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Old Apr 29, 2010, 04:03 PM   #1
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Photograph of "fat man" from circus freak show circa 1900 looks tame in 2010...

This photo was taken from a segment on Bill Maher's talk show this week. It's a vintage photograph circa 1900 from the Barnum and Bailey freak show. This was the show's "fat man" who patrons found unbelievable. He was considered freakish and large beyond believe and average sized folks actually paid for the privilege of looking at him:



Bill's point was that today, he's practically average sized and any stroll down a major street in a major metropolitan area (or WalMart) will lead to dozens of folks this size passing you by.

Kind of makes you think...
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 04:08 PM   #2
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Sad to see how the world (ok America) has gone to the fat side.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 04:14 PM   #3
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Sad to see how the world (ok America) has gone to the fat side.
America certainly has a stranglehold on the lead, but I don't think Canada or some of the European countries are lacking in folks of this magnitude, either...
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 04:20 PM   #4
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He could be a Biggest Loser contestant (one of the smaller ones).
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 04:37 PM   #5
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America certainly has its share of overweight and obese people. I think much of it is due to the sedentary lifestyle that so many here lead. Sleep, sit to eat breakfast, sit in the car, sit in cubicle at work, sit in car again, sit for dinner, rinse and repeat. I remember when I lived in Tokyo for 6 months, we walked and took the train pretty much everyplace and I came home 20 lbs lighter. Walking is an excellent low-impact exercise and I don't get near enough when I'm here at work staring at photoshop.

I'd love to see the reactions of people's face from the early 1900s if they could see what the world is like today.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 05:16 PM   #6
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Where the hell do you live that this is average sized? While I wouldn't say it's hard to find someone that fat they aren't quite that common.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 05:20 PM   #7
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It's pathetic that it has become okay to be overweight now. And I'm not just talking about obese people like that guy.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 05:26 PM   #8
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Where the hell do you live that this is average sized? While I wouldn't say it's hard to find someone that fat they aren't quite that common.
Where I live at least (in the U.S.) its still unusual to see a person that size and he would attract attention--though not so freakish anymore that people would pay to see him.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 05:26 PM   #9
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It's also interesting to note that while this level of obesity is much more common today, standards of beauty have radically shifted in the opposite direction...skeletally thin women are the "standard" nowadays, and beauty queens of the 1890s are "fat" by today's standards.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 05:28 PM   #10
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That's a damn shame!
Yet some of those fat fx are shocked when they get charged for two seats on a plane or at the movies. How dare anyone treat them like that? There are even organizations that promote being obese and proud. What the hell is going on in our society?
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 05:29 PM   #11
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It's pathetic that it has become okay to be overweight now. And I'm not just talking about obese people like that guy.
Right now our popular culture is sending mixed messages about being overweight. Last night on "Glee" an overweight character was eventually encouraged to accept herself for "who she was" and everyone sang "You are beautiful" in her honor at the end.

Contrast that with "The Biggest Loser" where obesity is looked upon as the serious health problem that it is.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 05:35 PM   #12
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America certainly has a stranglehold on the lead, but I don't think Canada or some of the European countries are lacking in folks of this magnitude, either...
Nor are we for that matter.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 05:54 PM   #13
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I think we have a fair few.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 06:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barkomatic View Post
Right now our popular culture is sending mixed messages about being overweight. Last night on "Glee" an overweight character was eventually encouraged to accept herself for "who she was" and everyone sang "You are beautiful" in her honor at the end.

Contrast that with "The Biggest Loser" where obesity is looked upon as the serious health problem that it is.
That's a really good example.

Ricky Gervais puts it well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXTq2_3LfXM
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 07:46 PM   #15
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Wall-E, anyone?
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 07:54 PM   #16
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This was before fast food and, more importantly prepackaged food that can last months on a supermarket shelf and is not really fit for human consumption, but corporations lobby governments to legislate that it is.

http://www.good.is/post/which-countr...-food-it-s-us/

Fresh food, try it some time (from a farmer's market, not the supermarket, that isn't fresh).
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 07:57 PM   #17
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I think more of us fatties should dress like that.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 08:05 PM   #18
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Last night on "Glee" an overweight character was eventually encouraged to accept herself for "who she was" and everyone sang "You are beautiful" in her honor at the end.
A show trying to promote a positive self image for a teenage girl is a bad thing? I'm not saying that obesity isn't a problem, but shaming people into eating better isn't a particularly good way to fix it, IMO.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 08:06 PM   #19
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Nice post. I live in the states and although its not common to see an "obese" person everywhere, its really no big deal either.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 08:32 PM   #20
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A show trying to promote a positive self image for a teenage girl is a bad thing? I'm not saying that obesity isn't a problem, but shaming people into eating better isn't a particularly good way to fix it, IMO.
Nor is lowering your expectations until they are met.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 08:37 PM   #21
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He reminds me of the guy from Pawn Stars.

I love that show.

s.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 08:41 PM   #22
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Seems a bit strange that patrons would find this guy "unbelievable" in size. Around the turn of the century there were heavy set people, not as much as this guy but, there still were. Usually these heavy set men were rich, it was a sort of status symbol, it was proof that you were wealthy enough to buy food, lots of it. If you look at the pictures of former presidents Arthur, Cleveland, especially Taft, the White House had to install a new larger bathtub to accommodate his size, them were some pretty hefty dudes. Taft weighed 300 some pounds, granted the guy in the picture weighs probably 500 something, I'm just sayin', it wasn't unheard of around the turn of the last century, and with presidents and such I think Maher's show may have been blowing it a tad out of proportion.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 10:01 PM   #23
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Seems a bit strange that patrons would find this guy "unbelievable" in size. Around the turn of the century there were heavy set people, not as much as this guy but, there still were. Usually these heavy set men were rich, it was a sort of status symbol, it was proof that you were wealthy enough to buy food, lots of it. If you look at the pictures of former presidents Arthur, Cleveland, especially Taft, the White House had to install a new larger bathtub to accommodate his size, them were some pretty hefty dudes. Taft weighed 300 some pounds, granted the guy in the picture weighs probably 500 something, I'm just sayin', it wasn't unheard of around the turn of the last century, and with presidents and such I think Maher's show may have been blowing it a tad out of proportion.
I'm no historian, but if you're seeing pictures back then of obese people, I would say they were either a freak or wealthy enough to afford a photographer. Nowadays it's the opposite. It's expensive to eat and be healthy, it's the poor who are hit the hardest with obesity since HFCS makes everything so cheap, and IMO is the reason the average American is so overweight.

Maybe in 50 years the skinny people will be circus freaks!
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 10:54 PM   #24
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Maybe in 50 years the skinny people will be circus freaks!
Oh I hope not.

It does by environment quite a bit. First of all I noticed that most city folk generally aren't very overweight. There are exceptions but they seem to take care of themselves better since they're in a more social setting. But that only includes the cities from both coasts since I don't visit middle America often. I also noticed that many folks in CA take very good care of themselves. Unlike MA for example.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 11:23 PM   #25
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Nuttin' that a few sit-ups couldn't fix.
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