Friday, June 15, 2007

We're shorter, we're fatter, we want to be perfect

Today the left & right pillars of the NY Times editorial page, Paul Krugman and David Brooks, do an inadvertent Jon Stewart-style routine on our increasingly wacky (U.S.) national obsession with body image. Krugman notes that recent scientific studies show Americans -- once famous as the tallest people in the world -- have now become "...shorter (and fatter) than Western and Northern Europeans. In fact, the U.S. population is currently at the bottom end of the height distribution in advanced industrial countries." Widely viewed as "indicative of how well the human organism thrives in its socioeconomic environment," height in our case turns out to have nothing to do with wealth. Still the richest citizens per capita, Americans are squashing down & out, Krugman believes, because of too much reliance on fast food, forced on us because we work too much -- way more than our European counterparts. Hmm. Meanwhile those wily layabouts, the welfare-state Dutch, now the tallest people in the world, are no doubt doing it all because they can't wait to kick our butts in basketball.

OK, on to Our Mr. Brooks. He reports on the astonishing popularity of businesses that sell sperm & eggs from genetically "superior" donors . Apparently, Americans can't get enough of browsing online (at work no doubt) "...through page after page of donor profiles, comparing weight, noses, personality and what one site calls 'tannability'." What do these shoppers want? Well, the male versions would be ", blond-haired 6-foot-2 finely sculpted hunks who roast their own coffee."

In his column Krugman predictably concludes that in its pursuit of wealth "...America is a land of harried parents and neglected children, of expensive health care that misses those who need it most..." Brooks -- who has become increasingly snarky as the avatar of his party is increasingly revealed to be a lethally incompetent idiot -- first of all distances himself from the trend & then says it's impossible to stop it. "There's no way people are going to foreswear the joys of creative genetics," he sighs.


Unknown said...

For those who haven't ever met Tim he is about six foot five and looks like a genetic cross between sean connery and Marty Feldman.

Anonymous said...

we are shorter fatter word: Latin-Americans (and I have a real affinity for the Mexicans so I am not being racist, just honest)

signed, tallish Sicilian-descended American female

Tim Connor said...

anonymous tallish Sicilian-descended American female-- I quote further from Krugman's column:

"It's not the population's changng ethnic mix due to immigration; the stagnation of American heights is clear even if you restrict the comparison to non-Hispanic, native-born whites."

here today, gone tomorrow said...

Hey, I want to be referred to as a "wily layabout"! Maybe I'll put that as an objective on my resume. And I coulda told you we were working too hard...and that it sucks. Good to have proof.

William Greiner said...

Tim, I have tried emailing you? I need a mailing address to send you the book requested. Cheers, Wm.

Anonymous said...

I have found this rather interesting web site on Standardized Body Proportions at:

It’s based on statistics collected by the US Army.

You enter your height in either inches or centimeters, and it tells you how long your legs should be, and your torso length, etc. etc.

Well, I’m 5 ft 6 in, or 66 inches tall, so according to the chart, my legs are suppose to be between 31 to 32 inches long, and my torso length from shoulder to crotch is suppose to be between 22 and 23 inches long. That is according to the Standardized Body Proportions charts.

But when I actually measured my crotch height above the floor, and my torso length, it turns out that my legs are only 27 inches long, about 5 inches shorter than they should be for my height, and my torso length is 29 inches, or 7 inches longer than it should be, so my neck must be about 2 inches shorter then it ought to be for one of my height. My head is the right size though.

I have a larger body, with shorter limbs and a shorter neck. My arms are also a couple of inches too short.

Yes, I’m obese. I weigh about 395 pounds, and I’m somewhat “pear shaped” measuring only 56 inches around my chest, 64 inches around my waist, 70 inches around my hips, with 36 inch thighs.

I’ve been told that I’m built like a Teddy Bear, and my girl friend who likes fat guys says that I look like a fat little Dutch boy.

She prefers to see me wearing shorts because she actually likes my short chunky fat little Dutch boy legs.

I’ve been fat all my life, and I’m perfectly happy with my body.

I have read an article on another web site about us Americans being shorter and fatter, and it was referring our "stature deficit" well, in reference to the “stature deficit”, I don’t consider my shorter then average height to be a “deficit” there is nothing wrong with being short, or even fat for that matter!

In fact, I have even discovered some advantages in the way I’m built. I have a much higher tolerance to cold weather, and having shorter limbs actually conserves energy.

True, I can’t walk as fast as the average person, and I waddle when I walk, and my broad hips proudly swagger and sway, and my big round belly leads the way like the prowl of a mighty ship!

I was once in a motor cycle wreck, and the only injuries I had were cuts and bruises and sore muscles for about a week. But no broken bones. The doctor who examined me actually said that being short fat and round actually saved me from serious injuries. Of course he still said that I needed to lose some weight. Naturally!!!

I even got to see my X rays, and I could see that I have a large pelvis that is slightly wider than my rib cage. I also have really big round knees, and really thick bones in my legs, and a thick spinal column, So I do have a rather unique physique.

Actually, I don’t think that my legs and arms are too short, or my torso too long in proportion to my height. I think I’m just right!

I’m not “too” anything! I’m built the way God intended me to be built!

There is no such thing as being too short or too tall or too fat or too anything!

We are as God intended us to be. When God designed the human body, he didn’t use a freaking micrometer to make sure that everything he designed was within a tolerance of a thousandth of an inch.

We are not machines! We are flesh and blood, bone, muscle, and FAT!!!

We should stop judging people by outward appearances, and stop discriminating against people just for being different.

I have many abilities. Artistic abilities, I enjoy doing oil paintings, and building radio controlled model planes. When I was 13, I scored 150 points on a standard IQ test. As a kid, I was no good at sports, and was bullied around because of it. But I have many other abilities that I believe are much more important.

I have no deficits.

I love my large plump round body, and short chunky limbs. It give me a more relaxed appearance. It’s a nice soft and comfortable body, I think I’m fine just the way I am!

Oh! By the way . . .

I don’t eat a lot of fast foods or junk foods either.

I do my own cooking, and I eat mostly chicken or fish, lots of vegetables, and plenty of fresh fruit when I have a craving for sweets.

I also go out every other day to walk around town for some exercise.

So again, I don’t fit the stereotype of the average American fast food junky and couch potato.

I’m just, short and fat! Unapologetically fat!

I don’t apologize for my size!

I love to sing and dance, and stomp my feet, and really rock your world!!!