A Conversation about Fat Jokes

A reader wrote me in puzzlement because some Anonymous crashed her embroidery blog with a (to her) cryptic remark:

And it continues! I’m not even sure what “pastry pontiff” means. And Anonymous was off-topic — his/her comment wasn’t about hardanger embroidery at all!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post “On the Last Day of Christmas”:

why do you follow the pastry pontiff mark shea?

It’s a reference to the poet laureate of the third grade playground, Rick DeLano, producer of “The Principle” Apparently somebody (not me) wondered where he got the money for his goofy movie on the “science” of geocentrism. His reply was a poetic rejoinder to the effect that I am fat. No. Really:

Concerning the Financing of “The Principle”, And Other Matters……

Many of our less-friendly objectors have made inquiries as to the financial aspects of our project.I would never wish to preempt what promises to be an entertaining- even comedic!- quest on their part. ;-)However, in a spirit of giving as good as we get, I reply:

There is a Pastry Pontiff, I’m sure you know his name.
He rattles cups and rattles nerves and genr’ly fans the flame
Of his great Inquisition into a dang’rous bunch
The film they made cost almost half enough to buy him lunch.

Anonymous people think this is brilliant and have joined in, just to make super-clear for the less literate in the crowd that they mean me.  Cuz you can never be too careful to make sure that everybody gets the joke, since poetry is, like, hard and stuff (especially for people whose main reading runs to Geocentrism Explained, Mein Kampf, and The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion)  So we also are also treated to:

On the Retirement of “The Pastry Pontiff”

Reader Hugh Beaumont writes:
It really is not kosher
To engage in this kibbitz
He’d rather your ad hominems
Were ad hominy grits.
I reply:
Yes, “Pastry” is ad hominem.
It’s true.
You’re right.
Touche!
Henceforth, the “Pastry Pontiff”
shall remain
just plain
“Mark Shea”

Get it?  He means me. Funny, amirite? (By the way, I totally have to give him props for “ad hominy” for being both clever and majestically hypocritical).  My reader, having surveyed the literary oeuvre of DeLano and Co, remarks:

Classy! I was envisioning some sort of connection to Hot Cross Buns or holiday baking (and I kept thinking of a pope all flaky and delicious). This is a great article about how fat jokes are the go-to jokes for people criticizing Gov. Christie, and how lazy and not cool that is.

Meh. People who can’t handle fat jokes should not be governor of NJ or writing blogs read by a lot of people–especially if they engage i controversies with those people.  Fact is, I’m, ‘ow you say? “portly” (and that’s after having dropped 80 pounds).  So if I can’t  cope with fat jokes from third graders I’d better hang up my spurs. As a fat guy, I think Chesterton is right: to be fat is to be laughed at. It’s just that being laughed at is not being rebutted (it’s just being BIG BUTTED! HA! I SLAY ME!) But seriously, that DeLano needs to resort to this has “pathetic” written all over it.

To which my reader replies:

I agree that it makes DeLano look pathetic.  As for Chesterton’s comment, I believe a fat gal would disagree, given the extraordinary pressure placed on women to look “hot.”  : >

Fair enough.  I’m not super-tuned-in to gender differences when it comes to fat jokes since pretty much the only fat person I tell jokes about as I sit around the house (AND I MEAN AROUND THE HOUSE!  NYUK! NYUK!) is myself.  My mama taught me you don’t discuss a woman’s figure and my Lord taught me that charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Our culture’s obsession with looks is one of the major contributors to our profound shallowness and breathtaking stupidity.  Any civilization that is willing to pay professional tanner Snooki Polizzi $32,000 to speak at Rutgers has lost the right to criticize a woman based on her looks.

That said, I do have to confess that the spectacle of… well, big-boned nuns galumphing about in sensible shoes and short-cropped iron gray hair to give praise to the goddess has prompted me on more than one occasion to run my pic of Sr. Orbis Rotunda:

The people attracted to inflicting liturgical dance on the rest of us, like the people attracted to displaying their theories about nudism for the rest of us, are virtually never the people who should be doing these things.  They are worse than egoists: they are rude intrusive egoists demanding the rest of us applaud them as they trample over our worship of God with their obnoxious Heylookitme junk.  I think the proper response to a rude intrusive egoist, especially one who hogs the limelight while Jesus Christ is in the room, is laughter.  Their problem is not a fat body, but a fat head (though the body doesn’t help and is a proper object for criticism when it is precisely the body and nothing else in the act of dance that is being thrust into the limelight in order to hog that limelight.)  If a nun feels the need to dance before the Lord, let her do it in her cloister or living room like good St. Teresa of Avila.  She even used castanets!

  • Sigroli

    Castanet upon the waters…

  • quasimodo

    If I were you, and I’m not, but if I were, I would lay claim to “Pastry Pontiff” and use it proudly. I once was called a Romish Minion and hence forth used that moniker as my handle on the blog in question.

    • chezami

      I must say I do rather like the title. I may see if my artist son can come up with an appropriate illustration.

      • Mariana Baca

        I sort of imagine the pillsbury dough boy with a mitre.

    • Obpoet

      Shea Boy Hardee? Say it a few times.

  • Fr. Denis Lemieux

    On the plus side, maybe the pastry pontiff can finally define pi(e).

    • http://yardsaleofthemind.wordpress.com/ Joseph Moore

      I read: “On the plus size.” Hmmm.

  • Fr. Denis Lemieux

    And you will have the charism of papal inflabbability.

    • chezami

      This I must steal.

      • Fr. Denis Lemieux

        I should mention, in the spirit of full disclosure, that I am decidedly on the portly side, and if you are indeed setting up shop as a pastry pontiff (mmm, a pastry pontiff shop…), I would qualify to be a member of your College of Cardinals. Keep me in mind for the next confectory, I mean consistory.

  • Fr. Denis Lemieux

    OK, one more – I suspect ‘pastry pontiff’ is a position with a high turnover rate. And… I’m done.

  • capaxdei

    Tu est piecrust.

  • Mark.

    “No wonder fat men are philosophers: they are driven to it.” Robertson Davies, writing as “Samuel Marchbanks”

  • Jason Hall

    ” People who can’t handle fat jokes should not be…writing blogs read by a lot of people”
    Well, then I guess you’re in the clear! :-)

  • Mark W

    Real advice and free:

    http://youtu.be/dBnniua6-oM


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