Friday, May 30, 2014

Don't worry skinny people, they're wrong

Occasionally I pop over to Slate.com to see what the blind masses are reading (I guess that includes me?).

Tonight I saw this article titled, "Skinny People Make Overweight People Unhappy, New Study Finds."

Well, for all you skinny people out there...they are wrong. Apparently the author, an assistant editor took English/Journalism classes that taught her it is ok to ignore logic and statistics: and psychology can probably be added to that as well.

You see, the title of this article makes two glaring errors.

1. It espouses that the study makes a causal link between something either about what skinny people or what they do, and the happiness of overweight people. This was never the point of the study and can't responsibly be said either in science or journalism. Not only is it an insult to the science done in the study, but it is simply not possible from a statistical point of view.

2. It throws out all logic and psychology - by saying that somehow skinny people can make overweight people unhappy. No, happiness is a personal state of being that is controlled by the individual in question. Plus, the study never even mentions anything about skinny people doing anything. It simply relates the happiness of overweight people in relationship (a correlation) to the general obesity levels of the geography in which they lived. This required no action on the part of skinny people.

Plus, the article was probably written by a skinny person (it was) who must think that being skinny gives them some super power ability to affect the happiness of others. "BEHOLD, I am skinny and thus have the power to make you unhappy!" Ok, that might be a bit over the top..

Anyway, the article continues to be a bit all over the place, lacking a focused point/conclusion. After all, the first sentence of the article says this:
"If you are overweight, you are not necessarily destined to be sad, says a new study from the University of Colorado–Boulder."
 Say what? So skinny people make overweight people unhappy, but then your opening statement is that overweight people don't have to be sad. Are you saying that there is a chance we can be unhappy even though skinny people will make us unhappy? Cause that is what your title and opening line just essentially said. Is this really what the study says? Give me a break. Did you even read the whole study?

The author of the article later quotes the study's author as follows:
“This illustrates the importance of looking like the people around you when it comes to satisfaction with life,” explains co-author Philip Pendergast. Truer words were never spoken, even by Leon Festinger, who first pioneered social comparison theory in 1954."
Sorry, but I need to pause to LOL.

Ok, back.

How do you throw in some pretentious reference to Leon Festinger and social comparison theory (as if you are so educated in the social sciences) in the same article that you basically ignore everything you should have learned about social sciences? It is a science, remember, and name dropping is not science.

I know that this kind of journalistic garbage is common today, and that the headline is meant to make money and that I clicked on it and am linking it here and telling everyone about it which means that more people will read it, etc. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get that. And I honestly don't care.

Congratulations to you, associate editor, you are proving why journalism is seldom about truth and facts. As much as some journalists try to act as "protectors" of American integrity and truth, it just doesn't ring true when I read articles written with such undisciplined and lazy words.

I will agree, however, with the above quote from Phillip Pendergast. I can go for the life satisfaction being related to being like those around you. After all, isn't that what Hell is? Living eternally with people just like yourself? Oh, and that is the same definition as Heaven - just the good side of yourself. The difference for me is that you choose which you get to have - whether a heaven/hell on Earth or after (whichever you believe). As much as we pretend to love diversity, happiness kind of doesn't - at least on some levels.

Skinny people, fat people, dumb people, smart people, no one else makes you happy or unhappy. You make you happy. It is a choice. Just like my being overweight is a choice I have made - albeit a bad choice. But because I own that choice and I own the responsibility for being overweight, I also then realize that it is impossible for someone else, no matter how beautiful or skinny they are, to make me happy or unhappy.

You know what I see as the major issue here? That the trend to accept fat and overweight as ok has translated into not just acceptance, but the transferring of blame. It's the fault of McDonalds, of KFC, of our parents, of anyone but ourselves. So we complain about insurance, about food manufacturers, about advertisers, about healthcare, and we say things like the title of the Slate article.

Don't worry, all you skinny people, as an overweight person, I can say that you do not make me unhappy. I control my own happiness. In fact, I am getting healthier these days and it's partly because I am inspired by my skinny friends. Hail to the skinny. Being overweight stinks - and that has nothing to do with you.

Love to you all. See you soon.





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