Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Wednesday, February 17, 1999

Enjoying humor on
the hefty side

SandwicheD between CNN video of Kurds going bonkers at Greek embassies around the world and drunken revelers going bonkers at Mardi Gras in New Orleans (the drunken revelers were the ones with the beads, I'm pretty sure) was video of a billboard advertisement in San Francisco for a fitness club that claimed that if aliens came, they would eat fat people first.

Two things came to mind: 1) the impeachment thing really is over, and 2) what kind of nutty news have we been missing all these months while we endured the media saturation bombing of the Clinton affair?

I mean, the decrepit old Senators and 'House managers' (there's a contradiction in terms) are barely back on their oxygen tanks and martinis, and already we are being re-introduced to the other longest running media orgasm, the JonBenet Ramsey investigation. She's still dead, folks. And guess what? The parents still haven't been charged. Yet the television news weenies already are squeezing hours of new footage out of a story that was wrung dry a year ago.

All I know about Jon Benet is this: Never in the history of the world was one child photographed so much. There are more pictures of this kid before she died then have been taken by the Hubble telescope. If I didn't know better, I'd guess she was killed by flash bulbs.

Don't get me wrong, it's a horribly sad story. But until something new in the case actually arises (and not that there is an all-points bulletin out for her missing teddy bear), I don't think we should have to suffer through daily coverage.

SO it was with a bit of relief that I noticed a bunch of angry fat people were able to snag a bit of media air space simply because some health club in San Francisco happens to have a sense of humor.

The fatties were upset because 24-Hour Fitness put up a billboard featuring a space alien and the line: "When they come, they will eat the fat ones first."

This caused a small group of large people to protest that the billboard was an insult to fat folks everywhere. This just goes to show you how every group in the world is now sitting back waiting to be offended, waiting to be able to play the role of victim. What these fat people are angry about is being REMINDED that they are fat. What's next, protest mirror manufacturers?

The reason I can be so brutally honest is that I'm not the skinniest guy around. In fact, some insensitive jerks have actually suggested that I'm just a tiny bit on the jumbo side of normal. And I thought the fitness billboard was hilarious. If large people are offended by the advertisement, the thing to do is not waddle around and whine but buy a billboard of their own.

Why doesn't a Big 'n Tall store in San Francisco put up a billboard that says, "Aliens are on a low-fat diet, so you better hide your skinny butt." Or, "When they come, they'll eat arrogant, self-important, Lycra-wearing stair-climbers first." Or, "Earthlings Lite: Great Taste, Less Filling!"

By protesting, the fatties showed that they actually aren't OK with the way they look, as they often claim. They're showing that they are so sensitive that something as benign as a humorous billboard is enough to make their self-esteem deflate like a ruptured souffle.

The truth of the matter is that we have no idea if aliens prefer to eat fat humans or skinny humans or, more importantly, whether they can even tell the difference. We can only hope that humans are an acquired taste and that aliens generally prefer to eat rain forests, endangered species and old growth Red Woods. Imagine the protests if you put THAT on a San Francisco billboard.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802

or send E-mail to charley@nomayo.com or

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