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fat chance of myers showing any mercy

If there's one group who need taking down a peg or two, it's children. Specifically fat children. No one ever picks on them. This week Kevin Myers appeared on Lunchtime on Newstalk to complain about the "armies of fat children" on Irish streets.

"[Obesity is] not just a neutral condition. It causes ugliness. I hate to see a child's face vanish behind a wall of fat," he said.

Myers lamented a culture where health problems were on the rise and nobody took responsibility, so bravely stepped forward to point the finger of blame at . . . (can you guess?) . . . women. Did you think it was going to be that mad otter in east Clare? Sadly not, although in many ways he would be a more fitting foe for Myers.

Anyway, "You have to conclude that the mothers of Ireland are responsible for the fatness of their children," he said. "You can say that men are responsible . . . but we all know that men don't do meals because men aren't genetically programmed to be homemakers."

After he'd said his piece (men do have the genes for whinging, apparently), Damien Kiberd praised Myers for bravely speaking truth to power, before fondly recalling his mother's sandwiches and wondering aloud whether we'd reach a point, like in America, where "kids have to be lifted into hospital on fork-lift trucks?"

The answer, of course, is "no". And the appropriate response to all this is to tell Myers to pick on someone his own size ("But they are my own size!" I can hear him cry).

Charlie Bird could have done with an insulating layer of belly fat as he complainingly followed the Antarctic footsteps of Tom Crean, and an insulating layer of fat around his eyes to protect him from the TV critics.

On Liveline, Joe Duffy defended Bird. He read the reviews aloud, called out reviewers' names like he was Senator Joe McCarthy, spoke to Charlie over the telephone, and lined up callers who, not only liked Charlie ("The happiest day of my life was when he came back from America," said one caller, inexplicably), but were themselves explorers.

"If they haven't been there themselves they haven't a right to criticise," said an adventurer called Gerry. It felt like Charlie was being enlisted into an Explorers' Club and would end the week in a balloon, weeping in fear as a man in a top hat consulted an astrolabe.

On Today with Pat Kenny, Paddy O'Gorman went a bit 'Carry On Up the Dole Office' when he met a woman seeking a grant for an extra-large bra. Before the item was out, and a weary nation could say "Ooh matron!", he was complimenting her figure and noting her low-cut top. Even Pat Kenny said he was risking a slap. Some texters bemoaned the idea of tax-payers subsidising bras, but I'm with the one who said: "We can give millions to a banker, what's a bra between friends?"

Lunchtime, weekdays, Newstalk; Liveline, weekdays, RTE 1; Today with Pat Kenny, weekdays, RTE 1


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