Episode 4: It’s a Big Big World–A response to This American Life’s Tell Me I’m Fat

So This American Life is rerunning their “Tell Me I’m Fat” episode from last summer this week, and I keep seeing people discover this episode on NPR’s facebook page and talk about how life-changing it was for them. But if you’ve heard Episode 4 of The Fat Lip, you know that I didn’t think it was as fat-positive as it claims to be. So I decided to rerun my response this week as well for those of you who haven’t heard it or for anyone who’d like to revisit it.

Back again in two weeks with a new one!

Original show notes:

Last week This American Life, possibly the most popular podcast there is, ran an episode called “Tell Me I’m Fat.” Leading up to the episode’s release I read and listened to some teasers and learned that the show would feature Lindy West and her book, Shrill, so I was really excited. I love Lindy and loved Shrill and I’ve been a huge fan of This American Life’s thoughtful, nuanced reporting for years. I thought that someone was finally going to get the subject of fat right.

When I actually listened to the episode, though, I was really disappointed. Lindy was fantastic and hilarious and everything I hoped she’d be. But there were so many other elements of the episode that were really flawed. I listened to it over and over again hoping I was just hearing the most offensive parts wrong. The more I listened, though, the more disappointed and angry I became. And the hits kept coming. I shouldn’t be surprised, though–no mainstream media outlet has ever learned how to talk about fat respectfully. But this has gotten really old now. So today I’m doing something about it. This is my big fat response to This American Life’s “Tell Me I’m Fat”.

The music in today’s show is by our friend, the very talented young DJ Citizen Starcrusher. His new album, Goodbye Halcyon Days is now available at cstarcrusher.bandcamp.com.

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A transcript of this episode can be found here.

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