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Speaker: Talking past each other: Ideological silos and research

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  • Danielle,

    It comes as no surprise that a moderately worthwhile thread dies at your hands again.

    Yeah Gio, stop ruining our consensus with your pesky disagreement! What do you think this is, a discussion forum?

    It should be noted that it's not only Jackie who's noping on out of here. There are plenty of others, mostly women, with worthwhile knowledge who aren't posting. But they're reading and talking about it in safer spaces.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Danielle,

    Yeah Gio, stop ruining our consensus with your pesky disagreement! What do you think this is, a discussion forum?

    Speaking of ideology, the liberal fiction that we're all good people and if only we were all reasonable we'd realise we all want the same things is one you disturb at your own peril.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Gray,

    Gotta say, I tend to read rather than participate in internet-based debates (I'm not keen to start tweeting, partly because I'd rather do my snarking privately where it's less likely to be misconstrued or cause drama for others).

    So this may be a bit new to me, but I didn't entirely expect that this post would veer off into people accusing each other of name-calling or of inventing accusations of name calling or of making everything into a talky dude-fest.

    Thing is, people HAVE actually been making some very worthwhile points among the rest of that noise. And some of those points only seem to be at cross-purposes because the commentators are concentrating on different sides to the issue or different terminology for similar issues.

    Wellington • Since May 2016 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Gray, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Ironic that we posted at the same time… but I hope we can manage to want different things sometimes while still acknowledging each other as "good and reasonable". That’s more or less why I had decided to experiment with giving libertarians the benefit of the doubt in the first place.

    Wellington • Since May 2016 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    This also seems like a good approach.

    Nice. I'm (trying) to write something that covers a similar approach to drug policy, per Tuari Potiki's UN speech.

    Papa Nahi, who was on our show this week talking about drug policy, is also quoted in this story on an initiative by a Ngāti Whātua sports club to stop offering sugary drinks at its clubrooms. Simple, community-driven.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rebecca Gray,

    Thing is, people HAVE actually been making some very worthwhile points among the rest of that noise. And some of those points only seem to be at cross-purposes because the commentators are concentrating on different sides to the issue or different terminology for similar issues.

    Thanks Rebecca. We'll have you back :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    This is from someone who doesn't feel safe posting here, but wanted to contribute.

    WTF. Seriously what fate hate? Nobody was deriding people for being obese. For some reason (and I know offense is always in the eye of the beholder) someone felt offended by others saying obesity is a major health problem that will harm the lives of those suffering the disease (and yeah I know those are hard words).

    I am going to assume good faith and explain why the people here - and reading this and not feeling safe to comment - are feeling and seeing fat hate.

    Because to be fat is to see fat hate everywhere. From the people staring anytime you put anything in your mouth, to the kindly strangers commenting on your body. From feeling like everyone is staring at you when someone makes a joke about fat people, to the woman who stopped me in the street two weeks ago to tell me my skirt was too short for "a woman like me."

    So when you describe the "obesity problem" you're not talking about a health problem like lung cancer from smoking. You're talking about my body. I'm obese, therefore I am a problem. As Deborah and others have already said, you can't separate the person from the body. Believe me, I spent most of my twenties and thirties trying to do exactly that. Were it possible, I'd have figured out a way.

    For what it's worth, I've been fat all my life. My parents are fat, so were my grandmothers. We didn't have very much money when I was a kid, and the habits and tastes I developed then have absolutely had an impact on my body. So I am not suggesting we do nothing. But a sugar tax is an incredibly blunt tool that will harm the people it purports to help. We need food. It's what we live on. No one needs tobacco or alcohol to live - there is a difference, and the policy responses need to be different. The most positive change I have made in my own life is to move my body - but being a fat person, that's incredibly hard. It's hard for me to buy workout clothes, buying bras is an exercise in masochism, and the patronising or outright threatening responses from other people make it more and more difficult.

    We're not going to fix this until we figure out a way to separate bodies from lifestyles, and to stop judging and diagnosing people based on how they look, instead of on their actual medical status. We're not going to fix this when you all continue to treat "obesity" like it's an abstract problem, and not what everyone thinks when they're confronted by my thighs.

    When I was 13, someone put a weightloss pamphlet in my locker at school. It is to this day one of the most humiliating experiences of my life. I've spent most of the rest of my life doing everything I can to avoid that feeling - which, yes, includes eating my feelings on occasion. I don't know what the person who put that pamphlet in my locker was thinking, but I imagine they thought they were helping. Like you guys do, I imagine they thought they were being kind. She wasn't. You aren't. And you aren't helping.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Rebecca Gray,

    but I hope we can manage to want different things sometimes while still acknowledging each other as “good and reasonable”

    Not at the cost of pretending that there are no competing social interests at play. The sugar tax is popular among conservative politicians because it enables them to be seen as doing something while not actually doing anything of substance, and placing all the cost on consumers, regressively - as opposed to corporations or taxpayers, progressively. It's the thing we can do for the least political cost, instead of other things that would be of much greater benefit. So long as the topic is ideology, it seems worth pointing out.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    The thing is, Bart, we don't need "hard words", because we get them every single day. There is a more-than-zero chance I will be yelled at on the street for exercising. There is a more-than-zero chance I will be minding my own damn business and have someone shout abuse at me in public. There is a more-than-zero chance that people will think I am stupid or lazy and not be able to hide it from me. And I'm a middle class person with plenty of money and two postgraduate degrees. Imagine if you're a poor, brown woman. It's like handing someone a shit sandwich to have a bunch of "reasonable" people talk about how fat people are all doomed to terrible blighted lives and wave a sugar tax around as if it solves a damn thing.

    (And forget class issues - I haven't even STARTED to talk about the feminist implications of this.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to David Hood,

    I'm going to venture "not on the basis of that article"

    Thanks for fact-checking. Spotted that in a break. Amazing what's coming out about our microbiome now.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I reported it elsewhere but 'm still shocked by a comment at a public lecture I attended at Victoria University last week. The session explored (not necessarily promoted) the idea of a sugar tax and the speakers were a tax expert academic and a public health researcher. At the end a member of the audience (middle aged white male) asked why we don't just tax fat people.

    Fat hate summed up right there.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3189 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Cognitive Impairment: A Hidden Consequence of the Childhood Obesity Epidemic

    A health professional who similarly feels unsafe posting here read the original research papers you're talking about in this post and notes that poor cognition is linked to depression and poor emotional wellbeing, which is intrinsically connected to "obesity", which is really the entire point of the research. Obesity doesn't make you stupid, but because the obese are being treated as a doomed social blight instead of people, they are depressed and their cognition is therefore poorer.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    The sugar tax is popular among conservative politicians

    Really? It’s been dismissed by John Key, opposed by Katherine Rich and notoriously and dirtily campaigned against by Carrick Graham and friends.

    Which conservative politicians in New Zealand can you name as supportive of a sugar tax?

    On the other hand:

    Green Party health spokesman Kevin Hague said awareness and industry initiatives were clearly not enough to combat obesity.

    He compared the approach to obesity to smoking, for which the Government had aggressively lifted prices and limited marketing.

    As I said, I have strong doubts about the merit of a sugar tax, but you’re making a very dubious claim here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danielle,

    Obesity doesn’t make you stupid, but because the obese are being treated as a doomed social blight instead of people, they are depressed and their cognition is therefore poorer.

    I was concerned that you'd respond by accusing me of saying "Fat people are stupid," so I'm happy (well, relieved) with this response.

    I would note that all the linked papers propose pathological and physiological causes in some detail. This, of course, does not mean that the psychological factors you cite aren't at play, but I'd be surprised if they could account for the strong association with Alzheimer's.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with worrying about what the research indicates, or hoping that the diets of children improve.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    At the end a member of the audience (middle aged white male) asked why we don’t just tax fat people.

    Oh yeah, that's quite a common refrain. I'm waiting for my inevitable hospital surcharge. "Reasonable" people would probably agree that the consumer needs to pay, right?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Which conservative politicians in New Zealand can you name as supportive of a sugar tax?

    I wasn’t aware New Zealand was the only country that counted. The sugar tax was famously championed by Bloomberg, a Republican. Adopted in Mexico by a conservative president, in France under Sarkozy, in England under the Tories. But hey I guess I’m making a “dubious claim”.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The sugar tax is popular among conservative politicians

    Really? It’s been dismissed by John Key, opposed by Katherine Rich and notoriously and dirtily campaigned against by Carrick Graham and friends.

    And supported by a very large group of public health professionals. People whose pronouncements about such public health interventions as improving the housing stock we listen to carefully.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I was concerned that you’d respond by accusing me of saying “Fat people are stupid,” so I’m happy (well, relieved) with this response.

    I really resent this implication that you think I'm so unreasonable that I'm incapable of reading comprehension. Is there anything in my posts in this thread to imply such a thing? Considering that my SOLE POINT in this thread is asking people to think very carefully about how they think and speak about fat people? Asking for people not to exaggerate their woeful predictions, because those exaggerations are harmful? Asking people to care more deeply for children's mental wellbeing, so that their physical wellbeing can be improved? I mean, hold the fuck up. You're giving me shit for my own COMPASSION?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’d be surprised if they could account for the strong association with Alzheimer’s.

    PS My health professional friend notes that there is an association between Alzheimer's and depression: "an odds ratio of 2.0 for depression occurring more than 10 years before the onset of dementia symptoms".

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danielle,

    Asking people to care more deeply for children’s mental wellbeing, so that their physical wellbeing can be improved? I mean, hold the fuck up. You’re giving me shit for my own COMPASSION?

    No, I'm not. I've acknowledged what you've said. But I honestly was worried you'd have a go at me.

    I hope you picked up that I was concerned about children too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22724 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    "England under the Tories"

    Hang on, in England it has been advocated by Labour for years, the Tories were very much pushed into.

    Norway also has a sugar tax. And among Finland's somewhat complicated coalition arrangements, as far as I can see can the sugar tax has been removed (multiple times) by more right leaning coalitions and brought back by more left leaning ones.

    If you drew Venn diagrams , sugar tax would include most public health people, some right wing politicians, and some left wing politicians (given we can name both right and left wing politicians for it and against it). I think this makes the essential idea empirically apolitical. Equally I think a right wing implementation of it is likely to be more regressive than a left wing implementation.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    But I honestly was worried you’d have a go at me.

    Don't get me wrong, it's good to get the full "bitch be crazy" treatment sometimes. Just so I can be reminded of where I stand.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to David Hood,

    If you drew Venn diagrams , sugar tax would include most public health people, some right wing politicians, and some left wing politicians (given we can name both right and left wing politicians for it and against it). I think this makes the essential idea empirically apolitical.

    I’m sure hidden in this interesting catalogue is something that contradicts my claim that conservative politicians like the tax, and it’s just me who can’t find it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Gray, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    An audience member of the same (middle aged white male) demographic made the same (tax people by the amount they are considered overweight) suggestion at the NZ Initiative event. Seemed really pleased with himself and his hilariously original idea :-(

    Wellington • Since May 2016 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Danielle,

    Just so I can be reminded of where I stand.

    Surrounded by respectful and fearful (if, and because, sometimes blundering) supplicants?

    ... And also, unreconstructed idiots like that NZInitiative audience member. From here, hard to tell which is in the majority. Going off now to re-read the "missing stair" thread...

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1874 posts Report Reply

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