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Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is MNB Radio, available on iTunes and brought to you this week by Webstop, experts in the art of retail website design.

There has been a story getting a lot of publicity this week about a New Jersey woman who weighs 600 pounds and is on a quest to weigh 1,000 pounds.

That’s right. She wants to weigh 1,000 pounds. She is spending about $750 a week on groceries, and consuming roughly 12,000 calories a day. She is funding her quest via a website that charges people to watch her eat. And people apparently are sending her things like McDonald’s coupons to make the financial burden a little less onerous.

The woman says she is healthy even though she is incapable of walking more than 20 feet under her own power. And she says, “"I love eating and people love watching me eat. It makes people happy, and I'm not harming anyone."

I don’t even know where to start on this. I’m almost speechless. But only almost.

I suppose people at both ends of the political spectrum will attempt to use this woman to illustrate a point, and probably one that will demonize the other side. That is to be expected.

From my point of view, I guess that if she wants to eat herself to death - and let’s be clear, that is precisely what she is doing - that is her privilege. I’d like to think that someone in her family would get her some badly needed help, but her 150-pound husband apparently is behind her. Though probably not literally, because if she sat down, she’d crush him.

Should government step in and stop this woman from killing herself? Probably not. However, since the news stories all say that she is a mother, I do think that Social Services ought to take her kids away. This woman has no business being a mother, and I suspect that her enabling husband has no business being a father.

Here’s why.

This isn’t really about food. This is about being a spectacle. This is about being on the internet and being the center of attention. This is about having news crews show up and put these morons on television. This is about exhibitionism.

We may not be able to stop this woman from eating herself to death. Maybe we should not be able to do so in a free society.

But we don’t have to watch. We don’t have to pay attention. We don’t have to sign onto her website. We don’t have to write newspaper stories about her. And we don’t have to send television crews to record her every bite.

I suppose at some level I’m violating my own premise, except that I refuse to use her name (a small conceit, I grant you, but I have to draw the line somewhere). And the problem is that much of the coverage of this woman took an almost voyeuristic pleasure in her story - “Yeah, she’s fat, but watch her chow down ... man, it’s disgusting but I can’t take my eyes off it. Wow, there goes another Big Mac...”

As a society, we have to take our eyes off it. Don’t send the news crews, don’t send the reporters, don’t pay attention. She is a sick woman, and all the attention does is enable and encourage her.

Maybe, left alone with only her husband and enormous amounts of food, she’ll decide to get some help. Or maybe she’ll die.

Let her do it without an audience. Virtually alone.

I pity this woman. She’s sick. But I have nothing but contempt for the people who publicize her sickness, who send her coupons and who fund her efforts by watching her on the internet.

She may be an exhibitionist, but they are the worst kind of voyeurs, trading on and almost delighting in another person’s disease.

I’m disgusted by the whole damned thing.

For MNB Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
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