Recently, Bubba Watson won what is arguably the most important title in professional Golf–The Masters. He didn’t go to Disney World to celebrate. Nope, Watson celebrated his 1.6 Million dollar winnings by taking his family for a celebratory feast at a Waffle House restaurant. He tweeted the event to his 1 Million plus followers and the tweet went viral. The photo shows Bubba sitting next to his wife and best friend (Judah Smith, a pastor from Seattle). By and large the coverage was positive. Not only had Bubba managed to win the Masters for a second time, he had brought attention to an event that had primarily received coverage for the fact that Tiger Woods would NOT be attending. He managed to make a sport that is often seen as the exclusive playground of the rich seem more fun and less stuffy.
But not everyone was complimentary about Bubba’s trip to Waffle House for Grilled Cheese and Hash Browns. Apparently, self-appointed food policewoman, Katherine Tallmadge recently appeared on Neil Cavuto’s show on Fox recently–bashing Bubba for being a “poor example” of how athletes should eat–at least in public. Tallmadge fumed:
“Well, it would be great if celebrities and sports figures set a better example for our obese nation,” Katherine Tallmadge huffed to Fox TV host Neil Cavuto.
“There’s nothing wrong with the Waffle House if it’s an occasional splurge, but these gazillionaires love to show Americans that they’re one of you. And so, to win a popularity contest, they go to Waffle Houses, diners, steak places, when in reality, to be a great athlete or a celebrity in good shape, they don’t really eat like that.”
Okay, let’s break this apart, shall we? This guy won one of the highest titles in the land for one is arguably one of the most nerve-wracking sports on the planet but gets publicly scourged on a national level for eating some hash browns at Waffle House? Would it be better if he ate hash browns in secret where nobody could see. Is he failing to sport the fashionable eating disorder that should accompany any person receiving this much public attention.
And apparently, along with basic information about nutrition, registered dieticians receive training in clairvoyance and divination. Because although Tallmadge really doesn’t know Bubba or anything about his personal life, she feels she can safely comment on:
1. What Bubba eats on a regular basis.
2. Why Bubba took his family to Waffle House.
3. What all real sports stars eat on a regular basis.
4. Bubba’s general health status and physical condition.
Were Tallmadge ACTUALLY able to discern all of this about someone she’s probably never even met, she might warrant some of the media attention she’s recently received. Because, wow–MAGIC. Unfortunately, all Tallmadge is really able to do here is receive media attention by making self-righteous and unfounded assumptions about famous people that are just controversial enough to earn her some air time. Naturally Tallmadge has appeared often on television shilling her “nondiet eating plan for losing weight”. Forgive me if I don’t name her program or give it much credence. When people start talking about losing weight by eating right and not dieting, I tend to have trust issues.
Tallmadge’s web site is full of references to her multitudinous media appearances. And it all tends to remind me of another woman who appears a lot in the media–MeMe Roth. Ms. Roth has a degree in Journalism and had built a career working for top Public Relations companies. She also received a Health Counseling Certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2008. The institute’s teachings and requirements have been called into question. But none of that stopped Roth from appearing in the media over and over again as an “Obesity Expert” (airquotes evident) who felt perfectly justified in telling fat people that they are ugly and useless and a scourge on society. Roth has made a media career out of being a professional hater. I’ve personally gone up against her brand of nastiness on the Dr. Drew show and have watched her scream and stomp and spit her way through many interviews since. She gets booked because she is a spectacle. She’s the train wreck that pulls the viewer over the commercial break. And her work on television would be laughable if it weren’t for the terrible damage she does to people of all sizes. She damages large people because she convinces them that they are ugly and worthless and unfit to join society at their current size. She damages smaller people by confirming for them that staying small is without question the most important thing they can do with their lives. While Tallmadge certainly sports somewhat better credentials–she seems to be headed along the same trajectory. She’s garnering massive media attention by serving as a professional food nanny–whether we’ve ordered one up or not.
I am often reminded of this clip from “Ratatouille”–one of my favorite movies ever. In this clip, the famous food critic waxes philosophical about his role as a critic and how it stacks up against the role of creator in his industry:
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so..”
In that same way, I wonder about the work of a professional hater. They risk very little and create very little other than wagging their finger in a mildly entertaining way at the rest of us. Those of us who are writing books and inspiring others and winning international golf titles. I wonder if those of us who are winners and creators in the world might find a way to simply ignore these haters–like the unwelcome and uninvited house fly buzzing around our banquets. I wonder if we do this, if future employment opportunities for professional haters might be a little less rosy. But for now, if you’ll excuse me I’m headed out to eat some waffles.
Jeanette DePatie, AKA The Fat Chick
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