Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 17, 2000

Lee Dresselhaus / L’Observateur / May 17, 2000

So…. Ya gotta love it. Once more the forces of light, otherwise known as the Thought Police, have struck. This time they have swooped down upon the City of San Franciscoand have protected a group of people who have been wronged. It has beendetermined that this group is another amongst a horde of groups who deserve special attention as well as special protection against the forces of evil. That would be anyone who dares to express themselves. It’s evil thesedays to have an opinion that may be slightly offensive, you know.

Anyway, just who is this group? Are they illegal immigrants? Nope. They’realready a protected species. Don’t say anything bad about them or the factthat they take our jobs, drain our social services and by and large don’t even pay income tax. The Thought Police will getcha if you do. Are they gays or lesbians? Nope. Protected. If you say anything about themor the lifestyle they choose, you are quickly labeled a Gay Basher by the Thought Police. We must not only tolerate their lifestyle, we must embrace itand accept it as normal. The Thought Police watch that very carefully. Is this oppressed group a racial minority? Nope. It’s now a long establishedfact that any honest disagreement with any member of a racial minority will get you labeled a racist before you can say “Simon Legree.” If you let looseany opinion or thought that vaguely smacks of dissent or difference of opinion, it will instantly be hunted down and killed by the Thought Police like a rabid animal.

So just who are these people who now find themselves snuggled up under the protective blanket of Political Correctness? Fat people.

Yep. Fat people. Oh, wait though. Can I say “Fat People,” now that they are aprotected species? Or should I say, “Gravitationally Challenged”? I think I’ll call them Gravitationally Challenged. I just had one brush with the ThoughtPolice. Mustn’t say anything offensive now, must we?Anyway, the San Francisco City Council has voted to enact a law forbidding discrimination against fat . . . er, the Gravitationally Challenged. It seemsthat a local health club had a motto of sorts posted somewhere on their premises that said, “When they come, they’ll eat the fat ones first.” Now,being rational, I would assume that the slogan was meant as a humorous motivator to work out, stop consuming enough food each day to feed Borneo, and stay somewhat reasonably presentable. This apparently offendedsomeone, and the matter was presented to the City Council. And, becauseyou can’t say anything offensive about anyone, they made a law.

Let me throw in this little disclaimer. I’m not talking about the averageperson with a weight problem, There are a lot of people out there who ferociously battle this every day, and they have my admiration and regard.

They try, and they try hard, to maintain themselves. Middle-aged spread is anormal fact of life as well. I’m not talking about that, either. The people I saw interviewed on the news were enormously obese. Huge. Theircomplaints of discrimination included things like, now get this, the fact that restaurant chairs with arms are too small for them to wedge their posteriors into without discomfort. And of course they found that slogan atthe health club offensive. I’m assuming that fat jokes are now illegal there aswell. Saying something like “Your mamma’s so fat, she rocked herself tosleep getting up,” will probably mean big trouble if the Thought Police hear it.

Well, guess what, Sparky? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Nowhere inthe Constitution of the United States does it say that you have the right to go through life and never be offended. Life is full of offensive things,offensive people, and offensive events. Get over it. Personally, I find thewhole Politically Correct thing to be offensive. We are not allowed to do orsay anything these days without someone who claims some moral high ground having a fit. Everyone MUST work and play well with others. If not, the labelmaker comes out and consequences are sure to follow.

Back to the Gravitationally Challenged. This is a new twist on the wholePolitically Correct thing. Aside from a small percentage who have glandularor hormonal disorders and deserve some consideration, most of those people put themselves in that minority by eating too much, eating the wrong foods, and not exercising beyond taking a hike to the refrigerator or bending down to get the remote from under the couch. They have created their very ownvictim status.

Hey, I know! I want a special status, too. I’ve given this some serious thoughtand I’ve decided, based on the fact that my hair is alarmingly thin these days, that bald men should be protected against bald jokes and other rude forms of discrimination. I mean, why should the Follicle Challenged – I don’tlike the word bald, it offends me – be any less deserving than anyone else. Ifbeing offended is all it takes to get a law passed, then, well, I’m offended.

Now who do I see about that law?

LEE DRESSELHAUS writes this column every Wednesday for L’Observateur.

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