“Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.'”
— Kurt Vonnegut

Confirmation bias.

I came across an interesting series of photos taken in shopping malls in 1990 a while ago on Retronaut. The photos were interesting in and of themselves, particularly since I was a teenager at that time, and it reminded me pretty fiercely of emo days of yore – but I noticed something else.

Check out the fifth comment on the page: “I like the lack of self-consciousness people seem to have in these pictures. I also notice the almost total lack of obese people. Wonder what changed in only 20 years?”

Really? An “almost total lack of obese people”? I beg to differ.

In virtually every crowd scene, and most photos with groupings larger than 5, there are plenty of “overweight” and “obese” people in those photos, especially in the background. (Which says something about the photographer, too.)

Keep in mind that “overweight” and “obese” look a lot different than the headless fatty photos accompanying “obesity crisis” articles would have you believe. (Don’t believe me? Check out the Illustrated BMI Categories set on Flickr. And remember that this woman is “overweight,” and this woman is “obese,” according to BMI standards.)

I’ve started to think that when people hear that a third of Americans are obese, they think that 33% of us actually look like the photos they see on the news. And sure, some of us do look like that*Β  – but only a very small fraction of the population does. (Something like 2%.)

Fat people have always been around. I was a fat teenager** in 1990 – just like some of the kids in those photos. You can argue the point that there are more fat people now (which is something else entirely, and is debatable in its own right), but you can’t argue that there were virtually no fat people 20 years ago.

I think what’s changed in the past 20 years is the level of vilification fat currently has in our culture. That’s my opinion.

Teen girl with terrible 80s hairdo is captured mid-sneeze.

*And all of us, fat or thin, deserve to be respected and treated well regardless of size. No ifs, ands, or buts.

**I was not in pain in the photo. I was sneezing. It’s the only photo ever taken of me…mid-sneeze. (Circa 1988.)

Posted in Fat

A trio of movies.

I took a break from my busy TV-watching schedule to watch a few movies, and here they are:

“The Shrine”

“The Shrine” was…pretty much okay. I found it sort of predictable, but I think like a scriptwriter and am rarely surprised. Still, I kind of liked it. I particularly liked that the scenes in Polish (I assume it was Polish, since they were supposed to be in Poland?) weren’t subtitled, which helped you to share in the alienation and confusion of the English-speaking characters. I guess that’s faint praise, but honestly – it was watchable, there were no rape scenes, and it had a couple of decent scares. It was a mediocre, but very palatable B horror movie. Why not waste an hour and a half of your life, right?

“The Possession”

I didn’t expect much from a movie with a 38% Rotten Tomatoes rating, but I really enjoyed it. This movie was subtle – and gradual – but it wasn’t slow or plodding. And any film involving the possession of a young girl is inevitably going to be compared to “The Exorcist,” which just isn’t fair.Β  But this is a very different (and very well acted) take on child possession. There was an alien quality to the spirit from the box that went beyond cinematic demons as they are normally portrayed – a coldness, and a hunger. This movie wasn’t a scare-a-moment thrill ride, true – but it was straight up creepy, didn’t suffer from CGI abuse, and although some of the “family in distress” story line felt a little forced, it was still the best horror movie I’ve seen in a while. I highly recommend it to the patient and discerning. In fact, I don’t really understand the hostility this movie has gotten in many reviews. It was pretty good. (Special bonus: Watch the “Paranormal Witness” episode in season 2 with a real dybbuk box for extra creepiness.)

“Red Lights”

Again, another sort of quiet, subtle movie that failed to connect with audiences – that I really enjoyed. And I, the Great Predictor of All Movie Endings, did not see the ending coming. I love that. I didn’t know much about this one going in, except for a hazily remembered trailer I had seen at some point – something about debunking psychics. I really only watched this out of my undying love for Sigourney Weaver, but that’s reason enough. I don’t want to give too much plot away, but despite the gloomy cinematography and the parapsychological subject matter, this isn’t a horror movie. It’s more of a supernaturally-tinged thriller – and an effective one, too. The silliest thing about the plot is that the parapsychology researchers get far more university funding than the debunkers do. Is there an emoticon for wiping tears of laughter? If so, insert one here. But don’t hold that against the movie. (Quick note for Netflix viewers: This streamed with extremely quiet sound. I don’t think I could have heard most of the dialogue on my laptop, and had to bump my TV’s sound to twice its normal volume toΒ  hear it clearly.)

FMK: Characters on Metalocalypse.

Fuck: Charles Foster Offdensen, obviously. Anyone who can negotiate a Dethklok contract can negotiate consent like a BOSS. And you know he would be awesome in bed.

Marry: Pickles. Then, after being called “douchebag” one too many times, divorce Pickles. Then collect sweet, sweet Dethklok alimony forever.

Kill: Dr. Rockso. For one thing, I’m a coulrophobe and he’s a clown. But also…it would practically be a mercy killing. Yuh-yuh-yuh-yuh-yuh-yuh-YEAH!