Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When DEATFATZ Isn't Just a Stupid Rhetorical Term

Lets talk about fat and death for a minute, shall we? I was reading a recent article linked  from SilentBeep regarding a man who died tragically after having WLS in an effort to better his position at his job. Before we even get into the twisted psychology of a world where people are practically forced into changing the state of their bodies just to get ahead. Lets talk about that death thing.  

See, because not only is life  different for fat people. Largely due to forces outside their control (that would be other peoples perceptions and attitudes) but so is death. We've talked here and other places about the disdain, dismissal, and out right hatred fat people often experience from the medical community. Well, there's this little thought-about fact that people commonly overlook; Coroners are Doctors too. 

One line from the WLS article stood out for me and brought this back into stark recall- 
"Three days later, Brooks was dead. At the autopsy, a Riverside County coroner found stomach contents leaking around the edges of the lap-band and more than a liter of pus in his abdomen. On her report she listed the cause of death as "peritonitis due to lap-band procedure due to obesity."   
*Emphasis mine*

My Immediate thought; 'Yes. Most thin people don't bother with Lap-band surgery so, of course, he was fat. Why the redundancy? Especially on a Cause of Death? Perhaps because Coroners have quite a habit of including 'obesity' on COD's. Even when the actual COD had nothing to DO with the decedents weight. Willie Brooks wasn't killed by 'obesity'. He was killed by an infection due to a botched lap-band surgery.  If Joan Rivers were to die during a botched botox injection (Surgical procedure according to Med Coding guidelines) would 'vanity' be listed as a contributing factor on her COD?  

Is this kind of thing rampant? Is it something that happens occasionally or in isolated situations? Who knows. The decedent in these kinds of cases isn't likely to complain. Less likely in fact, than fat living patients confronted with medical stigma who don't really have anybody they can reliably complain TOO.  So it gets left to the Coroner or family members. Unfortunately family is often inclined to, either go along with whatever, or in some cases, they may actually agree with the assessment no matter how invalid it might be.    

There are, of course, those who would question the possibility of people in the medical community actually doing these kinds of things / having these kinds of attitudes. To them I would only say-  
*REAL Trigger Warning*
  Following is a link who's comments are toxic in the extreme. 
  The post from which they thread is, quite possibly, worse.
*REAL Trigger Warning* 

If this is any indication of how some Emergency Medical personnel actually feel about fat decedents, what are we to think about anybody else in the field of medicine? Including Coroners. 

There is one other thing people might consider when thinking about this truly sad state of affairs. Beyond the theft of any dignity a person might be accorded after ones demise, there is the skewing of statistical data that could, in fact, effect the living. How many fat people have died in car accidents, been killed by falling objects, or after falling from heights? How many have been shocked, burned, murdered, or simply died inexplicably and had obesity or some tenuous relation to obesity included in their COD's? And how would that effect the calculations for the overall rate of death due to obesity which is taken directly from any mention of obesity in each COD? I mean, it's not like this kind of mathamatical / statistical inaccuracy hasn't happened before.       

So, yeah, I'm gonna have a little trouble trusting all those sparkly statistical pronouncements of the future perfect doom that might be (Unless somebody's got those winning Lotto Numbers for next week. I keep asking. Email me). More importantly I'd rather think about what's definitely happening right now. Like how there are Surgical Mills exploiting people in much the same way the Diet Industrial Complex has for years. Taring up peoples insides with what amounts to human experimentation (Now THERE's some statistics I'd be interested in seeing. If only we could get some clean numbers), pushing false hope (30% body mass loss on average?), lies (Ummm, remission of diabetes is NOT a 'cure'. That remission thing? Yeah, that's your clue.), and commercial disinformation (Watch any lap band Ad and Realize that you don't need WLS to do any of those things). All this just to get that check deposited, put you on the table under the knife, and get you out the door. Oh! Of course, because their concerned about your health

Mustn't forget about that.  

Muzak Therapy:
Hum / Stars

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Well, I was dueling with one of the worse species of trolls out there earlier this week. Actually, I can't really call this individual a Troll, per sea. The Forum in which our little contest played out is commonly held as a place for more intelligent discussion of sociological issues and doesn't really identify as a F/A space. My fuzzy friend surely fashioned zieself as something of an intelligentsia and our discussion, if you can call it that, revolved around St. James Oliver and his current crusade. Unsurprisingly this particular 'discussion' ended as anyone familiar with discussions of the Obesity EpiPanic might expect. With a vehement but dignified, 'I'm right, damnit! *insert logical fallacy* Your stupid! And I'm leaving! So you STFU!!!' I could almost sense the ether, coalescing around zie's sublime maturity.

In any case, all the the usual tropes had already been covered. 'We're just concerned about your health', 'Don't you know how unhealthy Fat is?', 'Loosing weight is easy. / Cal in - Cal out'. By the time I thought to get out my Bingo Card, we had already drifted into the always entertaining realms of Personal Responsibility (We may want to expand the cards or add new ones). This particular bit of whiny, drip-spittle never fails to amuse me. See, because it always seems to be people who exhibit the least impulse control or display a near total lack of any kind of responsibility to others who are the first to bring it up. The Catholic Church (What else do I need to say?), Congressmen who's behaviors run the gamut of heckling on the House Floor like it was a WWE wrestling match, to Governors who disappear for days while on tryst with their mistresses. Or those who just can't seem to keep their hands off their own staff. Female OR Male. Which I thought was supposed to be Abby Normal but then I've always had trouble twisting my logic far enough around to understand Gay-Conservative Homophobia. . . . Right. Back to the point. 

Although I have an extreme dislike of Jamie the Wise for reasons I've already detailed (perhaps a bit overly strenuously). Suffice it to say that JO's past actions speak to me quite clearly, thank you. I have no interest in anything he has to say now, especially since others have said it all much better. And, in light of his refusal to acknowledge those actions, I feel no obligation to subject myself to any more of his drivel. 

As for the general tenor of the thread on which The Contestant and I had our 'discussion'? It was actually rational, if not entirely reasonable. A trend I've been noticing in other discussion spaces for quite a few weeks now. Perhaps I'm just pushing it but I don't think cautious optimism is unwarranted. Are people starting to actually listen to the Fat People invariably involved in all this rather than trying to talk over, around, past, and through us? Would be nice. I suppose we'll see if we are actually starting to head in a better direction. However, what concerns me now is the blow-back to come.

Even if this does turn out to be a new attitude where fat AND the people who happen to have more of it is concerned, there are those like my intellectual friend who will not so easily let go of their long-held beliefs. I mean, there aren't that many kinds of Others walking around that can be classified as inferior with little more than a glance. And, of course, the infallibility of medicine and incorruptible nature of science are incontrovertible, absolute. Dare I say it? Almost. . . Sacred. One does not question their providence nor does one doubt the oracle of Statistics. Without which life spans cannot be augured, afflictions cannot be foretold and the future cannot be clearly known. As with most things so fervently believed, any suggestion to the contrary cannot be just refuted. Every effort must be made to repudiate it out of existence. 

Which means that for fat people, attitudes may be getting better, but it's also likely that certain aspects will probably get uglier as well. Dragging knuckle, furry eye-ball, kinda ugly. 'Cause, yah know, Conventional Wisdom is such a jealous god.     


Well, it seems that St. Jamie made a few errors in his machinations calculations. But what where you expecting? After all he's just a chef after all.  

Muzak Therapy:
Deep Purple / Perfect Strangers

Monday, April 5, 2010


When I was a, moderately smaller wee monster, on family summer outings to the community swimming pool, one of my favorite moves was a staple of fat boys at pools everywhere. The infamous Cannonball. Get as much air as you can off the deck, grab your knees, and everyone in the immediate vicinity gets wet on impact. Good Times. In that vein here's a random splash of hits that have caught my attention recently. 

There's been a lot of excellent word smithing going on in the 'Spere of late. The kind that has you nodding your head as you read it, shouting 'Yes!' at the machine sitting in front of you, or on the verge of breaking-down with it's heart breaking sadness or the rage inducing pointlessness of societal attitudes that make it necessary. 

Case in point; The, ever excellent, Lesely at Fatshionista sends up a post about what it means to be an obese child. As is common with 'Obesity Epidemic' rhetoric, the medical community, media concerns, politicians -basically anyone on the street with an opinion and the compulsion to express it- tend to talk about fat people as if we weren't in the room. As if adults being discussed, like children, have no input in a conversation about them. Again, these are adults writing their recollections of childhood. How much worse is it for actual children. Or, perhaps more accurately, how much worse does it promise to be if certain initiatives prove unable to disentangle morality from body weight / body weight from health. How positive and lasting will their experiences be when how they feel about what's being done TOO them is deemed completely irrelevant. The common sentiment? They're kids, they don't know what's good for them. 
And that's kind of odd when you consider it's coming from a generation practically pathological about not being anything like their own parents. A generation who can tell you exactly how the trauma's of their own 'draconian childhoods' have deprived them of complete and whole 'functionality'. They're now so myopically focused on being 'buds' with their children that whole generations have grown up, virtually, without parents. Now, of course, they just have to 'engage'. It's an epidemic after all. So they must be sure, by any means necessary, that The Children (tm) don't end up like those Fatty-fatty Boomba's on TV. 'Cause that'll kill 'um quiq. Erybody says so. Even teh Doktor who's been tellin' us th same ting fr yers. And it's Helthy. So Jus Do It (tm). Mmmkay?'

Previous to Lesley's missive pointing out what should be obvious, Living~400 came in with what some in Fat Health Skepticism might call unimaginable. That would be the positive aspects of being fat (Now begins the screaming, the tooth gnashing. . .) and the fact that Fat Diabetic (. . . The taring out of hair). It's really strange to me how people can acknowledge or accept that being differently abled can empower or impel some people to advancement. How being blond, smart, charismatic, shorter than average, or even not beautiful by societies standards, in some people, can impart advantage. But fat? No. Not ever. Yeah, now tell me about how 'that doesn't mean you don't like fat people. After all, some of your best friends are fat (Which, of course, means that every 5Lb. loss on their part is celebrated with trumpets and flights of dayglo-white doves. 'Cause it's so inspiring. Non-weight loss 'centric achievements? Yeah, that's nice, wev).   

Huffpo fronts an article on binge eating disorder and the lack of respect it gets as, yah know, an actual  eating disorder. TimeMag grudgingly hints at the possibility that calories in - might not equal calories out for some because, *gobsmacked-amazement*, people are different and, *stunned-incredulity*, digestion is a, strangely complex, process. Alert the. . . Press. . . Wait. 

Meanwhile, at the NYTimes, we get a fascinating pictorial [VERY SFW and NON-triggering, but still weird] on what people will do to themselves in the name of 'Beauty'. Or was that acceptability? Maybe improvement. . . Competition? Anyway, the Author / Photographer says that he conceived the project when he noticed that people around the world where starting to appear homogenized. That 'Beautiful people' in various countries are starting to look the same as those anywhere else. In other words 'Beauty' is becoming 'Common'. Makes you wonder what the next 'beauty' trend will be and how much surgical intervention will be required to achieve it.  

What strange creatures these humans be.  

Muzak Therapy: 
NIN / The Good Soldier