Cartoon: Things We Can Stop Saying To Fat People Already


If you like these cartoons, help us keep making more by waring blue on alternate Tuesdays of anniversaries of the ending of important wars and sporting events and also any day that  you’re wearing an odd number of shoes. That’s not a typo; I’m not saying you should wear blue, I’m saying you should beware blue. Hide from the sky, the sky is out to get you, so the nicer the day the more crucial unbrellas are. And for God’s sake never watch Blue’s Clues, no matter how your children beg. This will be your only warning.


Phew, this one took a long time to draw. And then it took a long time for Frank to color.

(At one point Frank texted me to say “Oh, those shopping carts! Whoo-ee!”).

(I responded, “OMG those fucking shopping carts!”)

Part of the reason this strip took so long me to draw is I made the mistake of thinking “I can just wing the perspective here” in the panel in the supermarket and so spent a lot of time freehand drawing the shelves and the tile floor, work that I eventually threw away so I could redo the drawing using actual perspective lines and vanishing points.

And two panels later, I made the exact same mistake drawing the panel with the bike rider.


That panel also contains a car. Cars, as longtime readers may remember me mentioning, are my cartooning nemesis. I can’t draw good cars, but I want to be able to. So every time I have to draw a car, I wind up with rejected car sketches like this.

A couple of these look okay – except that they’re drawn at the wrong angle. We’re viewing them from above, which means that I wouldn’t be able to put the bike rider in the foreground the way I wanted to (unless we assume the bike is 15 feet tall or in a tree or something).

I did manage to draw one from the correct angle – the one on the upper right. But it looks wrong to me. Like the metal is twisting and the parts don’t fit together right.

So then I eventually gave up, found a photo of a car from an angle that would work, and traced it. Then I hid the photo, and traced the tracing, changing some of the car’s features as I went. Then, for the final drawing, I traced the tracing of the tracing, again not looking at the original photo. This is all to help the final cartoon look like something drawn, rather than something traced.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that the front of the car would be outside the panel border, and the back of the car would be hidden by the bike rider. Oh well!


Drawing tattoo sleeves is always fun.


Not related to this cartoon, but I saw Glass Onion, and it was really smartly written and structured and funny and sharp. If you enjoy murder mysteries, it’s worth checking out. (It’s a sequel to Knives Out, but it really doesn’t matter if you’ve seen the previous film or not.)


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has nine panels. The central panel (panel five) has the words “THINGS WE CAN STOP SAYING TO FAT PEOPLE ALREADY” written in large, friendly, somewhat psychedelic-style lettering.

Other than the center panel, each panel features a different scene showing one or two characters speaking.

In addition to the nine panels, there’s a small additional “kicker” panel under the bottom of the comic strip.

PANEL 1

A thin woman stands outdoors, wearing a plush winter vest over a plaid shirt, with a knit hat. She’s smiling too large and clasping her hands together in front of her chin. Behind her we can see pine trees on a snow-covered hill.

WOMAN: You’re not fat! You’re gorgeous!

PANEL 2

On a sidewalk in front of a storefront, a man in green pants and a polo shirt looks very surprised, eyes wide, one hand against his cheek. He’s speaking to a fat woman with a rolled-up yoga mat strapped over her back, and a gym bag; she’s wearing athletic shorts and a tank top. She looks somewhat taken aback.

MAN: You do yoga?

PANEL 3

A woman stands in a kitchen, looking at the reader with a face full of concern, her forefinger pressed against her chin.

WOMAN: Are you sure you should eat that?

PANEL 4

A man stands in front of a shoulder-high brick wall. There’s a grassy area, the height of the wall, on the other side of the wall; there are bushes and trees and a wide-eyed dog. The man is holding a hand up in a “no big deal” gesture and looks certain.

MAN: My cousin’s friend’s wife’s barista lost 200 pounds by drinking one less coke a day.

PANEL 5

This is the center panel. It contains the title of the strip, “THINGS WE CAN STOP SAYING TO FAT PEOPLE ALREADY,” written in large, friendly letters.

PANEL 6

In a supermarket, a thin, older woman is pushing her cart next to the the cart of a fat man wearing a baseball cap. The woman  is leaning over to examine the contents of the man’s cart. (Sharp-eyed readers might notice that the two carts contain exactly the same food items.)

The woman is smiling, the man looks taken aback.

WOMAN: Well, that explains things.

PANEL 7

Two men, one thin and one fat, are jogging next to each other on a suburban looking sidewalk. The fat man, who has a shaved head, is wearing two layers of shirt (a black tee shirt over a mustard-brown long-sleeved tee shirt) and sweatpants. The thin man is wearing running shorts and a striped tee shirt. The thin man’s expression  is surprised and maybe a little hostile; the fat man’s expression is annoyed.

THIN MAN: You’re not trying to lose weight? Really?

PANEL 8

In the foreground, we see a fat woman riding a bike and looking annoyed. Nearby, in the street, a driver is leaning out of his car window to yell at the woman. His expression is hostile.

MAN:  You’re FAT!

A small caption at the bottom of the panel says “this really happens!” (And it does! It’s happened to me numerous times! I have no idea why people are like this.)

PANEL 9

A thin man is holding out his palms and speaking directly to the reader, looking puzzled and concerned. He appears to be in a den or living room – we can see a little table with a tea cup and flowers, and a comfy looking armchair, in the background. The man is wearing a button-up shirt with a polka dot pattern open over a black tee shirt.

MAN: Have you heard of eating less and exercising more?

SMALL KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE CARTOON

A thin man wearing a black shirt is talking to a fat man with a beard and a pony-tail who looks like Barry (the cartoonist). Both of them have friendly, smiling expressions.

THIN MAN: I’m sure they didn’t mean anything. You’re being too sensitive.

BARRY: You can stop saying that, too.


Things We Can Stop Saying To Fat People Already | Barry Deutsch on Patreon

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19 Responses to Cartoon: Things We Can Stop Saying To Fat People Already

  1. 1
    Eytan Zweig says:

    I loved the identical shopping trollies in panel 6

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks! :-D I was hoping someone would notice that.

  3. 3
    JaneDoh says:

    Me too on the shopping carts! I was just clicking through to say that!

  4. 4
    annqueue says:

    I love that you’re not angry, and even vaguely smiling, in the kicker panel.

  5. 5
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks, Jane and Annqueue!

  6. 6
    RonF says:

    Panel 8:

    I had a young man in our Scout Troop one time who was quite obese. Neither the first nor the last Scout like that (in fact, our current and quite effective Senior Patrol Leader is). But soon after he joined it was apparent that he simply could not do things the rest of the Scouts could (like run more than a few steps or climb up on a signal tower the Scouts had lashed together). Within a few weeks I got an angry phone call from his father that some of the other Scouts had called him fat. That’s not good, and I told his father that, and I told him I stopped the Scouts from doing that when I was around. But we’re not within hearing distance of all the Scouts all the time and that from time to time that is simply going to happen and there’s not a lot I can do about it.

    His rejoinder was “He’s not fat! He’s big boned!”

    Well, no. I didn’t say this to his dad but the young man weighed more than I do and was a foot shorter. And I’m no lightweight myself. He was fat. People being rude to his son is one thing but a failure to face facts was not helping here.

    The young man left the Troop soon thereafter and it bothered me. I really don’t know what I could have done. It still bothers me. Our current Senior Patrol Leader is obese but he isn’t at odds with reality concerning the issue, has a cheerful disposition and reasonably outgoing personality (unlike the other young man) and is an effective leader. I’ve never heard any of the Scouts every say anything about his weight. I do wonder what else I could have done.

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    Re: Difficulties in drawing the car. If you think drawing the car resulted in a lot of unrealistic results, try driving a car with your right hand on top of the wheel while putting your entire head and left arm and shoulder out of the car window facing the side of the street.

    Hell, try doing it with the car standing still!

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    Re: Difficulties in drawing the car. If you think drawing the car resulted in a lot of unrealistic results, try driving a car with your right hand on top of the wheel while putting your entire head and left arm and shoulder out of the car window facing the side of the street.

    I assume you’re joking – obviously, the pose is unrealistic – cartoony, you might say – in service of telling the cartoon’s story more clearly. I’d be very happy if I was so comfortable and fluent drawing cars that I could do the same thing with cars.

    It isn’t that hard to draw cars realistically, if I do the work. What I’d like to do is be able to cartoon cars well, instead of drawing them realistically.

  9. 9
    Ampersand says:

    He was fat. People being rude to his son is one thing but a failure to face facts was not helping here.

    I fear you misunderstood panel eight. The point of panel eight is not that the driver acknowledged that the cyclist is “fat”; it’s that he yelled it out in a way that was, in context, clearly intended to be insulting.

  10. 10
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Amp @9 – I would go further and say that anything shouted out at a pedestrian from a passing car that isn’t meant as an immediate safety warning is clearly inappropriate, regardless of if it’s true or something the pedestrian would be happy acknowledging. If a passing car shouted at me “nice hat!” as they drove by, I’d be perturbed, even if I am wearing a hat that I like.

  11. 11
    Adrian says:

    Eytan @10 – I think there’s another situation, other than safety warnings, where it can sometimes, possibly, be appropriate to call to a pedestrian in passing. That is, to make a positive comment on something that is clearly intended to make a statement. There’s a difference between wearing a shirt that’s decorative and fashionable, and one that says, “Based on the novel by Chuck Tingle.” (Such as my domestic partner wears. And gets lots of compliments from strangers on the street.) Or the difference between a hat I like, and a hat that makes a social or political statement. I’m not saying such comments from car to pedestrian are always appropriate, just that they sometimes can be.

  12. 12
    Jacqueline Squid Onassis says:

    If a passing car shouted at me “nice hat!” as they drove by, I’d be perturbed, even if I am wearing a hat that I like.

    I get that. Otoh, after a childhood and young adulthood of having things shouted at me from moving cars (sometimes accompanied by thrown objects), I was pleased when, while on my walk a couple of years ago, someone shouted from a passing car, “I love your dress!” Because of my conditioning I was unable to acknowledge the compliment before the car was too far away. But as soon as I realized what had been shouted, I felt pretty happy about it.

  13. 13
    Ampersand says:

    A lot also has to do with tone. Someone can yell “nice hat!” at me and (assuming I am, in fact, wearing a hat at that moment) it can be entirely different depending on their tone.

  14. 14
    Elusis says:

    RonF @6: Perhaps you could have had your Scouts do a unit on valuing diverse bodies, including understanding more about access issues for people with disabilities, differing abilities, etc.; identifying sizeism and ableism in media and public health messaging; shown ASDAH’s “Poodle Science” video, and so on.

  15. 15
    Saurs says:

    @RonF

    If your young obese ex-scout was both underperforming and being called fat in an offensive manner, but your long-time obese adult leader performs well and is not called fat, what does obesity have to do with anything?

    he isn’t at odds with reality concerning the issue

    What does that mean exactly? What does that look like? If your reality has demonstrated that fat doesn’t impede ability, who is being unrealistic here?

    Also, why would you write off a child and his capacity to achieve better fitness after just a few weeks? You’re acting like the scouts program isn’t designed to make kids healthier, happier, better socialized, and more skilled. Why would a brand new member with room to grow and improve be regarded as a liability or a permanent sunk cost? Why would obesity disqualify a scout but bullying other scouts not?

    Your reaction to his father’s feedback—I have no control over one of the key aspects of scouting, which is being a good, kind citizen—makes you sound unfit for the job at hand. No offense, right? Reality doesn’t care about your feelings.

  16. 16
    RonF says:

    Amp:

    … it’s that he yelled it out in a way that was, in context, clearly intended to be insulting.

    Understood, but it brought the situation I described to mind. And yeah, I was pulling your chain about the guy leaning out of the car!

    Saurs:

    … but your long-time obese adult leader performs well and is not called fat ….

    Gah. I should have noted that a Senior Patrol Leader is a Scout (youth), not a Scouter (adult). In fact, the SPL is the top youth leader in a Scouts B.S.A. Troop. In a properly run Troop the SPL actually runs the meetings and outings and any input/advice from the adults is directed to the SPL in private (as opposed to the Scouts directly), who then directs the Patrol Leaders and the Scouts. It’s key to teaching Scouts leadership skills.

    So – two Scouts, both obese, yet one is respected by his peers and one is not.

    Also, why would you write off a child and his capacity to achieve better fitness after just a few weeks?

    I didn’t write him off. He quit (or his father pulled him out, I don’t know which). I wanted him to stay! I called his father and encouraged him to have his son stay, but he refused.

    You’re acting like the scouts program isn’t designed to make kids healthier, happier, better socialized, and more skilled.

    It is designed to do exactly that. And it does, for those who participate. Which is why I wanted the young man to stay. I have seen kids come into the Troop with myriad physical, behaviorial and self-esteem issues and go though some great changes after a year or two with us.

    Elusis: Good suggestions. If it becomes necessary in the future I’ll look into that. Understand that we’ve had obese kids in the Troop both before and after that situation. It was just that one Scout. I don’t know why.

  17. 17
    acm says:

    Pesky question — are your archives just gone? I have used one of your posts a lot (the case against weight-loss dieting) to educate folks, and now it gives a 404 error. I mean, I know it’s 16 years old, but…. any chance it exists somewhere?

  18. 18
    Ampersand says:

    Most of the archives aren’t gone, but at some point the URL structure was accidently changed and all the old URLs changed. You can usually find old posts by googling them.

    And here’s the case against weight loss dieting. (I’m glad it’s useful to you.). (And appalled to realize it’s that old!)

  19. 19
    acm says:

    Thanks! and yes, time is ridiculous!!

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