Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maura Kelly's Lipophobic Nightmare


Reverend, I hate what you write, but I will give my life so that you can continue to write."- Unknown (not actually Voltaire).

Angry backlash against Maura Kelly is important. Getting you up to speed, she spoke candidly about her views of fat people as unattractive. But many of the 800ish comments on her Marie Claire powered blog expressed the wrong type of backlash (i.e. demands for her termination). Obesity sensitivity is one avenue where liberal-fascism is becoming just as bad an intellectual treadmill as organized religion.

As a morbidly obese American (5'11", 290 lbs), and--socially speaking--a liberal hippie douche, I don't want anybody to get confused about where I'm coming from. My fat credentials are well in hand. I have an ass that could knock over a fish-tank and a c-cup man-rack that could knock over a terrarium. I've been banned from several natural history museums. I'm a 27 year old dude but I'm built like a black grandma.

That said, I'd like to say something about--not the freedom--but the importance of speech. The obvious reason that she shouldn't lose her job is because of freedom of speech. And you could say, "well if her editors think she's giving the magazine a bad image, they have the freedom to fire her". Too true, and an important fact as well! But I'd like to talk about the importance of speech as part of manifesting our destiny as an international species.

During World War II, the Reich stopped the publication of many French periodicals. Marie Claire was among them. Today, mobs of image-drunk and confidence-high 32 year-olds have the best intentions. They don't want to make life any worse for the obese--people who they see as having the modern American experience of second class citizenship (i.e. not feeling the warm objectification of physical lust). But one thing they fail to realize is that by trying to shut her down, they are robbing their rescuees of the fuel which keeps them in need of web-savy heroines 24/7. Let's say she gets shut down. It doesn't mean there aren't people out there THINKING ignorant things about me and chubby magee. It just means that nobody's DISPUTING these things. An idea kept to one's self never has a chance to get shot down (especially an ignorant one). But if she gets to announce it, she begins a dialogue on which neutral observers either 1) keep their opinions status quo, or 2) change their minds to agree with your counter-argument. Percentage-wise, you can't lose! Very few people are going to be reasoned into bigotry with a blog post. You know why? It's all words! Videos, posters, and songs can whip up populist ignorance because they're so emotionally potent, and the totality of their concepts are absorbed in seconds (or minutes). But bare words only offer straight-up literal concepts, and those that don't (i.e. those which use irony, allegory, dense symbolism etc.) are usually 'over the heads' of the extremely ignorant--a group who don't usually bother with books in the first place. That's why the bible doesn't work, and catholics are NEVER encouraged to read the entire thing--only tiny clips that can be vaguely draped upon their spiritual bungalow.

When people rail against Rush Limbaugh or Michael Moore, they are doing so in defence of (we'll call it) their own ideas. They think, "This guy is using a big platform to give people the WRONG ideas." The fallacy that one-dimensional, reductionist thinkers set themselves up for is two-fold. 1) my ideas are the correct ideas [this is obvious, and who can be blamed for this... after all, what sort of base, tribal union with the hills and trees would we have if everything was questionable and we lost the significance of right and wrong], but more subtly 2) a wrong idea weakens the publicity of my (right) ideas. This couldn't be further from the truth. Rush Limbaugh does the left a big service, by unifying the rhetoric of the right (-winged). The types of people who agree with the things Rush says are the people who are already pre-disposed to that type of thought. They didn't particularly need another man's voice speaking their own thoughts to them. He does benefit his cause SLIGHTLY by improving unity--which is good for morale and motivation. But this benefit is counter-acted by his simultaneous highlighting the opposing idea. An idea which would often never pop into certain people's heads. Every time Rush speaks, he breathes new life into those who oppose him. We've all seen Star Wars, and we know that anger is more powerful than focus. Well in the world of Rush Limbaugh, we now have focused already-right-wingers, and angry--some of which, new--left-wingers.

That's why censorship is the devil and the internet is probably the anti-christ (meaning, the charismatic entity which will lead us away from organized religion). As far as I'm concerned, every idea possible should be voiced so that others have the metaphysical exercise of dealing with it. And to shut down a blogger (or author, radio host, etc.) that you don't like is to want to rest on your socially-righteous intellectual laurels. There's a difference between thinking and doing, and real evil is (to my knowledge) never created with literature. So if you have an idea that you think may be crazy, put it out there. Because as far as I'm concerned your idea doesn't become valid until someone disagrees with it. Without some form of dissent, your idea is just an obvious, axiomatic tenet, incapable of stimulating any real growth.

Moving on briefly to my opinions on her blog post as a fat person. Well I'm embarrassed to admit that I mostly agree with them. Even as a fellow chubster--although I have no problem whatsoever with people due to their weight--I'm not particularly turned on visually by obese make-out sessions. I value my fat brothers and sisters just as much as the next person, but that doesn't mean that chub-on-chub hot-tub sessions are particularly sextacular. Every time I see myself in the mirror without a shirt on, I want to simultaneously punch my local Quizno's clerk and ponder how much cash I could have made in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. But that's just my opinion. Others are turned on by those things, and I think those people should be voicing their worldview.. more than just "fire that blogger!"

One last thing... A writer for Marie Claire has a blog called "A Year of Living Flirtatiously", and people are surprised that she's into 5k runners? If this were a stand up comedian and the exact same blog was used as a monologue--just with punchlines--nobody would blink twice. I know I'm naive to be craving consistency but I'm here to illuminate the obvious. I dare you to disagree.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Good points.

I have never been a woman in 21st century America, nor at any time, but it tickles my irony bone that a magazine purporting to support women fills its pages with unrealistic idealized images of women calculated to make them hate themselves and covet things to make them better.

But I digress.

The point, as you say, is not to silence Maura Kelly, but to make her, and her employers, feel the consequences of her words. Words have consequences.

She's welcome to feel how she likes, and write what she likes. Not everyone wants to lend their pennies to support her, though. Too bad for her.

Dr. Carey said...

Mike,

I don't find this situation particularly ironic... I do agree that the unrealistic idealized images in beauty magazings are calculated to make women covet things like self-improvement products. But I don't believe Marie Claire or any of its ilk overtly proport to support women (despite the offereing of 22 helpful tips on every possible topic). "Helpfullness" and "tips" are--granted, forms of support, but--primarily the PRODUCT that they are selling. The only ACTUAL "support" that they've ever given is the self-disatisfaction required to make women good Americans. Kelly's rant (which, undoubtedly helps prop up the anti-fatty sentiment in the hearts and minds of many americans) is not terribly inconsistent with anything we find in fashion magazines. It's simply less covert. It's a more literal manifestation of everything that beauty magazines are, and when people have to actually stare that reality in the face, that's when feathers get ruffled. People like consuming their ugliness mixed in with the nicer presentations. This whole thing is basically a metaphor for distain many intellectuals have for Los Angeles and the culture it stands for.

But I digress as well...