Fatty Boom Balattys and Their BIG STUPID FOOD!

So. Second only to "headless fatty" imagery, one of my most loathed characteristics of OHNOES Obesity CrisisTM reporting is stock footage of oversized food. I don't mean just a big serving of food, but food challenge-sized food, the sort of food that would be featured on Man v. Food or served up at an eating competition. Food-that's-going-for-a-world-record kind of food.

As if fat people eat that kind of food all the time. Which is why they're fat.

(The truth is, even fat people who are fat as a result of disordered eating aren't eating five-pound cheeseburgers and three-foot diameter pizzas, for chrissakes. It's just wrong, apart from anything else.)

Last night, Rachel Maddow ran a segment that was breathtaking in its use of clichéd oversized food stock footage, and truly shameless in its implication that people are fat because they eat this kind of food in mass quantities. Their "big, stupid food."

[Transcript below.]

Sometimes people ask me why I don't watch Rachel Maddow. Well, one reason is because the few times I have watched her show, I've gotten the distinct impression that she has nothing but contempt for the disgustingly fat losers who populate small towns in middle America. You know, people like me.

[H/T to Shaker Kate217.]
Maddow: One lesser-known part of the health reform bill that President Obama signed into law this morning requires restaurants with twenty or more locations nationwide to display nutritional information on their menus. That means you'll be able to see the exact number of calories in that burger or pizza or extra super-ginormous really quite large bubbly drink before you order it and put it in your mouth. New York City restaurants have already been displaying this type of info for a couple of years in an attempt to make people—to help people make healthier choices when they order. Expect conservatives to start seeing Maoist numerological plots in the calorie counts on menus at any moment. But while legislation might now be helping us become a slightly less obese nation, it turns out that art has been no help at all in this fight against the fat. Kent Jones has the story. Hi, Kent.

Kent Jones, MSNBC Correspondent: Good evening, senator. [Maddow laughs.] You know, art looks at life and then says back to us, "Eat more carbs." [Maddow laughs.] Here's the scientific proof right here. [Maddow laughs.]

[Begin videotape, showing stock footage of gigantic burgers, pizzas, and sundaes, segueing into stock footage of headless fatties, segueing into images of "Last Supper" paintings, all set to zany music and cut in a sort of terrible 1980's music video style.]

Jones, in voiceover: We live in the golden age of big, stupid food. Portion sizes have ballooned and ballooned until…voila! We are absolutely flab-ulous. Professor Brian Wansink of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab wanted to know if this craving for more and more food was a new phenomenon or something that's been expanding over time, like we have. So, he analyzed the food shown in 52 of the best-known paintings of "The Last Supper" from 1,000 AD until today.

Wansink: We measured the size of the food, and measured the size of the plates, and measured the size of the bread. We indexed them based on the size of people's heads.

Jones, in voiceover: And he found that the main courses shown in the paintings grew by 69 percent, the plate size by 66 percent, and the bread size by 23 percent. As it was written in the Gospel, according to Olive Garden. Said Wansink, "I think people assume that increased serving sizes, or portion distortion, is a recent phenomenon. But this research indicates that it's a general trend for at least the last millennium." So basically, more food in the real world means more food in the paintings. And that means more food for Jesus and the apostles. It's a miracle!

Clip from Life of Brian: I think it was blessed are the cheese-makers.

Jones, in voiceoever: Amen.

[End videotape.]

Maddow: I love that they based it on head size.

Jones: Yeah.

Maddow: That was the index.

Jones: Yeah. Don't—don't eat anything bigger than your head, right?

Maddow: —bigger than your head. That's the rule, right? I broke that rule in Arkansas. [Maddow laughs.]

Jones: We heard about that. But anyway— [Jones laughs.]

Maddow: I'm sorry. Burp! [Jones laughs.] All right. That does it for us tonight. Thank you very much, Kent. We will see you again tomorrow night. Until then, our new blog at maddowblog.msnbc.com is awesome. We hope you check it out.

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