"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sensenbrenner would rankle Mrs. Santa

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-WI
Now that Santa Claus is back at the North Pole we can get ready to celebrate New Year's Eve.
We used to call Santa a fat man but that was when more of us were slim ourselves. Carrying some extra pounds seems to bring no notice today.
The irony is that we've seen fitness clubs spring up in many places. Evidently keeping slim used to come naturally whereas today it takes a concerted effort.
Many people of course have given up. And very few people seem to care about those excesses. It's much rarer today to hear an offhand comment about someone being "heavy-set" or "fat."
So let's just call Santa jovial. Actually that's part of the old stereotype: "Fat people are jolly."
Jim Bouton wrote in "Ball Four" that the players of his era had a nickname for Harmon Killebrew: "The Fat Kid."
Harmon was really pretty athletic. He didn't have a stomach that "jiggled." Players of his era apparently weren't into steroids yet. Can you imagine how Harmon could have performed on such substances?
Can you imagine what the sports medicine knowledge of today could do for Killebrew and Tony Oliva, prolonging their careers? We can close our eyes and imagine "Tony O." hitting stinging liners all over the place.
Harmon Killebrew, a.k.a. "The Fat Kid" left us this past year.
Harmon wasn't really fat. Fat players wouldn't be able to play in the infield, and Harmon spent much time there. Yes, he played first base which is sometimes where less-athletic players are parked. But Harmon also played many games at third base. You can't be a slouch athletically and play third.
Harmon was a natural athlete who could "make the plays." To the extent he was considered less-than-average defensively, I'm sure it was due to mobility issues. No one ever called him svelte.
Remember how we used to say some men had a "beer belly?" That was just fat. It was protruding. We'd chuckle of course. Seriously it wasn't healthy. I needn't refer to it in the past tense, but today our alcohol-related terminology has diminished.
"Booze" is a shadow of its former self. The harshness of DWI penalties has pretty much taken care of that.
So if descriptions like "The Fat Kid" and "beer belly" have faded, to what extent do we still acknowledge some people as being, well, "weight challenged?" (Yes, that would be the proper term today.)
Jim Sensenbrenner has given us a window into the old way of looking at things. He's totally anachronistic. He may even be racist. I don't use foul language on this site but if ever I was inclined to describe someone in such terms, this would be the occasion.
Let's just say this "jerk" (or "total jerk") described the First Lady of the U.S. in terms that might normally come from junior high-age boys. He's a Republican. That's no coincidence, is it?
A little research shows he's a 17-term Congressman. Maybe he's brain-dead from having been in government so long. Any other theories on how he'd become so brain-dead?
I guarantee you that women everywhere, even the zany tea partiers, are going to be offended by how Sensenbrenner constructs his words. Someone needs to talk some sense into ol' Sensenbrenner. Probably a futile proposition now.
This "lifer" in politics decided he didn't like Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiative. Such an initiative appears very timely and helpful given the state of so many bodies around us. The idea that government can have a guiding hand shouldn't be concerning.
The initiative has everything to do with better health.
We don't make judgments that equate excess weight with looking bad or un-sexy, whatever. There is much to be said for injecting some extra discipline into our eating habits. We are surrounded with too many eating and drinking distractions. You might say it's a nice problem considering those parts of the world where basic nutrition can be elusive.
But we are abusing our luxury. Many of us will make resolutions after New Year's to achieve that discipline. I will be among them.
The First Lady is especially concerned about a trend toward obesity in children. Fortunately when you're a kid it's easier to make changes in your life.
We seem to have conquered excesses with alcohol consumption in our society, with some exceptions of course. Drunk people are no longer "funny." This turnabout has come over a relatively short time. Dramatic changes can indeed be achieved.
The First Lady might be remembered as the main catalyst for the changes we need in diet and health. I feel strongly that it can all be achieved without "fitness clubs" at all. It's remarkable common sense to just eat sensibly. "Graze" on fruits and vegetables. Drink water.
Do Republicans really want people to be unhealthy? They certainly don't seem to want anyone in government to lead with inspiration.
Congressman Sensenbrenner, who seemed to want nothing to do with the First Lady's objectives, couldn't just make civil and constructive comments. Remember, he's a Republican. He doesn't even have the excuse of being from the Deep South. If he were from the Deep South we could dismiss him having the intelligence of a zombie.
But he is from Wisconsin which has become a strange political flashpoint. The state veered loony-conservative and is now having spasms of apparent buyer's remorse. Had we in Minnesota elected Tom Emmer, we might be going through the same thing.
Conservative rhetoric was powerful in 2010, almost mesmerizing. But now we're seeing the exact effects of when the righties get elected.
The rhetoric by itself was innocuous. It "sells" with a lot of people. We don't like government, right? Oh, but we do. We want stuff from government. And we want our national leaders to set examples with commitment to virtue and health. The Obamas have been doing exactly that.
There was nothing innocuous about what Sensenbrenner said. Showing a nice Republican flourish, this fossil conservative said something that will have him associated with infamy in the minds of women everywhere, guaranteed.
He said of the First Lady that "she has a big butt." (I waited 'til the end to type that.)
What would Mrs. Santa say?
So Republican, so ignorant.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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