Why I love Ricky Gervais…

January 11, 2009

Ricky Gervais has taken a lot of flack recently. The star of (the british, original edition of) The Office and the critically-adored 2008 movie, Ghost Town, recently criticized overweight members of society that participate in elective surgeries to promote weight loss, including gastric bypass and liposuction. In his new audiobook, The Ricky Gervais Guide to Medicine, Gervais states:

I really don’t know why a doctor under a hippocratic oath takes the risk of something going badly wrong, sometimes with general anaesthetic, because someone can’t be bothered to go for a f—ing run. They have bits sliced off and tied up and sucked out. I want to say to them, “You lazy f—ing fat pig. Just go for a run and stop eating burgers. You might f—ing die.” Some things are not worth the risk. When someone’s facial surgery goes wrong because they wanted plumper lips or a little nose, I think they’re a f—ing idiot. If your arse is too f—ing fat, stop eating and go for a run.

Newspapers and online news organizations are all over this story now, claiming that he is being offensive and attacking obese people unfairly. Gervais, who describes himself as a “fatty”, is now being asked to offer a public apology for his words by several organizations.

Ricky Gervais in an ad for "Extras"

Ricky Gervais in an ad for "Extras"

You know what, though? He is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT in this situation! What did he say that was wrong? If we all acknowledge that obesity is a real issue in modern society, I think he is right to suggest that we encourage overweight people to exercise rather than be cut open by surgeons. There should at least be an in-depth counseling period which should precede any surgical action and attempt to promote healthier eating and exercise habits.

His suggestions, though made incredibly blunt, ring terribly true. These people do not need more alternatives to a healthy lifestyle. Rather, they need to be educated on how to live a healthy lifestyle. With the “stigma” gone (as he puts it) of being fat, there is no motivation to become fit and care about one’s health. We need to kick start this awareness of health with extreme steps. Insurance costs should be decreased for healthy patients. Yes, New York, additional taxes should be imposed on non-diet, sugary sodas. And surgery should never be a first option, and insurance coverage for these operations must be placed in check.

The critiques Gervais has received have not changed his point of view. He took to his blog recently to reply to respond to one particular criticism he received, which associated being overweight with being gay as concerning comic material. Gervais writes:

I heard someone on the radio once say that they were tired of the prejudice aimed at the overweight. They said something like “you’re not allowed to make fun of gay people, so why are you allowed to make fun of fat people? It’s the same thing.”

It’s not the same thing though, is it? Gay people are born that way. They didn’t work at becoming gay. Fat people became fat because they would rather be that way than stop eating so much. They had to eat and eat to get fat. Then, when they were fat they had to keep up the eating to stay fat. For gayness to be the same as fatness, gay people would have to start off straight but then ween themselves onto cock. Soon they’re noshing all day getting gayer and gayer. They’ve had more than enough cock… they’re full… they’re just sucking for the sake of it. Now they’re overgay, and frowned upon by people who can have the occasional cock but not over indulge.

When a doctor tells me that that’s how you become gay, I’ll stop making jokes about fat people.

He is an absolute laugh, and I cannot think of a better response for the stupidity expressed by the radio show host Gervais references.

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