Thursday, 27 January 2011


I can see an end in sight though I'm not quite there yet. Yesterday I really started to feel like I was at the end of the beginning.

I've been writing posts all the way, I've deleted quite a few which is so unlike me usually I just leave them to fester in hopes I'll be able to sort something cogent. I'm laughing as I write that thinking of all the times I've pressed publish and er, fallen a tad short of that let's say!

I've been flapping and flailing around over at twitter -technical sub literacy is a pain and tidying up a few old posts. I've mostly been focusing on sorting other matters and stepping back-a little from things.

I hope to get back into the swing soon.

Monday, 17 January 2011


After the low standard of obesity related research it's refreshing cleansing at times to view things through the eyes of intelligent curiosity rather than the distorted lens of pre-ordained conclusion.

Normally I wouldn't have watched *(there's a shorter linked clip below) a programme about the effects of cannabis. I happened to see the start and was drawn in by the feel of it plus some nice looking computer animation involving the brain.

It used this to show how cannabis affects the brain especially. One example followed the ingestion of cannabis through food. It's most potent chemical THC gets to the brain entering through the bloodstream via the walls of the small intestine. It goes up the spine through the back of the neck, into the brain and on to the cells of the hypothalamus a gland in the brain which the programme narration said is the "control centre" for hunger.

It's featured in this *clip by the way around 3:30 minutes in, it goes on to say that the THC locks on to the receptors of these cells and floods the cell bodies with messages to seek out food.

"Whether they are hungry or not. Most people just call this the munchies and...."

.....they are almost impossible to resist.

Try to imagine such a clear non-emotive conclusion being reached if cannabis was associated with fatness. Then give up quickly, because you barely can. It would be tripped up by the fixation on fat people as eaters, we are nothing if not that preferably 'over'. That lack of clarity is one of the ways many fat people are dogged by the underlying sense that thin people are real in a way they just aren't.

That's the irony at the heart of the "real women" debacle and helps to explain its traction amongst some fat(ter) women.

When things happen to thinz, they happen to real human beings that goes without saying, when things happen to fatz, they happen to the 'obese pathology' not a real person.

This for me is what accepting your body is really about, recovering that sense of yourself as real, as a unit of humanity in which humanness can be observed. Rather than being distorted to serve the needs of a caricature.

It's about wanting to be able to take your reality for granted enough to have a clear idea of what can be understood and what's left to find out.

To emerge from the fiction of fatness, which makes our more complex and human reality seem like the lie.

The munchies munchies can be recognized because it happens to real people, note this link conflates fatness and desire to eat and doesn't mention it potentially being applied directly to those who've lost their appetite through illness or treatment of illness.

This flooding process which produces an overriding desire to eat might well be occurring during the compulsive eating process or hyperphagia as its called. I just found out today.

And this poses something I hadn't considered before, the signal that tell you to eat or get food is not as one with hunger. Which gives a way of grasping why the assumption that CED is about pleasure is not often correct.

So obvious when I think about it, that must be part of why anorexics can feel the pain of excruciating hunger and yet feel totally unable to eat. A disconnect has occurred between the hunger and the imperative to eat. I think of hunger as an all body process which collates its findings so to speak in the conscious brain, rather than them originating there as we are told.

But it didn't occur that this conglomeration of information trips something else that is not an extension of it.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Link happy and laying low

Wow, life getting in the way plus access ish-yoos has turned a pause into a positive hiatus. Sorry to leave the last post dangling believe me it doesn't get much better. I've still got a few things I need to take time out to deal with but I did catch a watchable documentary in the early hours about the wonderful Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
I first stumbled upon her years ago among the libraries music stock. Between the enlightened world music style policy of the library, the diverse community surrounding it plus some judicious ordering from dedicated musos helped me to finally get hold of things like Big Mama Thornton's version of Leiber and Stoller's take on the blues. It was only then that I realised she wrote and recorded Ball and Chain popularized by Janis Joplin, (her influence on JJ is obvious).

I remember being electrified hearing her sing the definitive "Hound Dog" treatment on the radio it TOTALLY blew the famous Elvis version -which never really scanned lyrically- to smithereens. It irritated me after that I'm not hating, I never tire of Suspicious Minds.

When you hear Big Mama's magnificent growling and warbling meaning falls into place. Incidentally some reckon Elvis saw Sister Rosetta play and that her showmanship was an influence on his.

I remember being able to hear recordings by Edith Piaf who is a national institution in France apart from the usual La Vie En Rose, and Je ne Regrette Rien. I was intrigued after reading a biography of her by Margaret Crosland. I did not enjoy it at all! I was bordering on outraged in fact, yet as I had time before I had to return them and still having vague notions of trying to extend my school French into something approaching fluency (ha!) I figured I'd just learn the songs.

I did my chores with her in the background mais voilà ! I finally heard her, I can't even remember what why I took so against her at first. The things I've ended up liking the most were not always instant.

What I admire about Sister Rosetta like so many apart from her playing and singing is her overall performance. She started as a child hitting the road with her ever so religious mother, leaving her father behind in rural *Arkansas, they landed at a church in Chicago, her precocity and talent served to attract people.

She was the first female electric guitar player I saw who could really related to the instrument with their whole being, as an extension and expression of themselves. With most other female players I tend feel they are playing an instrument whereas Sister Rosetta had total command she dominated it unselfconsciously in a way we tend to take for granted in men.

I relate to the sense of her being both a pious and a libertine she was rebellious in the common sense way, she liked to find ways to do what she wanted even if it wasn't the done thing. She is an example of the way the highs of the sacred and the piety in the sexual coalesce in the same place, if you get deep enough.

Her switching from gospel to secular and back again outraged some of her church fans. She refused or was unable to let go of either and managed to win people round with the sheer force of her talent. People shocked by her recording the gospel ballard "Rock Me" substituting God for a mere mortal, using the same approach as she would the original it becomes thrillingly direct.

She was naughty but nice a lively indomitable character pansexual in her tastes the kind who got into scrapes and schemes which made her loving friends shake their heads, there goes Rosetta.

Apropos that aritistopia link for BMT, I've just stumbled on Big Maybelle, check out her (earlier) version of a rock and roll standard plus this.

I'll see you over the hump.


Friday, 7 January 2011

I feelz odd

I'm going through an odd week where I feel a little disjointed like my mind is pointing in different directions-yes even more than usual, cheek!

I've  been reading up on some fat related or 'obesity' stuff notably our old friend Dr. Sharma who is in danger of being worth reading regularly. He's been doing the rounds on the 'sphere garnering praise for managing to inch a bit closer to saying calorie manipulation doesn't scan as a viable weight loss scheme, epidemiologically speaking (get me).

If what he says doesn't seem totally cogent, it's because it is still a huge emotional leap to face that, without having a viable solution. Try it doc, some of us have lept that one and it was like throwing yourself off a cliff. Seriously.

People assume that we in FA just don't give a damn but many's the time my heart has been thumping like a drum even though I've known better than many before I landed in the fray.

Things definitely seem to be happening and I sense a need to review the overall situation and alter my perspective. I haven't bothered to follow a lot of stuff in the field because it's frankly been a lot of nonsense and I've not been able to stand it.

I was thinking just this morning how much this has demeaned my view of science. I used to read scientific studies for fun. There is something about the way science and research has changed that has meant I lost that impetus as the trust had gone....

To be continued.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


We are romantic souls at heart assuming the crusade could only be derailed because of  "Touche pas à mon pote!" which translates as "Don't touch my mate". The slogan of a campaign against racism and anti-semitism aimed at the young, appealing to them to defend others.

People love to criticise the French for what seems sometimes like a default state of arrogance, but that my friends is fraternité or brother(sister)hood. As that is a third of their national motto, maybe that partly explains their uppitiness, a little bit of fellow feeling.

Fact is, the crusade could have been derailed then as now piecemeal by recognizing more of the implications on others of allowing fat people to swing.  This is why leading with the "thin privilege" angle has frustrated it appears to collude in making FA all about 'sympathy' (errrgh) for fat people, when it is crystal clear fellow feeling for fatz is grudgingly and measly.

Dealing with the implications of excluding fat people on everyone defending against that directs a critical gaze on the crisis that would stop it from going so unchecked. That seems a far more accessible and practical direction for all.

I've always seen FA as being for everyone, mainly from the view of liberating everyone from fat phobia which by the energy invested in it has been propelled it all directions. The problem is that like many in FA, I didn't realise that feeling was not shared by others due to them seeing it as affecting only us badly, not them.

When Joy's video finally loaded in my 'puter, after I'd read Lesley's piece and read the YouTube comments, I realised immediately why it offended. What she cleverly does is point out the unspoken truth that whilst people pay lip service to us reducing weight through "healthy living", what they really mean is we ought to be prepared to use the behaviours that make up eating disorders to achieve it.

Whilst of course pretending that we are pursuing a "healthy lifestyle", just like some of them. You get an element of this from some smokers (and others) too.

What the video fails to do is treat bulimic behaviour with the same reverence as those who haven't been as browbeaten with this kind of thing. These people think things must only be seen their way, tell that to those who think this is a 'cure'.

Predictably, they attack the person, rather than the fat phobia which is what has really punctured their consensus. The time for them to get upset and ask questions is when we are being told to lose weight using behaviours they consider to be a threat to health.

Isn't that appalling? No, apparently its offensive to your boo boo.

If folk have nothing to say on that, then they are at least tacitly agreeing that disordered behaviour has its uses, therefore we can talk about them in different ways, can't we? If you want everyone on board with one view, then make sure you fight for eating disorders to be off the menu, for everyone.

The obesity persona is actually an insulting caricature of compulsive/ binge eating disorder projected onto all fat people. Every time fat people are insulted about what we supposedly eat or don't eat, the overall obsession with making it all about that, is using this false association with an eating disorder, to deny our agency our subjective experience, our humanity even.

The remedy for this presumed disorder is another form of disordered eating proto-anorexia-early stage-plus a little exercise bulimia thrown in. We are urged to practise these disorders, whether we succumb to any of them depends on our internal propensities i.e. luck. But they are all presented as lifestyles, regardless.

Joy's alluding to the fact that when we are told "we haven't tried hard enough" this is what they are really getting at. It's what they really mean when they tell us "we don't get it" if that is pointed out, it is denied "We didn't tell you to go to extremes", right because if it's not said, no-one can say you mean it can they?


People are content to use fat people, to do this they are content to exclude us. Its a double whammy. You can exclude someone from the group, but be courteous and polite to them, or you can exclude them and make use of them for your own ends.

Imagine at school, you want to be part of a group, they do not agree so they tell you to buzz off. They also start picking on you, bullying you out of a sense of ownership of yourself, trying to replace it with they want you to be.

When the people on the inside go along with this kind of thing and force others to the edge, that change of position changes people, they are more likely to develop a different perspective and attitude, they are seeing from another vantage point. It depends on the extent of the exclusion and mis-use, but in comparison they are not being shaped by the mores of the clique except from the outside.

They are more likely to develop a different sensibility about certain things based on this which doesn't necessarily match the insider view. The group needs to try and factor that in to their exclusion, all groups do.

That's what "I'd rather have so and so on the inside pissing out, rather than on the outside pissing in" is referring to. It's not always about whether you want people in or out, you have to consider consequences of either.

That's pragmatic.

Once the decision is made that they are out, the corollary is they are (somewhat) out of being policed by the group too. Fairs fair, if you are not benefiting from its courtesies, why should you fall under its direction? Denying your own experience?

The consciousness of insiders is shaped by what they are being included in, others can witness this from the outside, they can be sensitive to it as far as their imagination and capacity to notice can manage-which is why I could tell the video would offend some (by no means all)-but they are not formed by it. They cannot be policed by what may not have any real internal reference point, without denying their own.

Isn't that what we are trying to get away from? Imitating falsehoods slapped on us by the entitled and being policed by that sense of entitlement?

I do not wish  to implicate Joy, the swiftness and elegance of her contriteness shows how she feels. And I respect too what I think is Lesley's view which is we can manage other people's sense of entitlement.

I'm not so sure.

It's not just that I will not, I simply cannot. I don't have the ability unless I remain in the state I'm currently in the process of exiting. I'm prepared to admit that might be a lack on my part, I don't say absence I'm saying that is too much of a stretch for me, I'm not made of rubber. Maybe its in part because there are other exclusions which have made this sensibility stronger/more varied in me than others with a different perspective.

Whatever; suffice to say I am not the same as I would have been if I'd been on the inside in certain matters and I don't feel apologetic or like pulling my head in to suit those who rarely object when it counts, when it's not about them.

I do not resent that nor am I bitter about that in itself, as long as I can operate from my truth. It's the policing that gets on my nerves. What I have a low tolerance for is people telling us how to feel as if we are a bunch of dizzy rubes and they city sophisticates who are going to school us on how to think, how they think.

They were not so morally elevated when watching us getting it from all sides as they are now.

I do not set out to be offend the reasonable nor intend to be discourteous, I came up with an example of what would be an offensive take on this, but it was really offensive, so I won't! I'm not advocating careless mockery, merely to be able to represent experience in a thoughtful and questing way.

A fat person making light of the way we are treated is not offensive to anyone but hypocrites and a lot of people including those who've had bulimia, got that point. We have things to say and express for everyone because we are as human as anyone and we represent that, we can add to things.

If you are not bothered by the way we are treated don't try to be offended by a reasonable response to that. We are allowed to express the truth of our own perspective, as much as anyone, we are not here merely to spectate.

So the next time you are watching another car crash of fat people being trashed to heck unopposed thinking it has nothing to do with you, think again, learn to consider any possible implications for you and decide whether you wish to act on that basis, you don't have to give a tinker's cuss about fat people, directly.

If you choose not to act, get ready to hear something else from the edge.