“Fat Piece of Shit”_Part II

In Part I of this post, I asked the question: Does the statement “Fat piece of shit” offend your sensibilities? And if so, then why?

What makes the statement “Fat piece of shit” so cringeworthy? Is there ever a proper context for its use? Are you tolerating my use of the phrase because I am a writer and you are guessing that I might be engaging in hyperbole or some form of creative writing?

Let’s take a closer look. What gives a word its power? Is it the word’s definition? Is it the context, i.e., historical, linguistic, cultural, ethical and philosophical?

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EpicTimes

What if comedian, let’s say, Seth Meyers or John Oliver or Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Fallon was the one who used that line in his opening monologue? How seriously would you take that person? I imagine that some people would laugh out loud hearing one of those humorists use those words in one of his jokes. I mean, they are comedians. 

So are the words themselves offensive? Or does it depend on how those words are used? What about the person(s) using those words? Does a person’s position, status or influence give that person license to express him or herself freely? What if the use of those words were part of a person’s cultural upbringing, just as “Damn” was tied to my sociocultural frame of reference? 

What if Donald Trump was the one who said, “Fat piece of shit?” And let’s say he directed those words at a woman. How would you interpret his use of those words? Would you label him as a misogynist? What makes Trump’s use of those words so vile? What is the difference between the way he uses those words and how other people might use those words?

If the words “Fat piece of shit” are inherently offensive, then shouldn’t those words maintain their contemptible and objectionable nature despite the context and who uses them? Could it be that we assign a level of appropriateness to something based on our own insecurities, biases and values? 

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Wallcraze

When I offend your sensibilities and your default reaction is to cut me off, censor me, judge me and minimize the essence of my personhood, in doing so, you are the one who is left with the mental burden to carry because with knowledge comes power and with power comes responsibility. 

So what is the appropriate response to take when we feel slighted or offended? Should we: (1) live our truth; (2) expand our worldview; (3) suspend our judgement: or (4)  find ways to adapt and thrive in an “offensive” world?

The universal truth is, we are more alike than different, and as human beings, we possess an enhanced and inherent capacity for good. Let’s not close the door on others simply because they espouse a worldview that might cause us to cringe.

 

 

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58 thoughts on ““Fat Piece of Shit”_Part II

  1. Well Josiah, you did not disappoint and you’ve given us food for thought. When you used the words yesterday coupled with the image of that ugly animal it made me laugh.

    If Donald Trump used those words to anyone publicly (man or woman), I would judge him unfavourably because as far as I’m concerned he is a world leader with a position of high responsibility and should behave in a manner that befits his office. Given his past record I could only think he would use those words to insult.

    If someone said it to me I’d feel upset and offended (even though I’m not fat!). I’m not the other either, although I have been called it by racists.

    I think another thing that gives words power is the tone in which they are spoken and the intention of the person speaking. Added to that is the person on the receiving end, their perception of themselves, emotional baggage etc.

    Easier said than done but in answer to your question, I’d go for No. 4.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Carol, I appreciate your thoughtful and insightful feedback. As it relates to your point on “perception,” it certainly makes sense that the way a person sees him or herself influences that person’s behavior and the way that individual sees and treats others. Does this mean that self-love / self-nurturing is missing from our lives?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Could well be. The Bible talks about loving others as we love ourselves. That makes me think/feel that it is perhaps not possible to love others if we don’t love ourselves.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Could it be that “loving others” is more of a social construct than an ethical one? Or is it both? Demonstrable love is certainly not an obligation, but it is often treated as such, and perhaps that is part of the problem.

        Because people feel entitled to be treated nicely, taking offense to being called something other than one’s name might be the secondary issue. The primary issue seems to be one’s own sense of entitlement.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think the primary issue here is dignity and respect. Do I undermine another person’s dignity and show my lack of respect by name-calling, out of a sense of hurt, outrage, malice, vengeance or feelings of superiority? Do I undermine my own dignity and self-respect in lowering myself to deliberately make remarks that are hurtful and offensive?

        As I believe you mentioned Josiah, words have power. We are all responsible for how we choose to wield that power.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well I must be the only fat person here. Why is fat (when referring to a person) perjorative on its own, enough so that one poster thought it necessary to assure us all she is not fat and others, including our host, think it’s ok to admonish others to go to the gym? Is fat-bashing the last prejudice allowed? As to our how to react when another’s words offend? I offer a fifth alternative — call them out.

    Words have power and context is everything. But I can’t think of a single instance where calling a person a fat piece of shit is not offensive. Governor Christie, in my opinion, is a piece if shit. That has nothing to do with his being fat.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Nancy, thanks for adding your perspective. You mentioned: “I offer a fifth alternative — call them out.” How is this a solution? And saying that Gov. Christie is a “piece of shit” makes you feel…how? “Good”…for calling him out? Or “courageous” for labeling him?

      What is the difference between your position of calling Gov. Christie a “piece of shit” and that of…say, Donald Trump or anyone else calling someone out?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I meant calling someone out for using “fat” or saying something misogynist or racist. It is ok to have opinions and ok to express them colorfully. I think Christie is a piece of shit (in the vernacular). It’s the same of saying he is a bad governor, a power-hungry politician, a Trump supporter (’nuff said). But I am not saying I dislike him because he is fat. I wouldn’t call a Jew a Kike piece of shit, a black person a N-word piece of shit, or an Italian a Dago piece of shit. . I am female, Jewish and overweight but those are not reasons to dislike me. I can surely give you plenty of reasons that have nothing to do with how you categorize me. Like me or dislike me because of the content of my character, my actions, or any other thing I have control over that informs what kind of a person I am. And if you find a reason to dislike me because of me, call me whatever you want in whatever language you like, just be prepared to back it up.

        In short, I object to the use of “fat,” not to calling someone a “piece of shit.” And it isn’t labeling. I am not putting him in a category born of bigotry.

        And the difference with the leader of the free world using colorful language is he/she doesn’t have that luxury. If I call the Supreme Leader of North Korea a maniac I’m not going to incite nuclear war. Not true with our esteemed president. Therein lies the difference.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nancy, would you say then, that when a person is slighted or offended, the appropriate response should be retaliation in kind? Which of the two party leaves empowered? The offender or the intolerant offendee?

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I suppose I should accept the fat, not just the person behind the wall of fat then? I accept the people not the fat content sue me over it why dont you i could argue people who dont point out when a person is dangerously over weight dont give a flying f*** about the health of said person!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Obese adults spend 42 percent more on direct healthcare costs than adults who are a healthy weight.” And that does not include the billions of taxpayer money spent every year for obesity-related diseases.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. not up to you to accept or not accept. you miss the point. this is about using modifiers that are irrelevant to the issue at hand. The word “fat” could be replaced with White” or “black” or “Jewish” (do they teach critical thinking in millennial school?)

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      3. No it couldn’t, period end of story being fat is a choice, race is not! Calling someone fat is not a hate crime, its a warning that they are in danger of serious health problems! You can agrue the fantasy it is not all your want reality is reality, and denying imperical data exisists to back up that obessesity or being a “fat piece of shit” is unhealthy.

        Actuatualy calling you a fat piece of shit would be accurate but i am not going to go so far as to make this personal like you have! As i you are both self addmitededly fat, and i find your personality rather shitty!

        i’m geiunely sorry you took that the wrong way, but get control of your health and stop being a fat piece of shit than! Also stop expect sympathy from the devil yah daft woman!

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      4. @mitchfourtwenty… you will grow and mature some day. I am sure of it. Until then, please refrain from personal attacks. I am older, smarter and way better educated and you, love, are out of your league. As for my health… thanks for your concern. I am actually quite healthy. Also, this isn’t about actual “fatness,” it is about using inappropriate modifiers in colorful descriptive language. I could type slower for you but I don’t think it would help. Peace out.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Lol lady you personaly passively agressivly attacked every other commentor! Then tried to play the fat victim! Nice try go home you deluede old person the internet is not a friendly place for you obviously!

        there is no peace for your generation

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Hope I’m not making things worse here but I mentioned the fact that I was not fat to show that my finding the phrase offensive had nothing to do with it applying to me literally. I also assured readers that I was not a piece of shit either. Did you miss that?

      I am surprised that anyone who feels offended at the label “fat” has no compunction about calling someone “a piece of shit”.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I actually would NEVER call anyone a piece of shit. That was an example. You know, to make a point. I would call someone an asshole, or a jerk, or an incompetent nincompoop. My point is body-shaming people is no different than race-shaming or gender-shaming.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The irony of seeing “fat” as a negative is that being fat has been actually been a positive in different cultures and periods of history. It has represented prosperity rather than shameful obesity.

    Fat shaming should not be a thing, let alone a hateful one with “piece of shit” tacked on. Maybe it’s because my dad is obese, but why would anyone feel -anger- towards someone for being overweight?

    I see in previous comments the “hit the damn gym” sentiment. Why is it anyone’s business what an overweight person does or doesn’t do about their size, or more importantly their health? Again, why does it make you -angry-?

    The best I can figure is a shared sense of body image shame. So many of us fear being out of shape, specifically being shamed for it. The social pressures to remain thin or athletic/fit are tremendous, and horrible. I refuse to cave into this pressure. Why not pressure – no, encourage – ourselves and each other to advance as humans, as decent people?

    Change the conversation to one where we value -health- over image, and respect and compassion over shame and hate.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely agree with you. Body shaming has never been about health, it’s about image. Yes, I am slightly overweight (there are many much bigger than I) but I’ve also been thin. In either case, I wasn’t healthy. If you would have seen me 3-4 years ago, nobody would have called me fat. They would have assumed I was healthy. I wasn’t. I was on meth, never ate, stayed up for weeks at a time. I had been overweight most of my life, meth attracted me because of the high but not only that, the easy weight loss. I am overweight now but I’m sober. Sobriety plus medication made me gain weight. I have health problems but none of them are caused by my weight but I’m much healthier than I had been. Now, I’m not negating (is that considered a double negative? lol) that being overweight can cause health problems and that some need to be healthier. Myself, I have stopped eating meat, I do yoga and pilates but it’s a slow progress.

      Sitting here saying that it’s always a “choice” to be overweight isn’t always true. Not everyone is overweight due to laziness and bad eating habits. There’s thyroid problems. Every single medication I am on causes weight gain and makes it harder than the average person to lose it.

      Shaming anyone due to fat, their looks, their skin color isn’t cool. It’s sad. Mostly, the person pointing the fingers at others are just pushing their insecurities onto someone else. It’s been proven time and time again.

      Lastly, to the original content in the post, we are all guilty of judging someone at someone point. I, myself, have judged others because of stupid things but some of us are trying to be open minded and open our hearts to everyone. I learned from my drug days that hating people, whether it’s for looks or something they did to you, does nothing but fill you with sorrow. It’s sadness behind the hate. Hate doesn’t do anything for you. In the end, you feel worse. Not the person you are hating on. Whether it’s Donald Trump or my neighbor, comments like that aren’t acceptable. I don’t know which choices given would be appropriate but I think D is outrageous. I don’t mean to retaliate against someone but say something. Those who say nothing are worse than those who do evil or bad.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Glad to hear you’re working towards a better place in life. I am too with my own mental health issues, and it feels good.

        I also believe that some people are naturally large, if not overweight, and in a totally healthy way. Their bodies operate the same as anyone else’s, but have wider bone structures and fat deposits. If you look at pro wrestlers like Bam Bam Bigelow and the Headhunter twins, these are very large men who move around with the same speed and agility as men half their size. It’s astounding, and shows that being “big” does not necessarily denote being unhealthy.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I think context can matter a great deal. Anything Donald Trump says I judge pretty unfavorably, so there is that. I would do #4, find a way to move forward despite feeling slighted. Now there are some circumstances where #3 can be beneficial for the person who is offended. They can ask themselves why they are offended and come to terms with the root of the problem. Often our own insecurities can magnify and add negative or positive meaning to a statement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, thank you for chiming in. What about the movies we watch? Lots of them contain language many people think are highly offensive. Should Hollywood stop making movies? Or should people adjust their viewing habits?

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      1. That’s a good point. Well if we avoid people who are talking like that we better start living in a cave lol. I think we shouldn’t take things too seriously from people. Like for me anyway…I used to get offended if people called me a name. But after I took on the shake it off mentality, I’m not as bothered by the name calling because I know who I am.

        Hollywood has the choice to use their free speech rights any way they want. If people are dogmatic about not hearing cuss words then maybe they should stop watching those movies lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No cave-dwelling for me…lol! I love your open-minded approach. It does make sense to live without taking offense to everything and to also be mindful of what might offend others. Thanks for engaging.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. In short, I believe that I respond best to offensive words and comments by expanding my worldview and living my own truth.

    I have a good deal of empathy when it comes to both others’ feelings and their mistakes. I tend to view badmouthing in an unfavorable light, but generally try to see where that person is coming from when they espouse something negative, such as calling another person a name. However, I also maintain my defenses and do my best to stand up for those on the receiving end of those negative words, especially if it’s me. No one deserves to be mistreated, even though I recognize that hurtful words cannot be avoided.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A couple comments about the post . . . and the comments.

    1. The point about context and association is rather salient. Most people seem to believe communication happens when you say something that another person hears; however, this is not communication. Communication is the process of creating shared meaning between participants. It means having to understand the perspectives, views, and context of the other person in the exchange. We rarely communicate in our society because we fail to put that much effort into it.

    2. Many commentators fail to understand this (#1 above). Words, by themselves, do not have negative or positive connotations; they are simply words. The difference is in how they are communicated and that includes the biases and perspectives of the one hearing the words as much as the one speaking them. If you are offended by someone’s speech, the first thing to do is understand your own biases may not be those of the speaker. Perhaps, as the author demonstrates, the speaker did not mean those words as you heard them. Communication requires negotiating a shared meaning beyond the biases and perspectives of either participant. It requires listening, as well as talking. Communication fails more frequently because we fail to listen, or appreciate another’s perspective.

    3. Obesity is NOT entirely a choice and there is substantial, scientific evidence to support that. How is it that we can accept that someone’s hair color, skin tone, and thousands of other biological factors are just that “biologically defined”, yet we drawn the line on body type? The human body, including its metabolism, is an intricate, complex machine that we know very little about (and laymen – and women – know even less); however, it should not take a stretch of the imagination to conceptualize that genetics play a large part in how it operates. As such, “fat shaming” is inherently the same as racial shaming, sex shaming, anything where an individual is called out, not just for their choices, but for the biological and environmental situation they were born to.

    – Peace

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “When I offend your sensibilities and your default reaction is to cut me off, censor me, judge me and minimize the essence of my personhood, in doing so, you are the one who is left with the mental burden to carry because with knowledge comes power and with power comes responsibility. “—THIS!! If we could all operate somewhere outside of default. The place, the space where we pause and respond vs. flame and react. I love this! I am glad I found your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think acceptability of terms is a matter of time and place. Appropriate speech should be expected in particular environments. The genesis of the question you ask occurred on the campus of a Christian college. I think the setting speaks for itself. Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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