Fresh from her sadly unsuccessful District 9 Congressional race, one of our favorite local progressive Dems, Susannah Randolph, has embarked on her next political endeavor: a grassroots anti-Trump campaign called Floridians Against Trump. And it even comes with its own hot-take acronym —”FAT.”
Yes, get ready, gentle readers, for FAT. Randolph is bringing the FAT, as FAT season is upon us. Get your FAT t-shirts (available in XXX-large) FAT bumper stickers, and FAT rally signs together. But before all the FAT rains down upon us, and we all bask in the glorious FAT, we have to ask:
Naturally, we all, having hopefully learned the rudiments of language at some point can see that the letters in “Floridians Against Trump” spell out “FAT” when aligned vertically. But other than that … what in the ever-loving cellulite hell?
Don’t get us wrong. We at the Squeeze, like most vertebrate Americans, are already against Trump. And we are Floridians. But we’re not sure we’re ready to join the FAT movement. Maybe it’s the greasy yellow letters, or the terrifying cartoon Trump head in the logo. Maybe it’s the fact that “FAT” does not make one single lick of sense as an acronym for an anti-Trump movement.
IT’S COARSE DISCOURSE
What’s the message here? Is it that Donald Trump demonstrates poor character (like fat people)? We can agree on the poor character part. Bragging about dodging taxes as evidence of business acumen is enough to prove that case. But using FAT as shorthand for ‘poor character’ is lazy and plays straight into his into his particular flavor of bullying because FAT is a lowbrow insult that reflects the manner in which Donald Trump himself would address opponents. Rather than neutralizing his rhetoric, it reinforces it. And worse, it shifts the focus away from the harm that he can do, to appearances. Besides, bullies love it when you stoop to their level, as it puts you within their reach.
Coincidentally, Hillary Clinton called Trump out during the debate for fat shaming former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. When she gained a few pounds after winning her title in 1996, Trump referred to her as “Miss Piggy.” Because he’s classy—like those gold bathroom fixtures on his private jet—100 percent pure class. The next day he doubled-down on this rhetoric, calling Machado an “eating machine,” and offering her weight loss* suggestions. She’s now a successful actress, by the way, but spent years struggling with eating disorders and going to therapy after Trump traumatized her as a teenaged girl. Other people’s fat is apparently so at the top of Trump’s mind that he also used a fat slur in his off-the-cuff suggestion that the DNC hackers largely believed to be Russians might have just been, “some 400-pound hacker sitting on a bed.” He just can’t stop. But we can. Michelle Obama said it best during her Democratic National Convention speech, “when they go low we go high.”
Rejected campaign concepts, which oddly, were at least consistent with the acronym:
CAT, Cougars Against Trump.
BAT, Bloodsuckers Against Trump.
RAT, Rodentia Against Trump.
WHAT’S THE STRATEGY?
Is there a demographic of overweight vulgarians that the Democratic Party believes they haven’t reached yet? Why associate body image with the revolting situation that is Donald Trump? Lefties wouldn’t use any other slur—cultural or racial—to brand a grassroots campaign (we tried to compose some examples but offended ourselves and had to shower). It’s not done for at least two reasons: it’s not nice and it’s bad strategy. Slurs insult people who might otherwise be sympathetic the message.
You have to ask, who is going to wear an item with FAT emblazoned on it? No one, not skinny people, not children, not household pets escape the clutches of body shaming.
THE DESIGN PROBLEM
The godfather of infographics, Edward Tufte, famously said, “Good design is clear thinking made visible. Bad design is stupidity made visible.” If the point of the FAT campaign is to entice people to put a bumper sticker on their car, it would increase the chances of success if the design were both compelling and legible at 65 mph—and not so ugly as to depreciate the value of one’s vehicle. The strained Trump face of the FAT campaign will look like a blotchy-pink Transformer at 65 mph. I might put one on my fridge, though. One look at that hot mess ought to cut down on late-night snacking.
Here are two examples of simple, compelling designs that could be read at 65 mph or on a t-shirt that a grassroots army wouldn’t be ashamed to wear. One is edgy, the other is embraces inclusion. They both get the job done with appealing, well-crafted design. No pudgy pets were harmed in their creation!
WE CAN DO BETTER
In the first Presidential Debate Hillary Clinton made her points as much with what she didn’t say, as with what she did say. She knows better than to interrupt an opponent who is sinking his own boat, even though it would have felt good to say, “Hey Donald, there’s a rabid orange weasel who wants his pelt back.”
Pink Slip Rick was genius because it called attention to the outcome of Rick Scott’s actions. Even though everything about Governor Scott is bizarrely weird, pointing out his resemblance to a Bond villain doesn’t move people.
We’re never going to beat vulgarians at their game because our goals are inconsistent with simply pointing and laughing. Ridicule done right has its place, just ask John Oliver and Stephen Colbert. The difference between left and right ridicule is that one aims to simply light a fire, while the other has the added goal of lighting the way.
*Here’s some weight loss suggestions that The Donald would love. It’s our understanding this song was written as joke, much like Trump’s candidacy.
you’re fat/cramming ho hos and twinkies and such
you’re fat/you got flabby thighs
you’re fat/baby you’re supersize