Wednesday, December 9, 2009

But What About the Children?!

Well, apparently there's a reason (besides 'child abuse') that some extremely obese children become so fat. Turns out it's probably their genes predisposing them to weight gain and causing them to not recognize satiety signals from their brain (Translation: they can't stop eating). Hmm. Yah know, I think I've heard that before somewhere. But whatever. Two questions I've got now are; What does this mean for Alexander Draper and his mother? As well as; what have we learned, if anything, from all this?  

Muzak Therapy:
Stone Roses / Fools Gold

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Back of the Bus

This was inevitable. Lets not get into the headless fatty phenomena. How it's ok to pick out a person because of their size or appearance, take pictures of them while their unaware, and disseminate that picture to maximize humiliation. Their fat, they won't mind / privacy doesn't exist / it's funny / It's for their own good and . . . D00d, they're fat! But no, let's not go there.

Instead, lets get into the Flying While Fat thing. We've already had instances of fat people being denied  travel despite failing health. We've had multiple instances of people being stranded after getting to their destination without trouble and then being denied travel while trying to get home. People trying to comply with the 'two seat rule' have been set up to fail and then denied the right to travel. Many of these situations would commonly be called extortion or fraud. Paying for goods or services and then being told you need to pay more to actually GET them. Actually getting some of the goods or services and then being told to pay more to get the rest. Paying for more than the goods or services are worth and then getting something completely useless. But, since it's Fat People being extorted and defrauded, it's just 'The right thing to do'.

Of course embarrassment, extortion, and added inconvenience, are not enough. The question now is; should fat people be allowed to fly at all? The NYPost seems to indicate that the answer should be 'no'. But then the Post has always been about a half step above such tabloid intellectual exercises as the National Enquirer and the Weekly World News in it's editorial accuracy as well as it ethics. So, you'll excuse me for taking their report with a bucket of salt (Thank goodness my BP is good. Oh, wait! I'm fat! That's just not possible. My bad.). I'll believe their report that an investigation was done by the American Airlines or what the ultimate outcome of this particular incident was when I see it somewhere else, thanks. What can be taken from the Post's questionable coverage? Pretty much what can be taken from the reporting done by almost any other publication covering any other 'Obesity Epipanic' story; Fat people aren't human and need to be humiliated / punished for being fat.

As always with this particular issue it comes down to the obvious assumption that fat people like to be shoehorned into tiny seats for hours. That we enjoy being ostracized and publicly shamed since that's how you successfully lose weight. We're just looking for motivation, that's all. Unfortunately the rest society is also made uncomfortable so, no matter how embarrassed or degraded fatty also feels after having to stuff him/her self into a too small chair, we need the extra hardship of paying more AND possibly not even being able to get where we're going. Oh! And lets not forget how dangerous fatty is. Now, it seems, we're also a safety hazard. Apparently the 200 / 300 / 400 pounds of body weight some people are so brazen as to carry around in public might cause the plane to run out of fuel, or crash, or something. Trapping all the other innocent, unoffending, passengers onboard a burning / sinking / falling plane by clogging up the emergency exits with their fat. Not that the several tons of normal weight passengers, their thousands of pounds of luggage, or the underweight passengers who lack the bulk or strength to even OPEN those emergency exits. No, just the Fat passengers. They're going to crash my plane with their fat! Oh, the horror!! Which, of course, leads to, 'I don't care how they get to where they need to go. Make 'um walk. It's good for 'um! Hur-hur-hur!' If we must fly, then the obvious solution is to treat us as cargo or livestock. We're not human, remember? Besides, It's all our fault, since we should know better than to show up at an airport fat anyway.

This we get from one picture of a man sitting on a seat armrest, either before the plane has taken off, or after it's already landed (Please note the open luggage racks and other passengers standing further down the isle) with a pair of empty seats in the row behind him (His? Naah, Fat people don't buy extra seats before hand, that's why they should be banned), and leaning towards the person in the seat next to him. A person who is leaning towards him as well (Couldn't be talking to someone he knows. Fat people don't know anybody). Nope. He's too fat for the seat + the guy next to him is going to get crushed + He's fat. It's dangerous + I HATE sitting next to fat people but they LOVE sitting next to me = Kick Fatty off the plane.

No Fat Hatred going on here. 

Muzak Therapy:
Devo / Gates of Steel

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fat Man on the Field

Fat panic effects every race, creed, color, religion and gender. But the general consensus is that it's just the whining complaints of women, primarily on the internet, who 'just don't want to lose weight'. Who's leading this consensus? Usually men. Not necessarily on the internet but those that are, rigorously carry the banner for the 'courageous speakers of the truth' who showcase their disdain and outright hatred IRL. Why? Because, classically, men aren't subject to the same kind of physical scrutiny. Or, at least, people feel less free to publicly comment on the state of mens bodies. The Obesity Epipanic is changing all this as it's changing mens own attitudes about their bodies.

We've long enjoyed the freedom to be, look, or act any way we wanted to (With the exception of appearing 'too feminine'. Hooray homophobia. Not) but that is changing. Traditionally for us guys, being fat has been just another possible aspect of being male and, patently, nobody else's business. Now, male or female, it's everybody's.

Case in Point? The NFL.   

Several diet companies are specifically targeting men through big name  / big pay endorsements with prominent sports figures. Of course. As a virtually untapped market, we represent a massive pool of new business that the diet industry is drooling to get their teeth into. And with the 40 - 60 million dollars earned in previous markets (Women / young girls), paying those big names almost anything they ask for is little more than an investment in future business. If they can succeed in replicating the body insecurities that drive the current, almost overexploited, income pool (again; women / young girls) then this Brand New Market could break wide open. The Diet Industry could double, or possibly triple, the profits they currently enjoy. Nothing but Net. And it's working.

Imagine an NFL coach, ANY NFL coach, being pressured into going on a diet. In the past, any questions asked of a hard-core NFL Coach about his own weight would have been met with, out-of-hand dismissals and more likely than not, referrals to more important matters. Like, yah know, which players are starting and game strategy.            

Well, these days we can only hope that Rex Ryan of the NY Jets doesn't seriously damage his health trying to stave off the commentary on something that's got nothing to do with his abilities as a coach. But such is the state of the world that it should be necessary to use dangerous methods to change ones self in order to satisfy some nebulous ideal of what we 'should' look like. Don't let the arguments of 'Health' distract you. It isn't, and never was about 'health'. If it was, carny freak show style torturetainment like 'The Biggest Loser', wouldn't even exist.

Muzak Therapy:
SoundGarden / Mailman

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fear The Bird

Once again it 'tis the season. Obviously for obsessing over every morsel / unholy calorie of food you put in your mouth. At no other time during the year is the fear of fat (aka; the Obesity Epidemic or Obesity EpiPanic) more patently evident. All we hear about in the news is how bad, bad, bad it is to overeat during the holidays. A lose of control or a complete failure of will. A moral defect that proves weakness of character. If you can't or don't want to push the plate away before your done then you are Less Than, in danger of becoming Other (read; fat), and will suffer all the 'obvious' consequences. Ho-Ho-HO!! The fear and loathing is almost palpable. But don't be overly alarmed, Pilgrim. Pious superiority requires that you be told how it should be done. Just as fat people must be constantly reminded that we're fat, consistently advised over and over of the potentially inevitable health risks (Um...Huh?) 'lest we somehow forget or delude ourselves. Just like we need to have hundreds of useless diets, methods, plans, lifestyle changes, food recommendations (Food, like moral standing, can only be 'good' or 'bad'. This is well known) and every manner of folk remedy pushed at us as if those 'recommending' this 'helpful advise' were getting paid, cash money, by the diet industry. Just as there is always 'help' for us poor misinformed and ignorant fatties, there are plenty of tips and tricks that you can use to avoid damnation temptation. So these two family events -two days in as many months- these celebrations that are supposed to be about joy, togetherness, family, and gratitude for that with which we have been blessed, are not completely guilt free. Because, yah know, if the writers of these holiday self-flagellation guides are too neurotic and eating disordered or their familial dysfunction has them too skewed / screwed to actually enjoy the holidays? Well, then why should anyone else?
Muzak Therapy:
The Ramones / We're a Happy Family

Monday, November 23, 2009


There's a conversation that goes around every now and again in the Fatosphere. It usually starts with the question of the other F/A; Fat Admirers. Unfortunately, it also tends to swerve into one of the other contentious regions of Fat Acceptance; Fat as a Gendered Issue and things usually get pretty messy from there. Still, the conversation has merit and a little mess never hurt anybody.

Fat Admirers have been around for a long time. Probably longer than either Fat Acceptance or Fat Activism and, thought it's not generally acknowledged, there are also women who prefer there partners fat. FFA or Female Fat Admirers is the generally accepted term but, again, we don't seem to ever hear too much about them. At most, if a woman fits a more mainstream archetype of what's considered 'beautiful' and her male partner is fat, we'll often hear 'What's she doing with him?' But if the man looks like Brad Pitt and his partner is fat? Well, he's a freak. Both are ridiculous conceits and, unfortunately, common ones as far as mainstream sensibilities are concerned. After all, every important avenue of information that we rely on to tell us how we should live our lives, the fashion and beauty industries, television, movies -hell, media in general- inform us that fat people are undesirable, unhealthy, and flat-out disgusting. So, of course, anyone who would choose them over 'beautiful' people are strange at best or just plain defective. What tends to smack my gob pretty silly is realizing that this might actually be an improvement over the previous school of thought. At one time Fat Admirers where equated with feeders and gainers. And, since these previously unheard of fetishes where so way-out, so off-the-charts weird, it had to be the only reason a man would be attracted to a fat woman. It's taken quite some time to dissuade people of this ludicrous assumption but, considering the cyclic nature of stupid folk lore, it may end up rearing it's knotted head again.

Are there any answers? It's a complicated issue with quite a few significant mitigating factors. Fetish Trolls exist, they're rampant, and they don't have hazard strips tattooed on their foreheads. Like the opportunistic predators they most resemble they stalk social gatherings, dances, and dating networks looking for the inexperienced, the trusting, wounded individuals, or anyone they feel they can exploit and then use all manner of strategy to influence, manipulate, and use people to get what they want. Walking or slithering away after completely destroying what should be an affirming or at the very least, hopeful, experience for the people they exploit. Or making, even those who DO manage to connect later on in their lives, suspicious or uneasy in relationships that should be supporting and happy. But then concern for others is not really the point for a predator. That has nothing to do with what they want and is therefore irrelevant.  

Maybe there won't be any answers until the world changes how it sees, or is persuaded to see better. However, we should know better. We constantly talk about being stereotyped as binge eating couch potato's and yet unattached men who profess an attraction to fat women are often assumed to be weird. It is EXTREMELY frustrating to know that Fat Admirers, people with a preference, are still sometimes viewed by 'our own' as vaguely creepy.

Muzak Therapy:
Radio Head / Packt Like Sardines in A Crushd Tin Box

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

HA!. . . HAAAaa-ha-ha-ha!!

Ok, you'll like this. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, obviously in an effort to make adipose tissue 'truly' deadly, fat now causes 100,000 types of cancer. . . .Well, it's just about time we got to the really big, truly, terroriffic numbers! No more piddling around with one or two monthly, breathlessly shrieked, breaking news headlines. The AIC has decided to go the whole hog and shoot for 100K! Death Fatz has officially arrived!!

It's funny if you think about it, well it's still pretty funny even if you don't think about it, but I suppose this was inevitable. We see at least one announcement a month in the news declaring 'Obesity is now shown to cause 'X' Cancer  / Condition / Disease / Whathaveyou'. So many in fact that it begins to make one wonder; If being fat is so, unavoidably lethal, how come there are so many fat people still walking around on the planet? I mean, isn't that how evolution works? (All you 'Obesity Can't Be Genetic' people; I could use a hand here) If being fat is so deadly, why hasn't it been deselected by evolution as an undesirable trait? 100,000 cancers? How is it possible for ANY fat person to live past, hell, thirty? Or maybe there's another, simpler, explanation. Lets see. How about this; as my Grandaddy used to say 'Follow the Money'.

At somewhere over 40 billion dollars in revenue it really can't be argued that the diet industry is not a force to be reckoned with. 'Specially where getting people to buy their 'product' is concerned. That kind of money gets attention. It changes minds, encourages cooperation, and can even set political policy. Is it so much to imagine that it can also influence the, supposedly unbiased, world of science and research? Research often involves experimentation in a vacuum but the process itself doesn't occur in a vacuum. It takes money. Usually in the form of Grants, to fund research and it has been observed that, where that money comes from, can often influence the conclusions science and research ultimately come to. Thing is, money doesn't always influence JUST the conclusions.

Are you a researcher? Need a lab? Need top-of-the-line computers, specialized equipment, supplies, data (it's not always free), or just need to pay your staff ? Well, you could apply to a grant for the obscure research closest to your heart and maybe get less money than you need. Or you can apply for something popular. Something that's already got LOTS of money being poured into it by, well. . . . Does it really matter who's paying? Everybody knows who they are. Everybody knows what they want. Apply for the grant, tell them what they want to hear, and your set. Nobody gets 'hurt', you get money for resources you can use in more important work, and your credibility doesn't take too much of a hit. After all, with so much OTHER questionable research being done on the subject, who can say who's right, who's wrong, and who's just getting paid. Such is the state of Science these days.

Fat causes 100K types of cancer? Right. Smoking causes cancer. Exposure to radiation, dioxins, asbestos, various and sundry other toxins causes cancer. Random hits to the DNA by cosmic rays causes cancer. Now, what their trying to sell me is that a natural, fundamental, PART of  human anatomy, something that has been evolved into every species of mammal on the planet since we crawled out of the primordial soup, is suddenly so lethally toxic that we need to do everything short of kill ourselves to get rid of it. Sorry, already got my quota of Bullshite this week, tell your story walking.

What's REALLY funny about all this? Only thinking creatures could come up with something so ridiculously devoid of logic and then be stupid enough to actually believe it.    
Muzak Therapy:
Paul McCartney & Wings / Live and Let Die

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More to. . . Meh

So, 'More to Love' is over and done. Mind numbingly dull, Luke (aka: 'I Lurv Big Womenz') may have been inept but, I think, sincere. Or as sincere as one can be on reality TV. 'The Ladiez' ran the usual gamut of manipulative shrews to well meaning victims and the prerequisite gamers gaming the game to be the first across the finish line. And apparently one from the last archetype made it to Final Two Elimination before tripping over her own game. Win by any means necessary; It's the American Way.

By now the 'twist' of this, pretty painful to watch, Reelality TeeVee show is pretty well known; all those lonely fat ladies striving to win 'The Man of Their Dreams' on this, the only date many of them had ever had. While being national televised, of course. Lots of weeping, lots of soul baring pain, lots of desperation, and Fox Networks singular template of what American Malehood is / should be. I'll give Luke credit for one thing. In the few eps I managed to sit through he seemed to go from 'Dood! I'm living, like, EVERY Doodz fantasy!' too 'This might actually mean something.' Granted, he didn't look all that sure WHAT it might mean but he did appear to put some effort into trying to figure it out towards the end. As has been noted nearly everywhere (and rightly so) Lesley at fatshionista did a fairly epic job of taking this show apart, piece by piece, so I'll just leave it at that.

Frankly, after watching a few eps (then promptly hosing out and disinfecting my DVR) the show gave me the impression of a circus sideshow. Maybe that can be put down to a general trend in televised media. Desperate as they are for our attention and increasingly willing to revert to 'the old ways' to get it. Unfortunately, for Fat Folk and most other groups of 'othered' people in history, those old ways don't generate so many fond memories. And now fat people can look forward to the 'pleasure' of even more media attention. Hoo-ray. Can't wait.

NBC, TLC. . . . . TGN? Really? The. Gameshow. Network. Somebody went just a little crazy at the Way Back Machine controls. What's next? Fat Folk engaging in dangerously competitive weight loss on The Sideshow Network for healthcare benefits they were denied because they're fat? Now That's, compassionate, Entertainment. Obviously. 'Cause it's all for our own good. An', ya know, we're fat.  

Muzak Therapy:
Nine Inch Nails / Survivalism

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I fully plan on paying good money at the box office to see 'Precious' in the theater next month. If, for no other reason, than this cover of last sundays NYTimes. This is Beauty. Robert Maxwell's striking portraits so often are. His rendition of Gabourey Sidibe for the Times interview of director, Lee Daniels is. . . Well. . . Stunning. Here she is suave, her hair is perfect. Her dress, regally elegant. Her pose radiates fierce confidence, graceful strength, and amusement all at the same time. This is what we so rarely see in any image portraying people of size. Which, I think, is what makes the image so arresting. We've become numb to the images that play up the negative. Highlighting asymmetric rolls and bulges in the worst possible relief then choose a setting that maximizes humiliation and frame for peak repulsiveness. There is none of that to be found here.

The article details the trials and ordeals Lee Daniels endured getting the movie made. A movie who's main character is fat, black, and female. It's not a comedy, it's not a love story, and most of the supporting cast, though well known, will probably be unrecognizable. No surprises that Hollywood wasn't exactly jumping to make this movie. Even less appealing to a Hollywood that drools like a Pavlovian dog over another, pointless 'GI Joe' / 'Transformers' sequel, Mr. Daniels wasn't interested in toning the movies graphic nature down to suit anybodies 'happy ending'. And he was adamant about the casting. Especially where the staring role was concerned.

Perhaps sensing the intense othering fat people often experience, he refused to use a fat suit or cast against type and auditioned down to the wire before finding Mrs. Sidibe. Citing her confidence and comfort in her size as key elements necessary to illustrate that she is much more than what she looks like. Fronting a fat, confidant, woman as someone an audience can empathize with, or even come to love. Hollywood take note; Real People showing real depth are worth paying money to see. Waifs are for kids who just download.