Torontonians are witnessing the high drama of two, round-faced, fat men taking centre stage, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Canadian Senator Mike Duffy. They may well ask themselves whether any moral conclusions can be drawn from the performers’ physical shape.
A close study of fatness both in literature and history suggests that fatness is morally neutral. Falstaff is a model of virtue, and so is Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe. Göring is the opposite. Men with a lean and hungry look are often stingy and thoroughly untrustworthy.
If moral conclusions can be dawn from a person’s physical appearance, every beautiful woman would be virtuous.
“I have never been aware before how many faces there are. There are quantities of human beings, but there are many more faces, for each person has several.”