Reviews of books, articles, and poetry written by or about ssbbw/bbw
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The Poet that Rides the Waves
I am the poet that rides the waves,
and crashing low.
A poet in the wake of your Walt Whitman,
a poet of the body,
a poet of the soul.
The pleasures of heaven ascend me,
And the pains of hell descend me.
If you knew how much I missed the mark
of that ideal
You might shake your head and go
But wait, my countrymen and women,
My weaknesses can be made perfect
Written and submitted by FA and Poet Brad Hachten. Brad Hachten is a poet and writer living in southern California. More information about his writing can be found on his blog at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be reached at email@example.com.
In the Crosshair, Marie Claire
Well, allow me to begin by saying that I was genuinely excited about receiving all your inquisitive questions, comments, concerns and personal attacks from those of you under the impression I have wronged you but… well, put simply, nothing arrived. I am then made to understand that SSBBW Magazine is, collectively speaking, doing a bang-up job. Sort of like, if you buy a car and nothing’s wrong, you don’t call up the dealer to tell them what a great job they did. I understand and respect this, as disappointed as I am. But don’t you think for a minute that I’d be rendered unable to keep something new coming your way.
In fact, I was all prepared to put on the gloves and continue parrying the onslaught of psychologically-devastating pro-ana propaganda from Ralph Lauren but, as it turns out, I was facing the wrong target. As it turns out, one particular writer for Marie Claire magazine, Maura Kelly, has unleashed a litany of hate-filled slop onto her magazine’s record, the likes of which I never thought possible. After all, most people merely place their foot into their mouths, whereas Mrs. Kelly successfully swallowed the appendage in its entirety with her article, published October 25, 2010, entitled “Should “Fatties” get a Room (Even on TV)?” We all know that what’s to come is pure class, as the title itself begins with an insult of all things. Obviously, I can’t reprint the article here and I don’t care to give them any more traffic due to this vitriolic mess, so allow me to sum up her article here for appropriate dissection:
- Her editor, allegedly, posed the question, “Do you really think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?” thus prompting the following points.
- The actors portraying the titular roles in the sitcom Mike & Molly are, to quote her exact words, “downright obese”.
- She goes on a completely unrelated rant for three paragraphs making up statistics concerning health care costs and obesity, proving ostensibly that she never bothered to fact check prior to writing her article and the editor failed to do the same.
- She berates and belittles people of size (of both genders, for clarification) and compares them to, “… a very drunk person…” and “… a heroin addict…” Her arguments can be summed up in “People of size are gross and do not deserve to be the peers of skinny people in virtually any medium and I’m going to make up health-related facts to justify my hateful attitude”.
- The next three paragraphs further cement her condition as a hateful, clueless insert-your-preferred-obscenity-here by claiming that, “I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over.” Without at any point citing sources, sans anecdotal (read: worthless) evidence.
- She concludes, taking another vicious, uncalled-for swipe at people of size and tempts fate by asking, “What do you guys think? Fat people making out on TV — are you cool with it? Do you think I'm being an insensitive jerk?”
To begin, I can almost guarantee that her editor poised no such question, as that would imply that her editor is a massive jerk. People don’t talk like that, first of all, and secondly, if he or she did, then they clearly missed the nine year span that was the 1988-1997 run of the hit sitcom, Roseanne, starring Roseanne Barr and John Goodman. For those who somehow don’t know, they were a middle-class family of five with large parents running the house who frequently displayed romantic affections on the air throughout the 200+ episode run. It was an absolute success and in spite of both lead actors being large, they never wanted for love and were viewed in a predominantly positive lighting. For nearly a decade, people watched. Never once was a complaint issued. So, the short answer? Either selective memory has taken a severely sharp turn for the terminal in the last decade or so or preconceived prejudices are so deeply-rooted that they won’t allow mere things such as “facts” and “truth” stand in their way.
Now, the actors of Mike & Molly are, indeed, people of size. So what? Or, put more bluntly: who cares? There are people of all sorts of shapes and sizes and you’re surrounded by them every time you venture outside your house. You’d think the constant exposure would cement at the very least a “live-and-let-live” policy of handling people who don’t meet Mrs. Kelly’s “Master Race” policy, but such seems sadly lost on her. The only place you don’t see people of all sorts is in media and you don’t have to be a sociologist to figure out the negative attitudes this can breed in the hatemongers who are all desperately pointing fingers and yelling “I’m still better than THAT group over there”. For those who may not realize this: this was a commonly-held attitude used to justify the many, many –isms that are now considered cultural taboos (racism, sexism, etc). Fancy that.
I’ve covered the many myths of health care and weight and people out there have done so even better than I could’ve, so let’s jump ahead. Alcohol and heroin… wow, where do I even start with that? Controlled substances can be controlled by a person bigger than the addict. Further, removal of the substance from the user will provide instant results, as unpleasant as they might very well be. None of this is true for people of size. This is just another instance of just plain not caring and letting one’s biases control their motormouth. She keeps trying to cite authority where it doesn’t exist or point to health-related problems, but that’s not the core of the issue here: she doesn’t like big people because they’re DIFFERENT from her idealized worldview, therefore they are BAD and need to be OSTRACIZED FROM ALL MEDIA EVER, Sieg Heil, mein freund.
So, what does this boil down to? It’s a classic example of what I’ve taken to calling “The Last Frontier of Discrimination”, the constant desire to not be the bottom peg on the ladder of life. Regrettably, this frontier only consists of plus-sized people and the elderly and even the latter of the two is getting to be socially unacceptable in the western world. The solution is not to inundate the clueless schmucks with hatemail, this will only propagate the cycle of revenge and animosity. Our job, at instances like these, is to buck up and walk away. If we strike back against those who damn us we, inadvertently, cause them to feel their prejudices are justified and will only perpetuate further generations of hate and bias. We have to control the knee-jerk reactions and leave the vicious verbal smackdowns to professionally-trained literature section editors who are used to being everyone’s enemy. In short: turn away from hate-mongers, ignore their condemnation and, as much as it burns us, to live and love, even those that hate us. In this, we turn their perceptions on their head. In time, they’ll have no choice but to see the truth and view us as their equals. Don’t read their slop, don’t return anger for anger, just live your lives as an example for others to live by as well.
Whew. That was a lot to take in all at once and I imagine tempers are flaring up as these past two articles have been a little negative. How about something nice now for a change of pace?
Ahh. Much better.
Written by: Jeff M.
|"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!"
~Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836
|"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow