Archive for December, 2006

FatLand: The Early Days – 50

December 25, 2006

“Since I have an idea as to where he is,” Margaret said, “I’d be happy to tell you about it and see how possible it would be for you to see him there.”

“See him there?   I want him back here.”

“Of course,” Margaret said, “but what if ?”

“Why shouldn’t it be possible?”

“You see,” Margaret said, sighing,” I think I know  who we’re dealing with here.”

“You mean he would want Bill to stay there? Indefinitely?”

“Well, Bill has a lot of talents,” Margaret said, not adding that Bill was also the person who knew the kind of statistics that Stark would most covet.

“But it’s not only that,” she went on.  “It’s more that Stark will offer him something he could only get there.”

“Have you been to this place?”

“I sure have.”

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FatLand: The Early Days – 49

December 22, 2006

It was easy and natural in a way to remain active during the day, Charla thought. It was also easy to fool people into believing that you were all right and that everything in general was okay.

But during the night, the charade came undone, and the hollowness returned.

She kept remembering his voice, soothing as maple syrup, and his smile, which had quickened her blood every time she saw it.  She remembered how it began in his eyes, which could turn merry and angry so quickly, but which usually reverted to merry.

She remembered his easy, amused drawl, and the way he looked at her as she took off her clothes. She remembered his whispers, urging her, and his moans.

Angela was away.  Ronnie and Evan were expecting and thus in no condition to soothe or give advice.

Almost out of the blue, but not quite, she thought of Margaret, who was now back from following Angela.

With a slight amount of embarrassment she dialed the number. “Margaret?” she said. “This is Charla.  I guess it’s a little late, but- ”

“Late,” Margaret said, “is after midnight. It’s not even 11 PM yet.”

“Glad you feel that way,” Charla said. “Are you busy with something now?”

“I just stopped being busy about five minutes ago.  What’s on your mind?”

“Bill.  As I guess you know.”

“Not surprising.  You’re wondering if there’s something you can do.”

“Yes.”

FatLand: The Early Days – 48

December 19, 2006

At her next stop, in Wisconsin, a group of jolly Madisonians greeted her with a combination fish fry and beer party.

“How the hell did you manage to do this under the current laws?” she asked as a few of them sang songs from the early 2000’s and 1990’s in a cheerily loud voice.

“Hell, the mayor doesn’t even believe in these laws,” Arnie, a new lawyer, informed her as he poured another beer for her and one for himself. “Bottoms up!”

Angela wasn’t sure that she would get to give much of a speech, but what she was seeing was cheering her immensely. “I wish more places would be like Madison,” she said. “I mean, with the courage to rebel against dictatorial and inhumane and injurious laws.”

“It’s in our blood,” Arnie assured her as he drank the dark good German beer slowly.

“What’s in your blood now is about 90% beer,” Shervin, another young lawyer, announced.

“But choice beer,” Arnie assured him. “To Angela,” he said, raising his again-full glass.

“To Angela,” Shervin and the others responded.

“To Madison,” Angela said, raising her glass and drinking deeply, then draining it.

FatLand: The Early Days – 47

December 15, 2006

FatLand Free Press   May 7, 2013

Letting Them Know:  One Woman’s Tour on ThE Other Side

By Margaret Clancy

It is in a way a risky business, even to be talking about not dieting or cutting back on one’s food intake here, on the “Other Side,” as FatLanders call the USA.

The one way Angela Sirotto – a statuesque FatLander with compelling dark eyes and hair and a delivery to match- can justify any of what she discusses here is to explain that she is talking about another place, not the USA at all. The USA, she emphasizes, has its own laws.

Unfortunately this does not sit well with the American  members of FatandProud, an organization sworn to uphold the rights of fat people all over the nation.

“By saying that the USA has its own laws and FatLand has other laws, Angela implies that the Gluttony or anti-Gluttony Laws passed here recently are legitimate when they are not.  No one has the right to tell anyone else how to eat or live, no matter where they live or who they are.  And no one has the right to put people on pills or diets or both involuntarily because they weigh a certain amount,” says Erica Hustell, tall, buxom, blond and effervescent in a pink wool suit with a cream blouse.  “Telling people they should come to FatLand to escape these laws is like telling people they should go underground to avoid nuclear explosions. Sooner or later people have to come up for air.”

Angela resents Erica’s implications. “I am a firm supporter of the work FatandProud does, and they risk a lot to tell the truth,” she says. “But face it – when it is not possible to purchase a chocolate bar without being weighed, or giving hefty bribes, the situation has gotten a lot more serious than one organization, however proud and determined, can deal with.  We offer a placein which fat people simply don’t have to worry about what they eat or weigh. I wish that FatandProud members would be able to abolish the Gluttony Laws. This is simply not the case, at least these days. Who is living in the real world now?”

Angela speaks to at least three audiences per day and sometimes four, if time and transport permit.

“The reception usually starts out as hostile,” she says. “Then when I say to them, “How many of you feel healthier than you did previously?” and most of them don’t raise their hands, they start to understand. Actually I was sure that they would have been brainwashed enough by now to feel that they would have to feel healthier simply because so many of them  are on some kind of pill or even have had surgery. But the amazing thing is that the American people have so much more spirit than that. Ironically this is the spirit that keeps FatandProud alive, and I laud that spirit. But not everyone is cut out to live as a rebel, especially in this rabidly anti-fat climate, first of all. Secondly,  people who have seen the way FatLand has risen from camp grounds and now provides not only a home but a way of life for fat people know that we are doing work that is as important for fat rights as the work FatandProud is doing. These are two sides of the same coin.  We would like to extend an invitation to all fat people and people in the USA who are on some kind of diet pills to visit FatLand and see how they feel there.  Then and only then they can decide where they would be happier.”

“FatLand,” she continues in an echo of the speeches she will give later on, “offers fat people a way to live in dignity and hope without making them change or shrink themselves.  They are not only all right, but in FatLand they are beautiful. I hope that people will visit us and see how they feel there in FatLand.”

Angela smiles. “As a resident of another territory, I am allowed to eat more than the residents of the USA who weigh as much as I do. Perhaps people simply respond to the fact that I have more energy than they do. And that in itself is a telling point. Who wouldn’t want to live in a place where they could feel more energetic and worthy? You know, we sure don’t discriminate against fat people when we hire at FatLand.”

Angela gets into a taxi.  It is somewhat but not terribly difficult for her. She edges back against the seat and buckles the seat belt – just.  “I’m off to Wisconsin,” she says. “Home state for me, so let’s see how it goes. Then I go to Michigan. Then Ohio.”

I wish her the best of luck.  The taxi speeds off.

I look at the people passing by.  Their faces resemble nothing so much as a nation starving after some terrible war. And yet the only war here is that of the Health and Diet conglomerates against other citizens. Since the citizens are clearly in the majority, one would think that they would wake up soon and throw out the scoundrels who are profiting from others’ starvation.

But revolutions occur in their own time.

 Until then, I will go back to my hotel and then thankfully back to FatLand, where superb meals and happy faces await. And yes, in a way this is a selfish choice. For me it is the only choice.

And I hope that it is a choice that some of the ten thousand people Angela will be speaking to this week will make…

Eastern Colorado, May 7, 2013 

FatLand: The Early Days – 46

December 12, 2006

“Now then,” Stark said to Bill after they had breakfasted and were sitting in the Sky Room.  “Tell me a little about what you were doing in FatLand, as they call it.”

So that’s the price, Bill thought, watching as the sun magicked the white hills into rivers of color that ran into white, then glowed fiercely.  I should have known.

“Well,” he said, “I was mostly supervising construction of housing.” True enough, as far as it went.

“Is that all?”

“Mostly. They really needed me.  They didn’t know what they were doing with large scale construction projects.  I kind of took them in hand.”

“Were you happy there?”

“Yes, I was.”

“Would you judge that you would be happier here, or there?”

“Tough one, Win.  I was happy there.  But here- ”

“Yes?””

“Here I feel as if I could fly.  Oh,. it’s an illusion, I know. But that is how that rider makes me feel.  And the whirlpools. And this room.”

“What if I were to tell you that we could cure you almost completely?”

For the first time during his stay, Bill lost his ease and assurance.  “Look,” he said, “I don’t care if you lie to me about almost anything else. But please don’t about this.”

“I’m not lying,” Stark said. “You’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. Our medical facility can make you a new person.”

“And the price? Is it free? What do I have to do?”

“It is completely free,” Stark said. “Provided that you stay here.”

“Forever?”

“Yes.”

FatLand: The Early Days – 45

December 7, 2006

Fascinated by what Charla was trying to accomplish, Margaret stayed for the entire PTA meeting, especially pleased at the fat-positive wordfinding exercises she had the attendees do at hte end.

But, she thought as she and her staffer got into the car, the next challenge will be to try those exercises on the kids and see if they help.

“We can write this up tomorrow,” she said to Janine, who was making some notes on her smartpod. “Right now I’m just glad we came.”

“So am I,” Janine said.  “I think we can- ” She stopped as Margaret’s podphone began to beep.

Margaret scrolled down to get the text message.

Charming, it read, but they’ll never get people in Fatland to think positively about themselves. It’s not in the genes.

Margaret searched for the podsignature, found it at the bottom of the message – “Winstark” in flowing, almost spidery letters.

“Whatever is or isn’t in the genes,” she wrote, “acceptance of one’s body seems a whole lot better than self-hatred.”

A minute passed. Her podphone beeped again. “That would take generations of work, and even by then, they couldn’t be sure.”

“That’s what we’re about here,” she scrolled back. “Generations.  We have the pride and the patience to wait and yet to work at the same time.  We know that much of what we work for will only come into its own after we’re dead.  But a happy healthy proud FatLand is worth any amount of effort.”

“You’re so beautiful,” the next message came rather quickly.   “Why do you have to work hard for anything?”

“I had to work for everything after a certain Mr. Winston Stark left me exhausted, angry and dirty,” Margaret said.  “I don’t want to repeat that scene – ever!”

The person on the other end seemed to shy away, even as the night lights and inner lights went on.all around and inside the car.  “Dirty trick, Win,”she clicked. “I don’t know what your agenda is with people here, but you’re not going to get very far.”

“I don’t want to get very far with them,” the scroll read. “Only with you.”

FatLand: The Early Days – 44b

December 4, 2006

The first thing Charla did was to divide the attendees into groups.

“We are going to do  a little writing now,” she said. “The first group is going to come up with adjectives describing fat people.  The second group is going to write down adjectives describing thin people.  The third group is going to come up with verbs describing fat people. And the fourth group is going to generate verbs describing thin people.” She looked at her watch. “Take five minutes.  Your group leaders will collect the results, which I will then read.”

As one of the group leaders, Angela went around answering questions from her group and encouraging them. What she saw as the lists took shape made her shudder.  My God, she thought. No wonder our kids felt so bad about themselves. People can move here and they can even pay lip service to fat rights, but what is inside them is a mental torture chamber.  The self-hate is so clear that it’s palpable.

When time was up, Angela, whose group’s task it was to describe fat people by adjectives, collected their lists and handed them to Charla to read, as did the other group leaders with their group’s lists.

Charla gathered the lists into a pile.  She started by reading those from Angela’s group. “Lazy, gluttonous, sad, boring, ugly,” she read. Then:  “Lazy, unaccomplished, uneducated, doughy, poor.” She reaced for the next one. “Unattractive, tired, unathletic, stupid, unrefined. ” The next one read:  “Unhealthy, unlovable, pushy, defensive, loud, ridiculous.”

As Charla finished reading her group’s lists, Angela tried very hard not to cry.  Not only do we have work to do among our kids, she thought, but among our adult population as well. It was like hearing a litany of all the traits her culture held in lowest esteem. The word “scapegoat” came to mind.

The classic other, Angela thought. With all the supposed ills of society projected onto us. We’ve got to find a new way of living.  The song came to her, and she thought, and perhaps a way of forgiving, as well. But that will come later.

FatLand: The Early Days – 44

December 1, 2006

Angela noted with approval that most people at the PTA meeting seemed to have no problem in scarfing down the canapes and hors d’oeuvres The Restaurant had provided, under her supervision. However, there were actually a few there who seemed ashamed or shy to eat, especially in front of others.

“I don’t want to get any bigger,” she heard one woman say to another as waiters walked up to her with a tray of mushroom and cheese puffs.

Angela figured that they would never get anywhere with promulgating pride in children if their parents were still ashamed.  She said to the woman, “First of all, do you really think that one or even two or  three mushroom cheese puffs will make you get bigger? Secondly, what do you think would happen to you if you did get bigger?  You have a lovely smile and a soft warmth to your body.  No one has ever found any health risks to getting bigger except by association. And remember when BMI and cholesterol were discredited as factors a few years ago?”

The woman regarded Angela in surprise. “Look,” she said, “I’m fat, but no one has the right to tell me that I have to like it.”

“I’m brunette,” Angela said, “but no one has the right to tell me that I have to like it.  It’s not a question of liking; it’s a question of living.  What this meeting is trying to show is that our children shouldn’t have to worry about every or any piece of food they put in their mouths.  We are the weight we are meant to be.  Dieting not only starves people, but it makes them regain and then more.  So why worry so much about your shape? Isn’t it better to be happy in what your body can do for you? Sounds like Kennedy, I know,” Angela said, “but why be so worried about what your body looks like?  Part of the reason we founded FatLand was not only to offer a haven to fat people but also to live our lives without looksism – the belief that people who have certain kinds of looks are better or more worthy than others.  When you judge yourself on looks, you fall into an old trap that tries to keep women from feeling happy and worthy.  When you describe someone without talking or worrying about their looks, you give them the right to be judged and described on the basis of what they do and feel and think, not the way they look.  Don’t you want to grant yourself the right to be judged on the basis of what you do and feel, not the way you look?”

“You should give speeches,” the woman said, staring at Angela.

“Now that you mention it,” Angela said, feeling as if a path had just opened in the middle of a river, “I will be doing exactly that.”

“Will you be speaking in Ernsberger Park?” the woman asked. “People should hear you.”

“I probably will be,” Angela said.  She and the woman sat down.  Charla was calling for people to be seated.

“You made me feel better,” the woman said. “I came here mainly to get away from the weigh-ins, but I didn’t really think that much about why this place was founded, or what people here believe.”

“Welcome,” Angela said.  “I hope you will find out lots more.  I think it will make you feel even gladder.”

FatLand: The Early Days – 44

December 1, 2006

Angela noted with approval that most people at the PTA meeting seemed to have no problem in scarfing down the canapes and hors d’oeuvres The Restaurant had provided, under her supervision. However, there were actually a few there who seemed ashamed or shy to eat, especially in front of others.

“I don’t want to get any bigger,” she heard one woman say to another as waiters walked up to her with a tray of mushroom and cheese puffs.

Angela figured that they would never get anywhere with promulgating pride in children if their parents were still ashamed.  She said to the woman, “First of all, do you really think that one or even two or  three mushroom cheese puffs will make you get bigger? Secondly, what do you think would happen to you if you did get bigger?  You have a lovely smile and a soft warmth to your body.  No one has ever found any health risks to getting bigger except by association. And remember when BMI and cholesterol were discredited as factors a few years ago?”

The woman regarded Angela in surprise. “Look,” she said, “I’m fat, but no one has the right to tell me that I have to like it.”

“I’m brunette,” Angela said, “but no one has the right to tell me that I have to like it.  It’s not a question of liking; it’s a question of living.  What this meeting is trying to show is that our children shouldn’t have to worry about every or any piece of food they put in their mouths.  We are the weight we are meant to be.  Dieting not only starves people, but it makes them regain and then more.  So why worry so much about your shape? Isn’t it better to be happy in what your body can do for you? Sounds like Kennedy, I know,” Angela said, “but why be so worried about what your body looks like?  Part of the reason we founded FatLand was not only to offer a haven to fat people but also to live our lives without looksism – the belief that people who have certain kinds of looks are better or more worthy than others.  When you judge yourself on looks, you fall into an old trap that tries to keep women from feeling happy and worthy.  When you describe someone without talking or worrying about their looks, you give them the right to be judged and described on the basis of what they do and feel and think, not the way they look.  Don’t you want to grant yourself the right to be judged on the basis of what you do and feel, not the way you look?”

“You should give speeches,” the woman said, staring at Angela.

“Now that you mention it,” Angela said, feeling as if a path had just opened in the middle of a river, “I will be doing exactly that.”

“Will you be speaking in Ernsberger Park?” the woman asked. “People should hear you.”

“I probably will be,” Angela said.  She and the woman sat down.  Charla was calling for people to be seated.

“You made me feel better,” the woman said. “I came here mainly to get away from the weigh-ins, but I didn’t really think that much about why this place was founded, or what people here believe.”

“Welcome,” Angela said.  “I hope you will find out lots more.  I think it will make you feel even gladder.”