Two Pundits (And All of Twitter) Ponder Fat Jokes About Chris Christie
We told you earlier that Chris Christie was the butt of a few jokes at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Now, it seems, some pundits are doing a little soul-searching about whether Chris Christie should have to endure such mockery.
The White House Correspondents Dinner celebrates the freedom Americans have to speak truth to power. And McHale’s set, which was otherwise great, had plenty of that — including a cutting riff on Christie’s scandals. But when a trim, handsome guy like Joel McHale repeatedly mocks a fat man for being fat on national television, it’s not speaking truth to power. It’s bullying. It’s a reminder to any overweight kid who happens to be tuning in that even if you become as successful as Chris Christie you’ll still be mercilessly mocked for your weight.
Dave Weigel says such jokes ignore that Christie has lost 90 pounds:
My point is not so much that it’s rude to mock Christie’s girth. My point is that it makes you sound like you don’t pay attention. Your image of the guy is based on pictures from 2012 or so. You have not taken the effort to seek him out or cover him since then. You’re part of the reason, actually, that Christie gets so many compliments on the trail now. (When I briefly covered his 2013 glide to re-election, I heard dozens of hoi polloi remarks to that effect.)
The fat jokes didn’t get a lot of fans on Twitter, either, though there were some defenders:
Also true that if Christie were female, fat jokes would never fly with the public.
— Gabriel Muller (@gabrmuller) May 5, 2014
@ezraklein Fat jokes are childish and hateful. There is plenty in Christie's record to loathe w/o bullying taunts that smear others.
— MonkeeWannabe (@rockwell1861) May 5, 2014
Not in favor of fat jokes either but where was the outrage and the columns abt Christie's in-your- face ugly bullying of teachers?
— LiberalPhenom (@LiberalPhenom) May 5, 2014
— Melissa H. (@melshizzy) May 4, 2014
Sorry Joel McHale, but if you've got weeks to prepare for a gig and you come with Christie fat jokes, you're a hack. #WHCD
— Cynthia McCabe (@crkmccabe) May 4, 2014
@samsteinhp Christie's fat jokes well deserved. Funny! In my book Christie is still fat despite his weight loss. By the way so is your dog.
— Cookie Cutter (@MalibuCookie) May 4, 2014