Yeah, I thought Rex Reed was dead, too. We’re thinking of Paul Lynde.
Anyway, Rex Reed isn’t dead. And perhaps in an effort to remind us that he’s still around, the New York Observer film critic seems to have Googled “What’s HOT in offending sensible people” and came up with “fat shaming.” And then he fat-shamed actress Melissa McCarthy in his review of Identity Thief.
You know “fat shaming”, right? It’s the fad diet technique dreamed up by bioethicist Daniel Callahan whereby overweight people are made to feel insecure and unhappy via constant social reminders to be more svelte, healthy, and attractive while wearing runway-chic clothing.
Or as others call it, “current everyday life.”
In his paper “Obesity: Chasing An Elusive Epidemic,” Callahan suggests we heighten the social stigma of being overweight in an altruistic effort to pressure people into realizing that they need to lose a few pounds. In his review, RexReed calls McCarthy “tractor-sized,” a “female hippo,” and a comedian “who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious.” You mean like that, Mr. Callahan? (Insert sarcastic slow clap.)
Rex Reed has a long history of being, well, a dick. More often than not, he’s a dick who writes in that brainy, snarky voice so precious to brainy, snarky readers. For a brief moment somewhere in the 1970s, I recall hearing about some of Reed’s more cutting bon mots and thinking, “Oh no he didn’t!” By the 1990s, Reed’s version of outrageous was generally and consistently paling in comparison to the “What the fuck?” being served up daily by the likes of Maury Povich and the four-letter pantheon of reality television stars. A quick glance through Rex Reed’s recent reviews shows little evidence of social media gusto: a few comments here, a few shares there.
Few, that is, until he decided to stage an intervention: fat-shaming the talented, female actor netted him 10K+ Facebook shares. Although, from the looks of it, at least 9,999 comments are an ironic turnabout of Rex Reed Shaming.
One wonders whether all this public backlash and outcry will help Reed realize just how big a dick he’s been this time and convince him to make a more strident effort toward changing his ways? One good turn deserves another,etc.
My guess is not.
As for fat-shaming - or slut-shaming or smoker-shaming or any other kind of bullying dressed up as good-for-you evangelism – it doesn’t take too much imagination to see just where we’d all dive off the slippery-slope. Change is difficult. Change that results from being backed into a corner with threats and ridicule is not a change that generally sticks. “Fat shaming” can stop trending as soon as it likes, thank you very much.