Column was insensitive and not funny | AspenTimes.com

Column was insensitive and not funny

Dear Editor:

I have a great idea for a column and I thought I’d run it past you. It’s about how interracial marriage depletes the gene pool, how women are shrill weaklings, how gay marriage is the work of the devil, how all Muslims are terrorists and how Southerners are all stupid. It’s a light-hearted piece, which I pepper with amusing anecdotes of my own interracial marriage to a lesbian Muslim Southerner.

Chances are, you wouldn’t touch this with a 10-foot pole for fear of offending each of the groups I mentioned. Yet you have shown zero compunction in publishing Todd Hartley’s fat-hating column last week, “Colorado: The short end of the fat stick.”

Although I agree that obesity is an issue worth discussing and I have no problem telling self-deprecating jokes about my own weight, I find it unconscionable for anyone to refer to an entire group of people as “disgusting fat slobs” or to refer to a person who is 5 feet, 4 inches and 30 pounds overweight as “gross.” This doesn’t even touch on the classicism inherent in comparing the relatively wealthy state of Colorado with the impoverished state of Mississippi.

Did any of you consider even for a moment how this might be received by a third of your readers? Did you consider that fat people hear hateful words like this enough in the world without opening their paper and being besieged by contempt?

The answer is a resounding no because Todd Hartley informed me that not a single editor raised a single eyebrow at such hurtful language. I lambasted Todd on my personal blog for his writing, and he has since apologized for his comments, which I appreciate.

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I hope that your staff will have the decency to apologize to your readers for not filtering out this ignorant, unfunny swill from your pages. I would also hope that in the future you will keep in mind that hatred affects fat people the same way it affects black people, women, homosexuals, Muslims and Southerners.

And if you do decide to publish something that could offend an entire group, could you at least make sure it’s humorous enough to justify the pain?

Shannon Russell

Florissant, Mo.

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