire nation jeers and ogles them.

  11. As if we don’t have enough reasons to hate Shaq! When he can hit a free throw, he can lecture my kids on weight and nutrition.

  12. Oh, thank FSM. Finally someone recognizes the real problem: fat kids simply aren’t subjected to enough shame and fear. Because if they were, they’d be thin.

    This is what we call a nutshell right here.

    My mom is all the time on her husband about his weight. I mean, ON him in a way that is unpleasant. And I spoke to her about it and she’s all But but sputter it’s ME that’ll be a widow if he has a heart attack and all that. Which, Mom has a point. Step-father has doubled in size in the fifteen years they’ve been married, which is sort of a shock to watch, and he’s in his late 60s so yes, they should be caring about their health.

    But what I said was “Has this ever worked for you? This nagging and shaming? Has it worked on either of your daughters? Why do you think it’ll work now?”

  13. oddjob

    But what I said was “Has this ever worked for you? This nagging and shaming? Has it worked on either of your daughters? Why do you think it’ll work now?”

    Oy do I know how that feels! This one gets SO nasty, when you can hear your mom offering what truly is a legitimate point, but you can hear other stuff all wound up with it that has NOTHING to do with what she said, and EVERYTHING to do with how she said it!

  14. O’Neal also talked about his own weight. “I’ve been a freak of nature,” he said. “They’ve never seen a specimen of my sort.”

    Which sort of gets him off the hook, because he’s a freak freak, not just a regular fat freak. We can get off our fat lazy asses and fix our problem, Shaq kind of, can’t.

    And Deborah, (Deb is my sister, so I know of what I speak), the other part of it is simply that mom’s constant riding of the fat people around her is NOT NICE. And I can’t think of another thing that might be ‘wrong’ with her husband, her children, or anyone, that she would take such liberties with. ‘Cause society does that. ‘Cause they all think it’s so damn their business.

  15. Last night, on the Discovery Channel or some such, they showed “I Eat 33,000 Calories a Day,” featuring four morbidly obese individuals from 360-800 pounds. While there was a little talk in the program about food addictions and hormonal issues, it was mostly just 60 solid minutes of “look at what the fat pig eats!” with close up shots of bellies, etc. It totally pissed me off.It was nothing more than an opportunity for gawking. It certainly wasn’t an opportunity for learning.

    Of course, it was running opposite “Honey, We’re Killing the Kids.” It all makes me wonder how soon there will be a channel devoted to nothing but programs about the overweight. Well, about mocking the overweight or terrifying people about the overweight, etc etc…..

  16. Just how many more kids will stop taking their insulin because of this kind of shit? Of course we all know that growing up blind and missing a leg is way, way better than being fat.

  17. Pingback: fat fu Notes from the Fatosphere «

  18. "Fair and Balanced" Dave

    Of course the show will break every 15 minutes for ads from McDonald’s, Burger King, or Pizza Hut.

    If they actually emphasized being physically active and eating better as positive and desirable things in and of themselves rather than simply as a means of losing weight in order to conform to some societal standard, I might actually be supportive of something like this. I cringe at the very thought of a bunch of overweight kids–kids who have in all likelihood been victimized and taunted by their peers–having to undergo the traumatic experience of being intimidated by a 7 ft tall 300 lb man on national television.

  19. Just how many more kids will stop taking their insulin because of this kind of shit? Of course we all know that growing up blind and missing a leg is way, way better than being fat.

    Of course, blind and missing a leg, you do weigh less. And yay, that’s our goal! But you be always bumping into shit…

  20. Grandjester

    This is the same MF who wouldn’t get into shape for his last season for the Lakers but was happy to do so when Miami ponied up a fatter (sorry) check.

  21. “If they actually emphasized being physically active and eating better as positive and desirable things in and of themselves rather than simply as a means of losing weight in order to conform to some societal standard, I might actually be supportive of something like this.”

    It’s amazing to think that you can but kids into a boot camp situation and say this is good for you, and have it translate into real life. We need to teach kids to seek out things that feel good to do – like dancing or swimming. Sit-ups will never convince anyone to make exercise a habit for life.

  22. Wow, I’m amazed at the hateful comments here. What exactly is wrong with trying to help kids get in better shape?

  23. Meowser

    Nobody has anything against healthier habits, John. It’s the ritual humiliation of fat kids that’s not a happy here.

  24. butterfly

    And because kids need to have fun and not be treated like mini-Marines.

    These comments aren’t hateful. They’re angry. Big diff.

  25. The commercials I’ve seen for this show bear no resemblance to what is being discussed in this thread. Maybe you could at least let the show air before you all decide it’s simply about making fun of fat kids.

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