Do You Not Own a Mirror?

Recently, News8000 anchor, Jennifer Livingston, received criticism of her weight by occasional viewer, Kenneth W. Krause:

Hi Jennifer,

It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed [indeed!] to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years. Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make [like homosexuality!] and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain [like meth!]. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle [like bulimia!].

[Hugs and kisses, Ken]

Jennifer’s response was impressive: dignified, intelligent, and very professional.

Mr. Krause, it must be said, is one confident son-of-a-bitch. He responded to Jennifer’s video with this statement:

Given this country’s present epidemic of obesity and the many truly horrible diseases related thereto, and considering Jennifer Livingston’s fortuitous position in the community, I hope she will finally take advantage of a rare and golden opportunity to influence the health and psychological well-being of Coulee Region children by transforming herself for all of her viewers to see over the next year, and, to that end, I would be absolutely pleased to offer Jennifer any advice or support she would be willing to accept.

Oh, where to begin…

At the beginning. I’m sure Ken felt that greeting a complete stranger with a casual “Hi Jennifer” was the perfect beginning to a bit of gentle criticism. “Ms. Livingston” might perhaps have been a better indication of the well-meant advice that followed, but then I’m not really familiar with the etiquette of “I don’t know you but you disgust me” correspondence. I must say that I do feel for him though, being an unsuspecting “witness” to a “physical condition” (i.e. crime) first thing in the morning. How can anyone be expected to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a bran muffin while being visually accosted by the “obesity” of a local public personality?!

Now, as my friend can attest, I may be one of the cattiest (and cruelest) people in the world – behind someone’s back. Most of the time. Unless I love the person, then I’ll abuse him right over the phone. However, I don’t consider myself a bully, nor do I believe Ms. Livingston’s critic is a bully. His note was presumptuous, inappropriate, insensitive, tactless, rude and self-righteous, but not bullying. A bully is someone who verbally or physically abuses another person for their own amusement or pleasure. It is a known fact that children can be outrageously cruel (if you haven’t experienced it firsthand, or vicariously through your own children’s schoolyard traumas, check out Lord of the Flies), and I heartily agree – cruelty or kindness are learned at home. Although, to be fair, some people are born lacking the capacity for empathy and a predilection for causing harm; they are considered douche bags.

Speaking of douche bags[1], I would love to see a photo of Ken. Was he, at one time, a disgustingly fat pig of a human being, but after an intervention and gastric bypass surgery, is now a certified judge of healthy weight for women? Or, perhaps he was blessed with the gift of universally acknowledged beauty. As a perfect specimen of robust yet slender health, Ken must feel obliged to reach out. Like Mother Theresa, Mister Krause just wants to help. Only instead of tending to lepers, he is compelled to seek out those whom he finds to be plain or pudgy and let them know how much better they would look with a little makeup. His thoughtfulness knows no bounds.

Nature or nurture, one thing is certain, the belief that you have the right to tell another person that you find their appearance offensive, that comes from the heart. Or the gaping hole where one’s heart ought to be.

Ken, take your own advice and try to transform yourself into a kinder human being.

[1] A good example of bullying.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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