Saturday, January 23, 2010

Too Fat to F*ck

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink,
or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God

--1 Corinthians 10:31

Nobody does it better
Makes me feel sad for the rest
Nobody does it half as good as you
Baby, you're the best
--Nobody Does it Better, Carly Simon

File this under: America behaving badly.

A cable network health program is soon to feature couples who are too heavy to, um, mate ("Too Fat for Sex"). The good news is, the Centers for Disease Control recently reported that American obesity
rates may have plateaued at 34% (however, the number of obese + "overweight" Americans stands at nearly 70%.) While the optimists say we've halted the progression of the obesity epidemic, others like David Ludwig said the plateau merely suggests"'we’ve reached a biological limit' to how obese people could get."

A trailer for the Discovery Channel's "Half-Ton Teen" touts, "Once the world's heaviest teenager, Billy Robbins' weight loss efforts have recently stalled and now, he is falling back on old habits. In the third installment, doctors make
a desperate attempt to save Billy from self-destruction." Who has the time to watch this -- aren't there nacho platters to be prepared?

There seems to be a larger problem here (no pun intended). In
"The Death of Decorum," Gavin McInnes notes the slovenliness of American dress. Not that we don't export our blase look via our Hollywood mavens, but pee jays worn in public seem a new low. "They are the one great unifier that brings all lazy, self-indulgent Americans together, regardless of race or background." (Not that the British shav look of 70's polyester track suits is that fetching, but at least they were made to be worn outside.)

It was also reported last week that young people spend more time on computers and other technologies than adults do at work -- between 10 to 11 hours per day, factoring in multi-tasking
(More Screen Time for Youths than Adults on the Job.) The New York Times head said, "If You're Kids are Awake, They're Probably Online." It doesn't seem healthy.

A recent
Times Magazine feature on "The Americanization of Mental Illness" stated the U.S. is "homogenizing the way the world goes mad." By exporting our Western “symptom repertoire” the U.S. is altering the expression of mental illness in other cultures.

P.T.S.D and anorexia "now appear to be spreading across cultures with the speed of contagious diseases. These symptom clusters are becoming the lingua franca of human suffering, replacing indigenous forms of mental illness."

Ethan Watters, author of, “Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche," says "the expectations and beliefs of the sufferer shape their suffering," and the DSM is now "the field guide to the world’s psyche."

Interestingly, Watters asserts that our medical model of psychiatric illness may predispose us to remain ill and suffer marginalization, as we are intractably identified with our illness, and others reinforce that identity. In other cultures where "the illness was seen as the work of outside forces, it was understood as an
affliction for the sufferer but not as an identity."

Watters' essay concludes that our latching onto labels and the psychopathologizing of our country is a result of our becoming
"an increasingly insecure and fearful people." We are searching for security in an increasingly unknowable world in our labeling and prescriptions.

Maybe that's why we hoard and overeat, and disappear into the ethernet. Because we have become alienated and fearful. The solution would seem to be in doing the opposite of what got us here.

[Cross-posted at Big Brass Blog]

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off subject but maybe you can pass it on.

Oh site isn't loading correctly but maybe it me

Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 10:09:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Lisa: It was probably twenty years ago that the baseball writer Bill James commented (in a piece about a player who was reputed to be a head case) something to the effect that in the late 20th Century we had invested psychology with all that we had formerly applied to and expected from religion, philosophy, personal honor and intellectual inquisition, and yet we had just as little real insight into WHY these people did these things or what to do about them.

I think the most crucial of the insights you make here, Lisa, is the degree to which so many of us are overtaken by our diagnoses, how much we come to define ourselves by them. Twelve-steppers are perhaps the worst - my ex-father-in-law (a social drinker at worst) defined himself as a "recovering alcoholic" as much, I suspect, to insulate himself from the moral failure implicit in his sexual affair and subsequent divorce as to deal with any drinking problem. If he was an alcoholic, you see, it was the booze that screwed his female friend and broke up his marriage and not his own horny stupidity.

Life can be SO much easier when you don't have to wrestle with your own bastardy and evil acts.

Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 1:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

FDC says:

"If he was an alcoholic, you see, it was the booze that screwed his female friend and broke up his marriage and not his own horny stupidity.

"Life can be SO much easier when you don't have to wrestle with your own bastardy and evil acts."

Oh, don't you have that one right. Psychology allows for the pathologization which permits all manner of transgressions, because, y'know, he couldn't helpe it. He's f*cked up, don'tcha know.

The price is small: Wearing the crown of thorns which says, "I'm a head case." Lo, there are always those who will pity or exploit such opportunities (and people), such is the hubris of human nature.

And if the head case is reveling in his diagnosis, then you have a game of all against all. It's a very murky soup.

When mental illness is seen as an "infestation" of an otherwise healthy person, numerous other resources can be enlisted to "disinfect" the problem which besets one. The author found even schizophrenia had a significantly lower relapse rate in more primitive cultures than in the U.S.

Our medical model allows for people to languish in the ghettos of the halls of hospitals. It was suggested that this emanates from our pioneer/individualistic spirit: One must go it alone. That usually means pill-popping.

Oh, and voila, all is better when one can drag along a bit of that religious forgiveness into the mixture. I am ill forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 1:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous barcalounger said...

On PTSD. Let's not sugarcoat it. Go back to the old term Shell Shock. Make the VA use the term Shell Shock. Call a spade a spade. Confront it, be upfront about it. Then maybe veterans with Shell Shock will be treated and hopefully cured.

Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 3:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well. on the other hand, it might not be such a bad thing for them that are too fat to fornicate...
SInce my day job is working with teens, I see the results of all this.

Who said "Let them eat....whatever they want to?"
"And watch it too?"
Correlation here?

You bet.

There it is...again,
The Down Side of Screen Time

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends two hours of screen time a day max for children. But according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation Survey, the average American teen consumes over 10 hours of screen time a day. And that's not without consequence.

Generation "Me"

A new study from San Diego State University finds that five times more teens suffer from depression and anxiety than teens who grew up during the Great Depression. Experts say the reasons are many, including school stress, intense competition, instability at home and the need for more.

Monday, January 25, 2010 at 12:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I get you: If they're too fat to copulate, they're out of the gene pool.

In addition to rising anxiety and depression, the rates of clinical narcissism among youth are rising.

What a dreadful self-focus all of this technology promotes. If you're not sitting out with the birds and the bugs, nothing exists but you, your Pepsi and your iPod. Kinda gross, really.

Monday, January 25, 2010 at 1:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

over and over in AA i find myself telling folks

"it wasn't the booze that did all that shit. it was me."

that comes from studying the classics and especially the orestria.

along with the first written instance of a trial by jury (it was a jury of the gods, but hey, it's still a jury), it contains a brilliant speech by orestes. in his defense by athena against a charge of matricide, the goddess pointed out that the whole system of killings and revenge was put into motion by the selfish and arrogant actions of apollo, who demanded agamemnon sacrifice his daughter before setting out for troy. because of that sacrifice, agamemnon's wife murdered the asshole upon his return from troy. as the son, and heir to the throne, orestes' first act had to be to avenge the murder of his father. unfortunately, matricide was the most heinous crime for the ancient greeks.

(that was a brutally short thumbnail version of what took three long ass plays to act out)

hearing athena blame his actions on apollo, orestes stands to speak.

it was not apollo's hand which held the sword. it was mine. it was not apollo's arm which moved that sword to kill my mother. it was mine. i did that deed, not any god, and i did not do it because of any god. i did it because i am the son of a murdered father and king. i did it because i am a man.

over, and over again, i see people who use the geraldine defense the devil made me do it. or folks who demand the right of free speech thinking that this also includes the right not to be talked back to, or that it precludes the rights of others to speak a dissent.

it is only by looking at my life, and my actions, and taking responsibility for that life and actions that i have been able to arrive at some small measure of peace.

minstel's first rule of peace:

quit fighting.

Monday, January 25, 2010 at 1:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

MB: But the problem with "quit fighting" is the bit that comes right after that - "...and start thinking."

Because with reflection and honest self-assessment comes the understanding that I'm NOT good and honorable all the time, the realization that those people I detest and have injured wish to injure me in return and, where the original injury was unjust, if I am an honest man I can do nothing but bow my head and take what's coming to me.

That's WAY harder than fighting and dying.

Monday, January 25, 2010 at 3:46:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

minstrel's second rule of peace:

as soon as you quit fighting, expect to take a few shots from folks you've pissed off. take them as your just due.

third rule:

no fucking whining about it.

Monday, January 25, 2010 at 4:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Your 2nd and 3rd Rule show great understanding and humility.

FDC asserts, "start thinking" comes after "stop fighting," and the assumption of responsibility for damages. That may be attributing more to the erstwhile fighter than he is due. For I have seen those who assume the hard-done-by stance with impunity.

But you did say, "honest" man.

Monday, January 25, 2010 at 5:41:00 PM GMT-5  

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