Weight Watchers donates $1 million to combat world hunger…

…but dammit, they’re still in the weight-loss business and had the temerity to use pounds lost by its members as an incentive in a six-week drive that ended a week and a half ago. As noted here (and turn down the sound unless you really want to listen to Jenny McCarthy prate on), for every 1 million pounds members lost during the campaign period, Weight Watchers donated $250,000, or the equivalent of 250,000 pounds of food.

Here’s a complaint from someone on a site that is notorious for its denialism and where there is apparently no limit to the reasons people find to complain. It doesn’t surprise me that fat people are often on the defensive, what with countless examples of their being perceived and often portrayed as slothful, weak-willed and what have you.

Nevertheless, seeking out further reasons to be angry leads up no productive paths, not only in this realm but in all others. The person who wrote the BFB post was pissed that WW almost certainly wasn’t doing anything to fight hunger, and when it turned out she was mistaken, she went right on complaining. “[H]ypothetically, if you gain weight during the campaign period, Weight Watchers will take their money back,” she wrote.

Not so hypothetically, this is obviously wrong. Of necessity, the campaign had beginning and ending dates. People’s weights surely fluctuated throughout the six weeks, but in the end the only thing that mattered was Sept. 9 weight minus Oct. 18 weight. If this was a positive number, the member in effect helped fund the drive. If it was a negative number, it’s not as if the person had stolen anything from hungry people; he or she had simply not been a functional part of the fund-raising. To claim that WW perpetrated thus fund-raising effort as a means of guilt-tripping its members is loopy–people who sign up for their programs are already saddled with plenty of potentially demoralizing incentives.

This glass-half-full (of piss or poison, it seems) attitude is as dismal as the look-a-gift-horse-in-the-ass mentality it fosters. How many other major corporations will be donating as much as WW just did to fighting world hunger in any month-and-a-half period? I’m reminded here of the Gribbitian types who endlessly criticize Obama and predict he won’t ever do such-and-such, and then, upon being proven wrong, only redouble their grousing. (I should note, however, that the bloggers and commenters at BFB are as a group probably three times as literate and thoughtful than your average wingnut blogger.)

As the BFB writer notes, WW is indeed a dismal failure for most people, and I’m no fan of the slimming industry on the whole, struck as I am by the curious observation that an unwavering exercise habit and permanent changes in self-nourishment are far more effective in promoting lasting weight loss than “diets” and for-profit programs people drop out of at some point, endeavors typically followed to a quick return to old patterns and–surprise, surprise–a return to pre-“diet” weight. Still, in terms of how WW is structuring its donation policy, do people honestly expect them to not tie donated funds to its members’ collective weight loss? Should they have just written a check for a million bucks to UNICEF or something? There’s no question they could afford to, but they are running a business, after all, their infringing on scammer territory notwithstanding (virtually all corporations lie and deceive their customers–caveat emptor).

Not to trivialize world hunger in any way, but on the surface it’s actually bizarre that, out of all possible causes to support, WW chose to embrace one that at root boosts food intake. As a result, I’m going to write letters to Anheuser-Busch complaining that they don’t put enough effort into promoting teetotaling, Trojan-Enz for not recommending abstinence, and McDonald’s for not championing vegetarianism. (OK, that last paragraph was gratuitous, but I can’t help myself at times.)

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