Wednesday, August 01, 2012

I Think There May Be Some Hypocrisy Here

First, I don't follow the Olympics.  I watch ice hockey and curling during the winter games, but that is it.  (And the only reason I do that is because the NHL shuts down during the games.)  So, I have very little knowledge of any of the athletes--other than the ones that are constantly rammed down my throat via news, tweets, and Facebook.  I had no idea there was even a person named Holley Mangold before today--and that is because of the shitstorm Conan O'Brien found himself in following a tweet.  And the tweet was this:
"I predict 350 lb. weight lifter Holley Mangold will bring home the gold and 4 guys against their will."
This made a lot of people get their panties in a bunch because they saw this as poking fun of her weight.  I saw the entire story when I read an article by Mary Elizabeth Williams, a staff writer for Salon.  You will find the article here.  Go on--I'll wait.

I am not an apologist of Conan and I don't watch his show or follow him on Twitter.  However, I see nothing offensive in his tweet.  I agree with some of the (small minority) of people who commented on this article that he was just referencing her strength and NOT talking about how heavy she was.  And why did he mention her weight?  Well, probably because the 'joke' wouldn't have made much sense if the woman weighed 120 lbs, that's why.  I am waiting for Conan's forced apology to come.  So far, I haven't seen anything about a lawsuit, but there still is time.  (Isn't that what the US is all about?)

So, what does any of this have to do with hypocrisy?  Well, here we go.  I am willing to bet not one of these people who have vilified Conan for talking about this woman's weight would defend any other 350 lb woman who was not an Olympic athlete.  Any other woman would be told to have will power, start exercising, push herself away from the table, etc, etc, etc.  All that would be seen is a woman who is morbidly obese and pretty much scum-of-the-earth for not taking better care of herself.  And it wouldn't matter how much of a life this woman had.  She could be a wife, mother, businesswoman, social butterfly, whatever, but to most people it wouldn't matter--all they would see is a failed individual because of her weight.  And there is where I see the hypocrisy.

I am very sure that Ms Mangold is a fine young woman.  I am sorry that her athletic talent means nothing to me, but I wish only the best for her.  However, being a world-class athlete--even one in a sport that most people don't follow--does not give her any idea what the real world is like.  Very few, if any, would defend her OR her weight if she was not an Olympian.

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