Thursday, 4 October 2012

Social Enforcers

I'm sure you've seen or heard of this video of Jennifer Livingston a presenter of a morning show in Lacrosse Wisconsin.

She received this e-mail from a viewer headed "community responsibility;
Hi Jennifer,

It's unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn't improved for many years. Surely you don't consider yourself a suitable example for this community's young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you'll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.

What a prince eh?

Undoubtedly crashingly impertinent, invasive and just down right c-rude, but you know what? Once the initial impact disperses, it's hard to feel this is just an individual. If you've paid any attention over the years to the way people we trust with our lives have abused their influence over us.

It feels very much like what it is, the relatively well mannered utterings of a sockpuppet drone. A mere extension of the authority that has propelled this effort.

It's about time people woke up to just how chronically supine they sound droning on about people's dis-easiness, that they themselves are enforcing with their mechanical outpourings. In fact, when one can bypass hurt, they sound just like we did when we were falling hook line and sinker for this script-inside our own heads-there's is our old voice back at us.

Its all distraction.
I have yet to hear one person dealing in it who isn't diminished by that. It's like an advert for how little self respect we have in general. The real embarrassment is how much of a hold those who have access to white coats can have over us.

Everyone who's commented thus far, seems to have taken the lead from Ms Livingston, filing it under freelance "bullying". Being the current affairs professional she is, she cleverly linked it to some anti bullying month. But lets face it, this is a concerted and contrived campaign against fat people directed by those with authority.

The desire to avoid that seems puzzling to me, but perhaps it is me who's out of tune.

I need to repeat, its taken a lot to get people to this point. It was not an overnight thing and that was with a standing start of an extensive history of ridiculing fat people.

I can't stand the way the very thing that should be getting some very sharp scrutiny in all this, authority and our relationship with it. Our betters must remain benign or the sky will fall down. So, not too much chance of examining what we can learn from all this. 

Pater must remain intact. That means of course we have to point fingers at each other, which means well, we are just doing the same as each other aren't we?

Fat people are thieves because....we bad. Fat haters are bullies apropos of nothing because they are bad. Oh, sorry wait, is that fat people who are bad or the others carry out their orders? Is it fat people who are mentally suspect, or the "bullies"? Oh I know, the public's bad, we're all bad.

Authority's ((((((goooooood)))))).

It chose the means by which people were supposed to make change, whilst doing nothing to halt the changes in the environment going in the opposite direction; let alone acknowledge that the valiant efforts of those they dumped on, had demonstrated the intrinsic unfeasibility of their dictates, anyway.

Whilst I do not stint on pointing the finger at individuals and their decision to liberate behaviour they know to be wrong, under the protection of this permission given from our supposed betters. Because we should learn from this not to be such tools, any of us.

It makes me uncomfortable to hear this filed under "bullying". A little part of me feels like ignoring this. It connects, gaining a traction that relieves from the almost permanent state of headdesking that is the usual reward for speaking about fat affairs.

I certainly have felt the insistence on making this solely about fat people was a mistake. I remember once crossing swords, when I said being excluded from health care was not simply about being fat, it was about being on the medico's shit list.

That approach would have connected too.

Turning this into an individual matter, ignoring the hate campaign orchestrated against fat people is like insisting on seeing sexual assaults in terms of the evil or sick who lurk amongst us, removing these acts from their context in sex/ gender power relations.

I don't say everything has to be or can operate always at the deepest depths. Nor do I claim to be particularly deep myself. But this feels way too shallow and in the end, rather self defeating.

Often people attempt to silence fat people by insisting the imposed submerging of ones humanity to that of an object-its like smoking/booze/drugs-is an apt way to run a "health campaign" one that claims the "cure" is already in existence.

And concerns itself solely in stating how bad the disease of being human is.

Is this within the remit of healers?

Everyone knows the way fat people are being treated is wrong, they know.  They want not to know. As little time as I have for centring fat people's consciousness around the notion of "thin privilege", I can't help noting the concept is hugely unpopular.

Even though it has been stated that fatness is a default disadvantage, that can only be remedied by slimming down. Yet, when fat people assert it in this form, suddenly we are told being fat isn't a disadvantage.

In other words, they themselves feel it is more socially enforced, than an actual deficit.

You only have to look at the extraordinary capacity of human beings to adapt to their circumstances to sense what a contrivance it is to place mere fatness as in some way, outside that.

And er, what's with this making "fat" an insult? The man referred to her "obesity", and gave us an object lesson in the sheer absurdity of that term. It turns first person into third. From "I am Jennifer" to "Jennifer is obesity".

He did not call her fat. 

All that his message conveys, flows from the stupidity of naming a condition after the whole person. If you excised the ideal weight and named 'obesity' as starting from there, it might work.

But it doesn't, it makes the whole person disease.

It's bad enough when people turn sexuality, or gender, into disease. But most people can at least conceptualize a person is more than that, though the taint created by the bad feeling tends to overshadow it.

This is presumably why our heroine decided she was "more than a number on a scale", reminds me of "more than a woman."

We are not more than our weight, that's the point. What we all are is more than the meanings being assigned to weight, everyone is, including those fighting to continue to be favoured

And as for us being"better than this"? Please, we aren't! This is who we are, desperate peculiar individuals looking for any advantage we can get, even punking people we love, admire respect and depend on.

Even whilst we lose something that is really precious.

I'm all for the human spirit, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. We have all fallen for this crap like the proverbial sack of potatoes, whether fat people not defending ourselves worth a damn, allowing every boundary of decency to be crossed. And others stunning their conscience, indulging themselves every bit as much as they describe.

We'll be better than this, when we take a good hard look at why we need to behave this way. The forces that drive us in these directions and how we can learn from all this.

*Post Edit

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