I imagine that others have mentioned this by now (I’ve been too busy to keep up with blog reading this past week) but I can’t fathom why the opening paragraph of The New York Times Magazine’s profile of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, needed so many references—grotesque ones, at that—to her figure.
The photograph showed the son, but my eye gravitated toward the mother. That first glimpse was surprising — the stout, pale-skinned woman in sturdy sandals, standing squarely a half-step ahead of the lithe, darker-skinned figure to her left. His elas¬tic-band body bespoke discipline, even asceticism. Her form was well padded, territory ceded long ago to the pleasures of appetite and the forces of anatomical destiny.
How could a woman who enjoyed eating and resigned to a fate of sagginess possibly raise a president?
Perhaps the disconnect comes from the paper's choice of illustrating the piece with younger photos of Dunham and not the one referred to later in life when yes, she was heavier.