Wednesday, December 24, 2008

First blog post ever

So I woke up this morning after having stayed up way too late on the internet and concluded that I need to start a blog because if I'm going to be bound at the hip to my computer and let's face it, addicted to the internet, i might as well have something semi-productive to show for it. Also, if I have a place where I can comment all I want about the world as I see it maybe I can actually do freelance audio and writing pieces that will get me paid instead of trying to make them into a vehicle for informing everybody just how I see things. So here's my first post, a review not of a movie, but of a movie trailer because I REALLY DON'T WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE. It's another in the fat people are destroying American genre and they're all the same. But unfortunately you can't really pitch a review of a movie trailer. But I CAN post it on my blog. You see, already I feel liberated by this thing called blogging. So here goes. Post #1. Tune in tomorrow (or later today depending on how bored I am) for a review of Twilight: a how to guide to abusive relationships.


As 2008 draws to a close, so hopefully does the film festival run for “Killer at Large,” the newest in an ongoing series of panic-inducing documentaries about the obesity epidemic. I have to confess I haven’t even seen this one although I’ve watched the trailer a number of times and shown it in my “politics of obesity” class. And I honestly don’t think I have to because the trailer hits on all of the salient points. It starts out with former Surgeon General Richard Carmona’s famous quote “obesity is the terror within” and then moves seamlessly into weeping overweight teenagers, headless Americans at the beach spilling out of their bathing suits, and visions of fat-inducing fast food crosscut with the wiggling fatty byproducts of liposuction. After an action packed two and half minutes we’re left with the conviction that fat and fat people are destroying America.

I just finished teaching a “politics of obesity” course at the university of California at Santa Cruz where we carefully analyzed the ways in which the “obesity epidemic” hijacks meaningful conversations about over-consumption and very real anxieties about the failure of the American economy. With the help of a bevy of theorists we concluded that the fat body embodies the contradictions of neo-liberalism – to be good citizens we’re told to consume (remember after 9-11 when bush told us to go shopping) but we’re also supposed to self regulate and control ourselves because the government certainly isn’t going to take care of us if we get sick or mismanage our finances. Fat bodies are the symbolic representation of the ways in which that system doesn’t work. We can’t overconsume and remain svelte, borrow imaginary money and not (oh I don’t know) have an economic collapse.

And if you think this all sounds like high falutin’ mumbo jumbo seriously just watch the trailer to “Killer at Large.” ( I mean are fat people really “the terror within” or should that title perhaps be given to Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac?

I’m curious to see how the war on obesity is going to play itself out in this current economic climate. The old neo-liberal contract is pretty much dissolving – even the good old boys are admitting we need a little government intervention , like 700 billion dollars worth. And hopefully Obama will begin to recreate some of those social services we’ve been losing slowly since Reagan. Self-regulation may be out and structural change may be in. In which case we might start actually having the conversations we need to be having about poverty, inequality, social change instead of displacing them onto fat bodies.

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