Friday Gras: Today’s Fat Tabloid Stories


It’s 8/8/08, a day that some consider to be good luck. But let’s look at the shape of 8/8/08–it’s voluptuous and round. Is there something about this date that made all the random mentions of weight gain jump out at me today? Or maybe it’s the front page of today’s Post.

Unfortunately, fat is one of the last acceptable things to openly mock in our society, and the Post takes full advantage of this offensive quirk. The front page touts the bizarre story of a murder suspect in Oregon who agreed to a life sentence in exchange for a buffet of his favorite foods. 275-lb. According to the paper, Tremayne Durham pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in exchange for the following:

  • Bucket of KFC chicken
  • Bucket of Popeye’s chicken
  • Serving of mashed potatoes
  • Serving of coleslaw
  • Slice of carrot cake
  • Pizza
  • Two calzones
  • Tray of lasagna
  • Bucket of ice cream

The reasoning for the bizarre deal was budgetary: Judge Eric Bergstrom said it saved the expense of trial and appeals. Durham pleaded guilty to killing Adam Calbreath, the former employee of a company that made custom trucks. Durham had ordered an ice-cream truck but wanted to back out of the deal. The company refused since it had already started building the truck.

A friend of the late Calbreath praised the deal, stating, “If a couple buckets of chicken are going to help get a conviction, then get some biscuits to go with it.”
Another random weight-related story comes via the Clark Rockefeller case. A Connecticut family thinks that Rockefeller may be the German exchange student they took in back in 1980. Part of the reasoning? Daughter Maria Savio was nicknamed “Snooks.” According to the family, the teen known as Christian Gerhard Streiter was obsessed with Maria and, according to Maria’s brother Steve, “He traumatized my sister. She went from being this outgoing little girl to, by the time he left, a withdrawn person who had gained a lot of weight…He really did a number on her” (bolding mine). Maria downplayed the coincidence of the nicknames, telling the Post, “It’s a nickname, doesn’t everyone have a nickname?”

And finally, in what is partially a happy ending and partially just outrageous, Prince Chunk has found a home. An anonymous South Jersey family will adopt the cat, the Daily News reports. The clan already has two cats. The veterinarian who examined Chunk discovered that besides being “grossly obese,” the kitty has no other health problems. Chunk is going on a diet.

More than 500 applicants vied to take Chunk home. The outrageous portion of this story is that of the 500 applicants, none agreed to accept any other cat from the shelter. It was Chunk or nothing. Yes, Chunk is an adorable kitty, but there are plenty of other ones who need homes. This should have been an opportunity for the Camden County Animal Shelter to shine. It’s too bad that none of these families saw the potential in any of the other pets available there.

And, that’s the not-so-skinny on today’s tabloid stories. It’s unfortunate that fat=freak show in tabloid land.