I’m ready to fast forward to the time when Precious jokes and snide comments are no longer a thing. They’re actually not very funny. It’s the laziest possible way of thinking. The denigration of someone, even if they are fictional, is not necessary for the elevation of someone else, and certainly not to such an extent.
Take Kanye Wests “Mercy,” for example. The song can only be taken so seriously because he uses Perrier as a verb. Still. In the third verse of the song, West says, “Plus your my bitch, make your bitch look like Precious,” offering a fictional character as a counterpoint to his “bitch.”
You see, his “bitch” is so gorgeous she makes your “bitch” look like a woman who lives in poverty, has been raped repeatedly by her father, bearing two of his children, is abused by her mother, is HIV positive, and is barely educated.
I suppose we’re supposed to congratulate West here for his towering achievement.
In an episode of The Simpsons, a man boards a boat near a sign that reads, “Weight Limit: One Precious.”
Hilarious. I get it. FAT JOKES ARE FUNNY. I mean, my god, look at those big bodies, loose and fleshy and existing in the same world as you and your physical perfection. The nerve of them. Fat is probably contagious, an epidemic really, something that needs to be contained, disciplined, eradicated. Or maybe fat jokes will shame fat people into making themselves less fat. Psychological warfare. That always works well. Or maybe it’s just easier to choose easy targets and not have to work for a laugh. Really, don’t strain yourself. Aim for the gut.
The references to Precious are all over the place, in comedy routines, on TV shows, and it’s all supposed to be okay. Humor is often transgressive. Nothing is off limits. This is what we say to defend our choices, to defend our right to say what we feel and think, no matter the consequences, no matter who gets hurt.
This isn’t about censorship though. Do what you want, say what you want. This isn’t about hurt either. Big girls, I hear, don’t cry. I do think though that the targets of this kind of humor and commentary say an awful lot about the people who choose them.