Happy Holidays!

So, it was getting closer and closer to XMas, and I had yet to do anything about cards. I always hate buying cards so I usually try to make something myself. Made some really nifty cards last year, actually. But, I didn't have the time to put into that this year, so I tried to think outside the box. (Not many people know this, but I'm actually confined to a box, so that phrase has a different meaning for me.)

(that joke is in no way meant to disparage people who are confined to boxes)

(that disclaimer was in no way meant to disparage people who get upset about people making jokes about people confined to boxes. Moving on...)

So, I thought I'd release my inner star and tape a video holiday card. Which is precisely what I did. Nothing too special, just with some of my perhaps unsuccessful attempts at humor. If you'd care to view it, you can visit here.

You can also download the file directly here.

I almost created an alternative video with a director's commentary track because I thought that would be hilarious, but better sense prevailed. There can be a fine line between genuinely pompous and mockingly pompous.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy my humble efforts. If not, well, screw you. Oh, and happy holidays!


Old Navy's Women

I keep meaning to mention this but keep forgetting. A few weeks back I got a flyer from Old Navy. Very ordinary stuff. I almost didn't even notice what I'm commenting on because it blended so seemlessly into the piece.

As I imagine many of my few readers know, Old Navy recently rolled out their Women's Sizes line which is appearing in more and more of their retail outlets as well as online. The flyer I got was one of those across the board deals promoting men's, women's, children's, pet's, etc. What really impressed me, though, was that they didn't create a Women's sizes gheto in the piece. They weren't shoved off to a corner or left out entirely.

No, instead, they were right there with the thin models. Wearing the same style of clothing, too. There was nothing in the posing or presentation to set the plus-size model off as Other. She's right there with the other models wearing the "Item of the weak" (jeans) and accented with a nice blazer from the Women's Plus line that seemed like the same style of blazer one of the thin models was wearing. It felt so wonderfully refreshing and encouraging to see a plus-size model treated like she was normal.

Yes, I know, it'd be nice if plus size models were sized so they were representative of more plus-size women. That's definetly some progress we're overdue for. But so's this. And credit where its due, the model didn't look merely "big boned". She had a round face and even evidence of a belly see with her unbuttoned blazer. I actually only noticed her when the thought crossed my head "hey, she's kinda cute for a model" at which point in dawned on me that she was actually a plus-size model. Its that seemless. There is a little "Women's Plus" logo off her shoulder to brand the product name being promoted, but there is nothing wrong with branding.

Anyway, I just wanted to share.


The Big Time

So, a cool thing happened for me today. I won't post it here because some sad little people have much too much time on their hands, but if you know me, contact me and I'll let you know my happy news.


The new Dick Clark

So, I'm watching the latest edition of televised crack, VH1's I Love the 80's: 3D, and am really taken aback by Chuck Woolery. The guy seriously doesn't look like he's aged since The Love Connection back in the 80's. Admitedly, I first new him as the host of the Scrabble game show back in the day. What can I say, The Love Connection wasn't quite my thing when I was 8.

Back then, he looked like he was in his early 40's, which he was. But now he's like 64 but could easily pass for early 40's. I wonder if when he was younger, he always looked a little older. Some people seem to be like that. They just always look a certain age, both before and after that certain age. From the pics I can find, that may well be the case. Heck, when he was in his early 30's he was playing an elderly mailman on the New Zoo Revue. That almost makes me want to get the DVD.



So, I'm thinking of putting in any personal ads in the future "only dates women with digestive systems". Probably still wouldn't do any good, though.

Yeah, that's it.


Funny thing happened on the way to work...

I was hit by a car today.

Okay, that sounds more dramatic than it actually was, but its also completely accurate. I debated writing about this on my semi-fictionalized blog that I haven't told you about but most of you have probably figured out anyway (especially my stalkers), but its too good of a story to fictionalize it even if I need to write something over there.

I was walking across a crosswalk next to a train station. Suffice to say, this is a busy crosswalk. I look both ways and see a car a good distance away, traveling slowly. He has plenty of time to stop and, well, its the law, so I assume he will be doing so. I start crossing while checking traffic in the other direction which has quite dutifully stopped. At this point I realize that the car in my lane is still proceeding to come at me. And is showing no signs of being interested in stopping.

This is a moment where is is very difficult to plot out your next action. I'm close to walking out of his path anyway, but at this point, it may not do me any good. Sure enough, after trying to move out of the way, the car knocks into me as the driver finally bothered to notice me and hit his breaks. I fell into his hood, though my feet stayed on the ground. My hand and thigh stung, but thankfully I was basically okay.

At this point, I'm kind of in shock. I actually was hit by a car once before, but then I was admitedly taking a bit more a risk. It also only grazed me. Here I was crossing a busy crosswalk over a not especially busy street and a slow moving car hits me because the driver was dangerously not paying attention.

The driver, to his limited credit, begins apologizing. Now, I'm not sure if you've ever been hit by a car due to the careless actions of a driver, but it would seem that "sorry" doesn't cut it. Not that I think anything he could have said would have made my sentiment any better, mind you. I'm just saying that when you were just hit by a car, you don't much care if the driver is now sorry.

I was running late for work and could quickly tell I wasn't seriously injured. So, although I wanted to get the guy arrested, I settled for cussing him out on the street. Not that I had all that much to offer beyond "what the hell?" and "what the fuck?" and variations there on, but it was a little cathartic, anyway. Still, I was shaking the entire train ride into work. Nearly getting killed kind of leaves you wound up. I swear, crossing the street should not be such a death sport in and around Boston, but there you are. I'm a really good pedestrian, too. I nearly never jaywalk. Always look both ways. I'm just not shy about expecting drivers to obey the law and yeild for me. I'm also not inclined to offer expressiond of gratitude for doing so. Sorry, but I see no reason to wave thanks at drivers for obeying the law. I still do it sometimes out of reflex, but that's not something I should have to do. It isn't rude to not wave thanks at a driver like that. What are you thanking them for? Not breaking the law and killing you? Sorry, but I think that's a fair expectation of people. If I thanked everyone who declined to murder me, that'd pretty much take up my entire day.

Anyway, that's my hit by a car story. See you all next month.


OJ? Really?

There are these posters all over Boston announcing "OJ IS GUILTY!" which then continues to present itself as an anti-Orange Juice ad for some sort of orange water. Orange Juice apparently, now being bad for you.

Orange Juice? Really?

It amazes me that the notion of "common sense" can allow people to completely condemn fat people, but doesn't allow them to stop and ask whether attacking orange juice really sounds right. It seems that Orange Juice has too many "carbs", so I guess this is some Atkins nonsense. The text on the bottle of orange colored water also makes a big deal about how the ideal breakfast with the mom serving OJ is unrealistic, but even if you can't get your mom to serve you OJ, you can still have orange colored water. Because God forbid you just pour your own damn glass of OJ.

I'm sorry, but Orange Juice isn't bad for you. End of story. Its juice, for goodness sake. The only way one could see that as being far too much is if a person is either starving themselves or insanely obsessive about "carbs". Which regretably are a lot of people so I'm sure the orange colored water will do quite well for itself.

Foot soldiers against fat

Its increasingly clear to me that the greatest threat facing fat acceptance isn’t the multi-billion dollar diet industry or the multi-billion dollar related industries that also profit on promoting the fat=evil message. Rather, the real danger comes from the people who’ve been sold that bill of goods. Because they will keep angrily fighting without any financial motive. Having been coddled with a vacuum that supports their way of thinking, they have been made to become violently angry when someone suggests that we look at fat people differently.

To be sure, many are now personally indebted to the cult of dieting. They are probably the most aggressive unpaid foot soldiers against fat acceptance because they see it as a real threat to their world view. Their perspective simply cannot condone any disagreement. Because if someone doesn’t agree, it can sow doubt as to whether they are doing the right thing. Dieting up and down, again and again, increasingly culminating in radical surgery as a means of punishing their bodies for not being thin. This can only be justified by an extreme view of the evils of fatness that has never been supported by research or even honest anecdote (the favored proof of the fat bashers; though try some in return and watch it be instantly dismissed as meaningless anecdotal evidence). Many of these people have heard of fat acceptance but rejected it. That’s their right, of course, but their response is to insist that fat acceptance change to support their world view. They’ve perverted the term “size acceptance” which was always an expansion of fat acceptance ideas, into a means of turning the movement into yet another diet support group. It’s not about accepting the size you are. It’s about accepting the size you think you should be. And since this effectively shuts up people are advocating for the idea that being fat can be okay, the size everyone thinks they should be is the size Big Diet tells them they should be.

But this goes further than just dieters aggressively protecting their viewpoint from any disagreement. Even people with no stake in the matter whatsoever express the same rabid support for the diet industry. Their message has been allowed to be promoted with such protection that many people find the notion of disagreement to be inconceivable and will react with just as much passion on learning of the fat acceptance movement as they would if they found out people claimed gravity doesn’t exist or that the oceans are made of jell-o. The media has allowed the fat=evil message to be promoted with so little challenge that virtually everyone sees it as a given. As so obvious that you simply cannot disagree with them.

Fat acceptance faces a major challenge in confronting these attitudes. Inevitably, even well meaning people will treat the movement as the stuff of tin-foil hats. They’ve been so successfully trained to do so precisely because they were never told there was another side to the story of fat. While no article on fat acceptance can go without being challenged by fat detractors, no article on dieting will ever be challenged by anything more threatening than a different approach to dieting. Even the statistics of dieting’s failures have been largely co-opted by the diet industry to promote their wares, thus neutering them of their true force.

I’m unsure how fat acceptance can get beyond this problem, though I’m deeply concerned that the movement has a pattern of simply giving into to their critics and endorsing their attacks. We cannot affect change if we cannot even argue for our right to believe differently. Yet this is the current state of affairs. As fat acceptance started to grow more prominent, it drew more active condemnation and subversion from the ant-fat folks, and I’m sad to say its working. For some time, fat acceptance optimists though we were on the verge of a tipping point in cultural attitudes, but I think its clear this has not been born out. Indeed, the backlash from those indebted to diet culture has possible pushed the movement backwards. Places where it is safe to believe fat acceptance are increasingly scarce and we find ourselves waging the same basic debate over and over and over to every single critic who cannot conceive of people who feel this way. A couple people are open-minded enough to be converted, but so many are just incredulous to anything said against fat=evil that you just can make any headway. These aren’t all bad people, either. Not every critic of fat acceptance is the type to indulge in the sort of extreme hatred that is easy to ignore.

So what to do? How do you counter cultural attitudes so entrenched as to be seen as self-evident? Is this similar to the early years of the gay rights movement? While many have come to the side of tolerance on gay issues, I have to imagine they started from a place no different than fat people. I suspect I’m sometimes fooled into seeing Stonewall riots as being the start of the gay rights movement, but that may not be fair. Stonewall happened the same year NAAFA was founded, so one could look and wonder why our two movements have seen such different advancement. But the groundwork for Stonewall no doubt stretched much further back, while the real philosophical grounding fat acceptance wouldn’t really start to develop until the Fat Underground was formed in the early 70’s. And even that grow out of radical lesbian philosophy, so clearly gay rights had a solid head start and quite likely an extreme one. Also, while many people are personally indebted to homophobia (and often respond to the notion of gay rights with the exact kind of mocking condescension fat activists are treated to), no one is making serious money off of gay hate.

So, is there another comparison to make? Gay/fat comparisons are easy because both involve things commonly assumed by the opposition to be choices but which are biological. But is there something that has had to fight powerful and monied opposition that makes money by specifically promoting anti-fat attitudes? I know some movements face well-funded opposition. Environmentalists, for instance, go up against powerful industries. But those industries don’t actually make their money by promoting anti-environmentalism. They spend money to promote it, but it’s not something that they can expect to directly make money from. Is there something to look to for ideas or is fat acceptance on its own here?


Break Free!

So, around Boston I've been seeing a lot of transit billboards and posters promoting something called "Fusion Flash Concerts". The posts are meant to be very counter-culture with the image of a bar-code with the bars stretched out evoking the sense of a jail break. The posters seem to suggest a series of free concerts but doesn't provide any dates or locations. This didn't entirely surprise me, though, as "Flash Concert" immediately reminded me of "Flash Mobs" where the location and time isn't announced until the last minute before the protest. So, these posters seem to be promoting something very underground and new.

Actually, I think they are just telling us that flash mobs are now solidly passe.

We had our first inkling when they were featured on Law & Order, a bell weather for all things mainstreamed. Still, these concerts are definate confirmation. While the posters are designed to look very low cost, they really look like they were designed to look very low cost. Instead of achieving their goal, they just make it obvious. There is a diagonal print error at the top of the signs that's too obviously there. The bar code logo is too cliche and too well designed. Its clearly professional work. All of the copy is haphazard in the way it looks when you are trying to be haphazard.

Of course, most obvious is that this is clearly a major advertising campaign. The posters and billboards are all over the subway system. I've bought subway ads so I know they aren't cheap. This campaign must cost tens of thousands of dollars at least. Something underground and anarchistic like the original flash mobs wouldn't have billboards in subway stations. It takes about 2 seconds to see through the artiface to the fakeness within. Simply put, it screams viral marketing. Oh, the corporate sponser was smart enough to not put their name on the poster, but that's clearly what's going on here.

Sure enough, their website (and no, I'm not linking to them) reveals it to be the work of the Sony Corporation. A simple Google search informs me that Ford is also a corporate partner. Its not like I was into flash-mobbing to begin with, so I'm not really offended by this. Corporations do what they feel they need to do to make money, so whatever. This is essentially harmless. But I do find it generally amusing to see Ford and Sony playing pretend anarachists. There is a lot of viral marketing going around, and while its intriguing, I have to wonder how much it really is going to work in the long run. Maybe, all you get it is a short-term bounce and in the long-run you've sacked the credability of the tools you used. Just more corporations trying to brand themselves as anti-corporate. I just don't see the long-term benefit there.


Turning you off

Well, since I stunningly have readers all of a sudden, I guess I should try posting again. And what better to turn people away than Steroids in baseball. I'm an avid watcher of ESPN's block of sports talk shows in the early evening, "Around the Horn" and "Pardon the Interuption". Both programs have been consumed with talking about Rafeal Palmero's recent suspension from baseball for a positive steroids test. I've got to tell you, the indignation rings alarmingly hallow to me.

The attention baseball is getting for its steroids problem is frankly a joke. The biggest secret everyone knows in sports is that steroids are rampent in nearly every sport. Baseball is hardly even the worst offender. Track and football both have it easily beat. They do a better PR job about it, yes. They've convinced everyone in the press to not talk about how dirty their sports are, but that doesn't change anything. Steroids is a huge part of pro-football. Its a huge part of college football. Its a huge part of high school football. We have to take our heads of the sand if we really want to talk about this issue. The problem isn't just baseball. Its much much bigger, and if people are serious about doing something, they need to admit that. But I suspect people aren't serious about doing something. They just don't want to think about, so as long as a sport is pretending its doing a good job with the problem, everyone just looks the other way. There is no reason to gang up on baseball in the face of the serious problem throughout the country from high school on up.

Peter Jennings signs off

Just want to quickly offer my respects to the late Peter Jennings. Though I am not one of those guys who gets their news from The Daily Show, growing up I was always an ABC News guy. Jennings always conveyed a sense of dignity and honesty that I very much enjoyed. He's since proven himself a very good sport and extremely well-spoken when not reading the news. I've always really admired Jennings and its a shock to lose him. In a lot of ways, Peter Jennings will always be my anchor, just as earlier generations will always think of Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow.


Fat Classics

For a change of pace, I figured I'd link to some of my prior discussions about fat attraction...

"Eventually not about Britney Spears" is a musing about growing up in a culture that offers no images of fat women. Obviously, from the perspective of a man who is attracted to fat women during that period of development and definition of my sexual identity.

"Gay men don't find women attractive! GASP!" is my response to sex columnist Dan Savage's temper tantrum at having to endure the sight of size 10 and 12 women wearing tight pants.

"GLH" is a continuation of that discussion of Savage's bitter hatred for "Girl Love Handles" (or GLH) as I encounter a young woman sporting some of her own. Basically, I conclude that supporters and detractors of fat people both seem to be eager to make the same exact misinterpretation of such a sight.

"Sexual aesthetic" is a straightforward discussion about my being attracted to fat women and some of the results of that attraction.

Not everything from the archives on the subject, but a short review on a theme.


Phoenix Rising

Picked up a new copy of the alt-weekly Boston Phoenix yesturday. They've been slowly building to a revamped design over the last few months and its finally debuted this week. Actually, most of the talk of the redesign took place in rival alt-weekly, the Weekly Dig. I don't mind the Dig, but their obsession with the Phoenix is laughable to say the least. I know they are an upstart in the alt-weekly business and it makes sense to take pot shots at those ahead of you. But it also just reinforces the view of you as an also-ran.

I like that Boston has 2 alt-weeklies. For the uninitiated, those are non-mainstream papers publishing once a week. Well, duh on the last part. They are pretty common in big cities around the country. Often there are small chains of alt-weeklies in a small regional area. Phoenix covers Boston, Providence, and Portland, Maine for instance. The Advocate in New Haven has 3 other weeklies in the Connecticut area.

These papers are increasingly being challenged by free dailies, like the Metro in Boston and other cities in the US, Europe, and elsewhere. These papers style themselves as commuter papers, hiring people to shove them into the hands of people about to enter a subway station and with newsboxes strategically located near train and bus stops. The Metro, at least, is little more than a bunch of abridged newswire stories with very little in the way of depth or context. Its designed to be a quick read so you're done in the 20-30 minutes you're on the train. Being free and litterally thrown at people, its been fairly easy to pick up readership.

The alt-weeklies aren't overly scared, though. The Metro is more of a challenge to papers like the Herald or the Globe. Still, the Phoenix saw a need to shift its appearance to make it easier to be read on the train so they moved to a tabloid style similiar to the Dig and the Metro. The whole brand was updated, as well, with new logo, fonts, and generally new layout throughout the paper. I'd have to say I'm cautiously optimistic.

I really like the new logo. I'm often a fan of elongated lettering and close leading. I could live without the combining of the o and e in their name. Seems overly Roman, but that was probably the point. I do like that the vowels are done in lower case but sized equal to the uppercase letters. Creates an interesting dynamic, especially with the dot on the i floating above. The best thing, though, is the way the letters are all cut off at the feet. Not so high that the letters get distorted but not too low that you don't notice it. It gives the impression of a rising phoenix which I find quiet visually effective.

The fonts I also like. They seem very modern but not self-consciously so. The general layout, I could do without. It does seem too self-conscious. Like its trying to be hip and trying too hard. But it doesn't sink the paper.

No major shift in content though some tweakers here and there. A "by the numbers" feature that seems a little overdone at this point, but okay. The cover article didn't seem local enough, but it did have a reasonably solid local angle so I guess I can't complain too much. Its a story about Domino's founder Tom Monaghan and his crusade to save Catholics from themselves. I can only assume he wants to screw up Jesus the same way he screwed up pizza. He wants to build a gated Catholic community in Florida to keep out all the bad influences. He attacks Catholic education, by which I must assume he means the Jesuits who educated me, for not being sufficiently orthodox. His ideas are frightening, but lack an immediacy to be really worried about. I also can't stop thinking about how bizarre it is that Domino's became so successful making such awful pizza. I'm a bit of a pizza snob, I admit. You get that way growing up around New Haven. But I'm not so elitist that I can't see something to like about some of the Pizza chains. They all sacrafice a lot of charm in favor of uniformity, but most of them still have their good qualities. Papa Gino's is almost quite good. Papa John's makes a respectible pie. I still have a guilty pleasure for Pizza Hut and have always found their sit-down restaurants to be fondly nostalgic. But I just can't even eat Dominos. Its inedible to me. I don't understand it. Maybe its because I'm not Catholic.

Another article in the Phoenix kind of amuse me. Departing media critic Dan Kennedy does a pretty by the numbers story about right-wing hate of Hillary Clinton. Its just too obvious for what I've come to expect from Kennedy. He does mention that there are plenty of people who don't hate her, but he just dwells on those that do. The whole gist of it is that the Democrats cannot afford to nominate Hillary Clinton in 2008 because too many people hate her. I know that's the conventional wisdom. Why write a story? The thing is, the CW has looked weaker and weaker as of late. The poll numbers seriously undermine that talking point, and while its true people will loudly condemn her if she's nominated (and even if she's not), isn't it fair to say this will happen to anyone the Democrat's nominate? Swift Boat Liars, anyone? Indeed, Clinton might actually benefit from it as a result of attack fatigue. Its been done before. And with the latest attacks falling into total libel that Clinton may well sue over, sympathy could fall to Hillary. Yes, a segment will hate her with a passion, but more will like her. Frequently, the article compared hatred of Hillary to left-wing hate for Richard Nixon. I guess because we liberals all really hate Nixon so we'd see the gravity of the situation. I saw something else.

Last time I checked, Nixon won two elections for President. Just saying.


Our local forecast

So, weird thing I noticed on the Weather Channel this morning. This disembodied voice for the "Local on the 8's" has changed his routine slightly. He used to introduce the segment with "Here is your local forecast." A bit unnecessary, I always thought, but to the point.

Now, suddenly, I find he is refering to it as our local forecast. "Here is our local forecast," he patronizingly entones at the start of the segment. A subtle yet jarring change. This kinda bothers me. I mean, he's clearly lying. Disembodied voice isn't from here. He's a disembodied voice, for goodness sake. But now, suddenly, he's going to be chummy with everyone in the country. Was there really a great yearning to feel closer to the disembodied voice on the Weather Channel? To feel like he was really a part of our lives, just a regular guy from the neighborhood? Who does he think he is? I know darn well this is my local forecast, not the disembodied voice's local forecast. Frankly, it bothers me to be lied to so brazenly. It seems rather demeaning, really. I was quite fine with him being a disembodied voice. I don't see the need to pretend he's a disembodied voice from Eastern Massachusetts.

Still not the weirdest thing I've ever heard from the Weather Channel's disembodied voice. That would be when he calmly announced the my local condition was "Smoke". It was true and all, it just seemed rather surreal to discover this from the Weather Channel. I wouldn't have thought of "Smoke" as a weather condition. Much less a weather condition with a pre-recorded announcement and graphic from the Weather Channel. I know wild-fires are common out west so I shouldn't have been surprised, but still. When you wake up and disembodied voice is announcing that "Currently, the weather is smoke," it just seems weird.


The Sound of my own Voice

Had a nice little thrill at work (of all places) this weekend. I work for a performing arts group and I moderated a discussion that took place prior to the concert from the stage of our performing hall. I regularly do public speaking as part of my job, but usually just introducing people and always in smallish room. Speaking from the stage of a grand concert hall, though, was a definate trip. Especially since I had something significant to do.

If I may say so, I think I did pretty well. With very little preparation either, which only enhances the thrill. I spoke off the cuff with a minimum of hesitation and pause and moving swiftly from one speaker to the next as I moderated. I really should have found a career in public speaking as it rather much suits me.

The funny thing is that one-on-one work situations I can often be very socially insecure and withdrawn. Not enough to seriously hamper me, or anything, but my introverted personality can definetly come into play. I seem basically at ease, but I tend not to be very assertive in the process. To a crowd, though, I think everything comes across just right. Its definetly a hidden talent of mine. I just hope that others felt I did well. Especially if they say so to important people where I work.

Can't hurt, after all.


Fat House

So, one of my favorite new shows, the medical drama House, had a fat patient on this week. I know the show isn't really about the patients, but on the heels of CSI's take on fat people, I had really been dreading this show. Have to say, though, in spite of a couple nit-picks I'm generally quite pleased. I could hardly hope for a perfect show, but this was light years ahead of what others have done.

Some of it was heavy-handed, no doubt. Fat kids are treated very cruelly growing up, but the level of cruelty here was pretty extreme. Sadly, not unheard of, though. But the feelings of the child were handled realistically and appropriately. It was also nice to doctors treating a fat patient as a patient and not simply as a fat patient. A lot of fat people get ignored by doctors who simply don't pay attention to them because they assume any problem they have is caused by being fat and being fat is entirely their fault. The mother's indignation at being told the cure was "diet and excercise" was quite well played and gave an insight into the feelings of a lot of fat people who do everything right but are still treated as liars because they don't become thin. An impact soften by the magic bullet ending, but I don't think it completely undid that point. Especially since two of the show's doctors were both sympathetic to the idea that the fat wasn't the girl's fault early on. The one doctor who was hostile, sadly, was also realistic. "Of course you're sick, you're fat" is all too common an attitude from doctors who are trained to view fat as a moral failing. His hatred is something encouraged and largely unquestioned in the medical establishments. Doctors who do raise valid questions about the strength of the anti-fat arguement are routinely belittled and mocked with a lot more venom than hostie doc ever portrayed. It was realistic and I'm glad it was played out like his attitude was unassailable.

The main nitpicks I had are with the casting of the mom. Thought she was great and all, but the notion that she was clearly fat puzzled me. She seemed quite entirely normal to me. But the characterization was so strong that I don't much care. Its refreshing to see a parent so genuinely supportive, not to mention entirely right. Given that parents and patients on House tend to be pathological liars, it was nice to see the reversal here. I'm more concerned with the magical and instantanious weight loss at the end. It did seem to give the idea that all of her suffering was wrong not because it was just wrong but because she wasn't meant to be fat. It doesn't hit us over the head with that idea, though, but I'm always cautious about happy endings for fat characters that involve them no longer being fat. I would have been happier if we didn't have that epilogue at all as it seemed to just be intended to validate the girl as an innocent when she would have been no matter what. It also justified the casting of a thin actress for a fat character, which is always annoying. While the make-up was better than some, it was still pretty obvious and I realized 5 minutes in that the girl was going to be thin by the end of the show. Especially given the necessary timeline, the epilogue just didn't make sense to me. Still, we got the great line from the mom to counteract the hostile doc's unknowningly obnoxious line, so that redeems it a bit. But the fewer fat suits on TV, the better.

As a bonus, there was a side plot involving a fat woman who didn't want to have a rather large benign tumor removed because she liked her size. While her reason seemed to be mostly sexual vanity, it was a cute bit nonetheless, and an attitude sorely lacking from most of pop culture.


Fat Scene Investigation

So, I finally got around to seeing the much discussed CSI featuring scenes at Fat convention of some sort. Count me as just as unimpressed as I was when I first heard about it.

The biggest problem is still the most obvious one. Its just unrealistic. A man could not be pined down like that and die. Just not gonna happen. At least they didn't rip off Picket Fences' roll over death, but it still just ain't gonna happen. A woman that size would be easy to push off of you, or wiggle out from under.

Beyond that, however, there still is nothing redeeming about the show. I see a lot of people in the "fat acceptance" movement seem to be in a hurry to praise the show for not being as bad as it could have been. Is that really all the movement even pretends to be after now? Not getting insulted quite so cruelly?

The show was negative stereotype after negative stereotype with nothing to redeem it. Were they steretypes with a background in reality? Sure. Stereotypes usually do have a basis in reality, even the ugly and offensive ones. They becoming damaging not because they are completely divorced from reality, but because they are elevated to "representative" status and are seen dispraportionately often so as to reinforce prejudice and bigotry. Yeah, I know there are fat women who go to conventions and dances just to have sex. And I know that there men who do the same thing but who'd never want to be seen with a fat woman. And maybe this story wouldn't be so bad if we ever got to see the fat woman who makes no apologies for her size and is secure and happy as a fat woman. Maybe it'd be okay if we ever saw the FA who is proud and uncompramising and well adjusted.

But we don't. So having one toe in the reality pool just isn't enough. If popular culture is only going to allow one FA and or fat woman to be seen a year, it matters how they choose to portray them. And that's the situation we are looking at.


Movies and Stuff

So, its Oscar time again. I feel bad because I haven't seen many of the nominated films, even the ones I've been wanting to see. I saw Eternal Sunshine, which I can safely say was robbed in several categories of a deserved nomination. Not the least of which being Jim Carey who offered the performance of his career. A lot of blockbuster actors just rest on their paychecks and don't worry about Oscar recognition, but here is a guy who is genuinely out there looking for interesting and different films, trying to prove himself as an actor, and he just gets no credit. He easily outacted Kate Winslet (no small feat) in that film, and its a shame that she got a nod while he remains unacknowledged.

I also just saw The Aviator and was appropriately impressed. Its not Scorese's best, but its definetly one of his better films. Its a grand ol' spectacle and DiCaprio puts in a wonderfully nuances performance. He really communicates Hughes' decent into insanity and his wildly divergant personalities in a coherant way. It all felt like it was coming from the same place, which was a nice achievement.

Basically, that's it. I did manage to spoil myself for Million Dollar Baby just because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and I had no interest in seeing it given what I knew about it, so no harm. I get the fuss, but it also makes me suspect that the film could have been manipulative of the response it would elicit. Indeed, I wonder if the contraversy is creating a circling of the wagons as Hollywood rushes to protect the film by honoring. [editing note: to be clear, I do not think the film was made to manipulate contraversy, but rather that the marketing and specifically Oscar marketing seems so; at least judging from how often people in the industry keep bringing it up as a reason to vote for it] I want to see Sideways, don't really care about Finding Neverland (when I read about how much basic factual information was tossed to create a more pleasing story, I lost a lot of interest; didn't like Monster for similiar reasons)

I guess I'm not really looking forward to the awards as much as I think I have in other years. Mostly I'm dreading the inevitable award to the fat-baiting documentary "Super Size Me" which is just a total pile of BS. It takes a lot to be unfair to McDonald's, but I guess some MTV producer managed to find a way. All while duping people into think he's some sort of sainted martyr and not the lying carny he really is. [note: and let me just thank the Academy for proving my concerns wrong]

Other than that, I did get to watch the first season of The Office and loved it. Really excellent, funny show. At least I thought so.


Read this.

Should have posted these here a LONG time ago, but the always wonderful Sandy Szwarc has written some more articles debunking the diet industry. I know there are a lot fo complaints about Tech Central Station, and from what I've read they are mostly well-founded, but I am glad someone is publishing Sandy's work. I don't care if they have an ulterior motive. Indeed, I suspect they don't since Sandy's work REALLY pisses off a favorite "writer" on the right and of TCS, sicko Michael Fumento. But the bottom line is that someone out there needs to be looking at the culture of weight loss critically, and having had the opportunity to chat with Sandy at this site and others, I trust her. I know she's not on the same side of the political spectrum as me, but fat acceptance is, at its heart, a civil rights issue, and that has no political boundries. Right, left, its all good. I'll gladly take any genuine allies to the cause of fat accceptance. (Yeah, I know I said I gave up on Fat Acceptance; the movement, not the idea)

So, anyway, enough hand-wringing and parentheticals. I'll just let Sandy do the talking. And I highly recommend you give it a read. Here's to hoping someone collects her writing in a book!

Please Pass the Cake
Cognative Disconnect
Hey Feds, Weight a Minute...
On Obesity, What the Researchers Didn't Find
Loopy Links
Its the Fitness, Stupid

And the articles I've linked to in the past...

The Truth About Obesity
The Skinny on Fat
The Diet Problem
Dying to be Thin
The War on Fat's Casualties
To Your Health
Where's the Epidemic?
To Do List
A Simple Plan
A Matter of Health
Mikey Doesn't Like It
Killing Turkeys Causes Winter
Getting Excersised about Excersise
Shape Up America
The Emperor's New Crisis


Is this because I'm a lesbian?

Really bizarre end to Law & Order tonight. It was ADA Serena Southerlyn's last episode and right at the end she was fired. I kinda figured she'd be quitting given the tension they allowed to slowly build this season for her character, but they went the other route and it worked too. Not at all surprising given that she blew up to her boss earlier in the episode. It was punctuated by a really bizarre penultimate line for Southerlyn.

"Is this because I'm a lesbian?"

Just out of the blue, like its something we all know. Of course, its not. There isn't a bit of backstory to justify this. None. Fans are already nit-picking everything but without much luck. Some reason to suspect, but nothing too serious. Nothing that plenty of gay friendly folks wouldn't think or say. It just struck me as rather bizarre, that's all.

Is that because I'm a lesbian?