Same Ol’, Same Ol’

Independent film director Kevin Smith has started dieting.  Again.

 Despite his in-your-face response to his Southwest Airlines debacle on Valentine’s Day of last year, now it seems that he actually was horrified to see himself described in headlines across the nation – as fat.

Kevin Smith was outed as a fat man.

Did he think it was a secret? 

Anyone who has listened to Kevin Smith speak knows that he knows he is fat.  You also quickly learn that he hates himself for being fat. 

The man makes wonderful movies, he is a great story-teller, he is funny as hell; but the fat defines him.  He also has a wife who clearly loves him “as is”.  And Kevin loves her as well, but that doesn’t stop him from reminding her that she is married to a “fat loser”.  Nice, huh?

It seems, however, that the problem wasn’t simply that he was a fat man, it was that he was being proclaimed as “too fat”.  After the SWA brou-ha, he often acknowledged that he was fat, but that he wasn’t “that fat”. 

Gee, thanks Kev. 

So, Kevin joined Weight Watchers late last year, soon after wrapping his latest film Red State, and several months after his fight with SWA.  His prior weight loss attempts were with liquid diets, so at least he has learned that that type of diet doesn’t work.  Kevin is also walking regularly now, which is a good thing by itself, but if the only purpose is to lose weight, then there’s a good chance that he’ll stop when his weight loss plateaus. 

The chance that Kevin will lose all the weight he wants and keep it off is poor given the fact that he has dieted unsuccessfully before.  But even if he can, the vast majority of us cannot, and not because we have failed, but because long term weight loss is biologically unattainable for us.

Right now, Kevin is in the honeymoon phase of his diet.  When you listen to his podcasts, you get to hear how much weight he has lost over the past few months – and how it really isn’t even that hard to do.  Well pin a rose on him.  If Kevin Smith wants to live a healthier lifestyle, and learn more about nutrition, that’s great.  But I listen to his podcasts, and he is not talking about health improvements; his focus is clearly on weight loss and how he looks. 

I just am so saddened and disappointed to see this successful, good looking, funny, clever, talented person be so afraid of being ” fat”.

So why does this bother me so much?  I mean, I pretty much believe everyone has the right to go to hell in their own way.  Okay?  But for some reason, I am really struggling with this. 

I am definitely one of those people who is “that fat”; and while I haven’t seen the fact splashed across the headlines of newspapers, I get to see it in the faces of people around me.  And you know what?  Fuck them.  They don’t know me and I don’t know them.  All they “know” about me is that I am fat.  Well, so what?  I know I’m fat.  I also know I’m smart, funny, caring, and talented. 

Right after the SWA affair, Kevin seemed to at least understand that fat discrimination is wrong.  His return to the notion that FAT=BAD is so disappointing to me. 

I like Kevin Smith’s movies – a lot.  I really enjoy his podcasts.  There has always been a smattering of self-deprecating fat jokes, which I could live without, but now they are also mixed with the self-congratulatory, self-righteousness of the newly “successful” dieter.  And it bothers me. 

He is so happy and proud of himself, but this is a story we have read before, and it seldom has a happy ending.  Chances are the weight will come back and he’ll blame himself instead of a program that has as high a failure rate as other diet programs, and the cycle will start again unless and until he learns the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

 And after I wrote all of this – Marilyn Wann puts it all succinctly – she said, “I don’t care what Kevin Smith weighs.  I wish he didn’t either.”


12 thoughts on “Same Ol’, Same Ol’

    • Yeah, I know. That’s why I struggled so much with this post. But the fact is diet-talk can be hurtful to others. I totally agree that Kevin has the right to diet if he chooses, and I have the right to turn off the pod cast if I don’t want to hear about it. I just did the post because I felt the need to blog about the feelings this was raising for me.

      • I understand you wanting to blog about things that raise feelings for you, but lots of things can be hurtful to others. Diet talk, fat acceptance talk or anything weight related, relgion, race, and the list goes on and on. Lots of things hurt me and piss me off throughout the day but that’s just life and I got to deal with it.

        I’m not even necessarily saying I agree with the “It’s their body so it’s their business” line anyways because I think people should be allowed to have an opinion. I allow people to have opinion on my body and even if I don’t like what they have to say, I’m not going to try to shut them up. But I think people should at least practice what they preach anyways. If you don’t want people commenting on your fatness, then preach that but then don’t turn around criticizing other people’s dieting because it raised feelings for you because that’s grade A hypocracy.

      • I am not criticizing Kevin Smith’s choice to diet. I am saddened by the perpetuation of the concept that “diets work” when, in fact they have a 95%+ failure rate (WW claims their failure rate is more in the 80%+ range, still not a good record) and that usually the dieter feels it is their failure.

    • Also, I would probably feel a lot different about this issue, if society, as a whole, had that attitude about fat people – it’s our body, our business. But fat people aren’t allowed that respect for the most part.

  1. Amen. I am not a movie fan, watch very little of them, & am not in any sense in love with celebrities. However, it is very sad that this is indeed the same old, same old. I wish Kevin well. Maybe he will be fat one of the 5%. However, since he is obviously naturally, genetically fat, I doubt that he will be. I wish more for him, for all of us, self-love, self-acceptance, the knowledge that we are all okay just as we are, at whatever size & shape we are. And if Kevin has a wife who genuinely loves him, he might want to remember…& celebrate…that fact as well. He is not a loser for being fat, but he is a loser for hating himself & for believing & disseminating all the lies & misinformation & prejudice spread throughout this culture.

  2. I love Kevin Smith, I wish he loved himself as much as I love him! I think it’s great that he’s walking and trying to be healthy but like you said, it seems like all his focus is on weight. That always worries me. Right now a couple of my friends are dieting and they seem to be making genuinely healthy diet changes and they are being more active, which is all great, but they seem obsessed with pounds lost, which leads to disaster. Either they will plateau and give up, or they will resort to unhealthy means to continue to lose weight. It’s possible that they will just adjust to a healthier weight for them and I hope that’s what happens, but I think it’s so sad that we focus on weight to the point where we assume that as long as we are losing weight then we must also be healthy.

  3. His body. Everybody’s business. You cannot scream privacy when people critique statements you have made in interviews or public forums.

    To be fair -dieting makes people crazy, hungry and unable to talk about anything else. Poor things.

    Love the Marilyn Wann quote. Just like I love the Marilyn Wann. Mmmm.

  4. To me, the volume of self-directed fat jokes in the podcasts feels like more than a smattering. I like the ‘casts overall, but as I’ve said before, the fat jokes send the message that fat jokes are OK, even if they’re directed at himself. And I’m not cool with that. Yet, other aspects of Kevin’s behavior are fat positive, in that he’s a fat man doing positive things. So I’m a fan who criticizes.

  5. “I get to see it in the faces of people around me. And you know what? Fuck them.”
    YES! I feel this way always. Than you for wording it so perfectly.
    I used to love/adore/follow Kevin Smith and his blog and all before the podcasts began. Then he was on some bullshit shake-diet-thing and that’s all he’d talk about and I bailed. I couldn’t hang out with that, ya know? I still love and respect the man and his work, but yes, I just want him to be him and not worry about his fatness. Did he just suddenly realize he was fat? Seems he’s always known and has always tried diets, but then when it fails he goes back to whatever normal is for him. I hate the jokes and I cannot stand the diet talk. Because of this I have never heard a single smodcast. I can’t put myself through it.

  6. Hm, I think you and I understood the SWA thing differently. I never read it as KS believing fat=okay, I always thought this was a case of a man who may hate his fat, but still believes that fact that he is fat doesn’t make it okay to treat him that way.

    “Right now, Kevin is in the honeymoon phase of his diet.” Why have I not thought of this before!? The honeymoon phase is eactly what it is when people have just started dieting and are telling me how easy it is. This is going to help me going foward.

  7. But even if he can, the vast majority of us cannot, and not because we have failed, but because long term weight loss is biologically unattainable for us.

    No, weight loss via the route of calorie restriction is what is likely to biologically unattainable. There is no way weight can only be gained and not lost that flies in the face of reality.

    As for Kevin Smith it doesn’t feel like he has ever been any different, it is often hard for people to let go of the sense of control dieting gives them.

    I think we are sometimes too hard on ourselves about that, people with anorexia have told us anorexia behaviours are hard to stop for this reason.

    We have to wake up to the fact that dieting is a form of anorexia, I’m sure he knows better he just can’t do any better.

    I find the self hating rhetoric that comes from these behaviours more objectionable and damaging.

    Maybe if it was put to him that the reason he has hate for himself is because of his dieting not the other way around, that might give him pause for thought.

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