You know, this isn't right I'm sure, but a thought exercise on why in the movie Splash in the eighties, Madison met a woman who told her one, Annie Hall was so passe and two, her daughter was so lucky because she was anorexic started this. believe it. or. not.



If that cut doesn't win for pretentious and meaningless, I'll take that as a personal challenge to do better.

NOTE: this can only be applied to the Western World above the equator that exists in my imagination most likely. It could apply universally or--most likely--be totally wrong, but I can't earnestly sit here and expound on all the societies and cultures I'm not part of and to double down, a member of the groups whose upper classes colonized the fuck out of them.

(Life Lesson: it's inevitable to be wrong and to offend, but it's generally recommended you restrict it to your own backyard and not other people's and therefore be both be wrong and a creeper who climbs metaphorical fences to do it and surprise them with your wrongness as well as a minimum of felony cultural trespassing.)

The 99% were for a very long time serfs and freeish farmers, the very important difference was a serf was bound to the land like an tree but not planted or even a plant whose roots were feet and could farm food they were not allowed to eat but they shared one characteristic with a tree, they couldn't hunt animals either, I'll get back to that, but still, huh; so, a farming not-plant no roots walking tree or waterless mobile pond with opposable thumbs and a pitchfork but the thing is, they do have this in common: none of these could hunt but one really needed to.

Among serfs, the beauty standard was 'not dead', which wasn't as easy at it sounds; serfs farmed food for the land's owner, could not hunt for any reasons even if the deer was in their laps offering fresh venison with its very own hooves, and the owners pretended serfs were indeed like trees and photosynthesis (back them: probably God handfed plants with love and manna so serfs should also be in that line right? They didn't believe that, no, but at least that explanation I just gave exists because fuck knows what they thought was going on but on a guess, caring was in short supply so they may really have thought serfs were literally human-looking trees.)

Post-serf days--still starvation, still farmed for their owners, but not trees, they earned a right to be in the animal kingdom though not crazy high levels like a fine horse or wolfhound or lapdog--the progress against everything anyone could do to stop it allowed people who use to be serf-trees to find ways to get food and not starve and die.

I'm skipping a lot of history up to Ruben and teh madness of King George and the Prince Regent and bros who was very supersize and society followed it, because for a very long time, the only people who had fashion angst were rich while others were on Social Development Level Two: starvation less of a thing but barely, and fat only an impossible dream. The rich could afford to not only eat, but have marzipan crusted goose with syrup sauce. Men also wore the Cumberland corset due to weight gain and that was a new fashion but pointless if you didn't have a weight, holy shit are you thinking it was a fashion to gain a great deal of weight so you could get the fashionable Cumberland corset to hide and/or shape it? Truly a moebius strip of how fashion is insane and these people had too much time on their hands.

(Note: two parent working households have been a thing for all of history; the upper class was where a woman could perfect ennui into a preferable way of life. Again, in all of history only the top one percent could afford to have its women stay home and be educated and learn to play the harp, watercolor, and party until six in the morning in impractical shoes.)

Weight as a facet of fashion is a luxury to all and can only be pulled off when sufficient food is available for all; not-starving to death is now a problem and also, the not-serf-trees no longer live life in hopes of living it and can think about things like equal pay and the meaning of life and have been officially people for a while, and fuck your dog and your horse and never again the backstory of A Tale of Two Cities shall there be because French Revolution and philosophy and beheadings so many beheadings.

Go back: health equals sufficient flesh still but food was more common and sugar was by now very cheap because cash crops and bigger farming and everyone wants to do the society fashion thing and learn Latin and waltz; class markers have for so long been very visual so what to do? Science plus badly needed class division on sight equals a gotcha no one saw coming; it was the kind of food you could get and science things equals processed food is cheaper than fresh and a huge time saver when both parents were working because I can't emphasize this enough, women ahve always worked, always.

Problem solved! Poor people were becoming fatter with tv dinners by the dozen after long work days at one or two jobs each and sleep was necesary still (Social Development Scale: Two A, we still have problems with this) so time was a bit of a problem to cook. The middle class killed themselves to rise up above the working class (rich liked this sudden division in the former serf-trees) and could have a woman home to cook, and the rich eating expensive whole grain organic wheat cooked by their live in chef. Enter level this shit up: thinner is better.

I have no idea if I'm right, but in my defense, no one else really knows either.

Today:

Fat people are poor and lazy and eat at McDonald's and shop at Wal-Mart; it's not an accident that's such a fucking specific association and so very common, enough that a book was written about the evils of McDonalds and supersizing and in a touching moment of god it's almost mystical, both poor people and McDonalds are in Wal-Mart these days and there's a webpage devoted to filming their antics for all of us to watch. Mobile entertainment with legs and opposable thumbs: better or worse than not-serf-trees y/n?

Remember when people are like "TELL THEM TO GET THAT BIG MAC OUT OF THEIR FAT MOUTHS" or something like that to cure the obesity problem? Fat is bad and also a lower class problem because high calories, cheap food, fat, and poor while shopping at Wal-Mart for elastic pants. Wait, there's more. Poverty level households get Food Stamps and it's not much, so they shop for value; fat now is also lazy which is why they're in poverty and cheating the government buying Doritos and Cadillacs and oopsing all the poor men (because sexism why not?) for child support for a dozen children and free housing that the government pays them for with thousand inch TVs and iPhones.

Boom: it's inarguable, this is totally fucking science now and fat is not only unattractive but dangerous for your health and coded for the lazy who are poor on welfare ten kids Wal-Mart McDonalds. It's not economics or even good math unless two plus running in place equals fence post, but reality is for the poor to deal with and the rich have a tee time at six, see ya.

If you say 'but nutrition is real and fat kills therefore love is public ridicule and self-improvement with bootstraps go run and put down the Big Mac already or you won't get my magic cock' you have proven green plus flintstones equals pi with a proof made of pudding.

Why does it feel like this is going somewhere else and its not the obvious solution to the obesity problem? Maybe I just really like historical tree-serfs and prologues are fun, think of that?

Now where was I?

Wal-Mart is evil sweatshops low pay beats their employees and keeps them below full time in droves so don't shop there and boycott that will solve the problem that didn't exist of assuring there are less jobs and welfare lazy fat ten kids McDonalds dollar menu and all the tv dinners did I mention Food Stamps doesn't give you much? Keep Wal-Mart out of our very middle class neighborhood yes, put them nearer the poor people or don't come here at all, fuck the poor two streets over we have never heard of food desert you can bootstrap your carless way to the grocery store two buses and a mile long fucking walk or be so stupid at the convenience store at 500% markup on a tomato that still has a patch of red.

This is fucking serious social justice; Wal-Mart gets all my limited fucks and do you like kids in sweatshops or something? That's gross and you person (very poor and possibly fat due to your own damn fault) are terrible; I've got no skin in this zero sum game I just made up because I know that's how it works in social justice and I pick who gets to fight and who will win and who will lose because feelings and righteousness; you're a sociopath if you're not behind me one hundred percent on those goddamn sweatshops and I'm telling everyone all about you except the parts I don't think are relevant such as how fucking relevant your skin very much is.

I do like tree-serfs, but indeed that wasn't my topic and obesity was one and so were all of them because they're related like a lot and my pick one was not at random: I really wanted that tree-serf framing device and it's not over yet.

I never promised a solution to the obesity problem but I'd like you to check out how many things there involved in 'obesity' and qualify as 'problem'. And why oh why would anyone care about obesity (possible own damn fault?) when racism and sexism and poverty and holy shit sweatshops are right there and you must. Pick. One. Right the fuck now. And you are a terrible person if you pick the wrong one because that means you don't think the others are problems, and at least one isn't important at all, have you picked yet you're a fucking sociopath of course they're all problems but pick one and it's gotta be the one I think is most important on Tuesday at seven PM wait, homophobia isn't here so that's not a problem for you either?

This isn't at all familiar and doesn't happen, anywhere, with gifsets, even.

Intersectionality isn't just a theory on how oppressions affect each other; it's a warning that nothing you do lacks consequences across the board in the macro and that price must be and will be paid in the micro and that goes for the good as well as the bad. Walmart destroys local businesses and that's terrible; it may also be the only place a working single mother can buy milk and bread for her child and gas to get to work as well because the local businesses were too expensive and more, doesn't waste gas and time she cannot afford going to eight different stores for lettuce, lightbulbs, and a hammer to fix the leak in her kitchen ceiling.

The mentally ill, people of color, immigrants, and single mothers are the top winners when it comes to poverty, four oppressed groups are represented here who use Wal-Mart not because they're selfish sociopaths who believe two for one deals are more important than kids in sweatshops with their oodles of disposable income they use on such luxuries as food to eat and a blanket; it can better be spent in socially conscious places where they may have to skip the blanket and most of the food but your hunger pangs will be fed spiritually by photosynthesis, god's love and manna and so much righteousness for the good and you should be warm from satisfaction in the absolute goodness I've done over there and you're gross for not feeling it, too. If you're cold, you're doing social justice wrong; it's not about you.

Progress: you don't think they're not-plant no roots walking trees or waterless mobile pond with opposable thumbs and no, they're not farming but their food is still missing; it's not yours, they're not serfs, but you took it anyway.

You tell me, since the resemblance is uncanny: what was not-plant no roots walking tree supposed to eat anyway? I can tell you science says photosynthesis is not gonna cut it and did you talk to God first and the manna thing very Moses not so much now. I will do you the justice of trusting that you don't think they were literally human-looking trees but that may be better than the only working reason; you don't care and at least you don't pretend you do because you cannot care for more than one thing.

If you have the luxury of having a social conscience on Wal-Mart's business practices and boycott with attached judgment to its shoppers and buy your shirts free range from organic fibers hand picked at fair wages in organized unions but don't see how this relates to what will happen to this woman (these people) when you win and Wal-Mart disappears and even mentioning it means they like sweatshops where children in other countries are paid ten cents on the dollar your proof is written fair trade pudding.

Casualties in mass social changes even for the better are inevitable and you can't save everyone or how would you sleep? Care about one, choose now and fuck the rest. That's what's important and sleep like a baby of righteous at night.

No one told you this: a social conscience is supposed to guarantee sleepless nights if you're doing it right and there will never be a single acceptable casualty because you will fight for every one of them and truly believe you can win. It's not all hot rage for injustice and the ecstasy of fixing a problem; it's the grinding horror of problems unfixable in tangled groups of wrong all bad and horrible, lives miserable and never getting better, and every fix will fuck someone else into another problem because a choice was made and you made it, and you're only doing it right when having to do that hurts like fucking hell. That's still nothing all to how they feel about it, and your pain is nothing to theirs, but you better fucking feel pain anyway.

Understand you will lose sleep and that's terrible, but the fucked have no obligation to care and you have no right to justify it to them until they agree so you won't feel quite so bad. You signed up for a social conscience and made the decisions that will (hopefully) make the world suck less; they didn't do either one. They are fucked and that is terrible not you being a little sleepy today and it must be fixed. If you don't feel what that means to your goddamn bones you are doing it wrong. This is triage and luck and having the tools right now to do the job you can; it is not greatest to least ever. They. Are. All. Important.

And this is not a game.

Your next item of business; it's not their problem where fixing it requires you to make a choice and repeat until all the problems are solved. You do something else entirely.

Walk outside and look at the forgiving sky and say out loud--this is important:

"I just changed the world."

You have; your actions alone were responsible for this before and after, a fundamental change was made, and it's a whole new world that did not and could not exist without you.

I said it wasn't all ecstasy when you fix a problem: I never said there was none at all. You're been doing Tylenol-3 with codeine; this is pure china white heroin straight in the vein and when they told you that you'd be addicted the first time, they were right. It's supposed to feel good to do this. That's not cookies; that's doing social justice right and paying for it in your own pain, every goddamn cent.

You have also made the world better. You chose to hurt yourself when you hurt others, their pain was your fault and you don't hate them for that hurting you. You accept the consequences of change will always hurt you, it's supposed to, and you will live with it. You will never accept the consequences of change will hurt others, and when it does, you will have failed and you will feel that, too. You made you a better person and the world gets the freebie without doing any of the work.

Not bad for your first try.

Your next item of business; it's not a problem that needs fixing that requires you to make a choice and repeat until all the problems are solved. You do something else entirely.

This is the hardest part of all:

Walk away; you're actually bleeding pretty badly right now after going through all that and it can kill you. Having a social conscience does not require you to die for it; martyrs are one-shot wonders and you're an infinite number of best selling albums and you keep this up there are a lot of number ones in your future.

You're supposed to stitch everything closed as best you can, ice the bruises and if you can't walk yet, lie down, you're tired, this is exhausting shit, and you need to rest. You're supposed to forgive yourself for what you did and didn't do, who you hurt and how you hurt them, because you did, actually, all that you possibly could do. You accept that they may never forgive you and you will never expect them to. That won't stop hurting but it will some day hurt less. There will be scars, no lie; things you survive leave them to remind you that you did.

Go wild and do things fun and stupid and frivolous and live your life; don't wonder nervously what you should be doing and what's not changed yet and all that's not fixed and brace yourself for how hard you know it's gonna be.

This is the easy part:

When you're ready to do it, you'll see something and your knee-jerk reaction will be to start fixing it. You know it will be hard and hurt and almost kill you but. but. This time around, you'll know you can do it. You've done it before.

I'm not saying this will work, though I use it often and enjoy buying my heroin with spiritual disembowelment in real life when I mean the opposite of the word 'enjoy' but I also haven't stopped. So there's that.
out_there: B-Day Present '05 (Default)

2014-08-22 10:17 am (UTC)
*applauds*
cathexys: dark sphinx (default icon) (Default)

2014-08-22 01:22 pm (UTC)
I really like what you're doing here. I caught myself yesterday in class giving a simplistic version of the effects of US foreign policy, and even as i was saying it, I had to step back and complicate it and then complicate it yet again. It's so easy to pull on one thread and think you're fixing something when in fact you may have started unraveling so much more... But as you say, that shouldn't stop us from trying to do the right thing as we believe and se it. Just maybe get rid of the self righteous???
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)

2014-08-22 01:46 pm (UTC)
Wow.

I want to argue with some of your points, but I agree with the big point that actions have consequences in other people's lives and that thought's supposed to be (at bare minimum) disconcerting, and next to that and the sheer power of this essay (nice metaphor with the not-trees) it seems a little futile to argue that (for example) if minimum wage were a living wage we wouldn't need Walmart and their sweatshops. 'Cause that would have consequences too.
jesse_the_k: those words in red on white sign (be aware of invisibility)

2014-08-22 07:05 pm (UTC)
This is not a game!

So true, so true. Excellent essay, thank you.
lastscorpion: (Default)

2014-08-22 05:17 pm (UTC)
Beautifully written! Just beautiful (and horrible, but beautiful).
October 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 2016