Thursday, February 18, 2010

That Kevin Smith

May I offer you something rotten to go with your morning coffee?

Warning: This here particular diatribe will include stuff about weight, losing it (weight and temper), flying, How much I love Kevin Smith, and other assorted controversial things (Maybe. Depends on what the maid decides to do with the wineglasses she's supposedly washing). So, if you're tired of the whole SWA humiliating innocent Kevin Smith debacle (something along the lines of this moron's view) go away and come back when I return to inadvertently trying to kill the guards at my gate (I would never, but they insist on hopping in front of the car at the weirdest places) or just to my general doing nothing and then some more nothing, and shoes.

Because, today, I have been thinking. Pondrin somthin serious.

In the last couple of days I have been following Kevin Smith's (who really, truly is some kind of a god-like force within comedy, if you disregard certain extremely carnal and perhaps even unnecessary tweets about him boning his wife, and I will disregard them and love him nonetheless) experience with flying on, or at least trying to, Southwest Airlines. How he got booted off of the flight that he had already been seated on (with the armrests down and not 'spilling' onto his fellow passengers) because he had gotten on that flight as a standby and had actually, for reasons relating to his own comfort on the flight and because he's probably fairly wealthy seeing as he's a really successful funnyman (How do I love Clerks and Mallrats? Let me count the ways.), bought two seats for the later flight he had originally selected. Thus apparently officially 'admitting' that he was fat, in fact too fat to fly in one seat.

Now, if you have been following this blog for a while you all know how I feel about flying, how much my derriere detests even the mention of it, how my thighs protest violently every time even the thought of travel pops into my head, and how badly my brain wants to grow to the level where I can invent an easier way of moving from one place to another - a teleportation device if you will, or even a Harry Potter-ish fireplace of travel, just without house elves, thank you very much - without having to subject any part of me to the experience that is check-in, airport security, boarding, other people's 'hand luggage', flight, in-flight 'entertainment', stewardesses (especially the ones I seem to encounter. Hello Air France!), airplane seats, airplane bathrooms, other frikken passengers, customs, and having my luggage mangled and/or efficiently spirited away (always to London, it seems).

I consider having to fly anywhere a punishment of epic proportions. Mainly due to the extreme discomfort of airplanes for anyone who isn't 5'4 and weigh at the most 100 lbs. Because, naturally, airlines want to make as much money as they can, and thus squeeze as many of us as possible into the smallest space possible. Regardless of whether or not we really fit.

Comfort and friendly skies my ass. Torture and bitchiness is much closer to the truth.

I hate the journey. I do.

Also, if you indeed have been following this blog for a while, you would know that I've never been a small specimen of a woman. Expressions such as East-German shot-putter, Amazon, and perhaps even Grand Dame (No, sorry, that was to do with champagne I think, but what the hell, I like it) have come up. But what you don't know, unless you know how to decipher my cryptic hints, is that today I'm perhaps 50 lbs lighter than I was when I last had to make a plane trip longer than 2 hrs.

Still, I'm a fat woman. I'll always, always be a fat woman. Regardless of how I look on the outside. And will never think there is anything wrong with being a fat woman. Or a fat man even (still, I think I'm going to stay a woman. I like my boobies too much to exchange them for just one overly dangly piece of anything). Weight loss has never been a goal for me, nor will it ever be. I strongly disagree with what normally passes as equal to healthy, and what kind of appearance almost automatically gets labeled as unhealthy, slovenly, lazy, undesirable, ugly, or second rate. My recent change has come about as a side effect to some changes (such as saying no to most fruit, traditionally considered an unhealthy decision) that have been quite necessary, and due to a genetic condition I have, in order for me to not need medicine that shouldn't be mixed with alcohol (and I seriously do want to keep drinking the wine, if in smaller amounts than before), for the sake of my poor liver, and to save poor VEG from her siamese-sister contractual obligation to give me a piece of hers when mine finally conks out.

So I feel for Kevin Smith. And I whole-heartedly support him. Awesome of him to use his fame, regardless of how humiliating the situation must have been for him, and bring some much needed attention to this kind of treatment received by all of us overweight peeps often enough world over. In all kinds of situations. More often than one would think.

Because, discrimination based on one's weight is unwarranted for. This kind of discrimination, like is in the case of smokers, could only be tolerated IF overweight actually directly also spelled harm to others, and/or costs to others. Which it doesn't. It's often said that it does, but the truth is that it doesn't. It just doesn't. Sure, there are many extremely unhealthy people who are sure to end up having [insert a costly medical procedure right here] before they are 40 years old who are also overweight, but it just isn't that overweight which makes it so. That overweight is just a symptom. Then there are many extremely healthy people who will live to be a nice 104 (and might in doing so end up costing quite a few bucks to society as well, I might add) who are overweight. There are many extremely unhealthy people who are sure to end up having [insert a costly medical procedure right here] before they are 40 years old who are 'normal' (who tell hell decided what was normal anyway?) weight. And so on.

Case by case.

All people are individuals, and the beauty (and the curse) of statistics is that you can have them display for you exactly what you want. That's why the media loves statistics. They sound official enough to back up a report about a 'fat epidemic' and can easily be made to play into that end. And a fat epidemic just hits so much closer to home than an actual epidemic STILL sweeping the world: the AIDS epidemic.

I don't need to remind anyone how many people die of AIDS in sub-saharan Africa EVERY SINGLE DAY do I? There's no way this number isn't plastered on every single front page all the time.

What?

It isn't?

Well, shit! I guess the 4100 people a day who die of AIDS in sub-saharan Africa are a drop in the ocean compared to the thousands and thousands of people who succumb to the evil, evil epidemic of having a BMI over 25 every single day.  I guess it's the 6 in the 26 that wraps around their hearts and slowly suffocates them. Must be.

Fat does not automatically equal unhealthy. Nor does thin equal healthy.

In my part of Africa fat can also equal wealthy, beautiful, handsome, healthy, and happy. It's all cultural. It really is. And while we have, hopefully (although evidence to the contrary seems to be surfacing around me constantly) stopped categorizing and judging people based on the color of their skin or their gender, weight remains the last frontier of 'accepted discrimination'.

And who is it that is making it so? Well, us. You guys, we suck. Why are we so fokken dumb?

One last thing in the way of warning: Should you feel you disagree with me on this one and feel the need to tell me so in a comment or in an email, I WILL immediately think less of you. I will consider such a response equal to you telling me you loved the Twilight saga and didn't see anything wrong with how it portrays women and girls, or how you identify with the characters in Marian Keyes novels. I WILL think much less of you, your intellect, and your ability for compassion. Much, much less.  

19 comments:

Fidgeting Gidget said...

You go, girl!

Dave Keeble said...

Brilliant. I think the whole focus on being skinny, and that being 'over weight' is a cardinal sin seems to have most the western world by the balls.

Such a shame, every time I see a really skinny girl, I die a little inside. It's not attractive. At all.

Great post as always.

Tonia said...

I think I need to move to Africa where I'd be fully appreciated rather than regarded as some kind of lazy-assed freak. I'm waiting for some kind of special eating room for fatties in restaurants so the rest of the clientele won't be disturbed by the sight of someone enjoying her food. A lot.
Just for the record: I walk my dog every day. And he aint no little thing.
Kevin Smith is awesome: Dogma is just perfect.

Bored@Work said...

If I don't necessarily relate to Marian Keyes characters can I still love the books?

I agree though- all cultural. When I was in Europe studying not one time did I ever think about working out or not eating that or being too fat. I just was. So happy. Now, back in Canada...its always in my head! So irritating.

And flying does suck. Its not about the journey. Please. Its about the arrival!

Conversation Pieces said...

Hi there. Just stumbled across your blog (I forget how) to be greeted with the sight of a moldy orange – and that peaked my interest!

I was actually talking about a similar thing at the weekend – to do with train and cinema seats but the point still stands. I'm 5'3 and around 9 stone (not exactly tiny but not huge either)... and the other day I was getting sore knees from not having enough leg room in the cinema – followed by not having enough room on the train home. I came to the conclusion that all these seats are actually just designed for children and not adults... and that's what the problem might be?!

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

My fat ass thanks you for this. And everything else. My liver thanks you too :)

HAHAHAHAHAHA! My WV is creamo!

Chef E said...

Bravo! Bravo! I do not spill over into the seat next to me, but I do ask for an extra seat belt extender, and they usually are kind in handing it to me low, as not so the entire freakin plan sees that I have my butt on the front, and fat tummy behind!

I was not always over weight, but do to stress of losing a child I have gotten a little out of control, mildly putting it, and it is about time someone makes a scene!

Bite Me SW, Chef E!

Genie of the Shell said...

Agreed, agreed, agreed!

Flying is horrible enough without hostile attacks on one's physique.

I'm thin, but I am tall. Airplane seats crumple me into a knot of scoliostastic misery. Only petite humans are allowed to fly humanely, it seems.

I've always been thin, and not because I have great will power or superior discipline or anything. I can't GAIN weight without huge effort. It's just the way my body is and has always been. So I assume it's the same for all people... Some of us are tall, short, thin, fat, muscular, wiry, whatever. We don't have 100% control over how our bodies look and function.

Yes, some people are healthier than others, but you certainly can't tell just by looking at them.

You CAN, however, tell right away when someone has an ugly personality when they do something like kick a man out of his airplane seat for being a fatty.

Love to Kevin Smith and all others who have been made to feel less worthy based on how they look.

Oh, and putting someone down is a terrible way to encourage them to adopt healthier habits, if that is even suggested to be a motive for discrimination.

liisamarja said...

so, are you going to see martha at design indaba?

Esmerelda said...

I know your blog was about so much more, but I couldn't get past this.

I Love Love Love Love LOVE Kevin Smith.

In our blizzard-like conditions, a bar by my house had a sign that said, "Yes! I Assure you we are open!" and I had to go in to commend them.

LOVE him....love love love.

Oh, and the other stuff, you know about discrimination and flying? Kudos to you.

Lynne said...

I relate totally. Nothing to add. You said it all.

Except... when are you coming to Cape Town again??

Cyndy said...

First of all, can I say how much I have missed you?!?

Secondly, congratulations on the weight loss. While I get your point (and will make my point sometime before the comment box shrinks away), it is still a great accomplishment. So, kudos!

I am pretty sensitive to the weight thing. My mom was heavy (not always, she was once upon a time a model), but during most of my life she was. I know how it broke her heart. I was always skinny, until I started to have kids. Being pregnant wasn't the problem, just the total change of lifestyle once kids were in my life, and, uh, forgetting to take care of me while taking care of them. Thing is ~ I don't have the mindset that I am heavier, but I can see it in other's eyes, and that really bothers me. It's like they can't get past the physical part to get to know the real me. But then I just shrug it off since those are not people I would want to associate with anyway. It's kind of my barometer of who is a good person...

And then there's the smoking thing...

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Ellie said...

I'm not entirely sure about this. If fat people weren't putting such a strain on the resources of the world (tax dollars, medical issues, our rampant overconsumption of energy and matter) there would be more resources to go around. There's fat and there's fat. I dread the day when, for a section of the population, scooters become the new tan - and i don't think we're THAT far away from it. That said, I also don't think we're dealing with it well, appropriately, or kindly.

julochka said...

we're still allowed to discriminate against smokers, right?

and are you ok? losing 50 pounds? that's a lot! and not drinking? who will you be if you don't drink?

missing you!! hope you're ok (saw your tweet today).

molly said...

you are hysterical!

Thea said...

loved Dogma. Kevin Smith is a great writer (and in hollywood, writers are rarely recognized). He is also good looking enough to be in films. But I think people don't realize that plane designers have been shrinking the size of plane seats for years so they can pack more people in like sardines. I don't think people are necessarily bigger than 40 years ago, the seats are smaller. And then they humiliate individuals who cannot seat comfortably in them. And this is why you probably hate to fly

Chris said...

This was brilliantly written and hilarious. Don't ever stop.

kanishk said...

I agree though- all cultural. When I was in Europe studying not one time did I ever think about working out or not eating that or being too fat. I just was. So happy. Now, back in Canada...its always in my head! So irritating.
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