Don't insult us fatties, Joanna. We may die young – but at least we'll die happy
20:43 GMT, 14 November 2012
While the latest comments from Lady Muck — sorry, Joanna Lumley — mark her out as something of a rent-a-gob (albeit one with a cut-glass accent), the hard facts of what she says are impossible to argue with.
‘Lots of people nowadays are too greedy,’ she said imperiously this week. ‘People think: “I must have a cupcake.” What do you mean you must You’ll get fat, you fool. They think: “I want a bit of choccie.” And you think: “No, don’t have it, you fool.” ’
On one level, she is quite right. People — and I include myself — get fat because they choose pleasure over self-denial.
Disciplined: Joanna Lumley stays thin on a diet of lettuce – but where's the fun in that asks Julie Burchill, right
But this doesn’t mean we are fools. It could simply be that we have realised that all roads lead eventually to infirmity and extinction — as the amusing slogan ‘eat well, exercise often, die anyway’ illustrates. And we have decided to have as much fun as possible on the way.
Frankly, the ill-tempered tone of Joanna’s diatribe suggests a woman who — in order to court public admiration well into her 60s, which could be seen as a sign of a narcissistic personality disorder — has starved herself to the point of rage.
This is known in fashion circles as being ‘hangry’, an affliction believed to contribute to the half-witted and hysterical tone of the fashion world generally and the psychotic behaviour of Naomi Campbell in particular.
To give Lumley credit, at least she is no Cameron Diaz, who wants us to believe her whipcord physique is the by-product of feasting on French fries and pork scratchings. Lumley admits: ‘On a typical day, I eat lettuce, followed by some lettuce, with lettuce.’
Who do you want as a role model Cuvry Nigella Lawson who believes in full fat ingredients, left, or health guru Gillian McKeith
Fair enough, if that’s what turns you on — and it’s what you need to do in order to keep getting work.
But the choice seems to have stoked resentment on her part towards all those women who do not have to rely on their appearance in order to make a living.
I’d like to point out here that this is not just the envious carping of a fat broad, on my part. In the past, I have pilloried that other national treasure, Dawn French, for suggesting rather pathetically that fat women are morally and sexually superior to thin ones.
I just have a real problem with people who seek to portray fatness or thinness as moral concepts.
On the one hand, Lumley sees in mere blubber a world of ignorance and idleness. On the other, French sees said blubber as a mark of sensuality and generosity.
'The reality is simply very boring. There are exciting, intelligent, fat people — and exciting, intelligent, thin people'
Gluttony and idleness are two of life’s great joys, but they are not honourable — no more than their opposite, dieting and exercise.
Big women do themselves a disservice when they attempt to become the Righteous Fat (the Righteous Thin are bad enough, all that running around and sweating, somehow believing it means anything).
The reality is simply very boring. There are exciting, intelligent, fat people — and exciting, intelligent, thin people.
There are dull, stupid, fat people — and dull, stupid, thin people. There are even — though, admittedly, the thin have the upper hand, even if it is an unattractively skeletal and wizened hand, a la Madonna — attractive thin people and attractive fat people, and unattractive thin people and unattractive fat people.
There are many happy, married, sexed-up fat women and many beautiful skinny girls sitting alone by the phone — and vice versa.
But the idea that thin and fat women might have plenty in common does not sit happily with some sections of society.
An eternal bitch-fight must be in motion — featherweights versus heavyweights — every time the dinner bell rings.
Last year, talking to Melvyn Bragg, Lumley spoke of the panic attacks that brought her to ‘the brink of utter insanity’ when she was in her 20s and living on ‘Marmite on toast for breakfast, lunch, tea and supper. There was nothing else to eat, we were so poor.’
Fool's paradise: Joanna Lumley said people are foolish for indulging in sweet treats likes cakes (posed by model)
Referring to it as ‘a bit of a wobbler’, she told Bragg: ‘I was on stage and began to see people levelling guns at me out of the boxes.’
If she’d had a nice cupcake or a bit of choccie before going on stage, I bet she’d have felt a lot better.
The diseases of dieting — anorexia, bulimia and osteoporosis —cost the NHS a great deal of time and money, as do diabetes and gastric bands.
But Lumley would never say of those who starve themselves: ‘Just eat something, fool.’ The extremely skinny and the health risks they incur are addressed with kid gloves.
'Lumley would never say of those
who starve themselves: “Just eat something, fool.” The extremely skinny
and the health risks they incur are addressed with kid gloves'
But the fat must simply stand there and brave all the abuse thrown at them; often, in my opinion, by people who envy their ability to live comfortably in their own skin and to value themselves more for their IQ than their BMI.
Last year, a funny email was doing the rounds: two photos, one of a full-fat Nigella Lawson at her most radiant, and one of that human husk Gillian McKeith, looking like Worzel Gummidge in drag.
The words beneath the photos ran: ‘Gillian McKeith is a 51-year-old TV health guru advocating a holistic approach to nutrition and health, promoting exercise, a vegetarian diet of organic fruits and vegetables.
‘She recommends detox diets, colonic irrigation and supplements, and also states that the colour of food is nutritionally significant. She also recommends faecal examination. Nigella Lawson is a 50-year-old TV cook in Great Britain, who eats nothing but meat, butter and desserts. I rest my case . . .’
Far from being fools, we fatties have cottoned on to the fact that binge-drinking, over-eating and all those causes and effects of weighing too much will mean we’ll die at a reasonable age — and thus can spend our savings with abandon as we grow old.
Eat frugally, live long, then find yourself being hustled down the Liverpool Care Pathway.
Or follow the primrose path of living fast, eating much, exercising little and dying from the side-effects of fun We are all free to choose. And I made my choice long ago. Cheers!