Sunday, May 23, 2010

the double down

I haven't been paying attention to the flutter about the KFC Double Down--the huge who-will-think-of-the-children ghoulish horror about its existence--but it strikes me as I squint at it as sort of disingenuous.

If you look at the fat content in fast foods, there are pages and pages of other foods with higher fat content, including standard fare like a 6-inch Subway meatball sub.

The horror seems to be directed at the attitude the Double Down conveys by its existence; its flagrant, yes flagrant, lack of shame about what it is (you go home and wipe that makeup off, young lady). Or at our own shame that manufacturers have looked into our souls and know that this picture of excess is what we want. You know some focus groups were eating these things a year ago.

It's as if the DD is no longer disguising what fast food really is: it's a full-blown, wanton, processed, animal producty thing, with no window dressing to make it more like real fud. (As Raymond Chandler wrote: "Americans will eat anything if it is toasted and held together with a couple of toothpicks and has lettuce sticking out of the sides, preferably a little wilted"). How is eating a Taco Bell Taco Salad (45 grams of fat) so different from dining on a Double Down (32 grams)? It just looks better. You could argue there's more nutrition in the bagged pre-shredded Taco Bell iceberg, but I'm not sure about that. The reaction to the DD also seems a little funny coming so fast on the heels of the Atkins surge of a few years ago, when the DD would have been hailed as the solution to all our no-carb needs.

Being appalled at doubling down seems a little like throwing paint on a fur coat while wearing leather shoes and belt. It's too obvious.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

fat fingers officially tools of doom (woo)

Try google-newsing "fat finger" and you will see the problem that brought the stock market to its knees today. That term seems on its way to becoming semi-officially official... The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now.

Happy International No Diet Day!

Photo from! Check the site out if you haven't.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

blogs of size

I agonized quite a while over what to name this blog.

My other blog was named on a whim, and I still regret it, inasmuch as saying the name out loud makes me squirm: it's pretentious, I don't really know how to pronounce it correctly, and I usually mumble it like an embarrassed teenager, less and less coherently (invariably people don't hear it on the first pass) when people ask me what it's called. It's not catchy at all, except to call it "tha ki-YAY" sometimes. I like it well enough in print, but that's different. All this I hoped to avoid here.

I also wanted to avoid the absolute sea of puns that exist for fat clothing stores and fat social groups and dating sites: More to Love, Big [Whatever]s, Large and in Charge, etc. Any good or thought-provoking punnery in amongst the cheese (and there's a lot) there has long since been exhausted, and I just didn't feel like those kinds of names would strike the right tone. They are too focused, ultimately, anyhow. I love names like Big Fat Blog, but I didn't want to go that kind of route anymore either.

I ended up with a few runner-ups. After speaking with my friend Hanne, I was seriously pondering two somewhat similar ones:
...the latter being a nod to sociologist Mark Graham's brilliant term. Another contender was something my friend Damian used to say when he wanted to win an argument (I think it's already a blog name):
The winner, though, came from Martha Bayne, tossed off from behind the bar, no less, in a fit of brainstorming while she served drinks. It's still working for me, and I really like the definite article. Let's meet at The Extender, shall we?

Thanks, Martha.

fearful subtext

There's nothing remotely surprising about this article, "How to Not Look Fat in a Swimsuit," but the subtext is so hilarious I found it worth noting. It's awful, but the fear in it is so strong it's funny.

The content is amped-up classic stuff such as: wearing dark on the bottom, drawing the eye up, hiding the tummy...wearing Miraclesuits and even Spanx while swimming. Full-figured women should "try a maxi dress, or a semi-sheer cover-up to give 'the illusion of a flawless figure.' " Disguise the bosom, moisturize the legs to hide cellulite, fake a thinner waist with a belt... "Your tummy needs to be long and lean . . . any little height will make you walk better, stand sexier, put a little spring in your step and make you look a little bit taller and leaner." Gah! Gah! Panicking, fumbling, worried...

Don't let anybody see you as you are. Don't let any part of you which departs from a norm show. Don't be fat, but really, don't look fat. You are entirely vulnerable to the judgments of those around you, and should be. What others think is the most important thing in the world. How you look is everything. The agony of being yourself is unending, and only a few people are good enough to be allowed in a swimsuit just as they are.

I guess the subtext isn't really funny, and this is an obvious feminist rant, and for what it's worth I hate shitty fashion too, but it's all just so tortured. It's absurd.

The point of wearing a swimsuit is to SWIM!! Action verb! Not to be viewed. I mean, at base. Right? Right? she bleats.

Some people might argue that this article is giving people tips for actually getting out there, but I don't think so. Not to mention--yea verily, some people just are fat, and how you're not supposed to not look fat in a bathing suit when you are fat is a question that can only be answered by not swimming or wearing a suit or even existing, and that subtext is tired and in fact not really subtext at all.

The honest, sad, terrible, kinda cool truth is that nobody's paying that much attention to you. Yes, people are horrible and dismissive to fat people (and everybody), but one ass-backward benefit of all this bathing suit angst is that if everyone is so tortured and inwardly-focused, then what do you have to lose by heading out?

[Thanks to Aris for link.]

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

the beauty of lines

Interesting piece in Burmese newspaper the Irrawaddy about painter Sandar Khaing, who paints figures and has a specific interest in fat nudes, through painting her sister as model.
I like what I can see of her work a lot.

"I just want to present lines, the beauty of lines."

[Thanks to Felecia for this link.]