Back before it turned un-funny, there was an episode of The Simpsons called “King-Size Homer.” Rebelling against a new excercise program at the nuclear plant, Homer decides to gain 61 pounds so that he can claim obesity as a disability and work from home. Of course, hilarity then ensued, and at teh close of teh episode Homer saved the nuclear plant from a meltdown. As a reward, Mr. Burns promised to make him thin again, so when Homer refused to exercise, Mr. Burns paid for liposuction. Interestingly, the episode was written by a former lawyer, Dan Greaney.
Now, in real life, the EEOC has sued an employer for disability discrimination based on obesity (HT to Overlawyered). This is of the percieved disability variety, which means that the employee was fired on because her emplyer thought she was disabled from being too fat. Even though obesity is not a listed disability, the EEOC filed suit because the employer thought the woman was disabled and fired her because of it.
OK, I posted this so I could write about the Simpsons. But I am continually surprised by how blurred the line between satire and real life has become. Look at The Daily Show, The Onion, and The Colbert Report. We have Steven Colbert testifying before Congress on immigration reform, and both Colbert and Jon Stewart staging a faux-political rally Glenn Beck style. If you watched The Colbert Report and Glenn Beck’s show back to back, could you tell which one was intended as satire if you didn’t already know? Maybe, but the line is closer than ever before.