reading yesterday's Guardian a short comment on drinking behaviour of the middle class in Britain caught my attention...
Acctually, it was not the comment in itself that baffled me, but rather a sidecomment added to the article on the rhetoric used by British politicians these days. It says: (Guardian, Friday October 19th 2007, p. 20)
"We were officially told this week that obesity is as big a threat as climate change. Not long ago we were told that global warming is as big a threat as terrorism. And earlier, that terrorism is as big a threat to the British people as the Second World War. So: child obesity = global warming = terrorism = Fascism. Ergo, those crisps in your child's lunchbox are today's moral equivalent of the Nazis. Now do you feel guilty?"
The commentator points at a phenomenon I already observed myself the last couple of weeks. Politicians here (as well as back home, but I'm not informed about the situation there at the moment, thus I'll stick to the UK for now) tend to link problems of the 21st century in an irrational, for me absurd way. How does global warming and obesity fit together?! Maybe the politician looked at the picture of a fat child on the one side, and on the other he had the motive of a globe. They kind of looked the same, so why not compare them in a public speech?!
When thinking about global warming and obesity in depth, as sociologist, they are interconnected in some way, as both problems need to be tackled by changing social structures and social behaviour. Still, comparing global warming and obesity is like comparing apples and oranges! Global warming affects the entire world, affects the nature, all species living on our planet (some might look forward to a warmer planet, others might not) and human beings and their societies. Obesity on the other hand primarily affects the obese. Of course, this is a very short viewed description as to challenge obesity on a large scale, it is not enough to tell the fat to go to the gym and dring coke zero. However, politicians, and individuals listening to their words, should always keep in mind that there are differences in the nature of two distinct problems. Otherwise we might all end up and believe that child obesity = global warming = terrorism = Fascism.