I saw this odd story about wasteful government spending in James Taranto’s Best of the Web email. The bureaucrats at Britain’s National Health Service are sqandering thousands of dollars to create a giant “Burger Boy” as part of a government propoganda program against obesity. But what’s really odd is that local taxpayers (if there are any) are upset not about tax money being wasted, but about hurting the feelings of overweight kids. The Daily Mail reports:
As the latest weapon in the war on obesity it may seem a little extreme. But after fat camps, intense diets and gastrobands meet the ‘Bye Bye Burger Boy’. The 40ft giant effigy – which will cost several thousands to make – is to be paraded through the streets of Barnsley as part of a healthy eating drive. …The controversial idea was dreamt up by NHS and council bosses in the town to fight some of the highest obesity rates in the UK. But residents and campaign groups have reacted with fury and condemned the effigy. Local Slimming World co-ordinator Christine Meluish, who runs weight loss groups for 11 to 15-year-olds, branded it ‘a disgrace’. ‘It’s humiliating for anyone who is overweight,’ she said yesterday. ‘I was a fat kid and it’s hard enough. …The giant sculpture – of an obese boy standing in an ash tray beneath a mountain of fast food – was designed by theatre company Dodgy Clutch. The Newcastle-based company said it was recruited by Barnsley County Council and the NHS to ‘explore the role that the arts can play in healthy living and encouraging a healthier lifestyle’. …An NHS Barnsley spokesman refused to say how much the sculpture would cost but insisted it was ‘within the budget to promote active lifestyles’.