I’ve heard that a Bacon V. Sharma ideological bout is in the works for 2012.
I hate it when people I respect, admire, and love, fight.
Maybe love seems like a strong word to use with people I’ve never met in person before. But both of you have deeply influenced my life, and I believe you have much in common.
Let me stop here for just a moment and admit that, yes, I grew up in a home with one parent who drunkenly shouted, yelled and harassed the other for hours on end, sometimes all night. This is not to say that my parents didn’t love each other. Or that they didn’t love me. But it was really really awful. Not the most awful thing anyone has ever had to endure. But awful.
So I hate it when people fight publicly. Usually, when those people are politicians, pop music artists, feuding sports enthusiasts or athletes, I don’t pay much mind. But when people I love, respect, and admire, especially people who have had a major influence on my life, fight, it makes me sad.
Which isn’t to say that people can’t disagree, or that they oughtn’t for my sake. But in this case, I think the two of you have a whole lot in common. Here’s a list:
- You both care about and respect fat people.
- You don’t blame fat people.
- You identify multiple environmental factors and systems that contribute to poor health, and that for some people, becoming fatter is a result of those systems and factors.
- You care about improving health for people who are fat.
- You promote the idea that fatness and fitness aren’t mutually exclusive.
- You oppose bias against fat people in all realms.
- You want to help people who are fat achieve the best possible health for them.
- You fight against people who want to make money off of fat people through weight-loss scams and schemes.
- You are scientists.
The biggest difference I see between you really has to do with how poor a person’s health is when they come to see you, and in what regard their health is poor. Dr. Sharma, you see people who are often in poor physical and sometimes also mental health, by their own estimation and by some clinical measures. Dr. Bacon, you see people who have suffered poor mental and and sometimes also physical health, but who come to you to find a different paradigm with which to address their health. You both treat people who are in pain, who are suffering. And you serve them from your own training and research and wisdom.
I don’t expect either of you to be right all, or even most, of the time.
I don’t know if you, Dr. Sharma, have read Dr. Bacon’s book. If you were to, I think you would find that most of the advice in it is extremely sound, and not that different from what you recommend yourself. I recognize, Dr. Sharma, that your blog isn’t written with a “hard-core” fat acceptance audience in mind. And, Dr. Bacon, I recognize that some of the practices that Dr. Sharma endorses are nearly impossible for you to accept.
What I love about both of you is your passion and compassion.
So, if and when you debate, keep the kids in mind. By kids, I mean those of us who look to both of you as parents of your own movements. Keep your end in mind, which isn’t to take down potential allies, but to help people who are suffering.