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.
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)