Wow. Apparently obesity zealot MeMe Roth has taken a page from Lindsay Lohan’s publicity playbook: After publicly embarrassing yourself, instead of showing remorse and making amends, do something even more offensive.
Last Wednesday the publicist-turned-activist had to be physically restrained from vandalizing a YMCA snack table — an instance of all-too-authentic food fascism we were happy to report on. But it turns out we only knew half of the story. On that same day, Roth appeared on the Fox News Channel to complain about American Idol winner Jordin Sparks. Her beef: Sparks isn’t stick-figure thin and, therefore, she’s a bad example to young girls.
Now, we agree that Sparks isn’t built like a supermodel, but most Idol viewers think that’s a good thing. Considering all the press and praise directed at semi-anorexic celebrity starlets, it’s relatively healthy to give someone who looks, well, healthy a share of the spotlight. But Roth complained on Fox:
When I look at Jordin, I see diabetes, heart disease, I see high cholesterol … She’s the vision of unhealth.
Our initial assessment of this outburst is that it was merely a cheap ploy from someone desperate for attention. But that doesn’t do justice to the pernicious pathos underlying Roth’s hysterics and those of food cops in general. MeMe provides a glimpse at her motives in an e-mail she sent to Reason magazine’s Radley Balko, who described her Fox News appearance as “shameless, contemptible” opportunism. Roth responds:
I 100% stand behind the statements I have made … It becomes an issue of national security when two-thirds of our nation have inflicted illness onto themselves … [Sparks’] extra weight is a reflection of today’s society and a culture where many of our children have compromised health due to unhealthful food choices and inactivity.
Roth equates girth to gangrene, and buffets to botulism. No wonder she’s so fanatical. And that fanaticism has blinded her to the mounds of evidence suggesting a little extra weight is perfectly healthy, and to the common-sense notion that it’s not food options themselves, but the choices people make among those options, that causes some of them to be fat.