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[icon] Idiocy - Patti
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Subject:Idiocy
Time:11:12 pm
Warning: there's a rant in here that's likely to push a bunch of peoples' buttons, and a movie spoiler too.


I have completely fucking had it with fat activists-- as a group, they are rabid and completely out of control. The last straw is this Slate article that claims the movie Wall-e blames fat people for destroying the earth.

To begin with, the author of the editorial seems to have either slept through much of the movie or failed basic comprehension. In the movie, people have destroyed the earth with rampant consumerism, then spent 700 years on a spaceship staring at screens and being waited on and and foot by robots. The script even states that people have become weak due to spending so much time in the reduced gravity of space. The science in the movie is less than airtight, but the point is clearly made that people are weakened because of time in space.

If there's a message there, it's that people are getting fat because they spend too much time being driven around and staring at screens. It seems pretty obvious to me that part of the American obesity epidemic has to do with people spending too much time in cars and in front of televisions, and therefore not getting enough exercise. That's not the whole picture, of course, but it has to be part of it.

Say that to a fat activist, though, and they'll contradict you six ways to Sunday. They'll tell you that Americans aren't getting fatter, fat people are just naturally that way and there's nothing they can do, there are no ill health effects from being fat, and a whole host of other bullshit. If you even hint that there might be anything even the tiniest bit negative about being fat, expect that a cadre of them will jump down your throat and rip you a new asshole from the inside. Don't even try to suggest that there's a choice involved, for if you do you should fear for your life.

Most of the people who do this have a poor grasp of logic. If you suggest that being overweight increases the risk of diabetes or high blood pressure, they'll counter with the argument that, "I'm overweight and my blood pressure/blood sugar is just fine." Sure, but so what? "Increases the risk of" is not synonymous for "guarantees", and a single anecdote or even a handful of them does not make for good science.

And woe to the creative person who ever portrays a fat character in a less-than-glowing light-- you will be crucified on the activist's altar, and tarred with the brush of being fatphobic.

Yes, discrimination sucks. Yes, all people should be treated with courtesy and respect. Yes, you have the right to be any size you choose. Yes, some people have medical issues that prevent them from controlling their weight. Yes, fatphobia exists and some people face discrimination because of their weight. I'm not going to disagree with you on any of those points.

However, there *are* negative consequences to being fat, and to deny that shows a tenuous grip on reality. If you consume more resources because of your weight, then you should pay a commensurate amount for those resources. (For example, if you take up two airline seats, you should pay for two seats.) No, not all people are attracted to fat people, and that's perfectly OK. Yes, it's OK to choose to lose weight.

Turn down the sensitivity on your fatphobeometers-- not every negative comment about weight is fatphobia. And stop looking at the world in black and white. Frothing at the mouth does nothing to help your cause.
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wild_irises
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 06:34 am (UTC)
Wow! You're tarring an awful lot of people with a single brush. My take on Slate and Wall-E will go up tomorrow on Body Impolitic. I think you might like it, if you haven't written me off as a "fat activist" and thus a jerk.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 06:38 am (UTC)
"As a group, they're completely out of control" does not mean that every individual in that group is out of control. I've just run into too many rabid idiots recently. And your criticism is valid.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 06:42 am (UTC)
However, you do seem (to me, at least) to be in the sane minority of fat activists. Maybe the illogical, hyper-sensitive, ranting species is just too visible to me right now.
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prock
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 05:33 pm (UTC)
Maybe the illogical, hyper-sensitive, ranting species is just too visible to me right now.

Unfortunatly, the ranting nut-jobs are always too visible.

:(
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(Deleted comment)

wild_irises
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 10:26 pm (UTC)
So I wrote this in response to this comment. I look forward to your response. And if you hate it, I'm okay with that, too.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 10:59 pm (UTC)
Actually, what pushed me over the edge was not that article.

What pushed me over the edge was reading the Fatshionista discussion of that article, and listening to some of the complete and utter bullshit that was being flung around. And then I started thinking about some of the shrill and completely irrational behavior I'd encountered from fat activists.

And then I started thinking about a discussion I had with someone 5-10 years ago. I casually mentioned that I wanted to lose some weight, and gave a reason, and she jumped down my throat with a vengeance. In her mind, the only possible reason that I might want to lose weight was because I was caving into society's expectations. "I will feel better if I'm thinner" was not an acceptable answer to her-- I was just using that as an excuse.

In her warped view of the universe, size acceptance was only about acceptance of fat; choosing to be less fat was not in her world view.

What really set me off on the rant was irrational behavior, lack of logic, and lack of fact-based grounding in many of the fat activists I've encountered. You seem to be somewhat rare in that you're both willing and able to examine both sides of an argument and form an intelligent opinion, rather than just blindly beating your position and rejecting anything that contradicts it.

To use one example, I can't possibly imagine you ever saying that there are no health risks associated with being significantly overweight. If we sat down to discuss the health effects of weight, I'm sure I'd get a reasonably-educated, balanced, intelligent discussion of current medical knowledge. We might not agree in our assessment of all of it, but the discussion would be grounded in reality.


My rant was not about people who have strong beliefs and express them forcefully-- I'm one of those people sometimes. It was about people whose beliefs are divorced from reality, and who are unwilling to listen to any facts or opinions that are counter to their beliefs.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

topadope
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-18 06:11 am (UTC)
Thank you.

What I can't stand at many of the sites is the misrepresentation of size acceptance when what they really mean is fat acceptance. It's as if they are "talking out of both sides of their mouths". They claim not to bash thin people, but if you try to call them on it they'll claim that it's okay because that person was just expressing their anger at being repressed.

I don't know what to think about FA/SA and neither does my 310 lb. husband. Apparently I'm too skinny (117 lbs.) to think for myself according to the movement and my husband apparently has been "brainwashed" by his doctor for thinking that his blood pressure has gone down by losing weight.

Thank you again for writing what I've felt for a long time.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-18 06:29 am (UTC)
Thanks!

By the way, I'm curious about how you got here; your name doesn't look familiar.

To me, size acceptance is about treating people fairly, and with courtesy and respect, regardless of their size. It's about encouraging them to be happy with themselves at any size.

It's *not* about hating people who are thinner than you, because that's hypcritical-- if you want people to accept you at your size, you have to accept them at theirs. It's also not about denying basic science-- my knees will take a lot more stress when they're carrying around 250 pounds than they will at 150, and I could go back to freshman physics and write out the equations to back that up. (F=MA. Increase mass and maintain acceleration, and you'll increase force.)

Follow the link to the Body Impolitic article that was posted by wildirises and read the comments, and you'll see an example of someone who ignores both logic and science in order to flame me. I find it both amusing and sad.
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mspurrmeow
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 09:00 am (UTC)
YAY for Patti-logic. Every activist group has nutjobs, and in this case that's the end of the spectrum that is clearly in view. As a current and lifetime member of fat-ass category, I do NOT support the fat activist group in any way. I don't see the logic there at all.
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crayonbeam
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 01:29 pm (UTC)
I support the fat activist group in THIS way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyQ_IKkAM9I

(Actually, I support all people in this way.)
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gayathri
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 04:49 pm (UTC)
I love the ending to this video! I havent seen all the rants about Wall-E, but I didnt think the movie was against fat people at all, I thought it was awesome how characters starting fighting and pushing once they realized they could or had to!
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greeklady
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 05:58 pm (UTC)
Totally unrelated, love your icon.
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crayonbeam
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 01:38 pm (UTC)
oooh, and in this way too. Definitely!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUTJQIBI1oA
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 01:46 pm (UTC)
She's good! And yeah, I agree.

I'm also familiar with junkfoodscience.
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tigerknight
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 11:25 am (UTC)
Well it's a movie - and a light hearted comedy at that, the science isn't likely to be very strong. My particular beef was that if they're throwing all that trash away (where the giant wall-e's compact it) then what the hell are they using to replace all that mass?

In any case; the microgravity, endless mindless wanderings on chairs talking to people and letting machines do everything for you that ended up making people lose bone density and all food being in a cup (where rapid consumption of mass quantities is possible and the processing into bloodstream would be quite rapid) and probably carrying the same caloric intake as before is what made them fat - or at least that's my take on it.

Either way it's a disturbing (and true) commentary on the future of human (or at the least, American) culture and where we could go with obesity if we don't get off our collective asses.
(Reply) (Thread)


rmd
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 12:22 pm (UTC)
i have no comment except that "fatphobeometers" is the most excellent word i've seen in a while.

fatphobeometers. FATPHOBEOMETERS.

it's spelled like it should be much harder to pronounce.
(Reply) (Thread)


schmengie
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 01:45 pm (UTC)
did you miss upfuckimated? Thats still my fav...
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crayonbeam
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 01:26 pm (UTC)
I don't think of myself as a fat activist, but as a complete aside from your point here, it annoys me when xs, s, m, l, xl are all the same price, and then xxl is $10 more. Why not make each size a little bit more, since each size is using more resources? I also try not to shop at stores that carry more men's sizes than women's sizes. So stuff like that I suppose puts me in the fat activist camp.

I agree the Slate article seems to have gotten the movie wrong, just based on the twitters I got in response to my post.

But if you're going to talk medical facts about fat, you owe it to yourself to check out http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/

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schmengie
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 01:46 pm (UTC)
i must be very sheltered. I have been fat my whole life and never knew I had activists acting on my behalf.

nothing in your post that I disagree with
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 02:04 pm (UTC)
There are. I've actually had one of them jump down my throat for saying that I wanted to lose weight. In her twisted view of the world, it was OK to be fat but not OK to choose to be less fat, because if you did that you were just caving in to social pressure. Or somesuch nonsense.
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gayathri
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 04:53 pm (UTC)
I'd like to meet her. I have diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure. Guess what all is getting BETTER as I lose weight, eat better, workout more?

Oh yea. MY HEALTH. I'm never going to be a size 2, and I dont expect it, but I can be a leaner, stronger, whatever size I am...

I've got a rant inside about all the people who think that just because they are healthy without exercising is somehow ok to harrass the rest of us who need to exercise to stay healthy... you think I LIKE GOING TO THE GYM? (ok, sometimes I do. :) )
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j5nn5r
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-17 09:35 pm (UTC)
I saw the movie and liked it.

I also noted that, when the people first got on the ship, they were the stereotypical image of healthy -- basically fit and trim, as our society defines it.

Then, over a span of time, they changed and, here is the clue.

The movie shows us why.

Just as you pointed out.

By the way, I liked your rant.
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dmorr
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-18 06:54 am (UTC)
Reading the post and the comments, my major thought was, "Man, 'fat activist' is way too cumbersome. What about 'fatctivist'? Too unpronounceable? Hm, 'factivist' sounds like it should mean something else. 'Pudgetivist'?"

Like evwhore, I'm going to hell.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-07-18 06:57 am (UTC)
There's room in my handbasket if you want to share.
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(Deleted comment)

[icon] Idiocy - Patti
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