Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Art Imitating Reality—or Vice Versa?

A feature in today’s New York Times reported overweight people are resisting entreaties to become rail-thin. “Blogs written by fat people—and it’s fine to use the word, they say—have multiplied in recent months, filling a virtual soapbox known as the fatosphere.” The bloggers (Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose at www.kateharding.net has 3,710 hits per day) resist the notion that a St. Bernard has to become a greyhound.

Hurray! “Laura Lard Takes No Prisoners,” one of my stories in Cruising the Green of Second Avenue (published by Wild Child, of course) has our eponymous heroine telling a waitress, “[Salad] is not the food of my people. Where I come from, a decent meal should be heavy enough to hold down a circus tent in a hurricane.” She has enough confidence in her image to make the cosmetics sales ladies at Bloomingdales wet their panties.

I’m a skinny guy, so maybe my opinions don’t count. Laura’s story line, however, is that her being fat is an attribute, and she defends it by doing an Elliott Ness against the Prejudice Mafia. Writing this, a part of me expressed a strong belief that public sentiment wants to remake the obese, corpulent, oleaginous, turgid, stout and plump minority into the size, shape and silhouette of the chosen. Health and science demands it, the evangelists say.

That scares me. It’s just a matter of time until I become a target because I’m a casual smoker, whiskey drinker, book reader, fiscal conservative and social liberal. Oh—wait a minute! I already am a target! Beware the Prejudice Mafia. They’re watching you.

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