Just when I thought it was safe to come back to the blog, another nasty comment this morning. Honestly, loyal troll-readers, I have absolutely no interest in what you have to say, and I now enjoy consigning your comments to the abyss. No more First Amendment Guilt for Daisy! Yes, I once tossed and turned at night, torturing myself over whether I was unfairly denying people their right to insult me, but no longer. Once again, be advised.
Perhaps it is just impossible to have a public blog without assholes invading. I mean, that happens everyplace else, doesn't it? As my late mentor, Steve Conliff, used to say (he was specifically talking about the Yippies, but it's a great adage to keep in mind): If you let anybody in, then anybody will come in. I've noticed, over the years, that this is a rock-solid truth.
The troll was pissed off about my "lack of awareness" about fat; the continuing drama and foofaraw around this post. Never mind that I have probably been much fatter than the troll, for much longer. Trolls know everything, including what you should be blogging about.
I have NOT turned this blog into a "diet blog"--nor will I. But it's quite amazing to me that it is now apparently considered EVIL to try to heal oneself of something one considers limiting and debilitating. (?) Some of the "big" feminist and progressive bloggers constantly reference working out and doing yoga. Why are they allowed to do this without being censured, but I'm not? Amanda Marcotte looks like she weighs maybe 95 lbs soaking wet; you gonna climb her ass over her little wispy frame? Why doesn't she gain weight in solidarity with fat women? (Is that the next demand? Kit Reed's very witty short story titled "The Food Farm", comes to mind.) I can find twenty million lefty blogs in which the author talks about getting in shape for grueling triathlons, weight-training, marathons, 5K runs, afternoon yoga sessions, tennis, hiking, you name it. Speaking of class, God forbid some old working class redneck thinks any of this might be for her, too: You just stay fat, retail-worker grandma, and stay OUT of our 5K marathons! You just don't understand fat awareness, barked the rail-thin marathon-runner as they whizzed by. Um, okay.
The person who left the nasty comment this morning self-righteously announced that my awareness of "fat and class" was lacking, but until I get a good answer for why I am singled out as a baaaad, baaaaad girl for trying to salvage my overworked, overstressed knees and feet ... while none of these other (middle-class, college educated) people are called on the carpet for looking like skinny movie stars... well, I politely invite all people who think I lack "fat awareness" to go fuck themselves.
And the direct question I posed in the comments of the aforementioned post, still stands: Do you have a 400+ lbs best friend you lost before their time? (Well, I guess if you did, you'd shut the hell up and understand where I'm coming from, now wouldn't you?)
Meanwhile, lovely Thene showed me this wonderful set of posts about fat from Greta Christina's very readable and fascinating blog. (Aside: At some point, I'd like to argue atheism/religion with this person, since she seems basically respectful, not like some nasty atheists I won't name, who call me vicious names as a confirmed sky-fairy  believer and refuse to dialogue in a polite fashion.) Greta Christina has already grappled with some of the "fat awareness" issues I find most confusing, and has (rationally!) deconstructed some of the arguments from the fat-positive movement that I find most disturbing and contradictory. I have quoted some excerpts I especially relate to.
From The Fat-Positive Skeptic (Part 2 of 2):
I completely agree that the fat-positive movement does often trivialize the very serious, extensively documented, no-joke health risks of being fat. I think they focus on their political ideology about bodies and feminism, at the expense of the actual scientific facts on the ground. I think they're often guilty of wishful thinking: of acting as if the mere act of saying "Fat is as healthy as not-fat" over and over again will somehow make it true, regardless of the medical evidence. And I think they dismiss the fact that, while it's fairly easy to be a healthy, active fat person in your youth, it gets increasingly harder as you get older.Ohhhhhh goodness mercy yes. This is the crux of it, for me. I found it pertinent that the people who became so angry with me for daring to diet are all significantly younger than I am, and do not work on their feet all day. It does make a difference.
And in the post I linked above, I was trying to talk about the American Problem with Fat, which got me roasted alive. But Greta Christina gets it, and goes further in her analysis than I did:
It's helped for me to think of this as a political issue. It helps to remember that the multinational food corporations have spent decades carefully studying the abovementioned evolutionary food triggers, so they can manipulate me into buying and eating way more food than is good for me. It helps to think of weight loss, not as giving in to the mainstream cultural standards of female beauty, but as sending a big "Fuck You" to the purveyors of quadruple-patty hamburgers and Chocolate Chip Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick....
There's a weird circularity to the arguments as well. "Weight loss never works... but when it does work, it's harmful... but even if it would be beneficial, it doesn't matter, because it never works." And the arguments are rife with logical absurdities. If set points can get re-set upwards with crash diets or poor eating and exercise habits, then why can't they be re-set downwards? If it's okay to accidentally lose weight as a side effect of a "health at every size" food and exercise plan, then why is it so unhealthy to consciously lose weight... even if the "conscious weight loss" plan is identical to the "health at every size" plan? If weight is genetically determined and diet and exercise have nothing to do with it, then why have Americans become so much heavier in the last 50 and indeed 20 years... and why do other cultures who start eating an American diet almost immediately start putting on weight?This IS what I was trying to say, and thanks to Thene for referring me to someone who has already said it far better than I could.
In her "Open Letter to the Fat Positive Movement", Great Christina writes:
In addition, an unsettling tendency has apparently developed in the fat-positive movement: a tendency to take the most extreme positions -- no matter how logically absurd or morally repugnant -- simply to avoid having to concede any points whatsoever. Many fat-positive advocates insist that weight loss never, ever, ever works. Others insist that there are no health problems caused by any degree of fatness. Still others insist that even if some health problems are caused or exacerbated by fatness, weight loss is never, ever, ever the more healthy choice for anyone to make. Ever. Even if you weigh 400 pounds and have had three heart attacks… you still shouldn't try to lose weight. And if you're me, if you weigh 200 pounds and are having serious mobility impairment due to knee problems and have exhausted all other treatment options for it... forget about it. It's better to have a fourth heart attack, it's better to gradually lose mobility over the years to the point where you can no longer climb stairs or walk more than a block, than it is to try to demonstrate that any belief of the fat-positive movement might be mistaken.This is alarmingly similar to what happened to me... all my whiny blogging about my painful knees and feet (the conditions that finally brought me to the conclusion that weight loss was worth pursuing) was patently ignored. Instead I got (more or less, distilled to its essence): "Fuck your knees and feet! Fat rules!" (This is actually a type of ideological fundamentalism, which is why an atheist blogger like Greta Christina can spot this line of defense in a line-up.)
I was frankly shocked at how callous most of the fat-positive advocates were about my bad knee. I was shocked at how quick they were to ignore or dismiss it. They were passionately concerned about the quality of life I might lose if I counted calories or stopped eating chocolate bars every day. But when it came to the quality of life I might lose if I could no longer dance, climb hills, climb stairs, take long walks, walk at all? Eh. Whatever. I should try exercise or physical therapy or something. Oh, I'd tried those things already? Well, whatever.
It is not up to you to decide for me that the costs of losing weight are greater than the costs of losing my knee. It is not up to you to decide for me that the long odds against successful long-term weight loss (roughly 10 to 1) mean that my attempt to treat my bad knee by losing weight isn't worth it. My body. My right to decide.Actually, I did hear that from a few people back in the day, now that I think of it.
Let me ask you this. If you read a post from a blogger saying that they were a heavy drinker, but it was adversely affecting their health and they'd decided to quit... would you send them comments and emails saying, "Don't bother, it's a waste of time and energy, the overwhelming majority of problem drinkers who try to quit eventually fail, and the ones who succeed get obsessed with it and have to go to all these meetings for the rest of their lives and aren't any fun to be around any more, and anyway the connection between heavy drinking and poor health has been totally made up by our anti- drinking society, so instead you should just focus on being the most healthy drinker you can be"?
If not -- then why would you say it to someone who's losing weight?
And they were wrong. I stopped. And after an admittedly-long while, I stopped the meetings too; I learned what I needed to learn and moved on to another aspect of my life. I simply cannot imagine 1) taking a drink after 28 years and 2) going to an AA meeting after so many years of not going; those people are all strangers to me now. But according to the myth, once you get sober through AA, you are a lifelong 12-step slave. Not true. (This is why I call myself "12-step fugitive" in my bio.)
And I wholeheartedly agree with this:
[If] the fat-positive movement wants to be a serious voice of opposition to the current scientific consensus, it needs to stop denying reality. It needs to stop with the circular reasoning, the cherry-picking of data, the "all or nothing" thinking, the taking of good ideas to ridiculous and repugnant extremes, the logical absurdities, the elaborate rationalizations, the insularity, the flat denial of simple facts that are staring them in the face. It needs to be willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads... even if where it leads is unpleasant or upsetting. It needs to stop with the true believerism. It needs to treat the principles of fat positivity as hypotheses that can be debated -- not as articles of faith.AMEN, AMEN! Preach it, preach it! (jokey jokey with the atheists!) Seriously, she is just so right.
And I heartily wish it would do that.
Because we really, really need a sane, evidence- based, reality-based fat-positive movement.
I really, really want to be part of a sane, evidence- based, reality- based fat-positive movement. But it looks like I may have to find a way to do that on my own.Well, I had to learn to forge a new kind of sobriety on my own, one that didn't classify mostly-harmless reefer with cocaine; one that didn't interrogate every single antihistamine with "Am I high? OMG, did it make me high?" I'm sure the atheist will laugh when I say that I felt I needed to CONFESS to AA every time I took an antihistamine, rather like that other type of confession. (the more things change, the more they stay the same) 
My thanks to Greta Christina for her incisive take on fat. This is why we need the atheists, for this kind of cut-to-the-quick stuff. I just wish they'd admit they need us too, to keep things endlessly wacky and interesting! ;)
 I see nothing wrong with believing in sky-fairies. When the atheists call me a deluded sky-fairy believer, my reply is always the same: What's wrong with fairies? I like fairies. I do NOT want to live in a world without fairies, magic, and similarly delightful irrationality, which is my whole point. When we can get to THIS stage of the discussion, then we'll be getting somewhere. Why is human "rationality" (as historically defined by white, male, educated, bourgeois, heterosexual men, of course) any more real or ethical than supposed "irrationality"--since the most "rational" people in history have often turned into mass-murderers and had all kinds of logical, rational, pragmatic reasons for it (yes, I'm looking at you, Josef Mengele... a very rational man, by all accounts).
Rationality is an illusion, and this means the atheists believe in a sky-fairy called rationality--and that is no different than my belief in sky-fairies, saints and tarot cards. Really, it isn't. If you can convince me otherwise, I will take on all comers. Beware, been reading some heavy Buddhist texts, which I can add to the Cistercians, the Desert Fathers, Wittgenstein (I blame Philip K Dick for ever attempting to read Wittgenstein) and all that kinda intense philosophical gymnastics, so I'm ready, willing and able to defend my sky-fairies. BRING EM ON, as a major-movie character once said; I'd prefer a fair fight to all this sneaking around.
 Another criticism of AA, concerns the specific wording of the First Step: We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable. For some inexplicable reason, the word powerless sends certain people into a frenzy.
If you are powerless over something, then you are, whether you choose to admit it or not. NOT admitting it, does not make it LESS true. The focus is on the ADMISSION. If it's not true, then it isn't... why should the word bother you? If it is, then admit it. NOT ADMITTING IT, DOES NOT MAGICALLY MAKE IT NOT SO.
The same is true for any other substance, of course... and I speak as one who quit multiple substances AT ONCE. I also speak as one who easily falls into the pattern of abusing substances, unless I am ultra-careful (they call this an "addictive personality"--ya think?). THIS INCLUDES FOOD, A SUBSTANCE. It is interesting that I never crave celery, but I do crave macaroni and cheese. I would venture to say that not all substances are created equal... a lesson I had to learn on my own, not from AA. But learn it I did.
 In Catholicism, this is known as having scruples. Apparently, as an Augustinian monk (before he permanently defected), Martin Luther used to spend hours and hours in the confessional, carefully going over every wayward thought. Finally (in disgust, no doubt) he decided to jettison the whole Sacrament of Confession: the hell with it! I guess he saw no other way out.
We are supposed to call it The Sacrament of Reconciliation now, but I don't know anyone who does.
 And of course you know that today's blog post title comes from the redoubtable QUEEN. (We miss you, Freddie!)