One Tin Soldier

Yesterday morning, I participated in my usual morning routine to help me wake up — I read through my facebook feed while I waited for the caffeine to kick in.  As I read, I came across an image a friend shared:

Now, I don’t want anybody to think I’m comparing homosexuality to being fat.  That’s not the focus of this post.

The focus of this post is that hate is a choice.

For the sake of this discussion, I’m going to put aside the issue of fat being a choice.  I’m not saying being fat is a choice, mind you, but I’m putting aside that point for this discussion.

However, even if being fat was a choice, hating is also a choice.

You have a choice to engage in hate.  You have a choice to engage in snarking on people when they are eating in a restaurant (whatever restaurant it may be, from the lowliest McDonald’s to the most posh gourmet restaurant).  You have a choice to throw things at people who are exercising.  You have a choice to hurl epitaphs at people.  You have a choice to level death threats at people.

Notice I wrote “people” there, and not “fat people”.  That’s because “fat” is just a descriptor, and the real issue is that we are people.  So, people who do all of the above, and more, are not doing it to “fat people”, they are doing it to people.

People like your mother.  Your brother.  Your best friend.  You know.  People.

If you wouldn’t engage in that type hatred with your mother, your brother, or your best friend, why do you engage in that kind of hatred with people you don’t know?

In 1971, an anti-war song One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack) by the Original Caste was a one hit wonder.  The refrain says:

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.

Is hate really all you have?  All of you who think threatening and ridiculing fat people is the best thing in the world, what are you getting from the hate?  Is the sense of artificial superiority really worth the repulsive way you are acting?  Because let’s get this one thing straight:  You hating another does not make you superior to them.  In my thought process, it just makes me think you must lead a very sad and small life that you feel you have to show how much better you are by denigrating and hurting another, based on something as superficial as the way a person looks.

It certainly doesn’t make me think you are superior to me when you do that to me.  It does, however, make me pity you, once the danger of the situation is over.

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Disappointed

I have a facebook account, like many people do these days.  Most of the people I follow are personal friends, people who play the same games I play, and a hand full of celebrities (mostly authors).

One celebrity I follow is George Takei, Sulu from the original Star Trek series and films.  He’s funny.  He’s usually inclusive.  He’s usually against bullying.  He’s usually against discrimination.

So you can imagine my disappointment today when I saw a picture he’d posted that involved fat bullying and ridicule.  The picture was a mock facebook status, where Santa’s Reindeer were talking about how hard it was to pull a “700 pound” person, and making fun of how fat Santa is.  The responses (the ones I saw anyway, I didn’t look at all 165 of them) were the typical “he’s so fat” variety.

Seriously?  Seriously, Mr. Takei?  You who are usually so against bullying didn’t recognize this for what it is?  You who are an activist for the GLBT community can allow a picture like this to be on your wall, even for a minute?  You can allow fat hate and fat bashing to be on your wall?  Even for a minute?

I am disappointed.

So far as I’ve seen, I’m the only person who has called him out on the picture spreading fat hate and fat discrimination.  While I don’t usually call to action, I think Mr. Takei needs to learn that what he posted is actually counter to what his life seems to be about; activism to breaking down bullying and discrimination, where ever they raise their ugly heads.  If you have a minute, and have a facebook account, and feel you can help to constructively educate Mr. Takei, please do so.

Under the cut is the picture he posted.   Continue reading

I’m Here, I’m Fat, Deal With It!*

*With apologies to my homosexual friends for taking their slogan

There’s been a lot coming across my facebook feed yesterday and today.  Fat Heffalump posted a link to this story about a family in Scotland who is being legally persecuted because of their obesity (she also posted a call to action).

In another post, she linked to an excellent article examining where Jamie Oliver and his “Obesity is Preventable” campaign falls very short of the mark.  If the mark truly is health, then why is Jamie only focusing solely on the weight?  At the end of that article is a link to a Shakesville article posted a few days ago, also about Jamie Oliver.

In that post, Melissa McEwan, in commenting on the whole “obesity is preventable” line of thought says:

It’s always nice to see wealthy people with access to the best food, comprehensive healthcare, personal trainers, private chefs, and individual nutritional plans put their names to a petition admonishing the fatties that OBESITY IS PREVENTABLE.

When there are people for whom that is not true, people for whom obesity is not preventable, for myriad reasons, to bray about how their bodies (our bodies; ourselves) are “preventable” is to engage in eliminationist rhetoric.

I will never be not fat.

To get rid of my fat body, you have got to get rid of me.

In our society as it is today, fat people are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.  If a person is caught eating in public (going to a restaurant, even a nice one and not the stereotypical fast food restaurant), many people think they have the right to comment on what the fat person is eating.  If the fatty is having something high in calories or carbs or whatever-the-latest-diet-baddy-is-today, the person feels justified in telling them how to eat better.  “Are you really sure you should be eating that?”  I’ve heard that all too often.

However, even if the fatty is being a Good Fatty (TM), and only eating a salad (with low cal/low fat/low taste dressing on the side!), they are still subject to revilement.  “That’s not going to help you!” and “If you ate that way all the time you wouldn’t be as fat as you are!” are said to fatties who dare to eat in public.

It is commonly assumed that all fat people are lazy and never, ever, EVER exercise.  After all, it’s evident because they are so fat!  When a fat person DOES try to exercise in public, they shamed by hearing cat calls.  They are told they are deluding themselves because if they really did exercise they wouldn’t be that fat.  They are told they should never attempt that exercise until they lose weight.

It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t world, if you happen to be fat.

I think Melissa hit the nail square on the head though: To get get rid of my fat body, you have got to get rid of me.

Almost everything that is being aimed at fat people is being aimed at getting rid of them, of us.  “I don’t want to see you, you are gross, disgusting, a slob, stupid, lazy!  I don’t want to know you even exist!  Get out of my sight.  Preferably, go eat a gun!”**

I have a few medical reasons I’m fat.  Other people may call them excuses, but I don’t care what other people think.  My fatness is not going to go anywhere.  Short of starvation, which I will not willingly do, and probably won’t work anyways, my body won’t give up any of it’s extra pounds.  It’s a fact I’ve had to deal with for a very long time.

But it really doesn’t matter if I have medical issues or not.  It really doesn’t matter if I can easily lose weight or not.

The fact is, my weight is none of your business.

Whether it’s because I cannot lose weight (no matter how much I’ve tried) or because I like myself just the way I am and choose not to ever hate myself so much to starve myself, it’s my life.  It’s MY health.  It’s MY decision to make.

I’m here.  I’m fat.  Deal with it!

**All of these things and more have been said, in person and via the internet.  I would take bets that while normal sized and skinny people are ready to accuse me of hyperbole, most (if not all) of the fat people reading this are nodding their heads and thinking, “Wait, you forgot this…”

Really?

In an article about a space/time experiment NASA did, there is this:

Time and space, according to Einstein’s theories of relativity, are woven together, forming a four-dimensional fabric called “space-time.” The mass of Earth dimples this fabric, much like a heavy person sitting in the middle of a trampoline. Gravity, says Einstein, is simply the motion of objects following the curvaceous lines of the dimple.
bolding by me

Really?  Really?  There’s not 1000 other ways you could have stated that without invoking fat stigmatization?  Because, I don’t know what trampolines the author of the article have been looking at, but they tend to “dimple” even when a normal weight person — or even, you know, an athlete get on them.  That’s part of the way they work:  the elasticity gives whenever any stress is put on it.  A person just standing (or sitting) still, and it just “dimples”.  A person walking and it pushes back a little.  A person jumps, and it pushes back a lot.

Ya’d think I wouldn’t have to explain this to somebody writing an article about a NASA experiment.

Alton, Just Shut UP!

“And there has got to be a correlation between food media and Americans becoming big fat pigs,” he says, “I’m not going to say Food Network’s responsible for American obesity. I’m not going to say that because of course what you put in your mouth is your own fault and your duty. But the fact that the rise of the celebrity chef has happened hand-in-hand with people becoming big fat pigs, someone’s going to reckon with that.
Alton Brown, celebrity chef, creator of Good Eats, and one of the “faces” of the Food Network, in this article.   (Bolded by me.)

Food Network, get rid of your bigotted, holier than thou representative.  You WILL lose viewers if you let this bigoted man continue to be one of your “faces”, one of your voices.  You sell the concept of food to everybody.  You sell spots to advertisers upon the idea that millions of people will continue to tune in to you, and therefor tune in to your sponsors.  Alton Brown, if he continues his misplaced crusade, will hurt your business.

Alton Brown, I used to respect you.  You are the “Science Guy” of food production.  You helped me to understand a lot of the science behind things like yeast and other leavening, why putting an extra egg into cake batters at high altitude helps the cake not fall, and a lot of other things.  Your recipes were great to recreate.  Your show Good Eats was fun and informative.  HOWEVER.  You do NOT have any right to call the people who you, personally, are making money off of (in the form of book sales) big fat pigs. You do NOT have the right to engage in hate speech, condescension, nor ridicule towards them (remember the “did you eat the TV” comment?  yeah, that’s the ridicule).

You will never grace my living room again.  I’m just very glad that I’m not one of the “nice folk” who’ve personally contributed to your fortune (by buying one of your books).

Oh, and by the way, you might want to emulate Andrew Zimmerman.  As you said, “he never disrespects anybody.”  You might want to try that, if you don’t want to lose any more viewers for your employers, or sales of your book!

Drama Llama, but it isn’t their fault…

Yesterday, my heart sister joined a group on facebook that was taking a localish-to-her bakery to task for a tagline on their website (which, of course, made me interested).  The tagline, which can no longer be found was “So good it makes fat people cry.”

The business is a cottage-bakery, making cakes, cupcakes, pies, and cookies.  So, way to go with alienating potential customers.   It has been suggested they (the owners) were trying to be edgy and funny.  In my opinion, they missed their mark.

It’s okay, though, it’s a free country, right?  Well, yes, until the person who started the facebook page talking about them emailed them and politely said the tagline was offensive and could they take it down. *NOTE: She did not start the facebook page until after she’d tried talking to them and was treated rudely, and then talked about on their Twitter accounts.*   While they were under no obligation to do as they were asked (hey, it’s still a free country and if you want to offend people and possibly decrease sales when people refuse to go to your establishment, you can do so), what they did was reprehensible.

They went on Twitter, under their private accounts (but accounts that were attached to the bakery’s Twitter account) and started slamming the person who called them on their tagline.  They used terms like “fat cunt” and talked about “whiny fat people”.  While they didn’t mention the woman by name in their tweets, anybody who knew what was going on could understand.  At one point, one of the owners complained of whiny fat people who made her migraine so bad her meds weren’t working.

Aw.  Poor thing.

Later, as they started getting fallout from their tweets, they deleted them and put their private accounts to private, complaining that they couldn’t even say what they wanted in their private accounts anymore.

Aw.  Poor things.

Today, on their blog, they have an apology.  First, they called the woman who complained by name.  So anybody who saw the previous comments now know for sure who they were calling a fat cunt yesterday.  Then they excuse their actions by saying the stress of opening a business was getting to them.  And finally, they state “tweets you found offensive have been removed”.  Because, you know, being called a fat cunt isn’t offensive at all.

Here’s a few tips for you, Carrie and David, owners of Crumb:

1) You don’t have a brick and mortar shop, so everything you do is by social media.  If you attach your private Twitter accounts to your business account, and then act in as unprofessional manner as you did, you cannot then whine about how you can’t even say what you want on your private accounts anymore.  By attaching those accounts to the Crumb business account, you have made them an extension of the business account.  Which means, if you are rude and crude to people, they will call you on it, and talk about your business’ rudeness.

2)  For a company who’s not been in business very long, do you really think that insulting at least part of your customer base is a savy business plan?  Especially when you are charging an arm and leg for your product * , and have a history of being rude in person when a customer has a problem with the items they received?

3)  An apology that states “tweets you were offended by” is not an apology.  An apology that uses “too much stress” as a way to  alleviate your responsibility for your actions (the tagline in the first place, what you said on your twitter to discredit her) is not an apology.

4)  If starting a business is that stressful to you that you have to be so rude, you might want to consider folding up your aprons now.  Because I can tell you it ain’t gonna get any less stressful.  Not even if you get Paula Dean famous.  Especially not if you get Paula Dean famous.  (And after this debacle, I doubt you’ll be able to get that famous.)

If you truly mean your apology, you’ll start over and take responsibility for yourselves.  You’ll own your actions and reactions, and stop trying to get out of the predicament you put yourself in.  But that might mean you grow up and act like adults who own a business, instead of schoolyard bullies who think they can get away with calling a fat woman who had a problem with your tagline a “fat cunt”.

Personally, I’m hoping this will be a growth opportunity for you — not for your business.  With all the negative press you’ve garnered, I don’t see how you will be able to make a go of your company now.  I mean personally.

However, I’m not holding my breath.

*Unfortunately, the Yelp review of their business explaining their prices for some cupcakes ($8 per cupcake and a minimum order of 12 cupcakes) seems to be taken down, so I can’t link to it.

Well now…

It seems that some good will come of me being fat after all.

I’m sure that, now that it’s 2010, you have all heard about the end of the world (as we know it).  You know, the Mayan calendar resets ENDS on December 21, 2012!  The world will END!*  OH NOES!!11!!  

It seems a health club and spa in Britain has decided to use that idea to galvanize people into losing weight.  Oh, not the Mayan calendar but a different (yet still popular) end of the world scenario — little green men from outer space.

“Aliens will eat the fatties first!”

Looks like there’s a benefit to being fat after all.  I won’t have to worry about the end of the world, dying of disease or starvation or violence (because, since I’ve stockpiled literally tons of food others will use any method available to them, including my death, to get the resource of my vast underground food stash, natch). 

I knew there had to be a bright side to this!

*Just like the world ended in the 70’s (predicted by the book The Late, Great, Planet Earth), or in 1988 (predicted by a guy who used his knowledge of somebody else’s interpretation of Egyptian hieroglyphics to biblically prove the end of the world between September 9 and 13, 1988), or in the early 90’s (some interpretations about Nostradamus quatrains said nuclear war in the 90’s), or 2000 (Y2K!! Y2K!!!) or 2001 (cuz everybody knows the real Millenium started on 2001).  Uhhuh, you all believe that, right? 🙂