If jealousy burned calories

…we’d instantly solve quite a few people’s major life issues.

But sadly, the effort expended on envious feelings is neither material nor measurable. This is both good and bad news for Mary Madigan, freelance writer for Mammamia (now there’s a career path to infinite riches!).

Good news because she can get a couple of hundred dollars knocking out heartfelt columns about why we shouldn’t celebrate an obese celebrity losing a lot of weight. Bad news, because Mary is burning emotional energy being bitter over other people’s good fortune, and even more mental energy avoiding reflecting on poor life choices she has made.

The back story is a minor Australian celebrity (if that isn’t a tautology), Chrissie Swan, dropped a wheelbarrow load of weight recently and has been congratulated by lots of commentators. Her Instagram feed has a flood of positive comments, many of which are middle aged men who’ve suddenly decided she’s hot.

Our “plus sized” columnist takes issue with their sudden change of opinion. Chrissie was always attractive, she claims. It’s a backhanded compliment to suggest she’s now looking great, according to our self-appointed moral arbiter.

Context is everything, of course.

This is Mary:

This was Chrissie Swan:

This is Chrissie Swan now:

I’m sure we can all agree on what a terrible and destructive transformation she’s inflicted on herself.

The feedback from Mary’s syndicated article was predictable. By which I don’t mean lots of stupid people went on the internet and called her rude names but that she would feign shock and surprise at this reaction and then post a self-obsessed semi-naked picture on Instagram affirming to herself how gorgeous she is and her superiority in the victim olympics.

It’s been a very tiring week because my inbox got flooded with abusive messages after an article I wrote for Mamamia got picked up by The Sun & New York Post. Obviously, when men attack women on the internet the insults are always about your looks. Fat, unattractive, unfuckable…. It’s unoriginal but it did make me feel sad but then I remembered I’m gorgeous and now I’m back.

Bills Opinion

There is no problem with Chrissie Swan’s weight loss. We celebrate it because, as decent human beings, we give positive feedback to obviously good life choices made by others.

It’s a social contract; we tell each other what we’re doing well and try to kindly point out areas for improvement.

If Mary doesn’t like that social contract, it’s incumbent on her to describe the alternative system she would suggest we employ.

It’s always dangerous to attempt to diagnose mental illness from a distance but it’s clearly an unhealthy thought process to convince oneself being grossly overweight is somehow a positive choice.

Would Mary sympathise with 500 words written by a chain smoker trying to convince us it’s wrong to celebrate someone giving up the cancer sticks?

Perhaps it’s just the sunk cost fallacy to wish to convince other people of these illogical views. In addition, the editors of the publications paying for these columns are encouraging negative health outcomes by printing it. Perhaps the editors are analogous to the circus ringmasters introducing the freak show exhibit.

It’s as if we are being asked to casually put aside several million years of evolution and consciously ignore the instinctive mental rank order sorting of other humans by attractiveness. Perhaps that’s possible, but the clever money and every sexual interaction in the history of the planet suggests the exact opposite is more likely.

This denial of reality can be neatly explained by Sailer’s first law of female journalism:

The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

More chins than the Hong Kong phone directory…..

6 Replies to “If jealousy burned calories”

  1. I’m dealing with a narcissist at the moment and I’m learning to recognise the symptoms, a lack of empathy and a never-ending search for victims to bully being numbers one and two.

    Dear Mary, you are not gorgeous, and although I confess to having harpooned a couple of whales during exceptionally lean times, they just don’t make paper bags big or strong enough for you.

    1. My main gripe with this stuff is that it gets published at all.

      You KNOW it’s going to attract negative comments, it was in your mind when you carefully typed every word.
      The business model is to then collect the worst abuse and claim mental health issues as a consequence.

      But, actually, doing the first part is the really mental problem, not the consequence of it.

      Just because you can get an audience, doesn’t mean you should have an audience.

      Let’s give it a name; LauriePennyism

    1. If she tripped on a crack on the pavement, would she bounce or splash down? Don’t laugh. If you were an ant and she fell on you it wouldn’t be so funny, would it? (Another Deep Thought from Jack Handey.)

  2. Dear Billy,

    I think you should post content more often. Day after day I click on the icon only to be disappointed. Inviting a guest blogger wouldn’t help. Someone with your attributes of worldly-wise cynicism, wit and clarity of thought would already have their own blog. Promoting the “Suggestions for Discussion” tab more vigorously might.

    How about going global? Ukraine has been, ahem, done to death, but where is the next war going to be played? You don’t always have to be right. Entertaining is more than good enough. Tim Worstall’s Obvious or Trivial blog proves that.

    1. Firstly, apologies.
      I’ve been pulled in a few directions this month, none of particularly traumatic but all of it very time consuming.
      To give a flavour; new job, visiting relatives, boat needing to be bailed out before it became a salvage job, a thousand jobs around the new house, coaching rugby 4 days a week.

      I’m coming up for air this weekend. Some level of “normalcy” should be resumed.

      I’m going to attempt the Ukraine subject, but not in a way others have done.

      To expand further; I could do the pithy “look at those woke idiots” type posts, but that market niche has enough players and I’m really using this place as a personal thought space. Other night disagree but I’m trying for quality before quantity.

      You could get the email notification to save the “lazy bastard” thoughts over your morning coffee.

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