Posted on August 17, 2011 by Dr. DeahMichael Hiltzik wrote an article in the L.A. Times reproaching the ad campaign that was spreading like acne in So. Cal. I remember reading the article because a close relative of mine had lap band surgery and I was reading everything I could on the subject. Hiltzik was outraged, as am I, that the billboards give the impression that you can drive through on your lunch hour get a lap band and go off into happy thin land…free…free…free at last! But of course this isn’t true. The procedure takes time, anesthesia, and a recovery period that may last weeks. And that’s not including the people who got the lap band and did NOT find freedom or thinness at the end of the tunnel! When Hiltzik wrote the column last year, I had not yet seen the billboards in the Bay Area. I assumed it was a Hollywood thing that wouldn’t be tolerated here…in Janice’s backyard! But I was wrong and now they are everywhere. And the fact that these new billboards are equating freedom with lap band thinness is so offensive to me I don’t even know where to start. If freedom’s just another word for having to measure food in teaspoons in order not to regurgitate...well...that feels rather restrictive to me. To assume that everyone who is fat is living a life trapped by their fatness is outrageous, but even if it were true…I’d propose that the bars of imprisonment may be an Allergen product as well! Although in defense of Allergen, maker of the lap band, they too have decried the bill board ad campaign. Stuart Pfeifer’s L.A. Times article last February explains that the billboards lead to a referral source of lap band providers and is not an ad for Allergen. Still, with the weight and age requirements for lap bands getting less stringent I would imagine the demand for them is growing as rapidly as these billboards are popping up and that’s good for "Al's" business. Bottom line: the billboards are deceptive and offensive and if I were “Queen” I’d banish them from the Queendom! But alas, I am left dreaming and humming, “Freedom’s just another word for no more billboards on the road.”
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