Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Standing Politics? Or Moral Standing?

There's been a lot of discussion, both in and out of the Fatosphere, about the politics of food. 

Although any fat-neutral (as opposed to the usual fat-hating) discussion of America's most contentious topic might be viewed as a good thing and I find myself, generally, in a agreement with that sentiment. However, (and you knew there was gonna be one of those), it's still got problems. For, damn fine, analyses on why, I'd enthusiastically recommend the recent post by Marianne Kirby at The Rotund and a nuanced discussion hosted by Michelle at The Fat Nutritionist that revolves around a recent NYTimes editorial on obesity.

Here's why I find all this talk about HFCS, healthy eating, whole/slow/local foods, and the Food Industrial Complex so frustrating; It all seems to be predicated on this countries self-abusive obsession with obesity and the crisis that doesn't exist will (might, probably) destroy The Future (tm). Everywhere I look the language has been muted, there's a lot less hostility or abasement, and there seems to be much more civil discussion. Encouraging in and of itself. But there's still the disconnect that only seems to occur when discussing why people are fat and what needs to be done about it. Less shame & blame but still not enough inclusion. Not enough inclusion and not enough comprehension. In all fairness, I don't expect comprehension to be complete and instantaneous. There is FAR too much dis/mis/mal-information floating around out there for that to even be a wild dream. It's going to take a lot of discussion to ward off the foolishness fronted by very interested, and Money Obese, parties (Big Medicine, Big Pharma, Commercial Diet Industrial Complex, I'm looking at you). This is all before we get to the folk lore, the scienterrific pseudo-fact spouted in the name of health ('Health' being the dog whistle code for fat since all fat people are unhealthy and thin people, of course, aren't), and the ever present passive-aggressiveness of concern trolls or the active-aggressiveness of outright haters. Nobody said this would be easy. Unfortunately, what it is, is subtle. That's right; fat is subtle. It's complex and deep. It never was and probably never will be so simple as calories in / calories out. Yet, even as evidence that this 'simplicity' is anything but, moves from overwhelming into the realms of patently obvious, there is complete and utter denial.

So how much of being fat is about HFCS, whole foods, or healthy eating? Well, who are you talking too? No, really -who are you talking to? Because the answers you get in ref to the first answer, absolutely depend upon the answer for the second. Depending on 'who' those answers could run from 'a lot', to 'not much', right on through to 'none at all' and I'm not talking opinion here. I'm talking about practice and experience. If we are allowed to be part of the conversation (As opposed to being dismissed as part of the problem. See; inclusion, above) people might soon discover that there are  fat people out there who have already maximized their consumption of whole foods while decreasing their intake of processed foods. And yet, they remain fat. There are fat people out there who prepare their own foods and consume copious amounts of fruits and vegetables. And yet, they remain fat. There are fat people out there who have, to whatever extent possible, eliminated HFCS from their diet. And yet, they remain fat. Very odd. 

Now if we could just avoid having these new 'quick fixes' turn into the new code under which the state of ones body is judged or moralized, it would be interesting if fat people became indirectly responsible for improving the quality of food in this country. It would also be just peachy if we could knock the national disconnect between 'Fat' and 'Health' one slot over to the space under 'Weight loss' and 'Health' . I'll believe either, if / when, it happens. 

This optimism stuff is kinda cuddly, fuzzy, pufflesmoosh. But I could get used to it.  

Muzak Therapy:
Muse / Hysteria

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