Beautiful on the INSIDE–try it sometime

[UPDATE: Hooray for Sharon Osbourne. I always knew Ozzy had good taste in people *grin*. And huzzah, finally something I really agree with on HuffPost! And I SO want the Persian translation of that proverb.)

Also: I just realized what this gambit on the part of Marie Claire magazine has been! Now this looks mostly like a carefully planned way to get lots of page hits on the MC blog before the end of the month so that MC could give advertisers big numbers, and we fell for it. They’re still milking it for all it’s worth. Duh!

On Shine: “Marie Claire editor-in-chief Joanna Coles is also concerned with the way obesity is tackled in media. But in an interview with Fashionista yesterday, she points to the show, “Mike and Molly,” not [blogger] Kelly. “I’m concerned about a show that makes fun of large people.” [The show is kind of lame, but doesn’t make fun of its major characters, according to fans.] Today, Coles opened up the discussion to her stable of Marie Claire writers, with the launch of a series of counterpoint posts to Kelly’s original piece. {{AHA!! PAGE HITS!!!}} As for Kelly, whose inflammatory statements launched the debate, Coles says, “Maura Kelly is a very provocative blogger. She was an anorexic herself and this is a subject she feels very strongly about.”” {THIS IS NOT AN APOLOGY, NOTE}

If you think it sounds like Joanna Coles is defending Maura Kelly, you’re right. It appears to me that they’re 100% behind her. That is their corporate stand on the issue, apparently. Sheesh. (To put it nicely.)

What I now believe is that they need page hits on that page (their blog) in order to show advertisers a lot of hits–they hadn’t been getting many page hits before, I theorize, and they needed something that would set fire to things and put a lot of page hits on before the end of the month. This would then let them show a lot of hits to advertisers and the advertisers would not drop them. That’s my best guess at the moment.

We should stop giving them the attention they crave. Let’s not link to their further posts. Don’t go to the original blog post. You won’t miss anything. The comments section of the article is a troll party.

I only wish I had thought of this before talking back, as what we have done by bringing it to people’s attention is give them page hits! Sigh.

But I’m not going to back away from my original post, as most of these things need to be said. Yes, lots of people are overweight and may need to lose weight for whatever reason, according to doctors and lawyers and Indian chiefs. No, that blog post is not occasion for tons of idiots to add comments saying, “The truth hurts–all of you are fat and just need to diet.” That’s a non sequitur, actually, because the topic of her post was her revulsion and whether people would be offended, not whether fat people need to do ANYthing. But I’m not surprised at people misinterpreting everything, as rhetoric has ceased being taught. “What ARE they teaching in the schools these days?”]

ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS

Prediction of the day:

The publicity stunt that Marie Claire magazine’s online arm just pulled, the one meant to generate a lot of page hits and get attention, in the long run will work against them. Because the crazy screed that they published (and anointed as their opinion by so publishing and by giving a lame non-apology when they got the 24,000 complaint letters–and saying that the author is “excited and moved” because of those letters that really turn her on) just makes them look like airheads.

If you haven’t heard the sorry tale yet, I’ll link you to the analysis of the article on the LJ Fatshionista comm or on Jen’s blog. Also good analyses at Shakespeare’s Sister and on Linda’s blog.

I mention only these secondary sources because I don’t want to give The Egotistical Mahreee Klayrrrr more page hits. Obviously what they wanted was to generate page hits to make advertising rates go up or to impress advertisers. Obviously they were not trying to win friends and influence people. And they weren’t worried about ruining their credibility or reputation by publishing a rant like this.

That’s the only rational explanation I have. Nothing else makes sense about the original post or the justifications that she then added to the comments pages until she was shamed into giving a pseudo-“apology.”

I have seen the lame semi-apology the writer was forced to post, but it didn’t wash. The tone is, “Sorry if I offended you, but you should go on a diet if you don’t want to be mocked.” She’s obviously sorry . . . that she got called out on this. She still feels exactly the same way, judging by the subtext of her apology and its tone.

This writer starts out asking the ridiculous question, “Do fat characters on TV offend viewers?” But that’s not her purpose in writing the screed. It’s apparent that she is only using the television series in question to air her crazy prejudices. Yes, fat is one of the last frontiers of prejudice and bigotry, but this writer really lets it all hang out and allows us to see how ugly she is on the inside. What kind of person types these kinds of statements and posts them IN PUBLIC? I like for people to think I am nicer than I am.

By the way, offending viewers . . . yeah, watch “South Park” or “American Dad” or “Family Guy” sometime and tell me they don’t offend you at least SOME of the time.

This blogger apparently never saw “Roseanne” (which is still popular and still dominates the nighttime re-runs on TV Land–and is still funny, even though it isn’t “about” the Conners being fat at all) and thinks that the TV audience would just, like, YACK UP if they saw FAT people kissing or even walkin’ across the room a-bouncin’. But she isn’t really talking about the TV program that she initially brings up. She goes immediately into a personal attack on all people she considers “fat.”

The author of the blog begins by saying she thinks that the TV audience will be disgusted by this new sitcom that features two “FAT” people in a relationship. She claims that having them be fat somehow promotes and approves of viewers being fat (by this logic, the show “Monk” is there to promote being OCD–totally ridiculous.) But she immediately teleports away from discussing the show.

Here’s a direct quotation:

“I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine [sic] addict slumping in a chair.” (Yes, she writes “heroine” because she doesn’t know the difference between a heroic female character and smack.)

Here are the errors that I see in this paragraph alone.

FIRST: “Heroin,” dear, is the drug. A “heroine addict” would be a romance novel maven. (sigh) This is a symptom of the general ignorance of the illiterati who rule our textwaves, though, so I MIGHT have thought it a typo except for the heroic display of ignorant bigotry that followed.

SECOND: It’s “just as,” not “just like.” Doesn’t anyone remember the old slogan “AS a cigarette should” and the other memory aids? “Just *as* I’d find it distressing if I saw a very devout Mormon kneeling on her pink prayer rug to talk to Hello Kitty.” Yes, her statement was *just as* stupid as the example I just gave.

THIRD: Where does she get off saying that it’s so aesthetically displeasing to look at fat people walking across a room? And why should we give a hoot if she thinks X or Y is “ugly”? That’s her personal reaction, not the New Rules. Did her mama teach her no manners? Born in a barn, apparently.

The author displays a level of self-unawareness that is difficult to fathom. She might as well continue, “And don’t even MENTION those drooling stroke victims and wheelchair spazzes and people with nappy hair or slanty eyes . . . ugly! Left-handed? Green-eyed? Eeeuw! Ban them! Gross!”

Think of the poop-storm that would be going on right now if she had substituted any of the following terms for “overweights” or “fatties” or “obese”: “Those Hispanics” “Those Muslims” “Those Jews” “Those Asians” “Those Down’s Syndrome Sufferers” “Those N***ERS” “Those wheelchair-users” “Those disabled returning soldiers who are so hard to looook atttt–can’t stand to watch them walk across a room!”

Wow, what a collection of awful slurs that would be. Nobody would do that.

But she’s got the same MIND as the people who use those slurs. It is a defective mind, and it sees “OTHER” as threatening and inferior. Some of that is attached to the question “am I really the superior one and are all my aspects the only positive ones”? People who are insecure about their own worthiness will scorn and put down others because this makes them feel more useful and worthy. That’s the only reason I can think of for starting this kind of “war.” I realize that fat is the final frontier of hate and prejudice, but HECK, people, look around and realize that if it were that easy for disabled people, those with diabetes, etc., to lose weight, they’d have done it–if only to shut up the hecklers (and be able to shop the good sales at Last Call). I don’t go around insisting that everyone with pimples be immediately hidden from view ’cause it’s UGLY, or some other crazy thing, so SHE should not get a bully pulpit for that kind of screed. It is the same OTHERING that is being used to demonize all Muslims and all liberals/conservatives (depending on which pundit you’re listening to). It is an _ad hominem_ sort of argument.

Who does this Miss Perfect think she is? Maybe I am secretly thinking how disgusting-looking SHE is as she simpers across the room like a devotee of mirror worship, but I am not rude enough to state it. Has she never heard the saying, “It is better to remain silent on a topic and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”?

CLOSE YOUR EYES if you can’t bear to see us. You are not the arbiter of taste, writer.

“Oh, what a headache I have. It’s SO distressing to see people who aren’t practically perfect! We shouldn’t have to look at them and be grossed out, so make them CHANGE and get FIXED or keep them out of our sight!” (sigh)

Next, this blogger writes:

Now, don’t go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I’m not some size-ist jerk.

Oh! All righty, then! It’s such a relief–I’ll bet she has African American friends, and Hispanic friends, and she’d NEVER want to be called a racist! “You’re a credit to your . . . species.”

She then proceeds to say how EASY it would be for these deathfats to conform, and spouts the usual diet sheet given out by doctors from time immemorial, even suggesting that people exercise. Can she prove that these people aren’t already doing what they can? Are their efforts not good enough? Are they only hopelessly human? (The vibe is that we’re not: she makes the distinction between “fat people” and “normal people.”)

Haters always miss this subtlety: in order to live, one MUST take in a certain number of calories and a certain minimum nutrition along with water. One does not have to shoot smack or drink booze in order to live, but one MUST eat at least some minimum amount, even while crash-dieting. The electrolyte balance can go out of kilter and KILL a person who is not eating and taking in fluids. In other words, you can’t compare people who eat to people who shoot smack or booze it up, because WE HAVE TO EAT TO LIVE and it is NOT A “SIN” or an optional activity. If everyone metabolized food the same way, you would not see “fat” people. Diversity training might touch on this.

What about those “competitive eaters” they show on the Food Network and news channels . . . if anyone’s a glutton, it is the dude who sucked down the huge burrito on “Man VS. Food” in 3 minutes to win the “challenge,” and of course he’s rail-thin. Even the guy who hosts the show was shocked at the way this guy could stuff his face. In contrast, I eat a diabetes-plan-controlled diet of 1200 to 1500 calories a day with a limitation on carbs . . . am never seen eating in public for fear of public shaming . . . limit my splurges and failures as best I can . . . and I’m supposed to be the BAD GLUTTON here? Logic failure.

I am extra-stunned because we just saw Juan Williams fired from NPR after expressing the opinion that he felt uncomfortable when he saw “Muslims on a plane,” which is kind of the same sort of bigotry that this writer just blorfed all over the net. It gave me pause because, frankly, my friend’s little grandson is a Muslim, as is the child’s dad, and the sight of them on a plane would not bother me at all. They are not the “bad guys” that people are scared of–if you saw them, you’d see a pint-sized baseball player and an accountant. What Williams was admitting to was a fear of the other. Personally, I think he was just telling us that he and others have a problem with this fear, and that admission should have led to a fruitful discussion, not to his firing. But anyhow, that’s another rant.

Anti-fat bigotry is “anointed” right now by the health industry, of course, but that still doesn’t make it right. If you concede (as the mass media has been saying) fat is a medical condition that needs to be treated medically . . . then when you mock the fatties, what comes next–mocking patients being treated for other conditions? Mocking patients for not recovering fast enough? Or if you say it’s NOT a medical condition . . . well, then you are contradicting what the medical profession is now claiming. You can’t win this one.

Now, where “fat” starts and what kind of body type is attractive is not a fixed value. Different cultures have different definitions. Individuals have different preferences. So she’s building a strawman in the first place. Which culture is “correct”?

Hate of fat people is the final frontier of approved prejudice and bigotry. Yet this has only been the case in the modern world. In much of the ancient world, plumpness was prized because it meant you HAD FOOD (and money) and were not a peasant . . . you didn’t have to work in the fields all day and you got enough to eat and drink, meaning you were not a serf. Look at older paintings and see that people are portrayed as larger than Kate Moss. This was the ideal for most of history! It has only been since the “flapper” era that people have gone crazy. I don’t mean that everyone has to be fat, but that not everyone can meet the current standard for thinness. Sure, I am constantly dieting. But I can’t reach perfection in a day. “For all have sinned and fall short.” Who am I to judge someone else? After we grow up, we should be looking at INNER BEAUTY.

Which this blogger simply does not have. Same for the editor(s) who approved this article (and supposedly assigned the topic!) Sorry, but they’ve put their inner ugliness on display. They didn’t even guess that it wouldn’t be in their best interests to parade hate across the ‘net.

It’s interesting that this happens in the middle of a wave of “stop the bullying” stuff, isn’t it? Because the article is written by a bully masquerading as “I just want to help you.” Feh.

Inner beauty. Kindness to all. An attitude of tolerance. This is what people preach . . . but it’s a helluva lot tougher to practice it. I challenge all humanists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, neopagans, pagans, and Bokononists (etc.) to live up to the ideals that they proclaim insofar as putting an end to bullying of individuals and groups. Not bullying is Right Action and kindness. It’s really tough and I mostly can’t live up to what I would like to be, but at least I don’t go around putting people down for the way they look. Walk a mile in The Other’s moccasins . . . and then maybe you’ll escape the prison of your own point of view and understand that there’s something larger than yourself (ouch!! Excuse the pun!) Or go ahead and keep all the hateful prejudices that you want, but just don’t flaunt them all over the ‘net as if they’re just normal things that EVERYBODY KNOWS are true. (cue Leonard Cohen song, covered by Concrete Blonde, off PUMP UP THE VOLUME soundtrack)

In a reasonable world, both Maura Kelly and her editor would be tossed out the door immediately. If Maura Kelly were maligning any other group with this intensity, for example the LGBT community, people of color, or religious groups, it wouldn’t even be a question of whether Maura Kelly and her editor should be terminated from Hearst Publications. It would be a matter of which group got to set a match to the pyre as they were being burned at the proverbial stake. But no, we can mock those fat ugly lazy worthless blubberballs, as we always have! Junior high never ends! The world is our sandbox! Inner beauty matters not. The ONLY thing that is important is whether you are fat (by our standards) or not, and if you are, well, you have a target painted on your bloated butt. If you protest when you’re hit, it’s your own fault for being fat in the first place! (Even though many people have gained weight after injuries, after surgeries, because of dietary restrictions, because of medications, and so forth–and they may be actively trying to lose weight, except that when they walk across the room for exercise they are grossing SO MANY NORMAL PEOPLE OUT–that doesn’t matter, it’s still a MAJOR SIN not to want to look like we want you to!)

Hey, Maura, baby: as you said, fat people can usually lose weight, but you’ll always be a pig.

Sorry I couldn’t be more polite. But you didn’t bother to be, either.

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Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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