Monday, March 22, 2010

Taking a leave

Hi all...

So I'm on leave from my teaching job, and I guess I've unintentionally taken a leave from this blog. I didn't mean to, but now that it's happened, I thought I'd write a quick post and kind of make it official that I am taking a break.

Since my last post in December, I'd have to say that the state of affairs vis a vis the fat stuff has probably gotten worse. I have always been in favor of healthcare reform in general, but I am worried about what will happen to fat people under the policy that was passed by the Congress yesterday. Apparently now that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, they will instead be allowed to jack up premiums for people with pre-existing conditions, including the "condition" of being fat. If true, this is deeply uncool. I am also pissed off about Michelle Obama's new "childhood obesity" initiative. I think it is nice to want to improve nutrition for kids, but I wish this wasn't being promoted on the backs of fat children. It is hard enough being a fat kid without there being a nationwide effort spearheaded by the first lady to eradicate your kind. And I am not even going to get started on Jamie Oliver and his patronizing attempt to educate the citizens of Huntington, West Virginia about the proper way to live. There was that cool moment when Kevin Smith gave a big F-U to Southwest Airlines for kicking him off a plane because he's fat -- but who knows if that will have any lasting effect. Maybe it will empower fat people in the future to make a fuss when these things happen and make it more uncomfortable for airline employees to single them out, thereby inhibiting them from doing so. That would be cool. But in general I feel kind of discouraged. I think that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, and although I think things have to improve over the long term, it would make my blog posts significantly more negative and bitchy for a while if I were to keep up with everything here.

In any case, I'm going to check out for a while and observe the proceedings (or perhaps try in my own small ways to influence them) without commenting on them here.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I need help not judging fat people. I am an extremely open minded person and a few of my favorite people happen to be overweight, but I can't help judging them, and yet I council my clients constantly to let go of negative judgements about others, assuming that what they did (cheated, stole, did drugs) is something of which they themselves are incapable. I truly believe this myself as well, and I never allow myself to think I am better than anyone else, but I find myself judging fat people, feeling that it is a long term lifestyle choice, not an animal urge, or temptation they gave into one time. I find myself unable to view them as ordinary people, and I recently had a larger friend ask me to set her up with a friend of mine and I made an excuse but the reality is that I would not because he was fit and she was fat. I really feel as though if she was unwilling to take care of herself physically, then why would a man who can have any attractive woman he wants, and takes care of himself see her as an attractive mate. The answer is that he would not. I would never find a large man attractive, does this make me wrong because it's something I cannot shake. I could hide my feelings but I do not believe in dishonesty. The fact of the matter is that each decision we make we can go the right way or the wrong way, I want to have that can of pepsi, but instead I'm going to drink my organic unsweeted apple juice. I want those 500 dollar shoes, but I'd rather save up for that beach house. Am I wrong?

Mary said...

Well, sorry, I'm not really running an advice column here. I think you do at least have the right idea when you say that it's your own problem, although it does seem like you're being a bit disingenuous framing it that way. I do have to go ahead and disagree with your claim that you are "an extremely open minded person". And re: your remark that "a few of my favorite people happen to be overweight" -- LOL! Maybe you should check this out as a reminder of how insincere such remarks make you sound.

Anyway, I don't really think I can help you, except perhaps to correct a couple of factual errors that you seem to be making with your apple juice remark. First of all, I'm fat and I like organic unsweetened apple juice, and I'll bet lots of other fat people do too. I can't remember the last time I drank a Pepsi. But secondly, have you actually checked out the calorie content on your apple juice? Because, you know, it being "organic" and "unsweetened" doesn't mean that it's low-calorie. In fact any kind of fruit juice is actually quite surprisingly high in calories. Maybe you should cut back on your apple juice consumption so you don't get fat (and therefore unworthy of being set up for a date, or even being viewed as an ordinary person, by extremely open minded persons such as yourself)!

Anonymous said...

Hi there Mary,

I only discovered your site yesterday and I absolutely love it! Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into your writing. Very helpful and enlightening stuff. I look forward to taking time to read your articles and enjoy your twists of sarcasm, sound logic and entertaining use of language. I also want to say, I'm a tad disappointed you're taking a break, but I understand and wish you well. Hopefully it's just a break and not forever!

Mary said...

Thank you, that's very kind! I'm sure I'll get back to it at some point... I just have some other things I want to do now, and writing about this stuff was kind of getting me down, given the current state of the world.

Fat Bastard said...

Fat is GOOD!

Anonymous said...

I just saw your appearance on “The Nightly Show” and thought that I would check out who you are and then I found your blog. While I obviously have a bit of reading to do to get the full flavor of who you are and what motivates you, I wish to make at least this comment: we are on completely different sides of the issue of the obesity problem in the United States. Your position on the premium structure of the current health care system is only the start.

You take issue with the ability health insurance companies have been granted to charge more for people with pre-existing conditions. I can only think that you haven’t been paying close attention to how the insurance industry works, and has always worked. Premiums are charged based on risk factors the insured person has. For a moment, let’s make a small change to the verbiage: Is it more fair for a company to charge higher premiums to a driver who has multiple speeding tickets and accidents because they choose to drive recklessly and less for someone who always follows the laws, or take the entire pool of drivers and spread out the liability costs evenly?

I am a libertarian with a strong conservative streak. I believe that people should have the right to make decisions for themselves and not have the government interfere with that process. This must be balanced, however, with the necessity to take responsibility for the resulting effects of those decisions. If you choose to eat in a way that causes or exacerbates health problems, you need to take responsibility for the fact that it will costs more to take care of you. Even if you never have a major medical emergency, it still costs more because of the need for larger, sturdier beds and equipment. It is the same reason why it costs more to register an SUV vs. a smaller car - impact on the infrastructure.

I look forward to reading more of your work and do hope that we can find some common ground somewhere along the way.

Mary said...

Anonymous, thanks for your comment, but just to clarify -- I am not Marianne Kirby (though I admire her a lot!). I haven't had a chance to see The Nightly Show yet, but I've heard about it and look forward to seeing it. Unfortunately I can't engage with your comment fully without having seen the segment. I will say offhand, though, that for a "libertarian" you seem to have some rather fascist ideas about policing what people eat! I don't know exactly how you would implement the idea of insurance companies charging higher premiums to people who eat in a way that you (or someone) deems "unhealthy" without actually doing surveillance and monitoring of what people ingest, since there's no way to know that without actually documenting what a person eats (you can't tell from their body size, because it's well documented that there are fat people who eat quite "healthily", just as I'm sure we all know thin people who don't). I think you're being a bit disingenuous when you say you want to raise premiums on people who eat in an unhealthy way, because it seems like what you really mean is that you want higher premiums on fat people. So a better analogy than people with speeding tickets (who incidentally don't pay higher premiums!) would be people who are tall. They require larger beds and such too -- so should we go ahead and pass along those costs to tall people too, or should we instead decide we are a society that will try to take care of everyone with an understanding that a diverse society has people with diverse needs?