I'm a bit late to the discussion. I read the book a few weeks ago but haven't got around to this thread yet. Very interesting posts so far.
Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?
This one's a no-brainer. It's definitely unacceptable in our society.
What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?
I can speak to this more now that I'm closer to a "normal" weight. I'm treated differently by strangers, acquaintances, and family.
Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?
I don't know if it's the last socially acceptable prejudice, but it is socially acceptable to most people. I've experienced other socially acceptable prejudices -- for example, I grew up in the Appalachian mountains and had a very strong accent for years (it's still there, but it's faded somewhat). I had lots of people assume I was an ignorant hick because of that accent, and that's a socially acceptable prejudice. Lots of people love laughing at the "ignorant redneck" stereotype, and you see it everywhere.
As for the smoking thing, I think there's a definite prejudice there as well. I'm probably guilty of it myself, though. I'm allergic to cigarette smoke, and if I'm around it for even a few minutes, I get very ill. Therefore, I happen to like when it's outlawed in public places. I can't help thinking there's a difference between engaging in an unhealthy habit that affects other people's health too and an unhealthy habit that just affects yourself. If I overeat and don't exercise, my health will suffer but it won't make people around me fat. It's my choice. If you choose to smoke around me, I have to breathe it even though I've chosen to never smoke a cigarette in my life. It doesn't mean I think there should necessarily be a prejudice against smokers, but there's an important distinction there. Being obese isn't the same as releasing toxins into the air in a public place. That said, however, if people choose to smoke in their own homes or away from me...go for it.
Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism? Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?
We blame the victim, yes, but I don't know that we should really call that person a "victim." I was a victim of my own choices when I was obese. I was to blame. And I do think it's often silly to tell an obese person to eat less and move more, simply for the reason that more than likely he or she already knows that. Who doesn't know that, honestly? It really is that simple, but it doesn't mean it's a simple change to make.
Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. -- St. Francis of Assisi