Gillian McKeith is pure evil

One of the laziest – though compelling – examples of television programming that has marked our generation is what I like to call the Parade of Patronising Fucks shows. These are the shows where self-styled “experts” invade the lives of ordinary folk and tell them how they should be doing things. It started with home makeover shows, eventually branching out into every area imaginable until a true genre was created, giving rise to Trinny and Susannah and a host of others. RTE even got in on the act with At Your Service, in which two 5* hoteliers run around the country trying to make dodgy B&Bs somewhere you might actually like to stay.

Now most of these shows get a pass because the “experts” to some degree usually know what they’re talking about, and the recipiant of the advice being imparted will often benefit from it (At Your Service gets extra points as RTE doesn’t shy away from how patronising people often find the concept). Then there’s Gillian McKeith, who’s a whole kettle of deep-fried fish altogether.

I noticed last week that “Dr” McKeith’s You Are What You Eat is being repeated on TV3. Its pretty predictable, yet still disappointing, that TV3 would broadcast such a show (clearly of appeal to their target demographic), ignoring how damaging it has shown to be.

The show credits McKeith as “Dr Gillian McKeith”, indicating that it was produced before the ASA forced her to stop stop describing herself as a doctor, not least due to the efforts of Ben Goldacre in exposing her PhD as the worthless pseudoscience it is (incidentally, if you are not reading Goldacre’s “Bad Science” column in the Guardian every Saturday you are really short-changing yourself). Remember, this is the woman who seemingly expects us all to have a flashlight stuck up our arse. The stink of pseudoscience also permeates the show. In one episode I watched as “Dr” McKeith berated her victim over one of her favourite snacks, four slices of white  bread with a big dollop of jam. “All that salt and sugar is killing you,” moaned the good doctor. Was this unhealthy? Probably. But you know what, strawberry jam sandwichs were a staple snack-food for me as a kid, as it was for many others I’m sure, and I grew up to be reasonably healthy.

Clearly “Dr” McKeith is a fraud. But this does not lend itself to my initial hypothesis that she is evil. For this I ask you to examine her mantra “you are what you each” (which if true, as observed by Dara O’Briain, means she has eaten a fucking shrew). What is it that this actually means? Here’s my reading: We are what we eat; we therefore need someone to guide us as to what food is fit for human consumption, making us in turn individuals fit for human society. There’s a touch of the Khmer Rouge about Gillian McKeith and her doctrine that’s quite worrying.

Via Channel 4

Via Channel 4

If you think that I’m reading too much into it (because I can assure you I’m not exaggerating for effect), just look at how each episode of You Are What You Eat is ended. We’re given a “before and after” examination of McKeith’s victim. The language used to describe the “before” version is not just negative, but quite undermining and insulting. Seriously, she’s just a couple of rungs away from declaring, “look at the fat fuck. She’s a disgrace to herself and all around her.” Gillian McKeith hates fat people in the same way Hitler hated Jews. Fact!

While we’re discussing the before and after shot, there’s something else that pisses of (and I’m really surprised nobody else has mentioned it). The poor victim in the before shot is paraded in front of us in nothing but her underwear, with all her unflattering flab and cellulite out for the world to see. After the eight week intensive course (or whatever it is), however, she is presented with dolled up hair, fabulous make-up, and a lovely black blouse, black shawl, or black something to hide all the curves. She may look great, but she’s still clearly fat. McKeith will of course point out that the victim has lost 3 stone or thereabouts. Of course she has, she’s been living on radishes and extra green leaves for two month. That doesn’t make it healthy, which crash dieting rarely is.

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