Pixar's new movie, about the robot from Short Circuit falling in love with a mechanized tampon and exploring a universe which has ruined and been ruined by humanity, has some people upset. Specifically, the overweight. You see, in the film, the last gobs of the human race are doughy and lazy folk who drink liquid cupcakes and can't even really walk. And that's not fair! Right? Why is Pixar, usually so loving and tender to all of God's creatures, suddenly lashing out at such a large swath of the population, equating them with the decay of civilization? A tearful former Pixar fan writes a letter to the company:
All I can think of is how would you look at me? How would you look at someone's sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, fathers and brothers-are they funny? Are they less human or dirty or stupid? You had years to create the Axiom-didn't you see any shape of a person that could be recognized or loved?
I was at Columbus GLBTQ Pride today and I saw people of all shapes and sizes laughing and being in love.
Are they worthless too? Are they dirty and stupid and responsible for ruining the planet? Does their shape make them inherently bad?
Which, oh, eek, I really don't think was the filmmakers' point. But, sigh, a writer at Slate agrees with her, arguing that the film upholds the myths about obesity-that it's caused by sloth and gluttony-rather than recognizing the true culprit, genetics. Obesity is not a sign of end times, and how dare a movie imply that, these folks keen.
And the thing is, look. Obviously not everyone who is overweight is a food-crazed slob. Obviously some are victims of shitty genes or whatever. And, really, I don't think Pixar was targeting the genetically obese. Researchers have suggested that those unlucky folks aren't the way they are because of overeating anyway. What Pixar is targeting is a culture, immediately an American one, that has the highest obesity rate in the world, by a lot. As we are all painfully aware by now, fast food is slowly burying us in piles of grease and processed, sickly gray meat. I was at a Burger King last weekend while driving back to New York and there was a hamburger, I kid you not, that had the contents of a loaded baked potato smeared on top of it. We're talking mashed potaters 'n bacon piled on top of a hamburger that ALREADY HAD ONION RINGS ON IT. If that's not a sign of end times, I don't know what is. (Not to mention the environmental impact of such insane consumption. The ecological footprint of keeping one mooing meat sack alive is pretty astounding.)
So yeah, I'm pretty sure that's what Pixar was teasing at, not people who diet and exercise and do as much as they can but still carry some extra pounds. They're shaking their heads at the people who pull up to the drive thru in their SUVs and buy six Gordita Supremes and scarf them down, sitting in their idling car on the side of the road. It's a fairly new, millennial problem, and one that doesn't seem to be getting better. So I don't blame Pixar for depicting a disgraced humanity as lazy blobs. But Pixar isn't saying "look at the fatties," I don't think. They're saying "look at the liquid cupcakes in their hands."
Amongst, you know, lots of other insightful, hand-wringy stuff.