Magazine | July 29, 2019, Issue

Girth Dearth

(David Gray/Reuters)

One of the curious inconsistencies of modern leftist dialogue runs thus: It is bad to stigmatize the mentally ill, but unless you have the proper opinions on social issues, you have a mental illness. A phobia. You’re transphobic, or fatphobic. If you’re paranoid about your nutritional intake, you’re transfatphobic.

To those of us who would like our language to be a bit more concise than a dog’s bark, a phobia is an irrational fear. Actual fatphobia means a morbid dread of excess fats in the sewer gaining sentience and bursting from the grates, coalescing into a ten-story creature that howls “Run, puny humans! You cannot escape the clutches of Fat-Fang-Foom!” while fighter jets make inefficacious strafing runs.

I swear that was a Marvel comic-book cover from 1964. If so, it will be a $200 million movie in 2042, in between the biannual Spider-Person reboot and Toy Story 10. Anyway, that’s fatphobia. Wanting to diet is not fatphobia. Preferring one body type over another is not fatphobia, any more than a preference for red over blond hair in a partner is folliclephobia. 

Keeping that in mind, here’s an irresistible headline from the Philadelphia Inquirer: “To End Fatphobia, We Must Dismantle Western Civilization, Says Philly Therapist.” There is a photo of the therapist, a happy smiling person of generous girth. 

You ask: Might there be some intermediary step? 

No! Out it goes, the whole lot of it. Well, we’d best get cracking — this civilization isn’t going to destroy itself! 

Let me rephrase that. This civilization is entirely capable of destroying itself, but everyone has to pitch in.

“But how?” you ask. “Sure, we decolonialize the institutions and recenter the narrative on the marginalized to confront and eradicate privilege, but what do we do the next day?”

I admire your industriousness, but the aforementioned imperatives will take at least a month, based on estimated breakdown-and-repair times on the tumbrels that carry the counterrevolutionary wreckers to the guillotines. Unless we rethink the whole centralized-execution model, that is. This is the 21st century; why does everyone have to go to the scaffold when the scaffold can come to him? I’m thinking an app-based system whereby you can use self-driving electric cars to bring guillotines to those who need to have their skulls separated from their vertebrae in the name of public virtue. 

Yes, yes, I can already hear the objections: We lose something when we don’t meet in a public square to watch a constant stream of executions that stretches from daybreak to sunset; somehow one-on-one executions don’t inspire in the same way. Where’s the pageantry? 

This matter has been remanded to committee. Anyway, can we all agree that dismantling Western civilization isn’t just about killing lots of people? There’s actual hard work involved, such as:

First: the destruction of modern agriculture. No, of course Western civilization didn’t invent agriculture; we stole it from nobler people who lived in harmony with nature — meaning, when there was a drought, they died. But Western civ’s idea of agriculture is mechanized and soulless, and uses genetic modifications to create innumerable soft, fresh doughnuts glistening with glaze that shimmers like an angel’s tears of gratitude . . . and on Tuesdays you get 13 for the price of a dozen.

No, we’ll keep the agriculture part, because if people get thin from starvation, it will only reinforce harmful body standards. 

Next step: eliminate Western technology. I see a few worried faces. How will you be able to smash patriarchal fatphobic supremacy if you can’t send proud, confident Instagrams of your sassy, fierce, bounteous self with your phone? It’s quite easy. Western technological innovations have been adopted around the world, so they’re not really Western anymore, are they? We can just call them Eastern or African or Pacific Island or whatever. Those cultures might not have invented the semiconductor, but they would have, if colonialists hadn’t stolen their wires and silicon. 

Religion? Well . . . that’s tricky, since some religions are awesome, like the ones based on synchronized menstruation and hooting at the moon. But the bad ones that get all up in your face about how to act — they still have some sway. We’ll have to be subtle here and just force the closure of any church that does not have a rainbow flag. Unless it’s a mosque! They’ll be putting up the flags any day now. 

Obviously we are doing away with those things that set Western civilization apart from all other civilizations in the history of our species, namely, sexism and racism, and returning to neolithic communal matriarchies. This will have the added bonus of eliminating that other innovation of Western civ: war. Matriarchal communities won’t fight one another! They just won’t talk, and oh you bet that the other tribes will know exactly why. 

But there’s one pesky thing that will be tough to extirpate: the idea of the individual as distinct from the tribe, and the idea that governments derive their consent from the governed, that the rights of the individual transcend time and place. Sure, sounds good if you’re some cis Founder dude with powdered hair, but if the ideas were really good and provided “freedom,” then Sports Illustrated would have plus-size models in the swimsuit issue.

What? They do? They’re co-opting our movement! We have to dismantle it all now before we lose momentum. Down with Western civilization! Except for dentistry. At least until I get my teeth fixed. After that, clove oil for the rest of you. 

But it must be responsibly sourced. From the East. Or wherever that stuff comes from.

In This Issue

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Letters

Letters

After Harvey Mansfield's disinvitation from Concordia University, a professor writes in to NR to clarify. Plus, Fred Schwartz on baseball.
The Week

The Week

The Canadian newspaper the National Post reports, ‘Ancient life awakens amid thawing ice caps and permafrost.’ Good news for Joe Biden.
Athwart

Girth Dearth

According to the Left, it is bad to stigmatize the mentally ill, but unless you have the proper opinions on social issues, you have a mental illness.

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