Kevin Myers: Mothers must bear the blame for making our children obese
With obesity endemic across the world, fat is the great global king. One can even see fat Chinese children, which is rather like having Buddhist bullfighters or Zulu flower-arrangers.
And I loathe seeing the faces of fat children, without chins or jaws or cheekbones. Only an abject terror of being "judgmental" -- easily the most paralysing social norm of our times: our equivalent of the prudishness of the Victorian era -- prevents people discussing this issue with the frankness it deserves.
So for once, let's be honest. A child that is gratuitously fat is needlessly burdened with many handicaps: for ugliness and imminent disability in themselves lead to social isolation, emotional and sexual frustration, physical infirmity and often premature death.
Some people are so obese that they physically cannot reach around to wipe their own bottoms. So either they improvise, using sacrificial underwear, or a towel, or they get a chum to do it: so now do you wonder why the very, very fat also have very, very few friends? (Maybe someone will one day train insects to do it: the anality of weevil).
The conjoined 70s' trinity of feminism, fast-food and French fries lie at the heart of the obesity epidemic. Indeed, infantile fatness got off the very same plane as the word "French fries", which arrived in Ireland in 1978 with the opening of the first McDonald's in Dublin. Before then, we only ate "chips". However, to identify feminism as a factor in the obesity epidemic is not to condemn feminism, qua feminism, merely to accept that consequences invariably follow upon whatever we do.
For gay liberation, which was entirely welcome and right, then led to AIDS, which killed hundreds of thousands of men in Europe and the US. The internal combustion engine freed millions and transformed the wealth of nations, but it led to a death toll that matched that of wars. And 19th-Century nationalism gave people the right to be governed by their own kind -- but it also caused millions of deaths.
Each new lifestyle has its perils, which we must mitigate as best we can. So safe-sex practices, rigorously enforced driving laws and legal prohibitions on hate-speech have all reduced the mortal consequences of our new freedoms. We must do the same with children and fatness -- but this is not politically easy, because of a deadly auto-immune ideological virus that accompanied feminism: namely, rights-without-responsibilities.
Moreover, merely to state the next obvious truth -- that mothers are largely responsibly for the obesity epidemic amongst our children -- is to court hysterical denunciations from the virally infected. But we all know that most men don't even make proper meals for themselves, never mind for their families. And once hyper-busy women with careers started behaving like men in the preparation of meals -- using frozen or tinned food or the local takeaway -- then their children started getting fat.
The perfect adipose storm then came with the largely unwarranted hysteria over paedophiles: for instead of society calming the hysteria with a little dose of realism, technology indulged it. Children were driven to school instead of walking, and the computer screen came to be seen (wrongly, as we all now know) as safer than playing outside.
The Hibernian variant of this global disease is the utterly criminal refusal of many schools to accept responsibility for their pupils during lunch breaks, meaning that children spend their middays eating in nearby fast-food outlets, where they can acquaint themselves with a far more toxic enemy than child-abuse: the carbohydrate/ sugar nexus.
The human body turns carbohydrate into glucose, but it cannot then cope with the sudden sugar-surge, and so it converts the surplus blood sugar into fat (of which it is already receiving far too much, through meat grease and frying oils). The blood-sugar count then drops dramatically, so the body feels hunger again. The more often one rewards hunger with carbohydrate (plus, of course, sugared drinks) the more quickly one's busy liver generates even more fat, the blood-sugar levels drop again, and hunger returns.
Hello addiction, as thighs soon begin to resemble two hippos in a very small bath. Do you know why a fat person wheezes? It's because their huge belly is invading the ribcage, where it crushes the lungs. And you know what else? No one invites panting fatties out. The ultimate humiliation comes when you have to ask your one remaining friend to accompany you to the loo, or you improvise a sponge-stick. But you'll still have to burn your underwear.
And most lethal of all is the mental virus that accompanies obesity. This not merely acquits parents of their own personal responsibility for having made their children fat, but it also causes them to hallucinate. When they gaze at the revolting and inert tubs of lard that are their children, their poor diseased brains only register some adorable little offspring.
So the key to the cure of the obesity illness is the neutralisation of this deadly mental virus, amongst mothers especially. This will almost certainly require a popular movement as psychologically and politically powerful as feminism -- and needless to say, the author of such an ideology can only be a woman. Until her hour comes, fat will always rule.