The NYT reports on the New Jersey governor’s race, and states pretty baldly that the incumbent, Jon Corzine, is making his opponent’s size a campaign issue:
It is about as subtle as a playground taunt: a television ad for Gov. Jon S. Corzine shows his challenger, Christopher J. Christie, stepping out of an S.U.V. in extreme slow motion, his extra girth moving, just as slowly, in several different directions at once. …Mr. Corzine’s television commercials and Web videos feature unattractive images of Mr. Christie, sometimes shot from the side or backside, highlighting his heft, jowls and double chin.
The story includes a link to the slo-mo FatCam ad, and maybe I’ve been living in the corpulent Midwest too long, but I don’t see it. He’s a big guy for sure, but I don’t see the moving-in-different-directions part, although it could be my monitor. Like many Americans, almost everything I know about New Jersey I learned from watching “The Sopranos,” and let me just say, Christie is no Bobby Bacala. (Neither is Bobby Bacala; he wore prosthetic flab for much of the series.) But the story raises an interesting point: No language is as minutely fly-specked as campaign ad copy, and surely the ad, which says Christie “threw his weight around,” was designed as a poke in the spare tire.
There aren’t many groups of people you can pick on with impunity, but fat people are one of them, because it’s all their fault, you know. If they wanted to be thin, they could, if they’d just get some exercise, scrape half the food off their plates, park in the far reaches of the lot, have different parents, etc. I suppose, if Christie wanted to make an issue out of it, he could mention that Corzine nearly died in a car crash when the gubernatorial SUV crashed on the Garden State Parkway, and that his injuries were surely exacerbated by the fact he wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The only reason it’s permissible to criticize fatties is because obesity drives up health-care costs, etc. — you’ve heard this before. So do car crashes with unrestrained human beings bouncing around inside.
Of course, that would be seen as extreme dirty pool. Better to fight back with humor, as former Baywatch baby Nicole Eggert demonstrates. On the other hand, humor is likely in short supply in any political campaign. Especially in New Jersey.
Fun fact to know and tell: New Jersey is one of the leanest states, according to CalorieLab Inc., which ranked it 42nd in obesity last year. So says the NYT. I’d never have imagined.
Living in Michigan resets many of your meters, including the Hard Times gauge. We’re in the midst of a California-style budget fiasco, and some of the nickels and dimes the state is looking to pick up are fascinating. There’s a proposal on the table to allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m., if they’re willing to pay $1,500 for an enhanced license. It’s estimated to raise $13 million and change, not enough to make a huge difference, but what the hell. The restaurant business says, “Great idea, but that’s way too much to charge.” Municipalities say, um, no. Just what a hard-drinking state like Michigan needs: More time to drink.
Fun fact to know and tell: The city commissioner of Royal Oak, a suburb with lots of bars and restaurants, is named Terry Drinkwine. I love reality. It’s so much more amusing than fiction.
But for real drama on the hard-times front, you couldn’t beat the scene at Cobo Center yesterday. The city had announced it would be making emergency grants of federal money to families in danger of losing their homes or utilities. They had the means to help about 3,400 families; 50,000 people showed up. The crowd got restless, then angry, and six people had to be taken away by ambulance.
Apparently the problem was rumors that they’d be handing out cash on the barrelhead. Well, that and the 28 percent unemployment rate.
OK, then. I have just enough time to try to beat Eric Zorn at the crossword before I have to go to the gym, in my vain attempt to stave off looking like Chris Christie. At least I’ll have rock-hard abs under all that flab.
coozledad said on October 8, 2009 at 10:15 am
Christie ain’t got no problems a little airbrushing won’t fix.
brian stouder said on October 8, 2009 at 10:23 am
I have just enough time to try to beat Eric Zorn at the crossword before I have to go to the gym, in my vain attempt to stave off looking like Chris Christie.
This sentence tripped me up. I honestly thought this was a clever swipe at Rush Limbaugh – who Keith Olbermann often features in a video loop bouncing up and down like a gravel-pit dump truck. But it didn’t sound right, so I Googled (in an attempt to cause the proprietress to do a strike-through; always a fun game!), and learned that he was “Jeff Christie”….and only THEN did I have my “D’OH!!” moment, and make the connection with the New Jersey candidate for governor!
moe99 said on October 8, 2009 at 10:56 am
Well, there’s always the way I’m taking to lose weight. Don’t recommend it, however.
Jen said on October 8, 2009 at 11:05 am
coozledad, I might have nightmares about that photo tonight.
LAMary said on October 8, 2009 at 11:09 am
When I lived in NJ the Tony Soprano build was pretty typical for guys over thirty five. They must be eating low fat calzones these days.
Jeff Borden said on October 8, 2009 at 11:17 am
Efforts to close Chicago’s $500-million budget deficit has City Council constantly looking for new ways to make money. Yesterday, they passed an ordnance levying a $250 fine on people with barking dogs. There are few details about how long your pup must be barking before it becomes a nuisance. It will probably turn out to be a great new way for neighbors to be assholes to each other. If you don’t like the family next door and Bowser is out there barking at a squirrel, a call to the coppers and you get to ding them with a $250 punch.
Jolene said on October 8, 2009 at 11:22 am
Our images of New Jersey involve gangsters of various descriptions, women w/ big hair, and the poor of Newark and Camden, but it is actually second in median household income. Lots of rich financiers and lots of highly educated people who work in the pharmaceutical industry and other high-tech companies.
Re the piece on Christie, I had the same reaction as you did, Nance. After reading the article, I expected a much bigger guy than I saw in the film.
Colleen said on October 8, 2009 at 11:27 am
When you’re fat, everyone can tell what your “problem” is just by looking at you. Wish people would think about THAT some time. Some outward indication of “drinks to blackout” or “loves her vicodin” or “likes young girls” or “cheats on spouse” or “steals from work” would make the world interesting, huh?
nancy said on October 8, 2009 at 11:30 am
I imagine New Jersey is one of those states that’s radically different from one part to another. See also: Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, et al. The NYC-commuter numbers of the north end cancel out the flab elsewhere.
Jeff Borden said on October 8, 2009 at 11:34 am
Off subject but interesting:
You may have heard that Rush Limbaugh is involved with a group including St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts to buy the St. Louis Rams. Rush, of course, fancies himself quite the brilliant football follower and had a brief stint as an NFL color commentator until he unleashed one of his racist long bombs by complaining that sportswriters went easy on Donovan McNabb because they were desirous of seeing a successful black quarterback.
In the Washington Post, former NLFer Roman Oden, who played 12 years in the league, thinks this is a very bad idea. His comments follow:
From Bad to Worse
I thought it could not be worse for the St. Louis Rams than being 0-4; I was wrong. Yesterday I read Rush Limbaugh is joining St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts as part of a group bidding to purchase the Rams.
I’m not sure what’s lower: Rush Limbaugh’s approval rating in the African American community or JaMarcus Russel’s passer rating. But in a league of professional athletes who are mostly African American and come from humble backgrounds, a Limbaugh-owned Rams team would neither elicit the warmest reception by the players in the locker room, nor would it attract the free agent who is weighing options on his NFL future.
Anyone who has made a living bashing political leaders and their policies by vicious and unethical personal attacks, accused actor Michael J Fox of “exaggerating the effects of Parkinson’s disease,” made racially-charged comments about Donovan McNabb’s ability as a black quarterback and hypocritically called for harsher punishment for minorities charged with low level drug crimes while himself being criminally addicted to oxycontin for many years, does not represent the honor, integrity and dignity for which the NFL shield is supposed to represent.
Character is a constant point of emphasis for NFL and team officials when it comes to the players; potential owners should be held to the same level of scrutiny and accountability.
Connie said on October 8, 2009 at 11:37 am
Interested that you mention Royal Oak as I just paused briefly to read the newly posted ad for a Library Director in Royal Oak. Nope, not moving, not moving, and that one would be out of the fire back into the frying pan or some such.
Plus due to my hubby’s vet status my kid is still entitled to a 4 yr tuition/fees waiver at any state college/univ in Indiana, and you have to be resident, and she is applying to a 3 yr grad program at IU. Indiana here we stay.
And one of my library director friends who use to live and work in Fort Wayne has invited me to join her on a visit during our upcoming conference to her “all-time favorite dive bar, O’Sullivans.” dive bar? Any comments from you Fort Wayners?
coozledad said on October 8, 2009 at 11:50 am
Southern Virginia is pretty chunky. Whenever I feel fat, all I have to do is drive to Danville to get some perspective. They’ve got three restaurants there whose names sum up the general physical condition of the inhabitants: The Heart Line (a DQ with more pork, my wife calls it the Flatline), The Dairy Heart (truth in advertising), and Short Sugar’s (all pork, with sweet tea).
ROgirl said on October 8, 2009 at 11:50 am
The other part of the liquor proposal is to lift the ban on sales before noon on Sunday. It’s about time the legislature risk offending all those devout Christians who think it’s sinful to even think about alcohol at a time when they expect everyone else to be worshipping the Lord.
LAMary said on October 8, 2009 at 11:53 am
Tony Soprano and his buds were all northern NJ characters. I think Tony lived in West Caldwell and that’s definitely in the north in commuter country. While there definitely are lots of commuters in that part of the state, there’s also a lot of local industry. The leafy ‘burbs are interspersed with places like Paterson, Newark, Hoboken, Jersey City, Union City, Clifton, Passaic. There’s also a lot of older towns that have industry and working class suburban housing. My old town, Hawthorne, falls into that category.
Peter said on October 8, 2009 at 11:56 am
Jeff, I got my speed dial ready when that ordinance will be on the books – my neighbor from across the street has four yapping dogs, and her idea of letting them exercise is to let them out of the house and bark at high volume – EVERY DAY AT 5:00 AM!
brian stouder said on October 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm
I’m off to Springfield, Illinois next Friday. The funny thing about that state is that when you’re anywhere downstate, the folks refer to Chicago with an odd mixture of pride and embarrassment; possibly the way one might talk about their idiot-savant parents
Jeff Borden said on October 8, 2009 at 12:04 pm
I had a neighbor like that back in Columbus. They were rude, thoughtless creeps who lived in the apartment below me. Every morning at 6 a.m., they put their dog out while they got ready for work. The mutt spent the next 90 minutes at the back door, barking his head off.
Nancy can probably verify this, but the guy who lived in the apartment across the hall from me before she moved in was literally ready to shoot the dog one morning. He had a .22 rifle in his hands when I stopped him. He was a bit of a maniac –he made up his own batches of LSD and would trip on occassion– but I talked him out of it. I eventually induced that couple to move away through various and sundry means that shall not be discussed here, but suffice to say, no one shed a tear when the moving van showed up.
In your case, Peter, you have a legit complaint. I’ll bet there will be other cases, however, that will simply be used to get back at a neighbor for some slight or another.
Sue said on October 8, 2009 at 12:19 pm
What’s kept me quiet re my neighbor’s barking dog is what will happen to the dog if I do anything. There is a significant portion of the population in WI that thinks a dog is something you put out in a kennel in the backyard and forget except for feeding and watering. Affection? Interaction? No and no. Laws covering basic care require only shelter from wind and food/water, so there’s no recourse there. You can’t force someone to love a pet to your standards.
So, you take a pack animal and remove it from its pack, isolating it for major stretches of time. Then of course you punish the dog for not behaving when it barks, because it’s not your fault it’s a bad dog.
What the hell is the point of having the dog in the first place? Oh, yeah. It was probably cute when it was little – who thinks past that?
alex said on October 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm
“all-time favorite dive bar, O’Sullivans.”
Also known as O’s. Hilljack meatrack where murder and mayhem occur on occasion. Middle-class folk like to go there for slumming.
EDIT: In my younger years used to go there with two good Catholic schoolgirls from St. Francis College who between the two of them probably had more abortions than Carter’s had pills.
Pam said on October 8, 2009 at 1:48 pm
The Republicans here locally (home town Columbus) did the same thing to Mary Jo Kilroy. They ran TV ads that showed her having a bad hair day, her sagging eye bags, no makeup, whatever. Repeated them over and over and the R candidate won by a narrow margin. However, she got voted out the next election and Kilroy was voted in. But in the follow on election, Kilroy was careful that all of her own ads featured her perfectly coiffed. It was really pathetic, but as I watched the previous ads, I knew they had something. Mary Jo looked baaad in them. It was hard to erase the image. But I’m happy that she finally prevailed. I also felt that this was blatantly sexist as women aren’t allowed to look their ages. Now we have “fatists”.
basset said on October 8, 2009 at 1:49 pm
>>I eventually induced that couple to move away through various and sundry means that shall not be discussed here
awwww, come on, discuss…
and remember, nobody hears one shot.
nancy said on October 8, 2009 at 1:55 pm
It was a guerilla campaign, Basset. My favorite salvo was the stereo volume manipulation. I’ll let Jeff tell the story. But I’ll say this: They had it coming after they use the old broomstick-on-the-ceiling trick in criticism of the volume of Jeff’s looooovemakin’.
Pam, some of the pictures of Jennifer Brunner that appeared on her opponent’s ads in the last cycle were grotesque. I’ve known her for years, and I wouldn’t have recognized her.
Rana said on October 8, 2009 at 1:58 pm
It’s always bemused me how much some people seem to care about other people’s weight. Obesity as a general, mass population issue is indeed something to be concerned about, because it’s the symptom of many things wrong (lack of access to walkable areas, lack of time to make use of them, food that’s unhealthy and cheap or expensive and hard to get to, etc.) but that doesn’t really translate to what’s going on in individual bodies.
So many people assume that (a) fat is a moral issue and (b) it is appropriate to stick one’s oar in when in the presence of people who are fat.
The thing is that weight frequently has very little to do with health, or willpower, or a lack of knowledge about nutrition and exercise, and a lot to do with one’s genetics, medicines, etc. I know some well-cushioned folks who eat far better than I do, who can bench press more than I do, and who exercise regularly. Then there are folks like me, who stay the same “thin” weight regardless of what I do, who eat terribly, have cholesterol counts through the roof, and are overjoyed to become fit enough to run two blocks before becoming winded. I’ve done little to deserve the body I have, and I dare say that the same is true for people much thinner or fatter than I am.
In any case, even if fat were an accurate marker of lazy slobbishness, I find it bizarre that people feel justified in lecturing or hectoring random strangers about it. I mean, dudes, get off your high horses. It’s not like you’re perfect, either, and society runs more smoothly when we all keep our noses out of each other’s personal business. I don’t like people commenting on my own person, so I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to comment on theirs.
Julie Robinson said on October 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm
“…when you’re anywhere downstate, the folks refer to Chicago with an odd mixture of pride and embarrassment; possibly the way one might talk about their idiot-savant parents.”
Hahahaha. I grew up in downstate Illinois, 60 miles straight west of Chicago, and Brian, you have hit the nail on the head. My family always looooved Chicago for the museums, theatre and shopping, but many of my friends never, ever visited. I still loooove it, even more right now since our daughter is there!
Sue said on October 8, 2009 at 3:02 pm
Update on the conservative bible we were discussing a few days ago:
Last night Stephen Colbert urged his mischief-making minions to put him in the new bible, saying “because conservapedia is user-edited like wikipedia, you can add something the bible is sorely lacking: me”.
Conservapedia has been going offline all day.
Naughty, naughty Colbert followers!
Dave K. said on October 8, 2009 at 3:30 pm
“all-time favorite dive bar, O’Sullivans.”
“Also known as O’s. Hilljack meatrack where murder and mayhem occur on occasion….”
Never heard “O’s” described quite that way before but yeah, that’s why we love it!! Also home to Ft.Wayne Rugby Football Club, (which may account for some of the aforementioned M & M)
What say you, brother Joe? If only those mooseheads on the wall could talk….
Joe Kobiela said on October 8, 2009 at 3:56 pm
Yea never saw murder and mayhem at O’s
Maybe Alex was disappointed by all us manly Rugby players in our cute shorts paying attention to the hot chicks instead of him.
I can think of a few dive bars you and I drank in way worst than O’s
Hexdecimal said on October 8, 2009 at 3:57 pm
Dave, Alex, Connie:
To whomever get’s to O’Sullivans first… Could you check the wall in the old family room to see if my pony tail is still hanging there. It would be just the opposite side of the wall from the first (bra and panty covered) moose head on the bar side. Friends and I hung it there with great fan fare back in 1992. The last time I was in O’s it was 1998 or 1999, and it was still hanging there.
Ah.. the good times….
brian stouder said on October 8, 2009 at 4:56 pm
You know, excluding the times – about 30 years ago! – when my buddies and I were enthralled by drinking $6 beers to see naked women dancing, it occurs to me that I have never been in any bar, in Fort Wayne or elsewhere.
Come to think of it, the naked women bars I visited mostly don’t exist anymore, either. There was Mad Anthony’s on South Anthony, that was the first such place I walked into (they were very liberal about not carding patrons!) – now an empty lot; Gibson Girl up in an industrial park; and Poor Johns on Calhoun – which DOES still exist.
That phase lasted about 6 months; but once you talk to the folks who work in those places, and they become individuals instead of objects, the shine comes right off the whole thing.
Jean S said on October 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm
hey Moe, you ain’t kidding. I call that the “shock and awe” diet. My brother-in-law is just now putting a couple of pounds back on after his version of it, 2 years ago….
Linda said on October 8, 2009 at 7:13 pm
Rana, it’s not about the fat people. It’s the people doing the lecturing. They are people who want so badly to feel superior about something. Now that we in the modern day understand that to be a racist, misogynist or antisemite=douchebag, fat seems to be the only thing that can make unhappy people feel superior about their otherwise wasted lives. Because we have a belief that it’s perfectly under our control.
I’m persuaded that the same sense of superiority is one reason why the Maury Povitch and Jerry Springer shows are still on the air. No matter how bad you’ve jacked up your life, there is somebody on the show who jacked theirs up worse.
LAMary said on October 8, 2009 at 7:33 pm
My ex was incredibly obnoxious about weight. He used to say he could not take anyone who was overweight seriously since they clearly were stupid or neurotic if they were overweight. When my older son’s asthma was really bad, one of the drugs he had to use had steroids in it, and he gained some weight. His face looked puffy. His dad gave him and me so much crap about him being fat. It was horrible.
Jolene said on October 8, 2009 at 8:09 pm
Sounds like a good guy to have divorced, Mary.
Agree w/ everyone who’s said that disdain for people who are overweight is the last socially acceptable prejudice. Over time, obesity has, it seems to me gone from being an attractiveness issue to a psychological issue (to wit, Mary’s ex) to a medical issue and is now, in our focus on costs, a moral issue. To be overweight now is not only bad for you, but bad for America.
Deggjr said on October 8, 2009 at 9:06 pm
So this is not the context in which to say Rush Limbaugh casts a giant shadow on American politics?
basset said on October 8, 2009 at 9:51 pm
well, I’m six-one, just under three hundred, and not exactly toned, so… and, yes, prejudice does happen. I was out riding my bike last summer when a bunch of tight-spandex-pants Tour de France wannabes blew by me. from somewhere in the bunch… sorry, they like to call it a “peloton”… I heard “outa the way, fatass!”
my response was “F*** you, you better not stop!” And they didn’t, not anywhere I could see them.
Jeff, definitely tell the story of your campaign against the neighbors. Reminds me of the vacation we went on a couple summers ago, on the Columbia River up in Washington State. Rented a cabin with a shared hot tub on the deck… a pair of thirtysomething newlyweds were in the other half of the duplex, and the lights weren’t out long before Mrs. Basset and I, along with our tenth-grader, heard them rollin’ and tumblin’ at considerable length.
And it was an accident when I turned on the porch light. I was trying to cut the kitchen light on and find another beer. Really.
crazycatlady said on October 9, 2009 at 12:58 am
I know about problems with obesity. I am obese. But I can tell you one thing. It doesn’t matter how kind you are, how compassionate you are, how good a person you are in public. To them you’re nothing but a fat lady. I’ve seen kids stare, people treat me as if I’m invisible. The truth is harsh. And painful. And all my fault.
Dexter said on October 9, 2009 at 1:35 am
Frank Beckmann’s coverage of the “Obama money giveaway” on his WJR-AM radio show was sickening. All the cliches were dredged up about people “not living responsible lives” and “not preparing themselves for the workplace”, and his callers, the first few anyway, were so racist I thought I was listening to a goddam Klan rally’s lead speaker. Frank is a Detroiter and has always lived there in Metroland somewhere, and to hear this go on in the tone of “welfare queen haters from the 1960s” was pathetic. Why is it that on these stations that carry Limbaugh and his entourage of lesser clowns and hatemonters , the locals that do the morning shows must also adopt a crazy-right-wing theme for their shows? The same thing down in Cincinnati, where the Kool Aid is drunk by all at WLW-AM, even the sports reporters and broadcasters…Marty Brennaman campaigned for the Bushes and McCain during the baseball broadcasts, fer crissakes.
Connie said on October 9, 2009 at 7:13 am
OMG. Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize.
Connie said on October 9, 2009 at 7:16 am
So, I am cranking up MSNBC.com as I do first thing in the a.m., and in the same room my husband is looking at CNN. As I say Oh my god, he says, wow, breaking news. We decided since it was breaking news on both sites it had to be true, but we both had this sort of brief moment when we wondered if we comehow were at The Onion or some such. Rush Limbaugh’s head is going to explode.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 9, 2009 at 7:24 am
Rush’s head? What about Bill Clinton’s!
ROgirl said on October 9, 2009 at 7:48 am
I guess it makes up for not getting the Olympics.
beb said on October 9, 2009 at 8:05 am
The Noble Peace Prize?!!! Ain’t that a kick in the Tea Bagger’s pants.
brian stouder said on October 9, 2009 at 8:31 am
Limbaugh/Hannity/teabag mode ON:
It jest shows that that damned Obama feller wants to TAKE OVER THE WORLD! He don’t keer one bit about ‘murika; he’s got one a’ them-there Messy-complexes…he’s thinks he gets the ointment!
LHT mode OFF.
Marty Brennaman campaigned for the Bushes and McCain during the baseball broadcasts, fer crissakes.
Dexter, I am genuinely takem aback by that; quite disappointing. And you’re right – our local rightwing noise machine station is in lock-step, right down to the banter with the weather guy
Sue said on October 9, 2009 at 8:31 am
What’s it going to be, folks?
“There were no viable candidates, so they might as well give the prize to Obama”; “The rest of the world is still enthralled with Obama and hasn’t woken up yet”; “The Nobel Committee wanted to give a consolation prize for losing the Olympics”; “Why isn’t he taking care of his own country instead of going around courting prize committees”…
What are we going to be hearing in the next day or so?
Jolene said on October 9, 2009 at 8:40 am
You called it, Jeff. I thought, too, that Clinton would be more than a little surprised, as I’m sure we all are.
Despite being a big Obama enthusiast, I find it a little amazing, and I suspect Obama does too. Worse, I think it may hurt his efforts more than help them, but perhaps he’ll find a little a way to play it so that the focus is on possibility rather than accomplishment.
Ben said on October 9, 2009 at 5:19 pm
MediaCurves.com conducted a study among 300 New Jersey residents on the recent anti Chris Christie ad that states Christie is “throwing his weight around.” The results showed that the majority of all political parties do not believe the “weight” reference in the ad was intended to reference Christie’s actual weight. Additionally, the majority of Democrats (59%) and Independents (62%) do not believe the reference to “weight” was inappropriate, while Republicans were split, with 44% of Republicans indicating that the reference was inappropriate and an equal amount (44%) reporting that it was appropriate.
More in depth results can be seen at:
Ricardo said on October 9, 2009 at 11:14 pm
I want to change my name to Drinkwine.