Block That Metaphor! Ozempic Orthodontia

E.B. White is long gone from this life and Block That Metaphor! is dormant at The New Yorker. But we need them back. The Washington Post has a new and twisted metaphor about obesity treatment, casting Ozempic as something like orthodontia. Kate Cohen writes:

“I always thought I’d be thin if I were rich.

“I’d have personal trainers and private chefs, surreptitious plastic surgery and a good PR team to deny it.

“Now, it seems, with the advent of semaglutides, a.k.a. the injectable weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, I wouldn’t even have to be rich rich. For a not inconceivable amount of money, I could lose the extra pounds that have bothered me ever since I learned they should bother me. I could buy a 15 percent drop in my body weight.”

Then she goes on to muse about what this might mean for children:

“Imagine if the moment a child is deemed ‘chubby’ or ‘husky,’ parents rush to their local orthomorphist for a prescription to ‘fix’ them.”

Of course, Orthomorphist is a word she made up to help her pretend that treating obesity is just like orthodontia.

Early Dismissal

She makes a quick dismissal of the possibility that health is a factor. “Taking away your kid’s joy in food might be worth it if your child is chronically ill and suffering,” she says. But clearly, her mind is fixed on her preoccupation with cosmetics. Like the orthodontics that she complains about, though she opted in. “Cost me money and consigned my kids to a couple of years without chewing gum.”

It is probably too much to ask her to climb out of her bubble (metaphor alert). But if she wants to be less ignorant about the medicine she’s trivializing, Cohen should study up on the health effects of obesity that more and more children are facing. Things like insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, certain cancers, and joint disease.

A Boorish Metaphor

So yes. Ozempic orthodontia is a metaphor to block, because it reflects a preoccupation with cosmetics joined to a pretense of superiority to such superficial thoughts. Worse, it reflects subtle, callous devaluing of children with real health issues. Not unlike the experiences kids with asthma endure.

Frankly, the ignorance reflected in this column is shocking because the Washington Post should set higher standards.

Click here for Cohen’s commentary and here for perspective on distinguishing obesity from appearances. For perspective on resisting metaphors, click here.

Braceface, photograph by Zoe, licensed under CC BY 2.0

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January 19, 2024

One Response to “Block That Metaphor! Ozempic Orthodontia”

  1. January 19, 2024 at 12:01 pm, Allen Browne said:

    Obesity is a disease. It is related to over 200 health problems involving suffering, poor quality of life and early death. Some people “get it” and some people don”t.

    Much work to do.

    Have a good day.