Thursday, January 4, 2024

Ozempic is the new Prozac

Pet Shop Boys - Go West
(live at Red Square, 2015 - great on many levels) 

2023 Wasn't All Bad, Just Ask Lewis Black | The Daily Show

When I first heard the word "woke" used derogatively, I dismissed it as typical right-wing / old-man whining. Nick Offerman asked, "Would you rather be asleep?"

But over time, I've come to see "woke" as referring to a general negative viewpoint by many on the Left: Everything is terrible (e.g., you'll find someone to nitpick every Biden fact above). Everyone over 40 (or every white male) is racist / sexist / prejudiced. Disagreement is oppression. We're all doomed.  

"Better is good"

Despite my respect of and fondness for Kenny Torrella, and the often good work done by Future Perfect, Vox is my go-to to learn the "woke" take on the news. (Great example.)

I thought of this when Vox referred to "our body-fascist culture" in an article about Ozempic.* 


You know what was fascist? Fascists & the Holocaust.  

Of course, our society does, in general, push for thinness. But this isn't a Scarlet Letter situation. You don't have to be thin to be successful or famous.

Many people want to lose weight. This isn't just because there are lots of thin celebrities. It isn't just because fat people are teased or bullied. 

People want to lose weight to be healthier and happier. Many people - especially in the United States - would live longer and better (lifespan and healthspan) if they weighed less


Evolution made it very, very difficult for us to eat healthfully and maintain an optimal weight in our modern abundance society

Human beings evolved in the context of caloric scarcity. Getting sweet / fatty / high-protein foods was an absolute boon for our ability to survive and pass on our genes. 

Today, however, desiring every possible calorie is simply unhealthy in a world of ubiquitous McDonald's and Starbucks and 7-Elevens.  

Sources 1, 2, 3; more recent trend

This isn't a moral judgment. This isn't mocking people as "weak" or ridiculing them for a lack of willpower. I'm the last person who would say that. Judging people for not being the weight they want to be is like jeering at someone for not understanding quantum chromodynamics, or not being able to run a 2:30 marathon, or not finding their soulmate.

I want more happiness for everyone. People have less happiness when they've binge-eaten, are suffering from diabetes, or are dead. 

It is not "body fascism" to note that most of us would have more overall happiness if we ate fewer donuts, chicken legs, and potato chips. (And it isn't normative to note we are inherently looksist. That's our world.) 

What is moralizing is to claim that people shouldn't take a drug that helps them lead the life they want. It is similar to people who say you should just tough your way out of depression. That's harmful.

If Ozempic can help us counter the pressures created by the food labs at PepsiCo and KFC and Mars-Wrigley Candy, then bravo, Ozempic! Novo Nordisk* and Eli Lili* will do far more real-world good than any diet book or motivational speaker or public health advocacy org. 

* Update: There is a new Eli Lili weight-loss drug, Zepbound, that is even more effective.

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