Monday, February 15, 2010

Back of the Bus III

Yeah, I'm back on this again! Guess what? I'm gonna BE on this until people start realizing that they are not talking about some nebulously abstract, obesity epipanic problem, they can hammer at until it's fixed. My job here is to remind you that WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, IS PEOPLE. Fat People who are, quite possibly enjoying their flight experience EVEN LESS THAN YOU ARE. Yes it is possible. It's even possible to realize this on your own if you have more empathy than your average sociopath. 

In any case this has turned into something fairly big [Yeah, ok haters. Get your LULz in now...] but it needs to go bigger [...'Cause you might not be laughing for long]. In that vain- 

  • First Responders:
  • For a pretty concise transcript of what went down: 
  • Kevin Smith's own words on what Fly while Fat can be like:
The articles under the above links need to be read. The COMMENTS after all of those articles need to be read. Read, thought through, and understood. 
However if your not really interested, or too frightened to go that far, then feel free to go back to your regularly scheduled fat hate. 

We weren't going to convince you anyway.  

Muzak Therapy:
Poppa Chubby / Hey Joe

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Back of the Bus II

This wasn't, quite, as inevitable as the last. After all one would expect a major transportation concern to realize that publicly embarrassing a media personality with a major fan base and internet access might not be a good idea. 

I'm a fan of Kevin Smith's comic book writings. Of the innumerable cross-title match ups of Spider-Man and Daredevil his featured some of the best writing and story arcs I've ever read. Haven't been one much for his directorial work but I respect the Slacker / Stoner / SciFi Nerd / Fanboy in him. Unfortunately, from what I've heard & read about him recently, it sounds like he's on the same Hate Yourself Treadmill most of the people who have anything to DO with Hollywierd end up on. Little advice Kev, riding that dieting Yo-Yo just 'cause somebody else has a problem with your weight will only end up dumping your health down the crapper faster than staying fat and stable. Dude, it's far better to feel good about yourself while throwing a Big fat Bird to the Haters than let them mind-frak you into screwing yourself up just to look like them.

As for Southwest? This little demonstration makes it patently obvious that they have no respect or even sympathy for fat people in general. At least as little as their passengers who, are more than willing to jump all over people they consider different because they've been made uncomfortable. Like we WANT to pack ourselves into seats that are too, damn, small. Like we LIKE having them touch US in any way. Like we ENJOY the muscle cramps from balling ourselves up into the smallest space possible. LIKE WE WOULD BE DOING ANY OF THIS IF WE DIDN'T HAVE TO BECAUSE, LIKE THEM, WE NEED TO GET WHERE WE ARE GOING.

News Flash folks; except for the very well off, traveling sucks for everybody. Get over it or get ON the people who are supposed to make it better

Muzak Therapy:
Keith Richards / You Don't Move Me

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Myth of History

Ah, the power of propaganda. Recently there's been this increased focus on children within the rabid, hyper-stimulated, world of the Obesity Epipanic. It's been building for some time now. And, with the First Ladies apparent inability to separate health from fatness, It would seem that now is the perfect time to ramp-up the intensity.    

What I, and many others, find so unusual about these theories of postnatal calorie restriction [Certainly, more fanatic elements of the Anti-fat Brigade see no reason to stop at merely postnatal dieting] is the obvious disconnect regarding, yah know; Growth and what one needs to accomplish said Growth. Well, one would THINK this disconnect to be obvious but. . . . 

Humans are mammals, I think most biologist and medical people would agree to that. Now, one of the fundamental processes of mammalian reproduction, one might call it essential amongst offspring baring creatures is. . . Wait for it, wait for it. . . Ready?. . .  Calorie Stockpiling. 

Animals (those without the intellect to make them believe and do stupid things) instinctively calorie load during pregnancy for several reasons including:

  • Normal / increased development of fetal offspring before birth.  
  • Increased energy reserves enabling mother / host to carry offspring to term.
  • Energy reserves for mother AND offspring for the birthing process itself.
  • Better survival prospects of postnatal young.
  • Normal / increased development of vulnerable preadolescent offspring.       

In species that exhibit pair bonding or mate-for-life tendencies, males will often starve themselves in order to make sure, offspring carrying, mates get as much nutrition as can be made available. But, of course, one could argue that we're not animals and therefore don't need to concern ourselves with matters as dire as survival. Well, in deference to my non-meat-eating friends, this argument would be very similar to those who argue against the need for human meat consumption. My views on the subject? As long as humans continue to produce flesh taring canine teeth and meat processing intestinal gut flora, humans will need to eat meat. As long as human offspring are being carried to term by their mothers, as long as normal preadolescent growth is handled outside of a some kind of pod or child growing factory, calorie overloading will ALWAYS be safer than calorie depravation. Even IF there IS an increased possibility of obesity. Even if ALL the TERRIFYING things they are trying so desperately to convince us WILL HAPPEN (for sure... Mostly) in that far-flung future fantasy of the Fat Apocalypse. Who knows what pandora's box of new physio/psychological deficiencies and illnesses restricting the calorie intake of 3 MONTH OLD CHILDREN will open. Or maybe they do know. I mean, those, whatchamacallum, 3rd world children survive, right? Well, most of them do anyway. . .  And their pretty healthy. . . Kinda.   

This is Your Obesity Panic. It tells us that 2000 years of child rearing experience is wrong and that fat babies healthy babies. It drives people to unreasoned heights of fear and makes outrageous ideas like depriving your children of the basic materials they need to be actually healthy, prosperous, and whole, sound logical.

But then that's what good propaganda does. 

Muzak Therapy:
Jane's Addiction / Been Caught Stealing

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stepping Forward Looking Back

Over the past year the Fatospohere and F/A has seen some movement (I think mostly constructive) in regards to intersectionallity and gender issues. There is, however, one contentious issue that seems to have been passed right over and has kind of faded into the background. That would be socially acceptable, social causes. 

Out in the wilds of the interwebs the suggestion that it might possible to be both fit and fat or fat and happy will either get you out-of-hand rejection or the kind of disregard one usually reserves for annoying children. But, unbelievable as it may seem, there are two other suggestions that can often generate flaming vitriol on contact. The suggestion that fat discrimination might bare some similarity to racial discrimination. Or the suggestion that societal disdain that fat people experience might, in some ways, be comparable to that with which the LGBT community has long been subjected. 

Suggesting that there are ANY similarities between F/A and either of these social justice movements will often get you a lot of combustible dissent regarding the 'changeability' of body size or observations that there is a lack of physical violence in the history of fat hate. I usually end up thinking three things whenever I hear these arguments 1) it might be changeable for some (and this is far from PROVEN) but what about those for whom it isn't? 2) As for the physical violence issue? Let me fix that statement for you; '. .  -SO FAR- there is a lack of physical violence in the history of fat hate'. Don't think this is, at all,  possible? I think someone needs to brush up on their human history. Invariably the last thing that comes to my mind when confronted with a denial of the similarities between fat hate, race hate, and sexual orientation hate is; 3) Why are you fighting this analogy so hard? Hate is hate. Is ANY of it better than the others. Is ANY of it more worthy of attention? Or do you, the denier, think that perhaps some kinds of hate might be Ok? 

Often we'll hear that the comparison of fat discrimination to other struggles for social justice and equality diminishes those struggles. Somehow diluting the importance of groups who are fighting for equality and for the right to be seen as human beings. People struggling for the right to live there lives without abuse, harassment, or discriminatory regulation. But is fat discrimination really trivial? Or is it just young. 

After all this is a brand new phenomena and, if history is any guide, as the general economic situation gets worse, it's not likely that the prevalence and kinds of fat hate / discrimination are going to get any better. Unless the people who are subject to it or the people involved with them do something to blunt or halt it now. One of the most effective tools against any kind of hate, is to gain an understanding OF it. Well, if we want to understand New Hate, make it easier for others to comprehend what it is or even that it exists, one of the best ways to do that, is to look back at the Hate that Came Before. 

Obviously, those of us struggling against New Hate should treat the struggles of the past with respect and the acknowledgment that they deserve, but all such struggles deserve the same. Including new ones. Respect is a two way street. To get some, you gotta give some.   

Muzak Therapy:
Smashing Pumpkins / Siva

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Kids are All Right?

Last week, President Obama announced during the State of the Union Address that his wife would be taking up an initiative to address childhood obesity in the U.S. We now have, what we might assume, is a rough outline of where the First Lady will be taking this initiative. Like most things there is good and there is bad. First the good- 

"Many parents tell me that they want 
to prepare healthy food for their kids, 
but there aren't any supermarkets 
where they live that sell fresh produce. 
Or they're tight on money, and healthy 
foods seem too expensive. Or they're 
tight on time - working longer hours, working 
two jobs - so they can't pull off those 
homecooked meals around the dinner table."     

-As good as it is to see that the First Lady is aware of the fact that most people don't have the time, money, or energy to pursue the acceptable body size / shape that the fashion industry, Hollywierd, media,  and puritanical fatophobes insist everyone should have, I'm going to have to hold my applause. Why? This-

"Obesity is also one of the biggest threats 
to the American economy. If we continue 
on our current path, in ten years, nearly 
50 percent of all Americans will be 
obese - not just overweight, but obese. 
So think about how much we'll be spending 
on health care to treat obesity-related 
conditions like heart disease, cancer, and 
diabetes. Think about all the missed days 
of work and decreased productivity 
we may see as a result." 

Never mind that the very same, media driven, circus of terror that has fanned and stoked the flames of this obesity panic are now telling us that it might not be so bad. In fact, there are those who would suggest that all this fear-mongering and hysteria are being generated over an 'epidemic' that never even existed in the first place. We have been saturation bombed for so long by doom-saying messages from the media and a medical community so befuddled they can't even agree on what the problem might be, that we may well have begun to believe in what really isn't there. It's happened before in far less time and with far less effort. The problem is in trying to keep people from grabbing their torches, pick-axes, and rope, then running out to join the mob and do the same old things, the same old way. Ways that have never worked before, won't work now, and will ultimately end up doing more harm than good. Mrs. Obama does seem to get this- 

" And there are some people who might 
ask you: How can you go and spend money 
on something like healthy school lunches when 
we've got overcrowded classrooms and 
outdated textbooks to worry about? Or, 
how can you build parks, or sidewalks, or 
bike paths when we can barely afford 
to keep the community health center open?
These are fair questions. But when you
 step back and think about it, you realize 
that in the end, they're really false choices. 
We've all heard from teachers and principals 
that if kids don't have the nutrition they need 
to stay alert and focused in class, even the 
best textbooks in the world aren't going to 
help them learn. And we've heard from doctors 
and public health officials that if they don't 
have safe places to play right now, then a 
few years from now, that community health 
center will be even more crowded and even 
more of a strain on your budget."  

-America likes progress it can see. Complex status markers like, Blood pressure, cholesterol counts, heart and respiration rates, don't hold much interest for us. But weight loss you can see. It's something you can hold up to show yourself and others while saying 'I did this'. And the BMI is a simple number made even simpler by the medical industry. If your under X it's 'good'. If your over it's 'bad'. Yet we are actively discouraged from asking how healthy either one of these simple markers, body weight and BMI, really are. Which is why the diet industry is so fond of both. Until recently 'Before and After' pictures and testimonials have long been a staple of the industry for this reason. From the 2002 Federal Trade Commissions Analysis of Trends in the Weight Loss Industry

" Consumer Testimonials; Before/After 
Photos. The headline proclaimed: 
“I lost 46 lbs in 30 days.” Another blared, 
“How I lost 54 pounds without dieting or 
medication in less than 6 weeks!” The use 
of consumer testimonials is pervasive in 
weight-loss advertising. One hundred and 
ninety-five (65%) of the advertisements in the 
sample used consumer testimonials and 
42% contained before-and-after pictures. 
These testimonials and photos rarely 
portrayed realistic weight loss. The average 
for the largest amount of weight loss reported 
in each of the 195 advertisements was 
71 pounds. Fifty-seven ads reported weight 
loss exceeding 70 pounds, and 38 ads reported 
weight loss exceeding 100 pounds. The 
advertised weight loss ranges are, in all 
likelihood, simply not achievable for the 
products being promoted. Thirty-six ads used 71 
different testimonials claiming weight loss of 
nearly a pound a day for time periods of 13 
days or more."

-It even became necessary for the Federal Trade Commission to revise the use of the safe harbor disclaimer 'Results not typical'. Specifically to reign in the Diet industries rampant and deceptive use of the phrase to make false claims and generate business. So powerful is America's need to 'see the results' that we have allowed ourselves to be convinced that getting healthy is, not only directly proportional to losing weight, but that losing weight is equal to being healthy. Just as we allowed Diet companies to make money from us even while telling us that the results we are seeing, aren't real. This goes deep. Deep enough so that even the First Lady of the United States is susceptible to the conventional wisdom- 

"Mayor Mick Cornett challenged the 
people of Oklahoma City to lose a 
million pounds, and he created a 
website - - 
where people can learn how to lose 
weight and track their weight loss, and 
can share personal stories and tips with 
others. So far, 40,000 people have 
signed up - and together, they've 
lost more than half a million pounds. "  

- But can they maintain that loss? What does it mean if they end up weighing even more down the line? And are they any healthier? Rarely do these questions ever get asked. 

Mrs. Obama, if by some random chance the stars align and you happen to be reading this, the one thing I would hope that you take from it is this; improved health is a valid, worthwhile, and feasible goal for everyone. Especially Children. However a continued, obsessive, focus on weight loss will, most likely only end up making our kids less healthy and / or fatter.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing 
over and over again and expecting different results”
-Albert Einstein  

Muzak Therapy:
Depeche Mode / Stripped