Blogs Feb 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm


To the tl;dr commenters, I trust you're devoting your reading energies to Proust or Dostoevsky or Rawls or Nozick or some other likewise tl;mr work. Or something involving angry cats or birds or whatevs. Luckily for you, you won't have the time to wade through the following.


This exchange is the quintessence of a serious, extraordinarily well-articulated discussion (in the internet sense, which is to say public and relatively immediate) of a subject that is important in many, many ways. How often does this sort of thing happen online?

My gut (biggish but not huge) goes with DS on this one. Having read/listened to him for many years, I've not detected a significant anti-fat animus, though I must admit there may be a "dog whistle" effect at work here (i.e. I'm not fat and so don't hear things that others might). The links LW posts in the "here are some links" part of her post seem all to be situational - DS's responses to particular problems wherein fat was presented in a problematic way - rather than evidence of systematic anti-fat hate. I can think of more than a few examples when "fat" is raised as an issue by the writer/caller and DS responds thoughtfully and with compassion (e.g. most recently the first call of SLCast 207).

All of that said, two sentences from LW's post distress me a bit:

1. "I don't have kids, but I pay taxes that fund schools."


2. I don't give a shit what causes anyone's fatness.

First off, that taxes-that-fund-schools thing is a positive externality for the childless. Nobody wants to live in neighborhood rife with unemployable late-teen droogs. So, from those of us taking the time and expense to raise non-droog kids, you’re welcome. More to the point though, I think that if LW did have kids she might be more concerned about what causes kids' fatness. Not to go all anecdotal (though pretty solid research backs me up), but I have two daughters, the oldest being nine. Both are in the same public school. Our nine-year-old was on the school lunch program for a while, in part because it was convenient and in part because it was cheap, really cheap. After a little while, my wife looked into the menu and the various nutritional claims and that was it for school lunches. The fat, sugar, and sodium were staggering - and this from a school that claimed to be aware of these issues and, in fact, was doing reasonably well vs. national averages.

I look at some of the kids (and in particular girls) in my oldest daughter's class and it's not too hard to see the "lard prisons" forming at this incredibly early age. The parents don't seem to be helping. We've had sleepovers the morning after which some young friends were dismayed to learn that there were no Danishes for breakfast. Or bacon.

So, yeah, I give a shit about what causes people's fatness, and in particular the under-twelve set. I understand that that there genetic/hormonal factors. My oldest daughter is, right now, what you'd call "chubby," but she's likely to be around 6' tall, so there's a good chance she lucked out. But she'd likely get a lot chubbier if we let her eat crap and play her Nintendo DS all day. And then A LOT chubbier at college when the only food she knew was crap - a specialty of most college meal plans - and she didn't think to go swimming or biking or whatever. And then she graduates into a stressful job and why not eat to relax? (I can, from personal experience, attest a bit to that last part)

I understand that this is not the universal path to bigness/fatness, far from it. But it is one path, and an increasingly broad one in this country.
Sounds like The Agenda is finally unravelling at the seams.

Women rebelling against being made to look like 14 year old boys to feed the unisex marketing globalism.

Dan Savage castigating them for not toeing the line.
If obesity is related to deep-seated psychological problems or an explosion in metabolic disorders, what precisely has triggered that in the last few decades and how did it happen?

Hint: that's not how it happened. It happened because for the vast majority of us, we're eating more and exercising less. For the overwhelming majority of fat people, being fat is a choice. There are many things in life we shouldn't make light of people for - being short, being gay, being disabled. These are all things that AREN'T the result of choices. If you make bad choices - eating too much/exercising too little over a long period of time, wearing ridiculous clothes, getting bad tattoos, getting a DUI - be prepared to live with the consequences and Deal With It.
Oh Dan... wouldn't it be easier to just admit that you've said hurtful things, try to improve your attitude, and move on?

Seriously, I used to be fat too, so I see where you're coming from on this. You internalized all that hatred of fat, and apparently that's still what's fueling your desire to stay thin. Well, whatever works I guess, but that set of tactics is deeply self-destructive for some of us. For example: I was fat, then in my teens I got thin, then I got anorexic. I used to exercise until I got lightheaded. I had to crawl back home from a 2 hour run once because I hadn't eaten for nearly a day.

You know what was really important to getting over that eating disorder? Letting myself get chubby again! I got back up to a size 10 and realized I was still cute, and much happier than at size 4. I drank and ate and had a great time, and didn't watch my weight at all.

Now I've started exercising, (just low-impact stuff because running triggers me to starve myself) and eating very carefully, and life is even better. But you know what? 7 years after I got away from anorexia, I had to go back to therapy because I figured out my self-hatred was still in there somewhere, just buried. When I bought a new pair of pants that was 2 sizes smaller than my regular size, my euphoria over my weight loss suddenly turned into a COMPULSION TO STARVE MYSELF. Suddenly, improvement and health were my enemies, because they made me look at my body through that anorexic lens of "better, but still horribly fat".

My therapist is now making me keep a food diary to make sure that I don't fall back off the anorexia wagon as I try to get fit. I'm not allowed to weigh or measure myself because the numbers are an instant trigger toward my old anorexic goals.

So please watch out with the tough love on this subject, Dan. You never know what tofu-eating, bike-commuting, Pilates-doing part of your audience is going to be wincing and compulsively pinching the fat on their sides in response to some offhand comment about muffin tops. Self hate can motivate, but it can also destroy.
Oh, and I don't see you as "the enemy" Dan, and I doubt Lindy does either. You're a great, thoughtful commentator and advice-giver, so we know you can do better on this issue. I for one am being demanding because I like your work and feel you could improve. So the defensiveness is pretty uncalled for
Canuck@158 You know, if somebody said that smokers had the most unsightly disgusting habit, I'd agree. But, if they said that and then said they weren't biased against them or didn't hate them, I'd be questioning their sanity. Wouldn't you? I think smoking is a dirty digusting habit, and I won't say that I am not biased against them just because I have smoking friends. I won't even date a smoker, just as Dan won't date a fat dude. But Dan says, "I'm do care about fat people...look, I even hired one!"

I don't think Lindy is telling Dan to take fat off his discussion table. But, she is saying that he needs to either alter his rhetoric (by putting on kid's gloves as he put it), or own up to his participation in fat shaming. Just as one should own up to it with smoker shaming.

@198 What conversation? The one about Dan getting called on his bias? Of course nobody is hosting that conversation. That'd be silly.
Good response, Dan.
I presume Dan just forgot to put a poll at the end of his post. I'd click on the "Dan is right" button. Lindy clearly has a lot of emotion around this topic, and I think she lashed out at Dan unfairly.
Wait. Has the entire discussion really been about getting page views???

on the other hand....about every three years, some women's magazine like Cosmo goes and puts out a BBW issue where they claim that women are "becoming more comfortable with their bodies" and that "plus sizes" can be fashionable.

so, us guys roll our eyes and wait...until next month when they have some hot bikini babe with a flat stomach and size 2 behind.
It makes sense that people would be wondering why so many Stranger staffers cheered Lindy's post.

Who would dare speak for anyone else after all this, but for myself:

I cheered Lindy's post for many reasons, the most basic being that it was fucking great writing, in form and substance. Ballsy, raw, funny, painful, wonderful.

I agree with Constant that Michael Wells @121 is the reaction to read in this thread. And as Michael @121 said, Lindy's post was the same kind of naked, fearless gut punch that Dan has so wonderfully delivered himself, so many times, to tremendous effect and great admiration—including from me.

Who's most right on this particular issue? I actually do care, but I care more that people understand how rare it is to have this kind of talent tangling, and how lucky we are that Dan and Lindy both have the sort of compulsion/curse/conscience that makes them Slog it out.

Thank you, Dan, for this post—and for this whole damn forum.
Hey Dan, I have no idea if you'll even read this or not, but I just have to say this.

I really don't think you have anything to prove to people who know you, read you regularly and aren't dealing with unresolved personal issues of their own. *cough* I think you're generally perfectly fair in your columns - you don't pull punches and sugar-coat shit, and that's a GOOD thing. It's that straight-shooting that makes you occasionally vulnerable to people who take snippets of what you say out of context to back up their own personal feelings of victimization (asexuals, bisexuals, fat people, the list goes on...), but I hope you never change because it's part of what makes you so awesome.

Frankly, as far as I'm concerned all this says a lot more about Lindy (and people's need to find a target for their frustrations with how society treats their particular "group" - however unfair) than it does about you. I don't think you did anything wrong, and none of this hysteria is going to change that fact. Yeah, maybe you could have phrased some things better, but so fucking what? People don't read Savage Love or SLOG for its sensitivity or delicate turn of phrase, they read it because it's good advice told in a direct and no-nonsense way.

I guess what I'm trying to say is please try to ignore the band-wagoners, drama queens and people trying to treat you as a voodoo doll for their personal hangups - all this will pass, and I hope you won't let it get to you. You're a good guy, you help a lot of people, and nobody with anything worth saying can do it without offending a few people along the way. The vast majority of your fans understand that, and I hope you do too.
Just a message of support for Dan Savage against the anti-science denialist fat acceptance pile on.
C'mon, dudes. Both of you did great things for humanity in 2010. Now shake hands, have a heart-to-heart away from all of us, compare notes, and see what you can accomplish in 2011.
Awesome response Dan.

As a bigger person myself, I've never felt hurtful vitriol from your words about the obesity epidemic, despite the fact that I enjoy being a fat guy at 5'6" & 250.

I accept who I am, and unlike Lindy, I don't want to change me, because I love me. And because of your work, I know that I will find someone who loves me as well.

Hell, I may already
So, missing a piece of Seattle, I decided to go to the Slog, and, something is apparently up Dan Savage and Lindy West's asses again. This time, it's each other and something having to do with fat people. And I know my opinion does not really matter, but I just had to say: Dan Savage can be funny on occasion, but is usually a jerk who was a marginally successful theater type who gives advice that is taken seriously, even though he isn't some sort of trained doctor or lettered scholar. He started out a joke columnist for the Onion, and now everyone takes him serious, including major mainstream media. And he considers himself VERY IMPORTANT. Thus he fits in at The Stranger perfectly.

And Lindy West is a twat. I have stated this many times. And I'll plug in a million links to back it up. And she considers herself so funny and brilliant and...well, she fits in at The Stranger perfectly.

You both DO care about your targeted audience, who thinks you are brilliant, funny, sophisticated, talented, beautiful, and most of all, always has the right opinion. And you see that audience that you care most about every day when you brush your teeth.


Now move along, folks. There's bigger things in the world then two self important "writers" having an argument in public.
95% - that's how often diets fail, ie. long-term weight loss is not achieved. YOU are the exception, not those of us who have tried and tried and tried and are still fatty fatty fat fats.
There are so many things people do that are a threat to their life and limb. So many things. Let's move on.
223: Diets fail because they are considered to be temporary. Don't diet (verb). Permanently change your diet (noun) .
First, an introduction. I'm a fat lady (with a pretty face, ha), BMI in the 30's, clothing size 16-18. I exercise a lot but I overeat under stress and that's how I stay fat.

Dan, I wonder if you realize that what you said here about gay men's self-destructive habits applies almost word-for-word to fat people. I quote (from #2):

"Sexually-active gay men have... higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse (some of that drug and alcohol abuse is rooted in self-hatred, which the wider society is responsible for creating; sometimes it's rooted in destructive community norms, which gay men are responsible for."

I think you know that this is true if you replace "gay men" with "fatties" and "drug and alcohol abuse" with "overeating", but it's not clear so I want to make sure. I ask because I've been having an argument with myself for a few years now, and I still can't decide. What I'm debating is this: should I keep trying to lose weight in hopes of finding someone to love, when it's like running to stand still (fighting your natural urges, as unhelpful as they may be, takes a lot of energy)? Or should I give up and enjoy the hell out of my food in hopes of eating myself to death? If I could choose the latter and be guaranteed that it would work in a year or two, I'd do it, no question. But what with all the exercise I get and the fruits and vegetables I eat, I don't think it would be that easy, so I remain on the fence. Too bad I can't wear a sign that says LOVE ME I EAT MY 5-A-DAY.

I'm not telling you and the rest of Slog this to be maudlin. Just trying to be honest about a real phenomenon. You say you're being honest too, about the obesity epidemic.* I like honesty. You're an influential guy (great power, responsibility, all that). Before you write again about obesity, I just hope you'll ask yourself if you're helping to create the kind of environment, even inadvertently, that makes me wonder sincerely whether I'd be better off dead.

*And I'm the first to decry the supersized portions, the corn syrup in EVERYTHING, the environment that makes walking and climbing and lifting things a hobby instead of a natural part of life. I'm not just fabulous with my scooter and my Thickburger, TYVM.
I actually like the skin tight low rise jeans coupled with midriff baring tops look of a few years ago. I find it attractive. Dig the tunnel.
Shocking to see that Dan is taking so much heat over this. Fat people need to get over themselves. Newsflash: Dan Savage is insensitive and abrasive. Stunning. Wonderful insight. Asking Dan to tone it down is like asking Sarah Palin to go vegan. It's not going to happen. It's who Dan is, and Jeebus bless him for it.

Anyone that says lessening the amount of food you eat and increasing your amount of exercise does not lead to weight loss is extremely ignorant. I understand arguments against anecdotal evidence, but you don't need a peer-reviewed study to prove that eating less and exercising more will lead to weight loss. The laws of thermodynamics prove this. It's basic physics people. If a person burns more energy than it consumes, a person will lose weight. This basic scientific fact cannot be disputed. Yes, some people have higher metabolisms and burn more energy at rest than others, while others have slower metabolisms and store more of the energy they consume as fat. It does not change the laws of physics.

Dan is a huge supporter of people being free to live their lives as they want. He just tries to encourage them to be honest about the risks/benefits associated with their decisions. I don't see what's wrong with that approach. Dan mocks everybody for their likes/dislikes/lifestyle. It's part of his schtick.
Shocking to see that Dan is taking so much heat over this. Fat people need to get over themselves. Newsflash: Dan Savage is insensitive and abrasive. Stunning. Wonderful insight. Asking Dan to tone it down is like asking Sarah Palin to go vegan. It's not going to happen. It's who Dan is, and Jeebus bless him for it.

Anyone that says lessening the amount of food you eat and increasing your amount of exercise does not lead to weight loss is extremely ignorant. I understand arguments against anecdotal evidence, but you don't need a peer-reviewed study to prove that eating less and exercising more will lead to weight loss. The laws of thermodynamics prove this. It's basic physics people. If a person burns more energy than s/he consumes, a person will lose weight. This basic scientific fact cannot be disputed. Yes, some people have higher metabolisms and burn more energy at rest than others, while others have slower metabolisms and store more of the energy they consume as fat. It does not change the laws of physics.

Dan is a huge supporter of people being free to live their lives as they want. He just tries to encourage them to be honest about the risks/benefits associated with their decisions. I don't see what's wrong with that approach. Dan mocks everybody for their likes/dislikes/lifestyle. It's part of his schtick.
Dan, I'm with you.

I spent a lot of life throwing jeans out because my thighs rubbed holes in the legs. I have been that sweaty-faced girl with about 5 rolls between my bra strap and my ass. I've been fat and known what that feels like, and invisibility and judgment it brings, and being broken up with for "not being pretty enough" and from all this I have learned one thing: skinny feels better. And I don't mean to be too harsh--I think gently of myself then, but I wish I had made the effort a long time ago. Also, it was always within my power to get there, even though it took years of hard, hard work. And obesity isn't just about eating and exercise--there's a lot of underlying stuff going on with almost everyone. There are underlying issues! I was terrified of relationships, and being fat was a nice thing to fall back on to justify not having any. Once I got over that, I was suddenly ready to let my ass go.

Yes, you could have approached this whole issue with a bit more compassion. This caustic thing of yours seems like it takes a lot of energy. But you're dead right.

I was overweight as hell and made all those lists of things I liked about myself and why I was worthy of love and an ode to my beautiful complexion and all that insufferable Oprah-fied women's magazine bullshit. Yeah, none of that worked as well as running my ass off and developing a keen taste for vegetables.

People are so up in arms about this line "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Yes, it's bad that its used as an anorexic cheerleading slogan. That is no good. But what I can't get out of head is--within reason, that line is not wrong. Food is delicious. I fucking love food. But the immediate tasting of food doesn't have the all day whiz bang "fuck yeah!" as catching my cheekbones in a window reflection or re-aquainting the world with my waist. And sex is SO MUCH better. Good holy God it's better. Not only are people more attracted to me, I am more attracted to myself. I want it more and I have so much more energy. So man, I'm with you. You're right. Sorry everyone is throwing rotten tomatoes at you.
Lindy is not a saint. Dan is not evil incarnate.

I *love* the InterWebz where people can basically say "you're a fucktard" and walk away whistling without repercussions. To the people who just came here to hate on either Dan or Lindy instead of trying to add something substantive to the dialog, I want to say thanks (read thanks=fuck you) for NOT contributing anything of value.

Dan's piece is "boring" or "too long" -- yet you've perhaps followed over 1000 posts on the topic? Please, let's try to be fair. A lot of crap was leveled at Dan's door, and this is an emotionally-charged topic. Two paragraphs would have been too little; this was too much. I think at this point, to many, Dan's damned regardless of what he writes. He has the right to say his piece, though, in whatever form that takes; so again, I say "fuck you."

In reading all that has been written, including the posts from Dan's archive that point to him actually being, if not FAT-positive, at least accepting and believing in the rights of people to live their own lives without being shamed; shamed for being fat; shamed for being kinky; shamed for not being "normal"--whatever the fuck that is. Does he lapse sometimes? Maybe. Yeah, Dan can come off as abrupt and perhaps overly frank, and yeah, sometimes that's not what people need or want... But Dan is Dan. He always has been, always will be. If you don't want that type of advice and if it pisses you off to read the words of that type of person, then don't read his stuff. I sure as fuck don't read Glenn freakin' Beck or "Dr." Laura. Getting them to change is pointless. I have a feeling the same is true of Dan.

IMHO Both Lindy and Dan are talented, thought-provoking writers. I think Lindy is Seattle's own Wonder Woman for writing her "I Am Fat" column. I also think Dan's got balls of steel for being in the discussion, trying to get his point across in the face of a lot of, well, hate. I thank both of them for these threads, but especially Lindy who bravely, eloquently, was the one to lance this boil.

Fantastic column.

Facts scare people. There might actually be some people in the world who are thin and are going to stay that way no matter what they eat or how seldom they go to the gym. There are also people out there who are immune to AIDS.

Does that mean people should generalize on the basis of those outliers? No! Most people will gain weight by not exercising and eating crap. And most people will get AIDS by having unprotected sex with someone who has AIDS.

Is Lindy West eating well and exercising a lot? If not, she should order herself a supersized serving of STFU, because she doesn't know whether she will lose weight or not by doing those things.

The perverse logic? Now that she's been liberated from her shame, she's also been liberated from the motivation to lose weight. That, in a nutshell, is what's so perverse about FA itself.

Anyway, I'm already telling my kids to go to medical school and become gastric-bypass specialists, because, thanks to FA, there's going to be mountains of fat people in this country for a long time to come.
Too long!? Does fat affect fat people's attention span? Can they reading nothing that's longer than a menu?
OH MY GOD Lindy needs to fucking chill out. Her bullshit quotemining aside (and by the way? when you have to resort to distorting your enemy's words out of context? you might be wrong), wtf? Fat people know they're fat so you just have to STFU? Telling people to shut up about something that is both important and true just because it makes you uncomfortable is pretty messed up.

Side note: to all the FA types who get on these threads and then respond to people's weight-loss stories with stuff like "talk to me in two years you will have gained it all back and more CACKLE CACKLE HAHAHA" - you are seriously fucked up as people. We all understand that there isn't some sort of one-to-one relationship between weight loss and health improvement, but for many of these people whose failure you so eagerly anticipate, they have made themselves healthier and perhaps even added years to their lives. That you would cheer for them to fail is truly sociopathic.
Fantastic rebuttal, Dan. I must be terribly frustrating to have to respond to an accusation that is based on half-truths, out of context statements, outright lies ("you're the boss of me"), and feelings.

You did all of that while showing Lindy a measure of respect that she didn't show you. Good job.
ROFL @ Dan. Did that fatty stick in yer craw, bub?
I'm with dan on this. Could he be more diplomatic when talking about obesity? Sure. Has he been hateful? Um, not really. Is Lindy being overly sensitive? Have the obese tried to expropriate the language of discrimination to try to absolve themselves of the role of individual responsibilty in the obesity epidemic? Emphatic yes and yes!!

Now can we please get a SLLOTD?
I am now replacing all references to really, really fucking expensive wars on education, Mexico, Iraq, Vietghanistan, Yemen...the Norm Dicks Patriot Act and Boeing's drone warfare on brown skinned-kids who sleep in houses...with fat, gay or Goldy.

Not that Goldy is fat, gay or a drone...but you know, if there's one way to get peoples minds off of Boeing's wars that are fought by gay people, not fat...well, my hat is off to you Seattle Fusion Center...well played!

Egypt today...maybe Centralia tomorrow. Spokane is calm like a bomb. Give the Slog a good old fashioned body image battle and you get what we had here last week...Obama change on a Bush tortured plate?

Well fuck me if I didn't lose steam there towards the end.

@82: I think I love you, and you took the words right out of my mouth.
I love the comments by the Stranger's staff on this. I've loved this topic. You guys are all fucking great. Keep it up!
methinks dan just can't stand lindy's post going over 1000 comments. that. just. won't. stand.
There is a bit of cognitive dissonance in first reading her post and then reading her restaurant review in which she waxes rapturous about a 1/3 pound burger and fries dripping with grease.

I mean, which of these statements is fat-shaming?

1. Americans are getting more overweight and more obese
2. In general, there are more health risks associated with being overweight and obese than not
3. For the vast majority of people, it's a combination of calories and exercise, not of glandular problems or fixed body weights.
4. The American obsession with consumption and quantity means that Americans are eating more and more at meals. Especially when that meal is crap (see Big Gulps, fast food meals, etc.).

And there's something so ironic about the fat pride people accusing Dan of privilege. Christ, what a bunch of self-absorbed, thin-skinned, middle class left coasters (says the man posting comment 239, but in my defense I'm home sick today).
Yay, Dan. Good response. Sorry you have to put up with so much anger and hatred from the FA people.

Just remember like usual there's a silent majority of us who agree with you, but people who agree are never as noisy as people who disagree.
Lindy and her whine has the same validity as any Republican effort to "protect" marriage. When people get their undies in a twist without valid reason, it usually means they are in their first womens studies class, or have decided they have a particular axe to grind.

Dan, keep doing what you do, let her be a hater and do not validate her ignorance by paying it any more attention. She is clearly a drama queen, resist the urge to queen back.

Misanthrope @211 By using smoking as an example, I meant that there has been a conversation about its negative effects on health, and knowing that, I would discourage my kids from smoking (and from a health standpoint, not let people smoke in my house.) I guess I'm having trouble with the language: When does pointing out problems with a certain behaviour become shaming? I just think that excess weight, because it affects so many of us (>63%) is such a painful issue that a lot of people don't want to have any kind of conversation about it. I also think personal preference has gotten mixed up with public education, as in, what Dan likes in his personal life vs. "here's another article on how our sedentary lifestyle has affected weight over the years." As I said on the monster thread, I don't take it as a personal affront that Dan prefers men to women, or that he finds women's bits "gross." (That's as it should be, right?) I don't think the fact that he doesn't want to sleep with women negates his right to have a conversation about women's issues, and I feel the same way about the weight issue.

Sorry, I don't agree that he should treat certain groups with kid gloves. While he may appreciate duct tape in his personal life, I'd rather not see it applied to his writing.
@Dan, @Lindy Repeat after me:

Fat people are not fair game.

How hard was that?
For the "Healthy At Any Size" crowd.…

Oh, Sorry for the shaming. (The truth you don't want to hear.)
Without getting into the actual substance of the post (partially because I'm posting this comment during a 10-minute coffee break I'm giving myself): Let me get this straight. When Lindy writes a post publicly accusing a coworker of outright bigotry, that's brave, but if Dan attempts to respond, that's somehow the insensitive ramblings of someone blind to his own privilege? Really?

I'm not saying that Lindy didn't make a number of good points; she did. (And I'm with pretty much everyone who's commented on this series of threads when I say, Lindy, you're wonderful, you're beautiful, and I'm genuinely glad to see you've moved past all the anti-fat prejudice we see in our society.) But the idea that Dan has somehow committed some grave offense by responding - and doing so in a fairly sensitive fashion - is absurd. It's downright Palin-esque.

Seriously, Dan's comments about overweight people are sometimes insensitive...but so are his comments about, I dunno, gay men, lesbians, women, men, guns, religion, other cultures, occasionally get the idea.

This kind of reminds me of GLAAD freaking the fuck out over John Mayer's offhand use of the word "fag" in that one interview. Was it a little insensitive? Sure. But aren't there better things to do with one's time than beat the war drum against someone who's always been more of an ally than an enemy? Yeesh.
The Kids In The Hall weigh in on the issue...…
@198 "it's really a discussion between smart people who have strong feelings. And hooray for that."

Oh really, Paul? Don't you mean hooray for that in this case? I'll look for evidence of your celebration of intellectual discussion in your next Ayn-Rand-was-a-cunt-so-boo-on-anything-associated-with-her-name post.
I give the win to Dan because I laughed (smiled and smirked) more while reading his piece than I did while reading Lindy's. This is all about informing while being as witty as humanly possible, right?
@246 - Canuck, agree 100%. I don't get the link between what Dan has said/posted over the years and being nailed up as a bigot here. Especially since this whole thing started with an apparent misreading of Dan's 'Ban Fat Marriage' post.
Wow - this column touched a nerve in a lot of people.

I do think Lindy overreacted and misinterpreted Dan's comments - and I understand why he needed to set the record straight.

Dan, your strong reaction shows that her comments hit home on some level. This feud seems to have gone beyond friendly arguing. Please take it private ... both of you.
It's the American way: blame all your problems on someone else.

Everybody quit making blond jokes because I am blond and I don't like your jokes! THEY MAKE ME FEEL BAD and therefore you need to adjust your behavior and never speak a word about dumb blonds again! I CAN'T HELP BEING BLOND! So everyone just zip your lips because my fragile narcissistic ego can't take the fact that some people think blonds are stupid.

I hate myself and it is all Dan Savage's fault!

Some (a LOT of) people need to put on their big-girl panties and realize that not everyone in this world has to like you or think you are attractive or tip toe around your ego. It's called LIFE and it's not fair. Wake the F up.

Oh, Dan! I adore you, but you're simply misguided here. And I know you've dug in your heels and all, so I'm not gonna argue with you (much). But if you're actually interested, you should read Health at Every Size and the blog

Are extremely obese people subject to increased health risks? Yep, and few fat-acceptance advocates would argue with you there. But the folks whose fat puts them at potential risk are an itty bitty slice of the population (about six percent). And it's sweet of your brother to defend you, but a genetic predisposition to a certain weight does not mean that two brothers would be identical sizes, just as genetics don't mean that they'd necessarily share an eye color or the ability to roll the tongue. Also, fat-acceptance experts in the fields of diet and nutrition theorize that our bodies have a roughly thirty-pound rage, not a magical number that's our set point. And set points can go up with repeated cycles of dieting, weight loss, and weight regain.

Have a lovely day, and enjoy your high horse. :)
Lindy, to judge by the picture she posted earlier, is not obese or even really fat, but merely padded. There is a big difference between the level of adipose that pads your cheeks and prevents you from ever being hired as a fashion model, and the level that will induce your doctor to have a Talk with you. Lindy is well over three times taller than she is wide. She does not qualify as unhealthily fat.
Okay, where's Fnarf? This is ridiculous. Did I miss his comment?
Blah,blah, blah....Lindy's rubber, you're glue-fuck you.
Dan learned a valuble lesson. Anyone willing to put their life at risk for the dubious pleasure of a doughnut is only too willing to throw you under the bus for no reason what so ever.
I loved Dan Savage until about 15 minutes ago when I came across this gaunt and angry, defensive ex-fat kid rant about how bad, bad, bad was/is all things FAT.

--Current Fat and Queer Femme, tyvm.
I'm just happy to see someone use "unpossible" in a sentence.
I loved Dan Savage until about 15 minutes ago when I came across this gaunt and angry, defensive ex-fat kid rant about how bad, bad, bad was/is all things FAT.

--Current Fat and Queer Femme, tyvm.
Sorry, but I vote for Dan.

I've been reading his column for years, and I've never sensed in anything he's ever written that he was authentically prejudiced toward any group other than gay Republicans.

For those who feel otherwise, find a different column to read.
Am I the only guy to notice that all the people who are completely full of shit double-post?
Here's the thing, Dan. You seem to talk about obesity a LOT more than other people on slog. Also, you made a post a little while back about how if gay marriage is illegal so should be obese marriage. So how does alienating people work towards your goal? You've talked before about how 'these people' (haters/christians) shouldn't be engaged in a direct argument, since they don’t deal in facts you can argue. So here you are, arguing a point: they say gay marriage is bad for america’s health, you point out that obese marriage is worse. So now all these obese people who agree that marriage rights should be equal now feel attacked by you. Maybe that’s not your intention, but that’s how the message is received.

So your comment that you shouldn’t have to put on kid gloves is valid, but you have to realize that you can’t claim you don’t hate obese people when that’s how you come across.
<3 Dan! I, too, love that Lindy loves her body and I encourage people to lead whatever lifestyles make them happy. But pretending there aren't health risks is a service to nobody, and self-censoring about an interesting current trend just so some people don't get their sensitive feelings hurt is bullshit.

Ban Fat Marriage was hilarious and apt juxtaposition to a ridiculous fundie argument, and I saw no reason to take it any more seriously than that. Besides, if you're going to get pissed every time Dan says something snarky and unflattering -- be it "rolls of flesh", "canned ham", or any number of cracks about bisexuality -- you are reading the wrong damn blog. Also, there are real health risks associated with being angry that I think you should know about.
Dan, I haven't read your entire post and I'm not sure if you're going to read all these messages - if you do, just remember that 99.9% of your audience adores you and totally understands what you mean about fat people, bisexuals, whatever - don't get caught up in this stupidity. You are smart, empathetic, reasonable and even heroic for standing up for the gay community - forget about 'it's get better' which has become so much a part of our culture that it's almost gone beyond 'Dan Savage' and become it's own thing.

I imagine there's millions of people out there whose sex lives you have transformed: I had the most romantic Valentine's day imaginable last night, and had probably the best sex I have ever had to date (after eating chinese dumplings in a picnic on our bed, not before) where I got to fully experience my sexuality and share my boyfriends - and I am pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to express myself and submit myself if I hadn't been a regular, longtime reader. Thanks to your work.

You speak broadly, for a wide audience, and there are necessarily people out there who want to take offense - and it is their right. But please don't feel like you have to pander to their malarkey. Love, echovic

Lindy is not "padded." Lindy is obese. Her BMI is over 38. She's getting well into morbidly obese.

Her clothes are great. She's attractive. But she is morbidly obese.

Her weight is shortening her life. It's her choice. If she's happy with it, good for her.

It is sort of life being a smoker, though. Some people find it gross and will say so. If you don't want them to say you're gross, quit whining, and get on a fucking treadmill already.
It's so awesome to watch you sanctimonious white Seattle libtards turn on each other and get eaten by your own retarded ideological dogma!!!!
"I am thoroughly annoyed at having my tame statements of fact—being heavy is a health risk; the rolls of exposed flesh created by low-rise jeans/high-rise tops are unsightly—characterized as 'hate speech.'"

Yeah... you still got that wrong. Here, let me fix it for you:

"I am thoroughly annoyed at having my tame statements of fact—being heavy is a health risk; AND MY OPINION- the rolls of exposed flesh created by low-rise jeans/high-rise tops are unsightly TO ME—characterized as 'hate speech.'"

...And the fact that you can't see the difference between the two just illustrates how big of a pompous ass you really are.

I don't think smoking and "obesity" are very good parallels, because smoking does not have the same complexity around it. Smoking is smoking. You smoke, or you don't. (With a small exception for people who smoke when drinking.) But being "fat" can veer widely based on opinion and a misunderstanding of the current scientific literature on the subject.

Is "obesity" a health issue? Does "obesity" affect your health? Yes. But what exactly do we define as "obesity?" What measures do we use? (BMI? Hip to waist ratio? Resting heart rate? Body fat content?) How, exactly, does obesity have an affect on the body? Yes, it wears down joints... But so does running. Many marathon runners that need their knees replaced as "obese" people. Sports can be just as grueling and demanding on the body as extra weight.

So what exactly do we mean when we say "health?" Yeah, eat right and exercise... But there doesn't seem to be much of an agreement on WHAT is "eating right." And WHAT exactly is the proper amount of "exercise?"

Yes, weight is a factor in SOME diseases. But there are several behaviors that are more directly linked to life threatening diseases (sun tanning <-> skin cancer) that are not discussed. Some studies even suggest a "few extra pounds" may PROLONG life and prevent CERTAIN diseases, while causing others. (I have yet to see smoking prevent a disease or prolong life.)

I don't want to see Dan stop discussing the obesity "epidemic." (Another interesting observation: an epidemic is usually a term reserved for contagious diseases. Why do we apply it to weight gain? Does obesity actually ACT like an epidemic?) What I want is for him to discuss it in the complex matter it deserves.
Anyone who actually reads/listens to Dan regularly knows that:

A) he is the most open-minded, accepting person out there

B) he often pokes fun at the people seeking advice, BECAUSE IT'S FUNNY

I'm not saying he's a saint, but anyone who would doubt that he's ultimately compassionate and kind, has clearly missed what he's all about.

I love Lindy, she's hilarious and brilliant, but Dan is not the bad guy here. And I definitely would want to defend myself if I had been so unfairly attacked in a public forum, at length.

Love you Dan.
Jesus Christ. Just eat a fucking sandwich already.
I am a smoker. I am also a grown woman and I have to listen to people talk about my smoking continually, for crying out loud there are commercials and websites dedicated to telling me how horrible it is. Strangers stopping on the street to tell me that smoking will kill me, make me old and ugly. I watch people fake cough while staring at me from across the street like my second hand smoke crossed a four lane street. If I have to put up with that, fat people can put up with their end of the stick. Do we have to appreciate what other people think of us? Agree with them? Hell no! But to sit there a huskier person and expect that no one is going to say anything, no one is going to hand you a ww flier or a free gym membership is just,ridiculous. You cant sit there, a fat person eating icecream or a smoker taking a puff of their inhaler before lighting up and expect people keep their mouths shut. If you honestly do then your stupid as well as unhealthy.
No one will probably read this, but I felt that I should say something. I am not sure I would be called fat, but I am certainly heavier then I have been in the past, despite relatively healthy eating habits. I can buy clothes in regular sizes, but only just and I am on the verge of no longer being able to do so. My personal feelings about the fat acceptance movement are complicated. Although I agree that learning to love and accept your body when it does not fit the industry standard is a great thing that will hopefully lead to a healthier ideal being perpetuated overall, I don't think self-acceptance should be used as an excuse for unhealthy or irresponsible behavior. My lifestyle is not one of total ease and immediate pleasure. Sure I have fun, sometimes I eat things that are bad for me or drink too much, but I do not see these as aspects of my life that defining and non-negotiable. Lindy and many other FA people act like eating a bag of dorritos is just a fact of life, one that cannot be changed, one that they'll just have to learn to live with. They know it's tied to their weight, but somehow see being fat as an inalienable right. I guess it is, but what confuses me is that they do not seem to take this philosophy with them to other aspects of their life. Lindy is obviously educated and accomplished. Clearly writing/intellectualism in general came more naturally to her than athletics, but to dismiss exercise and healthy eating all together as not who she is seems hypocritical. College is hard. I am finishing my final semester at an ivy league university, and as much as I would like to stop working and go back to bed; just giving up and saying I accept my academic non-conformity is stupid, short-sighted and really just a bad idea. Why is this attitude only acceptable in our eating/exercising habits? I agree it is hard to eat and exercise when so much neuroticism is attached to those activities, and I think it's great that Lindy has finally overcome those feelings, but why must we continue to stigmatize doing something that is good for us and calling out people like Dan Savage, who in the grand scheme of things is not the enemy, for suggesting that we strive for more than complacency and immediate gratification? I hold myself to the highest personal standard in all areas of my life. If you think that being fat is the only thing that our society and the media tells us we should be and the rest of your life is pure personal choice, you're wrong.
Here's the thing, Dan. You seem to talk about obesity a LOT more than other people on slog. Also, you made a post a little while back about how if gay marriage is illegal so should be obese marriage. How does alienating people work towards your goal? You've talked before about how 'these people' (haters/christians) shouldn't be engaged in a direct argument, since they don’t deal in facts you can argue. So here you are, arguing a point: they say gay marriage is bad for america’s health, you point out that obese marriage is worse. And now all these obese people who agree that marriage rights should be equal feel attacked by you. Maybe that’s not your intention, but that’s how the message is received. And then you claim to never have made any negative comments on fat people.

So your remark that you shouldn’t have to put on kid gloves is valid, but you have to realize that you can’t claim you don’t hate obese people when that’s how you come across.
fit > fat
Dan, you don't realize how much you sound like Perkins & LaBarbera here. You really do. Just substitute "fat" for "gay". And like them, you're on the losing end of this because your "concern" for the health of obese people doesn't ring true. I'm sorry, but I don't think you want obesity eliminated to improve the general health, you want obesity eliminated so that you won't have to look at obese people. And that's bigotry. You're a bigot, Dan Savage. Own up to it, and work on it. And no, don't worry, "working on it" does not involve having sex with a fat guy.

It's cool, bud, we still love ya, warts and all. You've been part of my life for 15 years now, and if this was a problem for me, I would've stopped reading long ago (and my first, and best lover was in the obese category). But at the very least, give this a rest.
lotta fatties weighing in on this issue
@265: the tiptoeing by staffers is really apparent. I'm betting that in the office, Lindy is the super funny, fun, too-cool-for-school chick (which, I'd point out, are all coping mechanisms for being fat) that everyone wants to be friends with.

So they chime in to circle jerk the FA crowd initially -- and note that it was only the women and gay staffers who spoke up...~so oppressed~

Then on the other hand, there's Dan, and they see now that he's right. And shoot, he isn't technically their boss, but only because he chooses not to be and relinquished editorial duties to do other things. Make no mistake: the Stranger would not exist if not for Dan and Tim. This is their baby. He could snap his skinny little fingers and have any one of them dismissed.

So they are measuring their statements, and it's obvious. They are like the family members who got involved when they shouldn't have and are now trying to assert their neutrality to avoid further damage of their own credibility with the parties involved.

Jebus. A manufactured controversy manufacturing page views.
I was going to say that the fat advocates are externalizing an internal conflict about being fat and projecting their anger and self-loathing on to Dan (or anyone else who dares call them on their bs) and seeing malice and bigotry where none exists, but I got to the end of Dan's post and realized he already knew that.

I'm sorry to see that Lindy had trouble accepting her body; she's what Mexicans call, in their total and absolutely refreshing lack of political correctness, a "gordibuena", which would roughly translate as "hot fat chick" (BBW just doesn't cut it, as far as I'm concerned). Indeed, the other day, I spotted a shop called "Ropa para gorditas", i.e. Clothes for fat girls. That's fat acceptance. It does not preclude wanting to be healthy and adopt healthier habits. The Mexican government recently prohibited the sale of junk food at schools, and everybody agrees it's a good idea. But fat girls here proudly expose their "unsightly rolls of flesh" in public because they feel sexy, and believe me, they've got their fans.

Once fat people accept themselves, they can start seeing Dan's arguments for what they are. Until then, they'll just keep projecting their self-hatred on him and everyone else who hints that there's a link between size and eating/exercizing habits.

I'm an ex fat kid and a proud chubby chaser. The fact that I now have a quick metabolism and can't seem to get any weight has not made me perfectly healthy, since I could eat all the sugary stuff I wanted and am now borderline diabetic. But that's my fault. I know I'm responsible for my health, and I've taken appropriate steps to change my diet. So all you fat-advocacy ostriches, please do me a favour: just don't insult my intelligence, ok?
Swing and a miss from Dan, but good on him for electing to make his posts commentable again.
I can't believe you start out with, "I'm being personally attacked! That person's calling me a bigot which is meanmeanmean my feelings are hurt!" You sound like all those religious whack-jobs who cry victim when they're stripped of their god-given right to keep gays out of B&Bs.
@145, Lindy's post was beautifully written and resonates with women who grow up feeling ashamed of their bodies for multitudes of reasons. Which, sadly, is most of us. She's great, the post was great, and I'll echo my colleagues here--it's incredible to watch smart people argue in a forum like this.

That said, Dan isn't a monster. He's kind, he's generous with his time, and yeah, he's blunt. Those gleefully pouncing on their chance to label him as a frothing, fat-hating tyrant are way off the mark.
@ 278 That was not his point on "fat marriage". If you can't read, you shouldn't write.

SARCASM, you know what that means? Obviously not.
Police will respond to calls from a neighbor that an age-appropriate kid is sent walking 15 minutes to his soccer practice -- like the mother did something wrong. Kids being raised like veal is the new normal.

When people are made to live in fear, they will medicate themselves. Where is the medication in starving yourself and being skinny?
Canuck@246 One can have a conversation about health issues without using words like "unsightly" and "gross" both of which are "fact" to him but obviously not actual FACT. But, that's not to say I want that. But, I don't want him to say , essentially, "Oh, yeah...I'm not biased against fat people, but they're gross." It's hypocritical and tacky. He should just own it.

If we're going to jump on women's issues, then Dan also has apologized for his several of his hurtful, sexist statements. Pressed Ham. Using pussy all the time for negative descriptives. Basically, he tends to kowtow to feminists almost to the point of being a pussy.

He doesn't back down on fat. He dodges and is avoidant on the topic. And, he hasn't fought for any fat rights (not that there are any that fat people are really fighting for).

Where do you see the harm in owning up to one's bias if you're going to use language that belittles and shames a group of people?
286: She did attack him. And she did call him a bigot. Did you even fuckin' read it?
Shorter Savage:

"I'm not Lindy's boss, although I can probably get her fired if I want. You know...because I'm magnanimous that way. And oh yeah, because I totally love her. Totally. blah blah blah I don't know why you think I don't like Lindy or why she's taking this so personally, even though I'm verbally patting her on her pretty little head like a delusional puppy. yadda yadda yadda DEATHFATZ! IT'S SCIENCE! YOU'RE GOING TO DIE! YES YOU, FATTY! blow blow blow Why would you give a fat kid a donut? amirite? That song about parents beating fat kids was totally relevant and NOT about bullying, so my previous work isn't hypocritical at all! la la la la Also, my hatred of fat rolls? That was *totally* out of context. I hate fat rolls on skinny people too! memelookatmememe I lost weight, even though you said it totally wasn't possible for any person to ever lose weight, even though you didn't say that! But I still am insecure about my body, and this totally proves that society's fat hatred can't possibly be the cause of that!"
Who honestly thinks this is a good look for this woman?…
The real problem for Dan is that Lindy's on her way to becoming a bigger star than he is. In my mind, she already is.

Effective takedown, and gentle enough, considering how much you like this ungrateful, projecting colleague.

As I said in comment 1000-something in Lindy's thread, you are not the enemy, and she needs to stop generalizing her experience. Some people wrongfully point to the gay equality movement as an example of political correctness run amok. I think the fat acceptance movement might be a better example.

Still and all, you have a little way to go to match the precision and brevity and brilliance of Will Wilkinson's pwnage.
"I was taken out of context"? Really? That's your response?

"Rolls of exposed flesh are unsightly" is not a tame statement of fact; it's a highly charged statement of opinion, really no different from "light skin is prettier." It's a judgment based on cultural prejudices--ones shared by a majority of Westerners, to be sure, but prejudices all the same.

Actually, I have to say I'm totally bored by this little public squabble, but perhaps now you'll shut the fuck up about fat people and stick to what you're actually good at, which is giving sex advice.
ok, ok, ok...I get it now: Dan doesn't hate fat, Dan hates women.
Different strokes. Honestly, at Dan's age I think he should GAIN a few pounds to look a little more manly and hot. The super skinny theatre gay look isn't as effective after 35.
I feel like a neighbor when two siblings are beating on each other and Mom is off shopping. Cut it out, you two, or i'll call your grandma!
Wow. I am in shock that this ridiculous argument about "fat" has gotten out of hand and that Dan is being assaulted for absolutely no reason. I have never ever felt that Dan was anything but fair on the topic of fat and obesity. I cannot BELIEVE people are calling Dan "fat-phobic". He is upset about the obesity epidemic, as EVERYONE should be, and has always always always distinguished between 'obesity caused by bad decisions' and 'overweight but happy'. Whether people accept it or not, significant weight loss or gain DOES often affect how attractive a spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/partner finds you, which is why it often comes up in Dan's column. On occasion, Dan has brought up gently encouraging a partner to make healthier decisions but has never said anything like "If you're partner is not a supermodel you should shame them into losing every last pound for my enjoyment" which is what it seems like everyone on this thread seems to think. In fact, if someone wrote in complaining about not being attracted to a skinny person they were dating, I bet that Dan would encourage them to find someone plumper to love. OH WAIT, THAT HAPPENED ALREADY.…
Well written.

Being an advice columnist is bound to offend people. You're giving people ideas of how to make their life better which implies that some ways of living are worse. You can't write advice on fashion (for instance) without implying that some ways of dress aren't flattering (as you did).

Someone who is seeking to accept a part of themselves that is shamed by society at large will no doubt see you reinforcing those attitudes. To a point, this is inevitable.

For example, I had problems finding work when I first started listening. Society puts the unemployed down. Your advice (at the time) seemed like an attack... Saying "be employed to get a date" just made me have a harder time getting to a place where I could accept my situation.

But it wasn't an attack. And neither is fashion advice (however subjective) about what's flattering on people of a certain body type. And neither is advice that people should eat healthier. Or advice that being in shape can help people get dates.

Keep doing what you do. Much love.
As the owner of a bisexual, morbidly obese pit bull who I taught to smoke cigars and pray to Sarah Palin, I'm deeply offended by all of this.
The problem with the obesity epidemic as reported by the news is similar to the problems of 'binge drinking' as reported by the news. Seeing as most people don't actually know what constitutes obesity on a technical level (as @50 says, the terms 'overweight' 'fat' and 'obese' are generally interchanged, despite having clear separate definitions) means that in people's mind the statistics are far different from reality. That you can be defined as obese by your doctor, and as such add to the statistics for it, while not being considered more then 'a little bit fat' by non-medical people you come into contact with means that while obesity is a huge problem in the western world, a lot of people don't actually know what they're talking about when they spout statistics (like the poster upthread who referred to 16/18 as not being seriously fat, when it's likely that someone that size would be termed obese, depending on their height).

The huge problem with the obesity epidemic (and one that some FA people are willing to tackle, but many others aren't) is that while *roughly speaking* eat less and exercise, more might result in weight loss for many people, the state of food available to many of these people, compounded with their income and distance from that food means that for many people, eating healthier is a huge burden they can't meet. (If you have to take public transport for an hour to get groceries, and you work full time, you're not going to be buying expensive fresh produce that'll go off before you next get a chance to shop)

If the only solution to the HIV crisis was to say 'buy condoms and have less sex', you'd probably agree that while technically correct advice, it would be woefully underserving those at risk not to do things like have more access to health clinics for education and testing, and to invest money in prevention, treatment and cures. But it doesn't matter how much the government say 'eat less' if half the food most people have available to them is full of additives and corn syrup.
It's baffling that anybody would think a few examples of times when Savage restrained himself from being a total prick to fat people somehow "disproves" that he nonetheless has the ongoing habit of attacking and shaming fat people. He doesn't abuse fat people every day, in every utterance. Sometimes he talks about the subject in a polite-ish and sort of reasonable way.

The problem isn't all the times when he isn't making fat people feel like shit for no good cause. The problem is the times when he does, and that keeps doing it. And has the gall to think he's going to put a stop to the obesity epidemic by indulging in free fire asshollery to the epidemic's victims.
@290 Misanthrope: I guess I don't see those comments as hurtful or cruel...snarky, yes, but he's that way on a lot of issues, and that's part of what makes him enjoyable to read. He's not Obama, where he has to moderate every word he speaks. But, to be fair, I was never offened, at all, by the "ham" description, I thought it was funny as hell, so maybe my slightly twisted sense of humour has something to do with it. And I don't think he should be kowtowing to feminists, either. But, it's clear that 1000+ people were offended, so it's obviously a sensitive issue, I just don't think that muzzling him is the right response. But that's my take on it, I seem to be in the minority on this one.
Dan, thank you for responding to this nonsense. I really don't understand what people are getting all upset about. Yes, fat people are discriminated against in society. Yes, fat women are especially demonized. But being obese is a fucking choice. Being big-boned naturally or having 10-20 lbs extra is one thing, but being 50 lbs. overweight? That's a lifestyle choice.
I'm not saying it's easy to choose a different path. People are seriously fucking addicted to food just like alcoholics are seriously fucking addicted to alcohol. You can eat or drink yourself to death, but you are choosing to do so. People DO NOT choose to be poor or gay or whatever fucking age they are or whatever fucking skin color they happen to have. That's the difference. Fat people weren't born fat people. They might have a genetic predisposition towards being overweight, just like children of alcoholic often have a genetic predisposition toward being alcoholics, but becoming fat or an alcoholic is ultimately a choice. I don't think we should actively discriminate against fat people or alcoholics, but to declare their lifestyle choices off-limits for discussion is ridiculous.

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