“That Man’s Words Mean Nothing To Me”

Well, it seems the pretty little lies aren’t going away any time soon. There’s a video spreading like wildfire online of Jennifer Livingston, a morning anchor on the CBS affiliate in Wisconsin, ranting on-air about a “bully” who wrote her the following email:

Hi Jennifer,

It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years. Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Short yet powerful. Tenacious yet placid. But most importantly, true. So what do we get in response to such a thoughtful message? Perhaps a humbled newswoman committed to making a positive change?

Pfft… not in 2012 America. Dream on.

What we get instead is four minutes of some of the most prolific feelgood hamster spinning of all-time.

So then, I must interject. Here goes (from 0:54 on):

Now those of us in the media, we get a healthy dose of critiques from our viewers throughout the year, and we realize that it comes with having a job in the public eye. But this email is more than that. While I tried my best to laugh off the very hurtful attack on my appearance…

Wait a second, what attacks? That her physical condition hasn’t improved for many years? I’m not from Wisconsin, but I would have to assume this is mere observation. That she’s obese? She admits it later in the video. I’m not sure where exactly the “attack” is. I don’t doubt the comments are hurtful, but, then again, constructive criticism tends to be, particularly to those who need it the most.

…my colleagues could not do the same, especially my husband, our 6 and 10 anchor, Mike Thompson. Mike posted this email on his WKBT facebook page, and what happened next has been truly inspiring.

Thousands rushed to his aid and organized an Obese Wives 5K?

Hundreds and hundreds of people have taken the time out of their day to not only lift my spirits, but take a stand that attacks like this are not okay.

Damn. Sorry, Mike. Guess you’re not too popular over there.

Now we’re gonna have more on that in just a second, but first, the truth is, I am overweight.

Good, admission is the first step to recovery…

You could call me fat.

Apparently not without being harangued as an intolerant bully on your televised soapbox…

Even obese, on a doctor’s chart.

Those pesky “doctor’s charts,” they’ve never brought ya good news, have they?

But to the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that?

Yes, I believe he knows you’re aware of your problem. Hence the injunction to “reconsider.”

That your cruel words are pointing out something that I don’t see?

The only cruelty here is what you’re doing to your body, Jen-nay. When Mama said life was like a box o’ chocolates, she didn’t mean literally.

You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine.

Which is why he doesn’t feel the ultimately destructive desire to tiptoe around your feelings instead of telling you the truth. His words could potentially bring more happiness into your life than anything your “friends” have done for you.

You are not a part of my family, and you have admitted that you don’t watch this show.

Would him being a part of your family or daily audience actually cause you to reconsider your lifestyle choice?

So you know nothing about me but what you see on the outside. And I am much more than a number on a scale.

I wonder if she’s ever uttered the words “much more” while on a scale.

And here is where I want every one of us to learn something from this: if you didn’t already know, October is National Anti-Bullying month.

If she’s going to change the subject to bullying, then I will follow suit. I’m so sick of all these “months” promoting  “awareness” for something or other, from autism to breast cancer to, what next, gonorrhea? And the color pink does not belong on NFL fields. I don’t need Tony Romo making me “aware” of breast cancer. Just play the damn game.

Anyway…

And this is a problem that is growing every day in our schools, and on the internet. It is a major issue in the lives of young people today, and as the mother of three young girls, it scares me to death.

Bullying is an irrevocable part of human nature. The strong will weather the storm. The attractive won’t need much more than a windbreaker. The rest will break.

Now I am a grown woman, and luckily for me, I have a very thick skin. Literally, as that email pointed out, and otherwise.

She says as she fights off the tears.

And that man’s words mean nothing to me.

Her hamster is running in full spin mode right now. Now, if only she could get her legs to do the same.

But what really angers me about this, is there are children who don’t know better, who get emails as critical as the one I received…

Dear Johnny,

It’s unusual that I am able to personally write a probation letter, but I did in your case today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your grades haven’t improved for many years. Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example of this university’s high academic standards. Ditching class is one of the worst choices a student can make and failing to study for tests one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a potential college graduate to make better choices and focus harder on your studies.

All the best!

The Dean

…or in many cases, even worse, each and every day. The internet has become a weapon; our schools have become a battleground. And this behavior is learned. It is passed down from people like the man who wrote me that email.

Note the correlation between being an out-of-touch upholder of the blue pill world of self-deceit and adherence to blank slatist philosophy.

If you are at home, and you are talking about the fat news lady, guess what? Your children are probably going to go to school, and call someone fat. We need to teach our kids how to be kind, not critical, and we need to do that by example.

Critical is not the opposite of kind. The person who wrote that email avoided all temptations to call you names or resort to base insults rooted in the underlying stance that you’re beyond hope. He was petitioning you to take your life into your own hands, and be an example to the thousands who watch your show.

So many of you have come to my defense over the past few days. I am literally overwhelmed by your words. To my colleagues, and my friends, from today and from years ago, my family, my amazing husband…

…who wasn’t amazing enough to keep from letting yourself go…

…and so many of you out there who I will probably never have the opportunity to meet, I will never be able to thank you enough for your words of support. And for taking a stand against this bully. We are better than that email. We are better than the bullies that would try to take us down.

The letter-writer was trying to lift you up. By rejecting his admonition, you are showing that you are not “better” than him. You’re showing that you’re nothing more than a mediocre human being afraid of making a real change in your life, hiding behind the guise of tolerance.

And I leave you with this: to all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the color of your skin, your sexual preference, your disability, even the acne on your face…

Struggling with obesity isn’t even remotely close to struggling with race. Lumping that which is a choice with that which isn’t, blurring the line between the two, is one of the signs of a society in decay.

Listen to me right now. Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies.

By taking this route, Ms. Livingston has done just that. Real bullies are those who tear down with the motive to keep down. And with her refusal to change herself or at least acknowledge that losing weight is a GOOD thing, those bullies have won the fight. She remains unhealthy and unattractive.

Learn from my experience that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many.

“Reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”

“YOU’RE FINE JUST AS YOU ARE!” “YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!” “MEN LOVE CURVY WOMEN!” “A FEW EXTRA POUNDS IS NO BIG DEAL!” “YOU CAN’T CONTROL THE WAY YOUR BODY IS!”

Which voice would you rather listen to?

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3 Responses to “That Man’s Words Mean Nothing To Me”

  1. Colonel,

    I loved watching the video! Jennifer Livingston is a beautiful woman, inside and out. I’ll happily supply you with a quote you can rip apart in your blog: “People such as Jennifer are terrific role models and mentors to children.”

    I leave you this note, Colonel, hoping you’ll reconsider what is really important in life. If you can step back and contrast Jennifer’s attitude and orientation with your own, who do you imagine is more capable of experiencing joy and sharing that joy with others? Which one has a point of view that empowers one to take delight in the appreciation of others, taking note of their strengths and forgiving their flaws?

    Let me suggest that you have a responsibility to promote a healthy mental lifestyle. You and I are not friends, not yet at any rate, but perhaps the effort I take to challenge a mode of thinking that can only generate bitterness and hurt will benefit you more than the “support” of friends who ratify beliefs and behaviors that will certainly lead you to unhappiness and spiritual ruin.

    Here’s hoping you can enjoy the glory of the day and find pleasure in the company of your imperfect fellow human beings.

    Peace,

    Paul

    • andrewmichaelmedina says:

      “who do you imagine is more capable of experiencing joy and sharing that joy with others?”

      Probably the one that doesn’t lose their feet from the eventual diabetes that is born from poor choices.

  2. Pingback: The Barrage Of Boring « Colonel Crimson

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