Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 58

just as healthy as you can be. This is why we are diving whole hog into making Americans live longer and taste better.” This is an example of the fatally flawed approach mentioned above. No plan. No action steps. No real outline of how to proceed. Just a message of “just be better.” The actions of the Leviathan and their message of self-improvement, which simultaneously sabotages those receiving their message, is similar to a phenomenon found in society today. For example, while most in the health and fitness field would agree that a healthy diet and active lifestyle will result in a healthy body, those in the diet and supplement industry market products to individuals promising an “ideal” body without having to change their lives. However, these products are not as effective as they are purported to be as they only typically work when combined with the very things purported to be unnecessary, namely a healthy diet and exercise program. So when individuals take the supplement and engage in their typical behavior, they gain weight, thus supporting the connotation of personal failure of the fat body. Furthermore, rather than quitting the supplement and starting a proper program, they decide to take more of the supplement, thereby continuing the cycle and strengthening the laziness connotation of the fat body. These contradictory messages create a class of people who are expected to perform an action described as simple and easy to do, but at best they are not given the tools to do it, and at worst are sabotaged at every step. Once they fail, they are metaphorically “eaten alive” by society for their failures in the form of bodily othering, much like the Leviathan literally “eat alive” their fattened herd of humans. The final aspect of othering arises from the application of the negative connotation of the fat body that occurs as a result of the characteristics society has ascribed to that body. Through its specific use of body logic, namely the failure of the fat body to change in light of the help given to it from multiple sources, society has illustrated why the fat body is lesser than the thin body and thus deserving of being othered. In the season finale “Survival of the Fittest,” Dick Roman reveals the final aspect of his plan and in doing so draws a strong parallel between the Leviathan and their relationship with the humans and the current thin bodied society’s relationship with the person in the fat body. Dick Roman’s strategy to streamline the “human slaughterhouse on every corner” plan is to kill off thin people or those who possess an IQ greater than 150. His stated rationale for this is that he wants all of his food to be big, fat, and dumb, which essentially underscores society’s view of the person in the fat body and highlights the Leviathan’s conviction that they are superior to humans and therefore deserving of having them as a meal. It is this type of binary that is created from society’s thin body discourse that has created a culture where the 58