Both 49-year-old Governor Chris Christie and 4-year-old black Labrador Eira just brought to our attention two ancient mis-beliefs: (1) fat people are are not quite normal people (2) dogs have been domesticated by humans. One is still an acceptable prejudice among the population, the other still an acceptable pride among dog owners.
Both in fact remarkably un-acceptable.
Fat people, like the governor, are still the easy butt of jokes, put-downs, and ever so unsubtle rejections. And yet, what we call fat today was in times past more often taken as a sign of prosperity and beauty. Prosperity as demonstrated by how much more food they could afford, beauty as demonstrated by how many heavy men and women were the focus of the great paintings.
Today’s fatness curse rests mostly on women, and mostly over the last 50 years. Thin has been dictated by the social culture as in. The voluptuous Gibson Girl look at the start of the 20th C along with the post WWII queen of sensuality Marilyn Monroe would be both deemed too fat today. Reflecting our imperious dismissal: “Fat people choose to be fat! It’s their own slovenly fault!” A dismissal totally flying in the face of the scientific evidence which indictes some people are genetically predisposed to be fat no matter what.
Then there’s our other prejudice that we have over time domesticated the wolf into the dog. When in scientific fact it’s almost the reverse. The wolf family — like the tiger family — has over the eons chosen to be domesticated, finding the existence of a pet far easier than that of a wild beast of prey.
A recent film, “A Dog’s Tale,” lovingly tells the story of Hachi and his owners Richard Gere and Joan Allen. Based on an actual narrative, Hachi is seen longingly waiting for his dead owner at the same train station for nine years. A remarkable tale about animal love reiterated this month by a black Labrador in Stockholm. Eira had been left in a kennel for a day but escaped, boarded a train, and road six stops before exiting at her owner’s home station and showing up at her front door.
Fat people and pets…! Time to take a second look at our first impressions. Neither should or can be dismissed in any way, shape, or form. Instead, both should be valued for exactly who they are, and how fortunate the rest of us are to have them in our lives.
I mean — what’s wrong with us!
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