The A/C Too Cold? Blame Fat People!


Obese people have already been accused of driving up healthcare costs and aggravating global warming. Now they’re getting blamed for something even more ridiculous: air conditioning.

Esther Cepeda (not pictured) of the Chicago Sun-Times is cold. Here’s why it’s the fatties’ fault:

I’m cold! C-O-L-D!! […]
Cold on a pleasantly warm day when I must wear my parka into the supermarket, which blasts the A/C to keep the store at 50 degrees so that all the over-stimulated and over-served customers can buy food without breaking a sweat.
Cold on a hot summer night when my restaurant’s water glasses have icicles forming on them because all the already-health-challenged chow hounds are working up a sweat while overdoing it.

And she doesn’t stop there, because it’s not just about her. It’s about society:

Enabling people who are challenged with the burdens and risks of obesity by making them more comfortable in public situations where, under normal circumstances, they’d be uncomfortable only reinforces the idea that their ill health is bearable. Why do we accept our public spaces masking unhealthy people’s natural body signals that something is very wrong?

Cepeda is right about one thing: public spaces are fucking freezing. I take a sweater every time I go to a Starbucks, and the average office building turns my lips blue within an hour. This is to say nothing of stores that actually blast A/C out their doors to entice summer customers. All this is really wasteful, and we’d save a lot of energy as a society if we turned the air down a notch and got a little more comfortable with our own sweat (a lot of our discomfort with this, I’d argue, has to do with deodorant marketing, which has made us forget that sweat can actually smell pretty hot).

But! Where on earth is the evidence that fat people are somehow demanding this excessive A/C? I’ve always assumed that air conditioning, at least in commercial establishments, was simply a way of drawing people in — and indeed, movie theaters apparently first installed it for exactly this purpose. I wouldn’t be surprised if market research showed people buying more shit in colder temperatures, or if stores assumed that if a little A/C is good, a lot must be better. And given, say, airlines’ track record, I’d be surprised if many companies were consciously catering to obese people.

Worries over obesity have had some good side effects — like a sustained conversation about the best way to get kids moving (hint: try not shaming them). And now even Sarah Silverman is taking some time off from talking about pee to advocate for school lunch reform (a Jamie Oliver-style show, in which she cooks for kids while calling them retards, cannot be far behind). But blaming fat people because you’re cold is just stupid and inflammatory. Sure, let’s all turn down the A/C a little — and turn off the judging while we’re at it.

Image via photomak/

Time To Turn Up The Heat On Folks Who Are Obese [Chicago Sun-Times]
Thinking Big On Preventing Childhood Obesity [Slate]
Sarah Silverman Advocates For Healthier School Lunches [The Stir]

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