Monday, November 22, 2010

Open Thread Ranting: Obesity Journalism Clichés I Could Do Without

Oy.  I've had a heck of a month so far, with medical crises in 3 of 4 children that included an MRI, MRA, and neurological testing in one child, several weeks of missed school and minor surgery in another child, and an ultrasound, hospital visit, and possible major surgery (not needed in the end) in another child.  Not to mention all the GAZILLION doctor appointments that went with all of this.  Oh, and a bunch of meetings at school to develop a plan get various medical needs met.

So I'm definitely feeling stressed out, and that's why there haven't been any major posts in a while.

The good news is that in the end, these were only minor blips on the scale of Things That Could Go Wrong, so I'm counting my blessings even as I acknowledge the stress and its toll.  At least most of this stuff ended up being relatively minor, thank goodness.

And since things tend to come in threes, I'm reassuring myself that this means I'm done.  Child #4 is under strict instructions that he does NOT need to complete the set and make us four for four.  We've had our three bad things, now we're done and can move on, thank you very much. (I'll just plug my ears, sing la-la-la loudly, and ignore the fact that ski season is looming.)

The bad news is that I'm behind in my blogging.  I have a number of major posts in the works but they are research-heavy and so need some real dedicated TIME to finish, time which has been spent in doctors' offices, at the hospital, and in meetings recently.  So please, keep checking back.  There's lots more to come, once people stop being sick long enough for me to finish it.

In the meantime, in the interest of at least posting something, here's a mini-rant about "obesity journalism" clichés that's been brewing in my mind for a long time.  Feel free to rant along.

MY RANT: Whenever I read journalistm stories about the "obesity epidemic," I am appalled at all the tacky clichés used.  Journalists are supposed to avoid clichés ─ but somehow editors look the other way when it comes to "obesity" stories.  (Apparently, rules of good writing are not needed when discussing obesity?)

For example, I would love to banish the phrase, "packing on the pounds."  Yeah, sure, it's alliterative, but it's insulting and inflammatory.  Same with the phrase, "ballooned up pounds."  Both are overused and not very imaginative ─ just lazy journalism. 

I'm sure if I sat down and thought about it for a while, I could come up with a lot more clichés....but I'll let you do that for me.

Which "obesity journalism" clichés drive you nuts?  Do you have other pet peeves about the writing style and content of these types of "obesity epidemic" stories?

Open Thread Ranting starts now.


mustangsabby said...

Ahh the clichés. I have so many to pick from! What I dislike the most is when you read a story about a celebrity gaining a little bit of weight and the first thing you hear is "but she was so pretty!" - Wait... she isn't now? She's ugly because she gained some weight? Grrr....

Anonymous said...

I could do without the adjective "whopping." As in, she packed on at least twenty pounds, therefore tipping the scales (oooh tipping the scales should die, too) at a whopping 200 pounds.

Notblueatall said...

Always the headless fatty pic! Ugh! I recently saw a news clip where someone was discussing how fats are treated differently in the media and the "expert" mentions the headless fatty craze in news media and just as she says it they actually show a reel of several headless fats! WTF?!
Also, hate when they say things like, "though not svelte, Mrs. Jones was able to have a career, family..." Maybe I just don't like the word svelte. Ha! Glad things will be getting better for you soon. I always read, but not sure I've ever commented before. Love this blog!

meerkat said...

Actually, anything I read in a newspaper seems to be packed with annoying colorful cliches. TV news too. It's like they can't do an article on dogs without opening with a horrible dog-related pun.

Sleepydumpling said...

Oh so many, many things!

My pet hate is "the obese", like they're not even speaking of people, of human beings. "The obese" fills me with RAGE!

Meowser said...

Damn, woman, that sounds like a hell of a month. I hope you (and the kids) are okay.

Re "tipped the scales" (I agree, Anastasia, that one needs to go): Doesn't everything "tip a scale," unless it's air?

Also, "So-and-so's weight soared to XXX pounds." The adjective "staggering." References to blimps, dirigibles, Volkswagens, hippos, elephants, and whales (extra points off for "Shamu" or "Fudgie").

Oh, and any gossipy references to the number of donuts, Twinkies, Big Macs, Hometown Buffets, or live babies the person in question "must" have eaten to become such a staggering Blimpo McFudgiewhale (despite never actually having seen that person eat anything).

Fat Hijabi said...

I'm always amused by the before & after menus on weight loss stories-The hyperbolic emphasis on what the former fatty ate or couldn't do previous to the miracle weight loss.

A classic example is the New Year Weight Issue that People magazine puts out.

It looks like this: At 5 foot 10 320 pounds Missy couldn't even walk up the stairs/fit behind her steering wheel/ stand up/ breath without feeling like she WAS GONNA DIE!!!

(Needless to say that is my size and I walk almost everyday and jog/do sit ups/lift weights LOL)

Then the before and after menus:

A typical meal for Misty was:
Breakfast- 3 donuts, two fast food sandwiches, a gallon of juice, three orders of hash browns

Lunch- a whole dominos pizza

Dinner-two large containers of Chinese food, five egg rolls, 2 liters of Coke
Dessert - a package of chip ahoys
Breakfast-a handful of nuts, 1 cup of steel cut oatmeal, 1 small fruit

Lunch- A sensible salad with lo-cal dressing

Dinner-steamed veggies, whole grain roll, grilled chicken.


Anonymous said...

My favorite that I love to hate is "skyrocketing", as in skyrocketing rate of obesity. Does anyone realize it's leveled off?