I'm not exactly sure why, but I feel it's part of my portfolio at least to acknowledge yesterday's story that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had "secret" lap-band surgery. This is what I got:
* I stumble on the secrecy angle. He didn't hold a press conference for this personal procedure, so it's secret? If he'd had moles removed, or his feet scraped, and didn't alert the media, would that qualify as secret? Some would argue that because he might be running for president, and that his weight would be germane to that bid, this surgery rises above, say, feet-scraping. I think his choice was personal, but acknowledge that public figures are thought to surrender considerable privacy. So OK, maybe. At best.
* He's just one patient, but unavoidably, the governor's success will grab an outsized portion of the referendum on weight-loss surgery. Casual observers will influenced, whether he slims down and keeps it off, or if he doesn't.
I'm not much of a surgery fan, unless emotional and spiritual development accompany it. The problem of obese people is not that their stomachs are too large, so mechanical contractions aren't a solution. Obesity is more likely driven by food addiction, or unresolved trauma, or willfully poor eating habits, or a few other possibilities or some of the above. Which of these applies to Chris Christie? No freakin' idea, and neither do you. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't, either.
* The announcement is a great window into weight bias (of which I am not free, either). These include the insistence that the governor was motivated by politics, not health. Because, of course, it is a given that people won't vote for a fat person. I'd like to say conventional wisdom is wrong, but I don't think it's even close.
To judge by his words, Christie disagrees. ‘‘It’s not a career issue for me; it’s a long-term health issue for me,’’ he told the press yesterday. Does he really want people to think that he's unaware, or unfazed, by the effect of weight bias on political candidates? That's pretty tough to swallow.
Meanwhile, does anyone else note the incongruity, in a nation in which two of three people are obese or overweight, that overweight is considered a strong bar to election? Does it amount to a raging case of collective self-hatred that we're leery to vote for the guy like us?