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June 23, 2008

Comments

Michelle B

Shades of Swift's "A Modest Proposal"!

Richard Mudd

I just saw you on the Colbert Report and watched your ignorant comments about Wal-Mart. I don't know when you were working at Wal-Mart but I have worked there within the last year at two different Wal-Marts and everyone I met there had plenty of money to buy what they needed at Wal-Mart. They may not have been leading the most comfortable lifestyles but you aren't going to in a job like that. Most people I knew working there, with the exception of high school students, made over eight dollars an hour some even as high as ten fifty an hour. Not to mention Wal-Mart gives everyone a chance to move up within the company. The ignorance you ramble out of your mouth is astounding. I left my email address if you want to respond to me but you better have some actual knowledge on this issue because the stupidity you showed on the Colbert Report was almost offensive if it wasn't so humorous.

Chickensh*tEagle

I've always liked "Burn ass, not gas" as a slogan for bike riding. But I guess it would be consistent with American attitudes to interpret that as meaning burning liposuctioned fat from others. :-(

lc2

Barbara,

I don't understand how you can at once claim to have so much sympathy for the economic losers of this society, and show such utter contempt for their lifestyle choices, only some of which are true choices at all.

We can't all work for a couple of hours in the a.m. and then hit the gym before getting back to work, as you say you do. We also can't all shop at Whole Foods (as you say you do) and avoid corn- and high-fructose-corn-syrup fortified foods. Some of us are actually tied to the work floor, the entire shift, have commuting time, and then have responsibilities at home and in the community. That's how convenience foods and forgoing exercise start to creep in. We're not all working those jobs to make SUV and Disney timeshare payments, either. Sure we all know better and should get our asses on a bike, but we don't all have leisure class jobs like you and your friends do. There are only so many hours in a day.

Seems like you need to make the (not very big) leap to see obesity in this country as a public health crisis and a clear result of national policy on agriculture subsidies, auto-based housing clusters, the end of the 40-hour work week, cheap cable, etc. Not everyone who is overweight/obese sits and eats Pringles while watching Nascar on TV all night. Some of us are beyond exhausted from running around volunteering here after working there and can't believe we are chubby after all that activity.

This essay really disappoints. It's weird that you see how people are manipulated in the labor market, but not in the rest of their lives. And I say this as someone who goes to considerable trouble to avoid manipulation -- mainly by chucking out the TV.

You'd have a very hard time working in the trenches with the general public for longer than your Nickel and Dimed stints. I predict that if you did social work or public health outreach for more than a week, you'd end up joining the conservative movement.

Barb Ehrenreich

lc2: This was not meant to be an attack on the consumers of Mountain Dew (who include some close relatives of mine.) My mistake was not pointing out that most liposuction is probably done on the non-obese who are worried about some tiny "bump." I couldn't find any numbers on this, but I suspect that they would show that there's even more readily available body fat out there than I calculated.

gaby

I took Barbara's blog as satire more than anything else. There are many reasons why people in this country are so enormous in size. Not a bad idea that we might as well make use of all this blubber instead of carrying it around, keeping it selfishly to ourselves.

fryguy70

Barb, are you sure you weren't watching YERT.com (Your Environmental Road Trip) back in early April? They did a whole video on this exact idea. Check out their funny FAT TO FUEL video at YERT.com (it's on their video page as YERTpod24.5). Looks like there's no idea that's new under the sun...not even THIS one!

fryguy70

Barb, are you sure you weren't watching YERT.com (Your Environmental Road Trip) back in early April? They did a whole video on this exact idea. Check out their funny FAT TO FUEL video at YERT.com (it's on their video page as YERTpod24.5). Looks like there's no idea that's new under the sun...not even THIS one!

Brian

I don't know if satire is really criticizable but its a tongue in cheek piece. For real depression just look at what the republicans are trying to block today to solve our problems. The commodity speculators(oil and corn in particular) are bombastically threatening us with even higher prices if our government makes any attempt at regulating them, even simply by regulating the amount of leverage they can use. The aggressive among us are moving from speculating on technology, to the net, to housing, reits, gold, oil, and corn, and as each bubble eventually collapses they just move to the next one. They rarely have to pay for their mistakes as they are operating heads using other peoples money and modestly just take the profits if they win. If they lose they just close the account and move on. Hah hah, it just makes me laugh as its beyond money. I don't recommend liposuction as it carrys some surgical risk and is just sounds so unseemly. But sure we could eat better, or less say, walk more, and really try and eat less processed foods. I even skip breakfast or lunch every couple of days regularly but check with your doctor if you have any health problems first. I think that is how we use to be in nature before the refrigerator. One person commented about how the underclass behaves poorly so they deserve what they get. Well now the rich are ramming that same yoke on the middle class and I think they deserve better. And meanwhile, even Secy of the Treasury Paulson says speculators have no effect in the oil market, its all supply and demand. Then the republicans say we must drill drill drill seeing an opportunity for a new land and environmental grab. Disgusting, as no one is talking the obvious big benifits of increasing fuel and energy efficency, further diversifying out of oil, or even putting foward a progressive nuclear reactor program using new safer technologies and starting to dispose of all the thousands? of tons of spent nuclear waste around. We have a site already half built in Nevada held up in a political log jam. I can assure you driving thru traffic to work is thousands of times more hazardous and no I don't work for the industry. Worse the Gaurdian UK is now carrying actual coverage of who is speaking in Congress and what is actually going on as our media won't. A nasa scientist referenced in Drudge recommended we impeach the top oil executives for keeping us perpetually in this precarious position. No wonder Exxon payed Lee Raymond 400 million dollars at his retirement. Now he has a family dynasty out of it. As for the poor walmart workers, well I guess they are stuck providing the basics that grease our society's skids. The best you can do is make sure your kids study and get as many A's as possible and get them involved in clubs or groups that expand their social skills and horizons. Maybe they will get to be Doctors or Lawyers or gasp, brokers and at least get a toe hold into what remains of the middle class. Otherwise they could end up at wally mart or some such place struggling to buy chicken dogs for sunday dinner. But then we know the colleges will suck your finances dry and put you further in debt. Why is this country so failing us and our elected government just sits on its hands and caves into special interests time and time again????????

Nancy

What about sucking that energy out through connecting exercise machinery at places where people work out to the electric grid? I've always thought that would be a very workable idea.
I think some of the people responding to your posting do not have a sense of humor.

chris

For the New Yorkers -- Barb is speaking at Barnes & Noble tonight -- June 25 at 7 pm. The B&N is at the north end of Union Square in Manhattan.

Official Website
barbaraehrenreich.com
Schedule

6/25/08 7pm

Profile
Social critic to the masses Barbara Ehrenreich famously left behind her comfy middle-class life and worked minimum wage in a Wal-Mart, a nursing home, and a diner to write her best seller Nickeled and Dimed. With This Land Is Their Land, Ehrenreich has compiled 62 satirical essays that use wisecracking anecdotes instead to illustrate how this new Gilded Age seriously cramps the average person's style. In one, she describes how the rich “have hogged all the good scenery,” in turn affecting the mental health and QOL of those who can’t afford to experience nature. Prepare to be good-naturedly riled up tonight. — Elizabeth L. Cline

paperpusher666

Nancy, you'd be surprised how hard you have to pedal just to keep a generator-powered bike light lit. Effciency of energy conversion is what does in a lot of processes that SEEM to make sense. We do well to get 60% efficiency.

Now, suppose that we could harvest a million pounds a day sustainably via home liposuction kits. This might render into 700K pounds of fat that would burn cleanly, though it would be rather like lard, so you'd have to mix it with something to keep it in a liquid state if you want to use it for motor fuel.

Where would it be processed? Unless you're dealing with ton or more quantities, it is difficult to process it economically. The energy recovered less energy invested wouldn't be a net positive. I can imagine (because I'm nuts) a THIRD recycle bin to add to the regular two for paper and metal/glass for body fat, but you'd have to process it quickly before it got rank.

Now, if we can get glycerine out of the fat, we can use it to make bombs!

paperpusher666

Nancy, you'd be surprised how hard you have to pedal just to keep a generator-powered bike light lit. Effciency of energy conversion is what does in a lot of processes that SEEM to make sense. We do well to get 60% efficiency.

Now, suppose that we could harvest a million pounds a day sustainably via home liposuction kits. This might render into 700K pounds of fat that would burn cleanly, though it would be rather like lard, so you'd have to mix it with something to keep it in a liquid state if you want to use it for motor fuel.

Where would it be processed? Unless you're dealing with ton or more quantities, it is difficult to process it economically. The energy recovered less energy invested wouldn't be a net positive. I can imagine (because I'm nuts) a THIRD recycle bin to add to the regular two for paper and metal/glass for body fat, but you'd have to process it quickly before it got rank.

Now, if we can get glycerine out of the fat, we can use it to make bombs!

noname

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chris

Liposuction -- answered prayers? Yeah.

Just ask Olivia Goldsmith and Kanye West's mother. Actually, you can't. They're dead. Dead from botched liposuction operations.

Are these two operating-room deaths significant? Absolutely. According to a scientific study of cosmetic surgery fatalities, 99.9% involved women. Investigators were suprised to learn the figure was less than 100%, as there are no known cases of men undergoing similar forms of elective surgery.

However, researchers discovered that one doctor had been murdered during a surprise attack in an operating room by a former stripper, whose faulty breast augmentation surgery caused a large gel-sac to slide around to her spine during a pole dance, leading to the loss of her job.

What could have motivated Olivia Goldsmith to subject herself to cosmetic surgery? Why did this woman want liposuction? She was the highly successful author of "The First Wives Club", which was made into a movie. She had other writing successes.

Was she disturbed about the size of her carbon footprint? Was she thinking if there were less of her, her carbon footprint would also shrink? Did that lead her to feel that if she ceased to exist she would leave the smallest carbon footprint of all? Wh o knows?

Maybe she just disliked eating right and exercising. Those sentiments explain a lot of the obesity in America.

Based on the amount of exercise equipment hawked on TV -- Perfect Pushups (not a bra from Victoria's Secret), Bowflex, StairMaster, videos of Tae Bo, Workouts with Jillian -- visitors from Mars would think Americans are obsessed with building good physiques through physical training.

Clearly it takes a nation that leads the world when it comes to patenting inventions to develop so many different ways to build muscles and defeat fat.

Meanwhile, in other countries, like Saudi Arabia and Iran, cosmetic surgery is not permitted. The Islamic Committees Against Vice and Depravity have simplified the issue by outlawing the display of the female body. Hence, if Olivia Goldsmith had lived in Saudia Arabia, no one would have known whether she was a blubbery load or a hot chick since she'd have had to keep every square inch of herself covered by her burka in the 125-degree heat.

Moreover, her Saudi male masters would have burned her manuscripts and probably stoned her to death in a public execution for expressing thoughts of sexual desire and orgasms.

Weebitty

I really like it better when you speak on topics you have clearly researched and thought critically about.

You might want to do some reading about the myths behind the obesity scare--you'll find lots of science twisted for profit, classism, racism, and sexism galore.

Maybe you won't parrot those "isms" so much in your satire. Blech.

Prejudice against fat people hurts them more than fat does.

lc2

Thanks for saying what I was trying to get across much more succinctly and meaningfully, Weebitty.

Obamabots might want to check their blatantly elitist attitudes pre-Nov. It will not help the progressive cause to so openly snicker at average folks. Wait till after the election to remind everyone how much smarter/thinner/less they are than Nascar-watchers and Wal-Mart shoppers.

As for plastic surgery ... it's clearly in the province of the monied. I'm over cackling over caricatures of upper-income Americans and have actually moved on to pity. Their predilections are so shallow, I can't be bothered getting my knickers in a twist over McMansion-dwelling suburbanites. They've dug their own graves and will be the first to borrow a Smart car and amble out to the country to implore rural un-sophisticates to grow an extra acre just for their family (or their gas tanks). They will be humbled soon enough ... having to indefinitely put off lipo and nose jobs will be the least of it.

On the other hand, gastric bypass/lapband is by and large a middle- and lower-income surgery (for the lucky few who have insurance).

Richard

Soylent Oil is People. Yikes, how desperate are we. Lets get off our fat asses and kick the driving habit. Walking and cycling will take care of the fat just fine.

Jennifer

Gotta say I agree with LC2, even after reading Ms. Ehrenreich's reply.

This essay (and many of the recent essays) comes off as more mean-spirited snark than the compassionate sense of absurdity that characterized Nickle and Dimed and made it such an important book.

Especially since obesity is linked to income, with the poor and working poor often unable to afford healthy and nutritious foodstuffs. (Remember how you found that out at the food shelf in Minneapolis?)

On the other hand, though, when we're all working writers, producing at the same level Ms. Ehrenreich has produced over her long career, we'll be in a better position to throw stones.

The more a writer works, the more apt she is to produce a clunker now and then.

I just miss the compassion, the humility, and the razor sharp bullshit detector that characterized your earlier writing and I did think this one borders on the kind of poor taste more worthy of Maureen Dowd than Barbara Ehrenreich.

There was a reason your fans thought you should have replaced Dowd at the New York Times -- and it wasn't because we saw any similarities in your tone or style!

John

Dear Ms. Ehrenreich:

Are you or have you ever been a member of the communist party?

lc2

Jennifer,

Dowd's latest column illustrates your comments to a T. She is so far-removed from the masses, she has no idea that most of us are in near-survival mode (in terms of keeping solvent, American-style, nobody need remind me that this isn't Cambodia).

According to Dowd, Repubs. need Rove-ian style spindoctors to convince the public that Obama is out of touch. Funny thing is, Obama doesn't seem to me to need any help exposing himself as an elitist who can't be bothered with the nitty-gritty details of how people eke out a living in this country. Columbia and Princeton undergrads probably make more money intering for the summer in law firms, than most working women make in 9 mos. at an hourly wage. How can we possibly expect this person, or Maureen Dowd, or Barbara Ehrenreich, to appreciate what the crushing angst the American working class is facing right now?


I am all for a president who's way, way smarter than me, but (s)he should be able to grasp the fact that very, very few of us are not living paycheck to paycheck. There is such a thing as being smart and having vision and also seeing issues in terms of dollars and cents.

It seems from Barbara's experience and her current commentary, that it really does require being steeped in those everyday realities to appreciate the desperate quality of them. What a failure of imagination. I currently have a $500 or so cushion in my bank acct ... but it doesn't mean I have forgotten what it was like to have the heat set at 58 degrees all winter, and still be behind on oil payments. Too bad we don't have any prominent writers who can remember those days and advocate for those of us who are still thick in the midst of them.

Anarcissie

No one who can run (seriously) for the presidency has any recent experience of being behind in his or her oil payments. That's not the way things work.

In any case, do the hard-pressed workers care? In recent years they seem to have been more concerned with religious and cultural issues than with their own economic welfare. The supposed elitism of Obama is a case in point. Obama is no more or less elite than his competitors, but trivial differences of style have been blown up into a major pseudo-issue.

chris

The solution is not LIP-o-suction. It is LIB-o-suction.

If it were possible to extract the debilitating LIBeral infection from the minds of the most severely impaired, we'd see an increase in domestic employment through the expansion of oil drilling in the US, declining oil prices, lower food prices and more success with conservation efforts -- such as nuclear plants, solar, wind and other alternative energy technologies.

Jennifer

I don't know, LC. I think you're reading too much into a simple post (albeit an endemic problem on this blog).

Yeah, Dowd sucks and the Times should have hired Ehrenreich instead.

This blog post didn't go over well. The satire is more nasty than witty.

But I don't think it's any huge commentary on Maureen Dowd, the presidential election, or Barbara Ehrenreich's usual writing skill.

This one was just a clunker. I'm looking forward to the next one.

Brian

Well you all have seen the sunday ABC hourly political news show with George Stephanoupolous and the fine tailered suits and dresses the pinacles of the wealthy correspondant's of the American world sit? I suppose most are all multimillionaires with the exception of Robert Reich when the wealthy need a working person's counterpoint. How did we get this way when our A list actors, sports players, and journalists are simply so darn rich? They are an elite reporting of things that appeal to those with too much time on their hands, sort of modern gossip posts. I would love to see a master list of the annual reported incomes, or even pay rates, these people make so we know just how wealthy the journalists are. Our society has made them an elite segment of our ruling class.

Buena

Holy smokes -- can't anyone take a joke any more?

jen

This blog post is stupid. It's not effective satire.

akinoluna

I laughed. It was funny. Satire, yes.

It did remind me of something though...every time I've flown back into the States, the first thing I notice after getting off the plane is the terribly large number of...large people. I don't go looking for it but BAM, there it is. Every time. Other countries have plenty of chubby people too but the States has a high number of LARGE people...

Brian

look at old b$w tv of city streets in the 50's and 60's, or even old episodes of the Twilight Zone and you will see the people are thin, often dressed in nice suits and hats or dresses, but rare indeed is a "large"person. Now 40 billion cheeseburglers, cheese stuffed pizza crusts, creamy buffaloo wings, sugary cereals, and overbearing meatloafs later with diner plates carrying boatloads of gravey we are fat and our european anglican ancestors are tall. We went on a two generation eating binge with a steroid twist and now 200lbs and under is a lightweight. Look at the size of most of our athletes and you need a giraffe to look over their heads. Yes we are large and that is why we need more liebenstrom so our big foot feet can encircle the earth in size 12'd's and above. We are Humongousamericanis the greates species on earth and how dare the French claim their bisque is better than our four cheese pizza's with stuffed cheese crusts. Long live the Humongousamericanus.

Brian

oh let us not forget the fatocarbo mule teams of donuts and pastries we eat ever day. The endless coldcuts on another large frothy bun. the token lil salad pompom to make us feel better abou our horrid selves, and the well buttered 3/4 pound round steak sitting of chicken fried bisquits and buttered and well pan fried sasage link gravey sitting on dual competing 1/2 inch ham patties, hollandaise and an extra 8 eggs over easy with cheap 2 layer chockolet and buttered cake for desert with high fructose corn syrup for that extra zing of taste. Butter up the batter, mound up the browned beef, duplicate the turkeys, throw in wheelbarrows of chickens, dump on the sour cream rouix sludge with the holy trinity of buttered up sauteed veggies. Give me mustard so I can add some flavor.

le Big MAC

Robin Williams said the exact same idea on the Bill Maher show, a couple years ago. One of the funniest things I've ever heard on the show...because, of course, it's a good idea. And let's not forget Chuck Pahlanuk's lipo-scavenging anti-hero, Tyler Durden (as portrayed on film by the fat-deficient Brad Pitt).
Anyway, a fun read and I'm sorry if it drew the ire of the humor-impaired of the internets. Keep up the great blogging, Barbara!

Anarcissie

lc2 had a point -- overweight is associated with low income and low social status, and is partly the result of stressful living conditions, although poor information and poor morale also play a part. The fact that obesity has become a national health problem may have more to do with the decline of actual American living standards than the greed, aggression and sanctimony promoted by American culture.

Heather

I miss the brave Ehrenreich who supported Nader in 2000. :(

Beverly Crane

Dear Ms. Ehrenreich -
I am writing to extend an invitation to you to be a guest on Ronnie Eldridge's tv show: "Eldridge & Co." videotaped at CUNY TV and aired on Channel 75 in the 5 boroughs. This is a weekly 27 minute program, video taped at our studios in the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, between 34th and 35th Streets in New York City. The interview will air 3 times on Wednesdays and 2 times over the weekend. In addition, this show is streamed on our website: www.cuny.tv.

Ronnie tapes 12noon and 1pm every other Tuesday:

July 15

July 29

August 12

August 19

Ronnie has had a long and distinguished career in public service, serving as special assistant to Mayor John Lindsay; Director of Community and Government Affairs at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and in Governor Mario Cuomo's cabinet as the Director of the Division for Women where she proposed programs and legislation and acted as an advocate for women's needs and interests. Ms. Eldridge was the Director of Special Projects at MS Magazine and the Executive Director of the MS Foundation for Women. She was also the Executive Producer of a feminist series on network public television.

She served in the New York City Council from 1989 until 2001, when the Term Limits Law prevented two-thirds of the members from running for re-election and was a leader in the efforts to expand and improve child care; increase legal protection for victims of domestic violence; encourage and support arts and cultural organizations; improve oversight of the budget process as well as encourage sensible and comprehensive land use and economic development.

As a result of Term Limits - Ronnie became available to host her program here at CUNY TV.

I'm certain that a conversation between the two of you would be of great interest to our audience - and would do justice to the issues and ideas raised in your latest book, "This Land is Their Land."

Please let me know if you have any questions or need more information. We would be honored to have you as a guest on the show.

Cordially,

Beverly Crane
CUNY TV, Producer - 212-817-7817

Brian

i wanted to write about my heavy early dinner. A double iceberg lettuce wedge salad with copious tablespoons(about six) of chunky blue laced creamy salad dressing draddled all over them with chopped up tomatoes and purple onion as acoutermonts. Then a main course of deep fryer fried chicken deboned sitting on three huge fist size crispy lard cake bisquits and a double scoop of red skinned mashed potatoes. It also had a scoop of cranburry sauce compote. I buttered the bisquits myself, and on top was creamy white pan fried kentucky gravey glomming over the chicken, the bisquits, and the taters. It was all served on a tarpulin sized porcelien dish boat that you would cover your entire lap even if you weighed 280 lbs(which I of course do not). I had three ice teas with 6 lemon wedges and sweet and low. I felt so bloated at the end of eating just half of the fryed chicken boat that I gave up and could barely stand up out of my seat. The waitress dutifully asked me if I wanted desert. Put it this way, it was so heavy I took a baby aspirin before I ate it to thin my blood so I wouldn't have a cardiac arrest. I really really did. (Eating in America) should be the title of my book.

Monica

Aside from other practical aspects, such as being able to collect enough fat at once and using it while it is still good, and the medical risk, there is the simple matter of cost. Surgery is much too expensive, more than the cost of the fatty matter so collected. This is just not cost-effective, especially since fat from other sources, such as pigs, can be obtained more cheaply and without having to care what happens to the "patient". Not as much as one would have to care about human beings, anyway.

If, however, this could be done, that would further commodify the human body. If fat can be used, it can be sold, and its monetary value can be estimated. I can imagine, for example, some poor family applying for welfare, or otherwise having to prove that it is indeed poor enough, being required to include in the value of their assets the value of their body fat. And I can imagine ruthless doctors working for the system estimating the amount of body fat those people have and whether it is above a certain allowable limit. In which case, maybe it would not have to be sold (although in this economic system, maybe it would), but it could make the differnece between being eligible for benefits or not.

Glenn Nash

i

Brian

tonights heavy dinner was at a barbaque pop-off chain place and i ordered the bowl of soup and catfish platta. They served me a huge double brownie size bisquit with artifical butter with hint of maple spread in a separate little dish the size of an egg. The bowl of soup was grilled veggie and about the size of half a lunch box opened wide, about a quart maybe. The catfish platta had a medium size cat fish sitting on a bed of mustard mayonaise with parsley and cajun red chili powder and it was pan fried lightly blackened. The sides were half a quart of garlic mashed taters with lots of creamy and butter stuff inside and well whipped up. And a half a quart of roasted, boiled, collard greens with a bit o thick slab bacon and a lot of salt. I expect to get thirsty tonight. They kept trying to push more bisquits on me, appetizers(a salmon plate) and desert(peanut butter pie etc). This time I was able to slide out the side of the booth pretty good and stand up, heavy, but adequate though I think I heard two floor boards creek. I immediately had to stop in the bathroom and take a rest listening to their music singing "I can't move, I can't move, I can't move". Not kidding, that was the song.

consumatrix

Barbara -- this is just too (painfully) funny.

Keep writing and making us laugh -- and weep!

Ariel Cinii

To be really picky, most of the current stock of hydrocarbons were originally prehistoric swamps and plants.

This said, the harvesting process from the fat being drawn off of liposuction patients would add to the carbon footprint because a collection system would have to service each medical facility that performs the procedure, and the US Post Office is not too hot on mail-in contribs of bio-waste. Moreover, the blood-cell content would have to be filtered from the fat cells and then disposed of in an environmentally conscious fashion. Add to this the pernicious net of legal clearances that get involved when anything that comes out of a human being enters a system intended for public-use. "Soylent Green!" the neo-cons will shout. "What's next, test-tube you-know-whats?"

Personally, I'd be more than willing to contribute to the lipo-pool, but you'd have to convert it to a FREE or fee-paid donation rather than an out-patient procedure that would cost me money.

Elizabeth T

I thought this was a riot! Didn't anyone see the Boston Legal episode where Denny Crane was charged with shipping liposuction fat to Norway for conversion to fuel?

Brian

just thinking about my dinner out tuesday night and how all the food was bursting to explode out of my belly pushing its envelop to the utter extremes. It messed me up for three days. Not with nauseau, vomiting, or diarrhea or flatulance, but it became like a lead slug in my belly or intestines and nothing moved through. I even started skipping eating as anything I ate just lodged high in my belly sticking there not moving anywhere. it wasn't a medical condition as I felt only sluggish and slept a lot but no pain, and when I finally processed the food several days later I was fine. I guess they use fillers and starches and newly contrived fats and bulkers in chain restaurant food. So what you see is partly an artifical construct and not really food as it is. I am talking beyond calories and carbohydrates and saturated fat grams here, but new food chemicals. Like carbo-protiens, and protonated-fats, and ionized-carboproto-saccaride ligands. I guess you can build a food molecule around an cationic zinc or magnesium or iron atom as they are all mineral nutrients anyways. I now realize I was eating alienated food and I had not yet developed the digestive enzymes to pulverize these new molecules and that explains why I found the bathroom a good dumping ground as my hody quietly refused to accept these engineered products. This is happening all across our American chains I am afraid, except the little local diners and bistros where they use real ingredients and combine them right before they go on the grill. There is a whole quiet field of food chemistry that has been around with us for a while, but now its clearly being harnessed to improve food bulk in the chains and I imagine by bulking up they save money on real fresh ingredients plus put their new patents into play. This fits with my experience of trying chicken fried steak a month ago where they fried up two diskus's of cheap flank like stead and placed them on a near 1 quart pan of mashed potatoes and then dropped about 3/4 a liter of white pan fried cream gravy. Now this was a huge platter and I could only eat half of one of the diskus's and half the potatoes and be completely filled to the point of bursting at the seams. Its all a revealing pattern now. The waiter told me he's seen 40 year old women eat the entire thing, and frankly now I get what is happening. Its a pattern and its in our chain restaurants. The problem is, while a salad bar is often there, you want something hot and cooked and comfort foody satisfying. So you go into menu land and end up with humongous plates of fried foods or better yet was the pot roast with potatoes and mashed potatoes all smothered in gravy well salted too. I think the starch content in a meal like that is unfathomable. I can remember a time when you could go to a truck stop, eat a four egg easy over breakfast, with bisquits and gravey, bacon and sausage, and hash browns, and orange juice and a pot of coffee and just feel comfortably full. But now days if you eat only half of their engineered food you are incredibly full. I guess I should retest this hypothesis by downing a decent truck stop breakfast at a "non-chain" diner. My easiest test is how easy it is to get up off the booth or chair after eating and walking across the floor a bit. If it feels like I have lead legs with cinderblocks in my girth I know I have been "mealed" with the new compounds. Remember when gravey was thin and just lightly covered your roast, almost watery really. And now its as thick as blue cheese dressing? See, this is what I mean. They have re-engineered our food.

Hattie

I wonder at the tone-deafness of this piece. Is this the Barbara Ehrenreich I knew and admired?
That she should succumb to fat prejudice seems so unlikely.
Fat people are the only people it is still OK to be prejudiced against.

Ron

Oh, come on. That was lame a couple of months ago when Gar Smith wrote it. WTF?

Brian

To compare I tried a Mexican chain restaurant this late afternoon and sat at a booth and ordered the "new" fiesta platter. Oh the food is good there, but next to me was a table of three, the patriarche a Death Valley old-timer looking man with a white beard, mouth half full of bent teeth, and a hacking cough. He "cough-coughed" all through my tasty fiesta platter with orange buffalo wings, deep fried taquitos stuffed with brown chicken and mushrooms and cheese, plaintains with gooey assada on top, and a shirmp, cheese, corn, taco pizza. He hacked and coughed and gasped in an air hungry way as the group chortled down their copious filled plates of burrito medallions and summer time shrimp conquistadors slaked with sour cream and sour cream dipping sauce. "Cough, cough, cough,...and on" went the old miner on and on. I couldn't take a bite without him coughing and choking. I wondered if it was a bit spicey for him or he had emphysema or miners lung, maybe tb or worse. He kept talking and smiling to his party all the coughing way through. He left twice to use the bathroom only to start coughing again at the first bite. well the waiters dutifully came over to him and asked him if he wanted desert. The same waiters said to me "is that all?" when I ordered the hugemongous 3200 calorie platter, as if it was just an appetizer and I should order a main course too. Well I couldn't eat it all and stopped 3/4's full nicely bloated. Then He came bay and asked me if I wanted desert too. I felt I had to apologize and explain why I didn't want desert as if I were a bad customer. All this why the old timer next booth over was repetitively coughing, over and over again till where it hurt my throat. Once again I found myself having to stagger into the restroom on the way out like I was drunk on heavy beer. I felt winded, heavy, and tired. This is what Eating in America is all about.

Jacqueline Homan

First of all, there is a real problem here with the working definition of obesity. Women like Mae West and Marilyn Monroe were a voluptuous size 16. They were hardly what you could consider "undesirable."

Second, much of this hype against anyone who is not a rail with washboard abs is fomented by special interests, especially by plastic surgery "professionals" hawking their wares like snake oil salesmen. What better way to make six figures a year than off of women's decimated self esteem, right?

Trashing women and girls' self esteem by reducing their value to objects or sex toys is a multibillion dollar industry. Convincing those who can afford liposuction is billed as empowering when it is nothing more than a dangerous ploy of undergoing understated risk - all for the benefit of male gaze and profit.

Over the years, I have observed major media, Hollywood, fashion magazines, etc depict the "ideal" standard of beauty as thinner and thinner and thinner. Women are trashed if they cannot live up to this airbrushed ideal. Now it is at the point where the ideal is unattainable for a myriad of reasons too numerous to cite here, for the majority of women to be able to realistically conform to. I for one, never really was one to buy into that. I want to be valued for my fortitude and character, as well as my education and talents - not my looks. That's what the whole feminist movement was supposed to be about.

All of this business about liposuction and obsession with being thin is really about sexism and elitism. The crime is that as American women and girls are being made to hate themselves if they cannot, for whatever reason, fit into this ideal. Our foremothers are undoubtedly turning over in their graves.

After doing extensive research on body image issues, I found that more and more girls are avoiding going for routine pap smears because they hate their bodies so much that they're ashamed to be seen from the waist down - even in a medical exam situation. Younger women reported in a survey that the number one reason they avoided pregnancy was because of fear of getting fat and ending up with other permanent battlescars that often accopmany pregnancy and childbirth. Young guys I spoke with confirmed this, saying that it is more difficult these days to get emotionally and physically intimate with younger women because they hate themselves. If someone hates themself, they cannot love someone else. Twenty years ago when I was 21, this whole thinness craze was laughable. But now it is out of hand and no longer funny. A report by the state of Minnesota recently revealed that 81% of non-overweight girls ages 10-12 had dieted at least once - so they would be thin and pretty enough to be socially accepted.

Young girls no longer aspire to be the next Madame Curie, Emmy Noether, Amelia Earhart, Admiral Grace Hopper, Angela Mayou or Toni Morrison. Instead, they're being sent messages every day that if they don't look like Kate Moss or Jessica Alba, they're not worth anything - even if they're the next potential Nobel or Pulitzer prize candidate. How sad is that?

More and more women are being steered towards buying chemically loaded Frankenstein diet foods. And regardless of where you shop, you're getting genetically/chemically altered foods infused with growth hormones because "Big Ag" giant Monsanto decided it knew better than mother nature.

Ms. Ehrenreich, whether you meant this article as satire or not, it was not one of your most shining moments. As a woman who was part of the feminist era that women like me looked up to as we were coming up, you of all people should know better than to play into such sexist and elitist crap.

lc2

While we're on the subject of fat ... it's widely believed that those of heft have an evolutionary advantage. Perhaps the reason there are so many chubby people, period, is that their forebears w/the metabolic propensity to hold on to fat stores, led to survival during famine. I'm talking here about Barbara's supposed targets -- not the morbidly obese, just those who are pleasantly plump despite a diet of Whole Foods and water w/a squeeze of lemon.

I visited an upscale supermarket the other day and was stunned at the number of tanned/toned, shorts-clad and expensive-sandal shod people, buying $10/pound prepared foods, natch (not like they actually cook more than anyone else). These look like people w/an inordinate amount of time to spend on bodily perfection. I am unconvinced, however, that they will have markedly longer life spans than, say, the average American woman. I'm not knocking beauty, just pointing out that we need to make a distinction between "healthy/acceptable" and "ideal."

Oh and on the subject of Dowd .... she addresses this topic nicely in a recent piece. Apparently, we're going to be held captive to Barack's insufferably ascetic tastes. God, it almost makes one pine for Bush (oops, almost forgot he's still here). At least his health consciousness stems from a dry drunk's desire for an exercise endorphin rush, not a prissy preference for designer greens over an occasional sampling of regional American foods. And yet he still smokes, the hypocrite! Wonder what the French will say?

Brian

A sundays worth of food at the ****star dinner. Breakfast--fried fish pattie on a bun with tarter sauce, a slice of thin tomatoe and iceburg lettce, a pepsi and large salted french fries. Lunch--a Cheeseburgler with old moo cow meat(not steer), one floppy slice of yellar cheese product, a sliver of tomatoe and iceburg lettuce, two thin slices of small pickles, a dollup of ketchup and a dollup of mayonaise kind of melding together into a pinkish white roe sauce. Diner-fried grilled cheapo sausage links on a hard stale white long bun roll, slashed with mustard and several sliver thins of pickle. Outside supplementation pretzles and hostess twinkies(warm) and one half rotten peach(to prevent scurvey) and a cup of coffee(with powdered creamer). This is around what many millions of urban americans eat on a sunday now days in one version or the other, especially in the poorer districts. Soon coming to a suburb near you.

roger

after having made an ass of myself and returning after a few months, now i find you all sitting around the campfire debating the respective merits between generating energy by means of fat harvested from the obese by liposuction and generating energy by means of drilling offshore.

its comedy right?

Brian

Today's dine out was 3500 calories. First a salad bowl of garlic pizza foccachia followed by a bowl of minestrone. Felt completly full. But then the main course arrived in one hugemongous dish of seared salmon in a pink caper cream sauce, a plating of broccoli, carrots, asparagus, and zuccini, and a side of cappelini(pasta) covered with bulk marinara, the kind with huge chunks of tomatoes, plus----a side dish of more pink caper cream sauce with sundried tomatoes and regular roma tomatoes all sauteed and hot. This time when I ate it I stopped two thirds through and just stopped. Standing up afterwards was still tricky as I tried to find my center of gravity after navigating my body off the groaning chair. But those first steps vibrated right through the food in my full belly. Twenty minutes later I had to pull over my car in a neighborhood and take a nap. I awoke still quite groggy when a sports team coming by soliciting money for their tournement.

chese

need more info on liposuction?
if your qualified for it?
how to keep the weight off when you get lipo?
go to www.galaxy007.wordpress.com
and all your questions will be answered

Brian

I wonder what this weeks dine out dinner experience will be like?

Mara

Well, I was all set to get offended by this piece (being on of those fat Americans, myself and not, alas, Filled with pride) but then I thought: hey! FREE Lipo! As long as it's done safely, sign me up! I'd be glad to donate some flab to the cause.;)

sarah

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed

reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
Sarah
http://www.thetreadmillguide.com

Ratartivy

They certainly broke some new ground with respect to some of the more traditional aspects of a wedding. 'When we were to be marri ed,' she said,'my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to neverargue. As Expected, I got my new song today. Caught this funny story at Engadget, about how a man modified the famous Astraware game: Bejeweled and made it to show an engagement ring when his girlfriend finished a certain score while playing with it. A long and healthy, joyful life to you both (not forgetting Nya).Please feel free to make any comments you wish to on the photos.

cosmetic surgery upland

Wow! if the liposuction helped to removes the average at least a half gallon of my liquid fat,i'd loved to undergo in this kind of procedure.

by: sphin

Chicago liposuction

had Smart Lipo done on my chin, upper and lower abdomen and inner thighs on Feb. 23rd. These were areas that were just not going away with diet and exercise.
I looked at the areas that I had done when I got home that afternoon and I could tell that they looked much better, that quickly, that is until the swelling set in! I am 6 days out and still pretty swollen. My draining only lasted for about 12 hours after I came home. I still have some pain in a few spots, but it’s really not that bad.
I took the pain medicine all day Monday and one dose on Tuesday. I have not taken anything else for pain. By day 3 I really felt like I was back to my old self. I am not having any problems doing anything now.
Of the areas that I had done, the chin was the most painful for me. I highly recommend Arnica cream or Arnicare gel. I used it 3 times a day and had only very faint bruising. I am very happy with my results thus far and cannot wait to see what the end results will be.

Texas breast reduction

Liposuction is not a solution to weight loss and not an alternative to dieting and exercise. However liposuction is often carried out by people who are not able to lose the fatty deposits that build up over the years and depending on your body and metabolism, sometimes no amount of exercise will solve this. It merely offers women the chance to feel better and more confident with their body and its shape.

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