Obesity, the new spectator sport

In the technology-enabled modern age, this tendency to document slices of real life for the sake of public consumption is ugly, more so because it's not backed by concern, just fuelled by curiosity.



Published: Tue 23 Jun 2015, 10:33 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:51 PM

News of Britain’s fattest man dying at the age of 33 has gone viral. He weighed 65 stone -- which may sound ambiguous enough, till you realise the corresponding sheer weight in kilograms: close to 413. Carl Thompson (who was even designated ‘fattest man’) was sitting in a ticking time bomb for the past three years — over the course of which his weight ballooned — and, morbidly enough, his obesity had become a ‘spectacle’; it was like a long-running reality television show.

At the time of his death, several fast-food restaurant spokespersons talked about how Thompson was their “favourite customer”, one who used to order copious amounts of unhealthy food every day; we wonder why nobody (including his team of carers who were tending to him round the clock) considered it to be their moral responsibility to ‘not’ let him get away with eating himself to death.

In the technology-enabled modern age, this tendency to document slices of real life for the sake of public consumption is ugly, more so because it’s not backed by concern, just fuelled by curiosity. A popular illustration doing the rounds for some time shows a man drowning in a pool; instead of helping him, bystanders are busy clicking photos and videos.

In Carl Thompson’s case too, there had been videos uploaded on social media sites worldwide and there had been widespread reports of his “state of affairs”; it seemed as though he had become the poster-boy of unhealthy eating. But when it came to making an effort to wean him out of his fatal lifestyle, nobody was willing to go the extra mile. Now, there will be endless debates on the “scourge of obesity” and psycho babbles on how depression (that Thompson was suffering from since his mother passed away in 2012) leads to overeating — but no real solution as to how a life could have been saved. Media reports claim Thompson ordered crumble and ice cream before he died: how sad that had to be his epitaph.


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