Fat is everywhere. There’s even a term for the fat squeezed up from the waist of a woman’s too-tight jeans: the “muffin top.” In our self-flagellating society, it’s an article of faith that we’re all too fat, overfed on Z-grade Big Mac meat, freedom fries sautéed in beef tallow. The public gorged itself on Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation and Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me, only to doze off into an ursine contentment: On the one sausage-fingered hand, it’s penance to mock “our” fat; on the other, it’s bad manners to tell an individual that he ought to lose a few.

The intellectual elite, for all its claims to love nuance and complexity, prefers announcing the problems of large groups (fast food, consumer culture) to analyzing the pathologies of a man on the street. And so...


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