Fat People

This looks rather disgusting, but that’s just my (non-actionable) opinion.

As online review sites like Yelp and social-media sites like Twitter continue to grow, free speech issues related to these online services will continue to proliferate. A contentious case currently pending in federal court down in Florida raises a host of interesting issues about the scope of online free speech.

The plaintiff company, Roca Labs, sells a product that you consume for weight-control purposes. If this makes you think of delicious almond roca, think again. Components used by Roca Labs in its diet products include “Guar Gum, Konjac, Inulin, Beta Glucan, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, [and] Vitamins B6, B12, C.” If you don’t recognize most of the ingredients in something you’re consuming, that’s usually not a good sign.

Does the thought of eating that goo make you want to gag? Well, Roca Labs wants to gag you….

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The word fat, I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV. If we’re regulating cigarettes, and sex, and cuss words, because of the effect it has on our younger generations, why aren’t we regulating things like calling people fat?

Jennifer Lawrence. The Oscar-winning actress took time away from discussing her “copious amount of butt plugs” to tell Barbara Walters that the word “fat” should be illegal. At first blush, the quote sounds like something a naïve 23-year-old might say, but her argument that the media should hold itself to a higher standard given its immense power to craft and reinforce the beauty myth for kids — in particular young girls — is much more complex than the sound byte suggests. But that’s easy for a shapeshifter to say.

(Video of J. Law’s interview embedded after the jump….)

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A woman in North Dakota decided to hand out letters to trick-or-treaters that she deemed obese, explaining that she would not give candy to the overweight and chastising parents for letting their kids get this way.

Yeah, she’s a b**ch.

But it got Joe and Elie arguing about the ill-fated New York soda ban and whether the government — as opposed to a random lady in North Dakota — has any legitimate role in policing obesity….

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Oh, derp, which is the thin one again?

If so, you’re not alone. We’ve written before about how a legal career can be hazardous for your waistline. In a reader poll asking whether you’ve gained weight during your career as a legal professional, almost 60 percent of you answered in the affirmative (“yes, and I’m tipping the scales of justice”).

So what can be done? Meet a former Biglaw associate who can help you turn things around. Based on her own fit and fabulous physique, this attractive attorney knows a thing or two about getting and staying in shape….

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Everyone likes to think that real lawyers are as glamorous, thin, and gorgeous as the ones they see on television, but that’s sadly not the case. Sure, some lawyers in the real world are beautiful, but the key word there is some. The truth is that most are just average in the looks department, and as we learned in Clueless, many, many more are like full-on Monets — from far away, they’re okay, but up close, they’re a big old mess. Oh, and most of them are overweight.

And just like that, “Fat Week” continues on Above the Law…

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Oh, derp, which is the thin one again?

I think all fat people have dealt with the stigma that their outward corpulence signifies an inner laziness. Who would willingly be fat and unhealthy when they could be thin and beautiful? Many people believe, even subconsciously, that the obese must be lacking in some other important quality. Thin people think fat people lack a true work ethic, or self-restraint, or willpower, or something. And like all “quitters,” fat people who become thin people are kind of the worst examples of this prejudice, buoyed by their myopic belief that with a little determination, nobody need be a disgusting fattie.

Fat people themselves sometimes buy into this logic. They sign up with psychotic personal trainers who seem to exist only to bully people on hilarious reality shows. Or they go with the science angle: “I’m fat because I’ve got [diseases, genetics, big bones], not like that ho over there who just likes bacon.”

Now, as a fat person, I’d like to think that the stigma is just that, a stigma, and that people with a modicum of intelligence don’t really believe that a person’s weight is an indication of anything more than their weight, but I know way too many thin people who are dumber than me. Turns out, a professor at NYU thinks that your weight is an indication of how successful you’ll be in your education…

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Back in October, I waded into the rough waters of discussing women’s weight issues, and the discrimination that naturally follows. Again, I know that’s not much of a news flash; in a society that’s obsessed with beauty, of course overweight people, women especially (trust me, I’ve been there many a time), are going to be scrutinized and looked down upon with disgust. From what they wear to what they eat, everything they do is viewed with an eye toward absolute repulsion — because honestly, how dare they believe they’re normal. If you’re an overweight woman, your every waking move is going to be stigmatized.

In fact, rather damning character traits are regularly ascribed to overweight people, without any care as to whether those individuals are actually lazy, greedy, or devoid of self control. Ah, stereotypes. Even when they’re completely untrue, they’re so damn hard to shake.

Is it any surprise that these platitudes follow overweight women into the courtroom?

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* I didn’t make this list of the 25 most influential people in legal education. That pisses me off. I’m going to start writing about how people shouldn’t trust legal educators because law schools are only interested in profits and not the employment outcomes of their students. That’ll show ‘em! [Tax Prof Blog]

* … Of course, you know what else doesn’t make any list of influencing legal education? The truth. [Constitutional Daily]

* This has been a big day for our friends at Thomson Reuters and at LexisNexis. [3 Geeks and a Law Blog]

* Time Warner Cable is well within its rights to act like feckless cowards. [Huffington Post]

* I like watching the Feds try to roll rich people. I’ve got no horse in the race, I’m just there for the competition. [Dealbreaker]

* U.K. considers forcing fat people to lose weight in order to keep their benefits. I was going to make a “Britain, outsource, BBW” joke, which somehow led me to the Wikipedia page for BBW, a page that has really not at all what you’d expect the graphic on BBW to be. [Legal Blog Watch]

Plastic! Safe! A perfect training ground for future lawyers.

Mmm… Tort Law. All you need is a J.D. and a dream to get in on the action.

But have we gone too far? No, I’m not talking about the general accusations that tort lawyers make things more expensive for consumers (and the mega-companies they buy things from). I’m asking if our tort regime is crippling our future by hobbling our children. New studies suggest that our children’s playgrounds may be too safe.

Hehe. That’s right, parents who sue schoolyard bullies for saying on Facebook that your kids are stinky heads. It turns out that your totally sanitized, tetanus-free, no-skinned-knees zone might be making your kids the very kind of chubby, neurotic weaklings who will need to keep their lawyers and shrinks on speed dial for the rest of their lives…

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Jennifer Livingston

Over the past few days, everyone has been talking about Jennifer Livingston, the Wisconsin morning news anchor who responded on the air to a male viewer’s email about her weight. In his letter, the male viewer told Livingston that she wasn’t a “suitable example” for young people because of her physical appearance. Her courageous counterpoint went viral, and ever since, she’s been making her rounds on the TV talk show circuit to address what she thinks is the root of the problem, and why people think letters like this are acceptable: bullying.

Now, you may be asking yourself why I chose to write about this today. To be honest, when I first watched Livingston’s video on Tuesday night, I really had no intention to do so. I thought that she was a very strong woman who chose to stand up for herself, and really, for all overweight people, but that her four-minute segment didn’t need to be addressed here at Above the Law. (Not even after being asked in the comments yesterday whether I thought I was a “good role model,” an obvious jab about my own weight.)

But then I found out a little more about the man who emailed Livingston to criticize her weight. As it turns out, he’s a lawyer….

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