Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lies, Damn Lies and Constitutional Crisis's such a lonely word....everyone is so untrue. hardly ever heard....and mostly what I need from you.

Sometimes the old adult contemporary tunes speak volumes of an untrue world. It's a sad day when Billy Joel has to remind us again not to be such liars.

But it's not surprising...lies are the new truth. Everybody's doing it. School teachers, business owners, football heroes, even the head of the United States Justice Department has no problem sitting in front of the Senate committee and bold lying through his teeth.

A recent bout of food poisoning had me laid up in bed for a day, which gave me a chance to catch up on world events. I watched...

-Utah mine owner Bob Murray tell us that the mine collapse was due to an earthquake, only to have seismologists inform us all that there was no earthquake. Seems Bob Murray is a liar. And worse, he has prevented his miners from unionizing, he has paid MILLIONS in fines for previously violating safety regulations, and his Republican friends (whom he has donated nearly 1 million dollars to) have only made it easier for his lying ass by putting yet another incompetent liar in the Federal office of mine safety, so Bob Murray's failure to care for the safety of the men and women who have made him rich can go unnoticed. Do we all need to watch Coal Miners Daughter, and Silkwood again to understand the plight of the American worker?

-Quarterback, correction, FORMER quarterback Michael Vick seems to feel that the paltry NFL salary he was making is not enough and was apparently running a full service dog fighting establishment and gambling "hall" to bring in some extra cash. Like he needed it, because he was running his side biz right on the property of his huge estate. What appalls me is the blatant lie he tried to perpetrate. While even a cursory fly over his property revealed his illegal operation, he was defiant that he had any involvement. He didn't know anything about it. I know it's hard, cuz I always find myself chasing those pesky dog fighters off my property. Wait no I don't...hmmm seems someone is trying to pull the wool over our eyes... Plus the lie he told the Atlanta Falcons when he signed his contract stating that he would abide by the law and not embarrass the franchise. You know the contract they all sign. The one he was paid the millions of dollars for, that bought that beautiful estate he was "not" torturing dogs on. It is my sincere hope that the Falcons sue him for breach of contract and get some money back for the poor fans who start the season without their talented but lying ass QB.

-And sadly I got to see about 6 hours of the Dateline special, "To Catch a Predator". I am usually not a watcher of this kind of stuff, COPS, or any other reality law enforcement show. I can't stand "Dog the Bounty Hunter". But sitting in bed, you get sucked into stuff, and what makes the show so compelling is the range of men that show up at the decoy house to meet with a 11, 12, 13 year old boy or girl. Married men, with their own children, teachers, clergy, and a whole bunch of pizza guys which should make you think twice about letting the kids order pizza. White, asian, hispanic, black, middle-eastern, race seems to play little difference with the pedophiles that show up with liquor and condoms and dildos. Luckily there is no real child there, the decoy is an 18+ actor. To catch a liar, in this case, you have to be a liar, and the fact that these men are set up by a whole team of grown folks with no actual child present does produce an ethical concern. If in fact the 'predator' was chatting with someone who was 18, and lied to say she was 13, and if in fact the predator went to meet the fake 13 yr old who was actually 18, one could argue that there is no laws against hooking up with 18 yr old liars. But intent is the actual crime, not the just the act. The predator INTENDED to meet a 13 yr old for sex, and if he ended up finding a set up and a jail sentence, well you'd think one less predator off the street is a justifiable end, even if the means are messy. But you'd be the fact that a predator is off the street. Most of these men received less than a week of jail time and a few years probation. One of them was even picked up the next day trying to meet some other kid at McDonalds. One of the predators was caught at the decoy house the day after he went to court for the conviction he had the last time he ended up going to the decoy house on a previous episode. Lightning does strike twice, and so does stupidity. And yes the men all tell the same lies: it's the only time I ever did this, I just wanted to tell the kid to be careful, I always carry chocolate condoms. But law enforcement is also lying to us. It tells us we're safe, while it lets pedophiles off with a slap on the wrist and their name on a list. All the while, non violent weed smokers do real hard time for takin a toke. Apparantly smoking weed is far more deadly to society than smokin 13 yr old pole. Although that has the sound of a lie to me.

And of course, I was able to catch up on all the latest Senate debacle. And watch for myself the gall of Alberto Gonzales as he told lie after lie to the Senate committee, with a smirk no less. The real trouble with Alberto's lies are that the reduce the Constitution to shreds: by refusing to answer honestly the questions posed by the Senators, Mr. Gonzales destroys the system of checks and balances that the founding fathers built this country on. The executive branch is to be checked by Congress and by the Judicial branch, the judicial branch is checked by the executive and legislative, and so on. But the current executive branch has joined in cohoots with the judicial, or more accurately criminally "packed" the judicial branch with nepotistic patsy's, and so we've left the Constitutionally mandated job of "checking" the powers of the president to Congress, not exactly the worlds truth telling team. Capital Hill is filled with hypocrites who sleep around with hookers while advocating a moral agenda of "no sex before marriage", who preach about environmental waste while using their jet to tour around and get votes, burning more fossil fuels for the cause of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. With back biters and pork barrelers and greedy wealthy elites, who take the peoples votes and campaign dollars and then take big vacations and huge raises once they are elected. "If only they'd elect me, I'd make them pay"

So lying is all the rage. It seems no wonder that my niece lies to my face. It doesn't surprise me when people tell me they will be somewhere, do something, call, or whatever the promise is and then they do not show up, do what they said, call, or whatever the promise was. I saddens me, it makes it harder to do my job, but I'm not surprised. Lying is the new truth.

But that leaves me with Billy Joel ringing in my ears... hardly ever heard....and mostly what I need from you....all.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

WHY I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE and other essays on Color Celebration

March 18, 2007 - Sunday

WHY I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE and other essays on Color Celebration

I love Black people. I love them. I mean I love all people, I am at heart a humanitarian, but for some reason, perhaps many reasons, I have always loved black people as my own people.

I guess saying that makes people uncomfortable, and with the history between blacks and whites I understand. Neither white or black people are comfortable with their history or current situation, and being together often brings out that discomfort. Both sides are suspicious of the other's motives. Both sides fear the other's anger. So mostly they avoid each other, and we self segregate.

Which sucks for me, because I love black people. I love their music, their bold fashion, their strength in the face of prejudice, the beautiful range of colors their skin can be, their sense of humor, the passion I find again and again in strong black men and women to make their lives remarkable. Black is beautiful, brave, stylish and strong, and I love to be around life's beauty. But I live on the north side of Chicago and my neighbors are Irish families and lesbian couples. Ah the curious mixes created by gentrification. None of my neighbors are black, and doing stand up on the north side of town I got bored of the GAP mentality of your average middle class white kid. I don't care to listen to the same tired jokes about homeless people and living on ramen noodles. And so when my friend John offered me to come out and do stand up in Bellwood, I was excited to get in front of a diverse audience, and to talk about the things that mean something to me.

See I found out about slavery in second grade. Black history was just getting around to being included in the curriculum after the founding of Black History Month in 1976, a few years earlier. I remember reading stories and letters of the horrors of the violence and inhumanity of the slave holders. I was devastated for a week, and never felt the same about man kind. It's funny but of lot of my white friends my age say the same thing, that the first time they learned about slavery it traumatized them. I don't know if they tell black people that, I get the impression sometimes that the myth is that all white people are tolerant of the concept of slavery, because it benefited them. I understand that the legacy of slavery has created an environment in our society that is easier on me cause I have white skin, it's easier on all white people. Our society is sadly racist. But I have always felt not benefit from slavery, but profound loss. Loss in our dignity as a country, loss of fellow human brothers and sisters, loss of the dream of America, a melting pot of cultures and peoples living in equality and piece.

As a girl I threw myself into learning about abolition, civil rights and Black History. I was deeply inspired by Harriet Tubman, and still to this day feel that what she did touched me somehow. When I learned about how white women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were foundational in forming the abolitionist movement, with no power of their own, no vote, no right to property and in fact not even protected against domestic violence, as it was acceptable to beat your wife "within reason" (not to death) in those days. I felt a sense of hope when I learned this. I could now see that other people of those times felt as I did, repulsed, and took brave action to support their convictions.

It hard not to notice that the prevailing attitude of white folks is guilt, the idea being that all us white folks descended from slave owners. Some of us did, to be true. Some of us however also came from those women and men who fought the political battles against slavery, and some came from those who housed travelers on the Underground Railroad, and some came from poor Scotsmen who were worked like slaves, paid little or no wages, working to pay off their cost of passage, many to their very deaths. I don't know my geneology, but I like to imagine my great, great, great, great grandmother hiding Harriet and one of her groups, bringing them bread and soup and worrying about them as they set off. Or writing letters and speeches to deliver to the abolitionist meeting or straight to the governor if necessary. It is what I would have done.

I guess as such, I don't feel white guilt as much as I feel human fury. Fury that the greed and sadism and pure evil of people has left our nation with this great and perhaps unhealable wound. And what's worse, the abolition meetings aren't the same anymore. We live in the modern delusion that we are all equal, because the Declaration tells us so, but just one look with our eyes makes it obvious that we are not treated equal in the world. Blacks, Latinos, just about all races not white, and of course women, are considered underdogs. And are given less power and money and liberty. Heck, you can still be white and if you are gay or marry outside your race or be poor and you will also be stripped of your social power. And every year it gets worse. A rich white elite pushes everyone one else down.

Thankfully, many of the "minority" groups (women are actually a majority of the population, the "majority minority" as I call it) have been working towards civil rights for their people. I can't help but think there would be strength in numbers, and I can't help but notice how the rich elite try to keep us apart. Turning poor whites against blacks and with the war on terror and illegal immigration, turning poor whites against Mexicans, and Muslims and just about anyone who is different.

Not that a lot of these crazy rednecks are that difficult to convince. Hatred and bigotry is sadly often the status quo in rural white America. I was born trailer trash myself. I've seen first hand how hateful and ignorant white folks can be. I grew up with two Native American aunts, one Navajo, one Hualipai, both adopted into the family at birth, long before I came along, and they were just my normal old aunts to me. But out in the world, I got a chance to experience people's looks and rude comments with regard to my brown aunt and her little white niece. Perhaps that changed who I was, and helped feed my love for black people, seeing as my aunts were brown skinned too. Perhaps I was black in a previous life. Or perhaps I just know beauty and strength when I see it. No matter what color wrapping it comes in.

No matter how I got this way, I find myself moved to live the dream of that globe picture we all had in our classrooms as kids, the one with all the different colors of children in their different outfits holding hands around the Earth. And even in the face of a world that looks nothing like that globe, I keep trying to make it, trying to reach for harmony.

So I talk about white people and black people and all the races and the struggles we share. And if you've seen me do stand up, you know that some of the stuff I say has a lot of painful truth in it (this is comedy?) but to me only the truth will set us free, and the best tool of truth I have is my funny bone. So if you get the chance to catch me live, come out, see for yourself why I call myself the whitest black comic in America. And check back to this blog, because I will be doing other installments about my life and experiences with the great American "melting" pot, in the continuing series, "Why I Love Black People and Other Thoughts on Color Celebration".

Thanks for reading me, much love,
Suzzanne Monk


'TIS THE SEASON (To Push Your Religion on Others)

November 29, 2006 - Wednesday

'TIS THE SEASON (To Push Your Religion on Others)

Season's Greetings everyone!

You may have heard in the news this week about the hubba baloo in Chicago about a nativity scene at a local tourist site. A judge has ruled that the nativity scene can stay, but the venue can not advertise a movie about the nativity on video billboards around the event. The idea being that the video (and audio) advertisements cannot be ignored by non christian guests but the nativity scene can be avoided.

And that's what living in a melting pot has come to. Ignoring one another, and using the law to force people to be ignorable. Living in a "tolerant society" in modern America means living the fantasy that no one else exists.

But we ALL exist. Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddist, Atheist, rich, poor, the homeless, the criminal, single mother, illegal immigrant....ALL OF US EXIST. To try to pretend otherwise is literally delusional. And the concept that America was founded on was a land where everyone could live in mutual respect for individual choice. YOU get to decide who you are and I get to decide who I am, and both of us will defend that right to individual choice from anyone who would try to take it away. It is what makes us countrymen. What makes us brothers and sisters in the American family. Our willingness to defend LIBERTY. Liberty and justice for ALL.

And that's the thing about liberty. Liberty and justice have to be for all, or they are no longer liberty or justice. When liberty is given only to the priviledged, or to the moral majority, it changes from liberty into oppression. If justice is given more to whites in the court of law, prisons become slave camps. The founding fathers set us off on this mission of liberty and justice for all, but we have yet to achieve the dream.

In fact what we have is something more of a nightmare. The courts are too busy regulating how loud you can celebrate your faith to dish out justice. Big retailers are going back to a more christian biased "Merry Christmas" greeting by their clerks (yes I'm talking about you, Walmart) instead of a simple and inclusive Happy Holidays. What's next, the ten commandments on the courthouse wall?

What we should be doing on the holidays is sharing traditions. The nativity is often shoved down our throats, but the response isn't to repress the nativity. It is to celebrate our other traditions loudly and with pride. A menorrah in the mall holiday display. An effort in schools to teach all religions, so we can understand what the hell is Ramadan. A Kwanzaa parade down the Magnificent Mile is sure to bring bounty and goodness to all in the coming year. Then just around the corner we can all go down to our local China town and get our Chinese New Year on. (Happy Year of the Fire Pig). The holiday season is about love, peace and tolerence. It's about sharing joy. What better way to share joy than to open our homes, our hearts and our traditions to everyone. I say pony up to the bountious buffet of life and try a bite of everything. You never know, you just might find something you never thought you'd like....

So I sing out a challenge to every atheist, Muslim and Jew in America (and all you other faiths as well). Sing the driedel song from the rooftops, host a Ramadan dinner for your non muslim friends, build huge non faith based winter wonderland displays on the courthouse steps. Don't let the Christians drown you out with their Harking and Heralding. The chorus of the American dream is most beautiful when everyone sings loud.

PS: I would love to be invited to Ramadan dinner. Do they serve dessert? mmmmm dessert.



All Men Want Is Sex, and the Other Adventures of Myth Man.

November 22, 2006 - Wednesday

All Men Want Is Sex, and the Other Adventures of Myth Man.

I was recently at a party, and one girl was doing a survey for a class she was taking. The survey was about men's desire for sex, and her theory was that all men want, all they care about in relationships, is sex. The guys in the room answered her questions gracefully, but it got me thinking. It's not the first time I have come across this male sex myth.

THE MYTHS - Men are sex fiends, they only want sex. Men are not emotional beings, are not deep enough to feel emotions. Men are sexually assertive. Men avoid commitment. Men will have sex with a woman just because she is willing. Men are not worried about their appearance. Men are pigs. They are dogs. They are sexually predatorial. They WANT/NEED sex.

Everybody knows men want sex. If a man says he doesn't want sex, we all snicker under our breath. Of course he wants sex. If he says he doesn't want sex, He is A. lying B. pretending to be pure and sensitive to get sex or C. in denial. Why wouldn't a man want sex?
But this myth is ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as men don't cry or all women are completed by being mommies. It is obvious that men, like women, have a variety of reasons to wanting and having sex at any given moment. Men have commitments that shape their desire for sex. Men have day to day situations that leave them uninterested in sex; fatigue, mood, self-confidence, hunger, whatever. Men, like women, are concerned with the ramifications and complications of having sex. The affect that sex may have on social situations and existing relationships is a key factor in men's sexual decisions. It feels obvious to say these things. Of course, men have situations in which they don't want sex.

But, now take a second to reread the previous paragraph "Men are pigs.." These statements clash with the obvious reality of man. And still it seems hard to let go of the myths. This man that can't get enough sex is Myth Man, the manifestation of our unrealistic ideal of men. But Myth Man is not Reality Man. The man who comes home with a headache after work and has no interest in your new nightie is Reality Man. The man who can't feel sexy in the bedroom because he feels powerless at work is Reality Man. Myth Man is that guy in the movies that get shot three times and sews his own arm back on but when he sees his woman he still has the strength to whisk her passionately into his arms. Reality Man would lie on the gurney and say ouch if you even bumped him the wrong way.
We all know reality man. We live with him, we grew up with him, may work with him, or visit him on the holidays. But we have also internalized Myth Man. And myth man tells us that our man, as a man, always wants sex, so if the man of our life is not interested in sex is about not him, but us, the woman. The woman is unattractive. We can't blame the guy for not acting like the horny man that he is if the woman is fat, ugly or just unattractive. If our man doesn't want us then we are not attractive.
But the carnage of Myth Man is not yet complete. For then men see the disappointment in their partners, they have their own feelings of inadequacy in being unable to meet their partners needs. Myth Man tells men that if they were real men they would want sex, they would want to have sex with their partner when she wants it rather than just wanting to watch reruns of Friends. What kind of man are you, says Myth Man, and Reality Man feels small, emotionally and phallically.
We sit in the aftermath of Myth Mans rampage, our confidences damaged, our self worth destroyed. Sex seems rife with complications and difficulties, and we get a little gun shy towards sex, and towards intimacy with each other. Not only do we feel bad about ourselves, but we communicate less with each other.
I often meet and speak with men whom I believe feel a great deal of pressure to be sexually manly, and they often are apologizing for themselves not being comfortable with being sexual. "I know this is weird, but I don't feel into sex lately. It not her it's me." (Sure, sure says Myth Man). In fact, I think more often than not, men seem to have a sense of male ideal sexuality that is not what they are currently getting sexually, but cover that by saying "I haven't met anyone", "girls don't put out." "my wife isn't into it". When was the last time you heard a man complement himself or brag about his monthy sex bout with his partner. Men brag when they are getting a lot of women, or a lot of sex from their partner. Men are supposed feel sexy and attractive and desirable when they have lots of sex. Myth man would never let Reality man say "I am such a stud because I have sex with my wife once a month."

I could go on, but the point is made. What we all have to recognize about sex and desire is that everyone is different, and nobody has the live up to the myths about sex. They are just that, myths. Sex is about experiencing pleasure and without having pleasure in the rest of our life, we can't expect sex to be pleasurable either. If you want great sex (and most of us do) then be great to yourself. Accept yourself and your desire for what it is. Accept your man for what he is, a human being. Don't let Myth Man beat you up. Don't be Myth Man. Fuckin kill Myth Man, because that bastard is ruining your sex life. And only when myth man is dead can Reality Man be free. To just be, just live happily in reality. The sex is better over here, trust me.


The 'Feel Like My Tanks Going Dry' Rag

August 24, 2006 - Thursday

The "Feel Like My Tanks Going Dry" Rag

Hello 2 Boobers!

I have finally taken up my banjo in anger and penned a war protest song for the new millenium. And like everything in this millenium, it is a throwback to yesteryear. I have taken the infamous Country Joe and the Fish song, "Feel Like I'm Gonna Die Rag" and wrote new words for a new Vietnam. You may know it as Iraq.

And it's catchy so I thought you all might want to play along. Here's the words. You can play them to the Country Joe and the Fish chords. (sorry, I would post the chords here, but myspace's blogger doesn't like my mac and it won't let me format or use the sharp sign. Email me if you really need to know.) I've copyrighted the song, so feel free to enjoy singing or playing it. But if you want to broadcast it, record it, or perform it live, contact me for permissions.

The "Feel Like My Tank's Going Dry" Rag
Copyright 2006 by Suzzanne Monk

Gimme a 'C'
Gimme a 'U'
Gimme an 'N'
Gimme a 'T'
What's that spell? CUNT!
What's that spell? CUNT!
What's that spell? CUNT!
What's that spell? CUNT!

Hey there all of you guys and gals,
Lets dish out some money to George and his pals.
The War on Terror's raised the price of oil,
And to the victor then go the spoils.
The Bush Administration's laughing to the bank
While I'm starvin' just to fill my tank.

Cuz it's one, two, three dollars a gallon or more.
They got the apple and we got the core.
Where's the oil we're fightin for.
And it's five, six, seven years, don't hesitate.
Tell your congressman there's no debate
Impeach, 'cuz the world can't wait.

Now little Georgie wants to be like his dad,
So he marched the troups straight into old Baghdad.
Insurgency is growing there everyday,
'Cuz they think Uncle Sam hates the Muslim way.
But it ain't 'bout religion, and it ain't about God.
I'ts 'bout the oil underneath their sod.


Now if you've got some money and you're upperclass,
Then you put your dollars into oil and gas.
And send you're wife out on a shopping spree,
'Cuz all the soccer moms are drivin' SUV's
Don't worry bout supply 'cuz George's got a plan.
He'll just go ahead invade Iran.


Hey now all of you college lads,
Cost of tuition got you feelin' sad?
Army recruiter's got a hell of a plan.
He'll ship you to Iraq to work for Uncle Sam.
When you get back you'll have the G.I. Bill,
But it looks like you never will.


So if you love America, then join the pack,
And send your son or daughter to Iraq.
We're spreading democracy throughout the land.
And don't forget the oil underneath their sand.
Occupation is a beautiful thing,
Can't you hear the bells of freedom ring?


George Bush is a CUNT!


WORLD WAR III: Jews vs. Muslims

July 26, 2006 - Wednesday

WORLD WAR III: Jews vs Muslims

As anyone who has a TV must know by now, World War III has begun. Or at least thats what the media is calling it. And by it I mean the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

But see, here is what I think is messed up. Even just stating the fact, THE FACT, that Israel has invaded Lebanon is bound to piss off some of my Jewish readers. There is a phenomenon among some American Jews to have a blind allegiance to Israel, no matter how heinous Israel behaves. "But Hezbollah, and the soldiers, they have our soldiers." But who do you mean by they? Hezbollah? That is a large multi national organization with facilities all over the region. But Israel is bombing Lebanon. The airport and infrastructure. Even when we invaded Iraq, we didn't blow up the airport. To destroy the infrastructure of another soveriegn nation seems vindictive at best, and war mongering at worst. The airport did not steal the soldiers. Criminals did. But as is Israeli policy, the conservative run Israel feels it has the authority to bomb and kill anyone that may be related or have contact with terrorists.

In comparison, when shoe bomber Richard Reed was arrested, US military planes did not blow up his mother's house. Such a thought is absurd. As Americans we know that everyone is only accountable for his/her own behavior. Criminals are the bad guys, not necessarily their families. But so many American Jews I come across are willing to suspend their American values when discussing Israel. Why?

When the nation of Israel was formed by the UN after WWII, it was seen as a solution to the grave situation of a long suffering people. To give them a homeland. But the land that was given had people living on it, however spread out they may be. As part of the charter in creating the nation of Israel, the UN prescribed that Israel take steps to create a Palestinian state. So many decades later, they are still fighting over this.

A big part of the problem is Jerusalem itself. It is the holy place of at least 3 world religions and sharing holy places has never been easy. As it stands now, no solution to the conflict in Israel is possible because Israel doesn't want to share Jerusalem.

Now what should happen, and what the UN should have done in the first place, is to make the city of Jerusalem a city state, like the Vatican in Rome. A nation soveriegn unto itself run by a city council. Now I know that no one will do that, so while I'm at it let me throw out another idea.

Why don't we sell Jerusalem to Walt Disney Co. and they can make Religion Land, a faith themed amusement park? Just think of the rides: Moses parts the Red Sea Log Boats, Jesus's descent and ascent from Hell, Mohammed's Conquering Ride. It would raise awareness and tolerance of all religions. The city would be run off the revenue and as such would be a modern paradise. Think of the concession stands: Kosher Moshe's Holy Hotdogs, 2 Fishes & 7 Loaves Fish and Chips, Hasan's Happy Halal Meat. By selling out all of our religious values maybe we will find the one value that seems to be in short supply....the value of Human Life.

In all seriousness, I urge each of my readers, Jewish, Muslim, Secular, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, Agnostic, whatever you are I urge you to understand these three things.

1. Israel does NOT represent Judaism. Just because Israel does something doesn't mean Jews have to support it. As such it is not Jewish people's fault if Israel acts stupid.

2. Invading a soveriegn nation for the actions of a few of it's citizens is wrong. It was wrong when we did it, it is still wrong now. War is for fighting countries. Interpol is for fighting international criminal terrorists.

3. This is not WWIII, but it could be if we all sit idly by and let the values of international diplomacy be flouted, by our leaders and by the leaders of other nations. It is time we all go back to acting civilized. Or we could lose civilization itself.

So I say....
End the war in the Middle East. All of them. Before it's too late.

Yours in Furious Comedy,
Suzzanne Monk
2 Boob Productions


"TOO FAT" - Food, Physical Fitness and Economics in America

July 8, 2006 - Saturday

"TOO FAT" - Food, Physical Fitness and Economics in America

Food, Physical Fitness and Economics in America

America is fat. Statistic after statistic repeats the same refrain. 40%, 50 %, 60% are obese, depending on whom you talk to. We sit around too much, exercise too little, and of course, we eat fatty, fattening, fat enhancing food. Big Macs, Oreos, Pepsi, chips, fries, Supersized. Kids are getting fatter than ever. Fat will kill you, the doctors report on the 10 oclock news in between the commercials for the McRib and Miller Lite. Diets abound: no meat, all meat, juice fasting, meal replacement, appetite suppressants, metabolic uppers, specially calculated body type menus for maximum weight loss for YOU! Exercise equipment, gym memberships, video workouts, the latest exercise craze from Milan, L.A. or Suzanne Somers. An infomercial producers dream. And somehow even all of that wasnt enough to keep Al Roker from stapling his stomach. On and on the media prattles about fat, and we all try to understand where we all stand on Americas giant scale.

But as in life, the scale doesnt tell the whole of the story. Americas problem with weight goes beyond fast food and couch potatoes. Fat is not just about fat; its about economics, politics, media coverage, health care, education and personal values. The battle of the bulge is a struggle for power: over ourselves, over others and over nature herself.

Lets start with economics. Fat is big money for business owners. The foods that make us fat are part of our national identity. Burger franchises and soda companies and beer brewers and snack food producers are so economically prevalent that they sponsor the majority of professional and semi-professional sporting events, as well as sponsoring the music industry, the amusement park industry, and the nightclub industries, to name a few. Gaining weight makes people money. It employs millions of individuals, provides hefty profits to investors, and contributes significant funding to various charitable ventures. A double cheeseburger with a large coke and a Hershey bar could help send a kid to camp, employ an impoverished individual, return a sizeable dividend to the shareholder and keep professional sports on TV. Thats a mouthful.
And treating the illnesses that are brought on by fat makes money, too. For doctors, hospitals, physical therapists, HMOs and of course, the pharmaceutical companies. Arthritis, Diabetes, heart disease are prevalent illnesses associated with obesity with prevalent and costly treatments. The choices of medication for arthritis alone are nearly endless. Heart disease alone earns the medical industry 7 billion dollars a year. The medical cost of treating these long term and chronic diseases is the bread and butter of the medical system.

Losing the weight makes money, too. Weight loss is a 4 billion dollar a year industry. Every new diet or exercise or product makes money. And the medical community and the media put tremendous pressure on us to lose the weight. Seeing your doctor before you begin a workout regimen makes money. Nutritionalist advice, prescription diet drugs, and bariatric surgery make money. And with the massive pressure put on us by the media to be thin, diet entrepreneurs have built in product promotion. When all the celebrities are airbrushed thin, when all of the news shows do specials on new weight loss trends and the latest study on the dangers of obesity, when all the talk shows do segments on weight loss success stories, the diet industry makes more money. No wonder Suzanne Somers did that Thigh master thing.
Americas fat is a huge cash cow feeding an estimated 5 trillion dollars into the economy, that is 33% of the GNP. The people spend money on the products that make them fat, and then spend money on the products that take fat off. If everyone truly started eating healthy and kept off those pesky extra pounds, the American economy would collapse. Perhaps thats is why funding for physical fitness training in schools has been repeatedly cut by local and federal politicians over the past 20 years. Not enough money in the budget they say. But truth be told, statistics show that fat kids become fat adults. Fat adults are good for the economy.

And yet it is harder for a fat person to get equal treatment. Obese individuals are treated differently from thinner folk. Fat prejudice is one of the most allowable forms of prejudice to date. You would never ask a black man to purchase two seats on an airplane because other people were uncomfortable sitting next to him. You would never (openly) turn down a job to a woman because her womanly medical needs would cause a hike in the companys insurance premiums. You would never think an old woman lazy because her medical condition requires a wheelchair. But obese citizens experience all of these things day by day. They are the butt of endless jokes, as children they are more mistreated by their peers than any other demographic, and everything is made for someone half their size. If not it costs twice as much. It seems to me that the battle against fat is really a sinister social machine that chews up our self-confidence, our humanity and spits out money to somebody else.

What if we all just accepted our bodies for what they were? Flesh, with its variations between individuals, with its need for nutrition and physical activity, with its dimples and wrinkles and rolls. With its potential for system failure. What if chunky girls didnt starve themselves to look like Jenifer Aniston, and felt pretty just as they were. If every now and then the Oscar winning actress happened to be fat, if airline and movie seats were bigger for everybody, if schools had workout rooms and taught lifelong fitness. If a Happy Meal came with fruit and vegetables that kids loved. If we accepted that sometimes people die. What if whatever we weighed or looked like we loved our own body and took good care of it for as long as we could and then when it quit working we were allowed to leave this world with dignity and fond remembrance. In a world like that, no one would ever be "too fat".


Gays, Christians and the Reality of Marriage

June 5, 2006 - Monday

Gays, Christians and the Reality of Marriage
(repost from 2005)

According to the US Supreme Court decision last year to legalize sodomy, it is now legal to take it (or give it) in the ass. State laws that have been on the books for decades making anal sex punishable by law were shot down by the high court's decision. Now, at long last, gay men and kinky heterosexuals alike can ass boink in freedom, without fearing a police raid mid thrust.

But freedom for ass sex has brought with it the new gay mantra. "Legalize Gay Marriage!" Gay activists have seized the day in order to further their agenda of legal gay marriage in the US. And the conservatives are in an uproar about it, stumbling over themselves to make new laws defining marriage as heterosexual, "between a man and a woman". And the press is enjoying all the racy material. Sodomy! Gay Marriage! Heterosexual! Words like that sell papers. The news hasn't been so sexual since the Clinton scandal days. Even the Pope got a little press out of the deal. And so on and so on.

Liberals argue that legal marriage is the right of every citizen and to deny the right to marry is to deny a person's humanity. Conservatives claim that allowing gays to marry will decay the institution of marriage and then destroy society and humankind as we know it. To all these people marriage is the lynch pin of a healthy society. They all take marriage to be this sacred state of being.

Marriage in reality is far from sacred. It is as mundane as it comes. Dishes, mortgages, work, kids. Trying to find time to squeeze in some intimacy between work and laundry and dinner. It is a full time job, an all the time job, a balancing act between partners, lovers, parents and hopefully friends. And there are a few job skills that one needs to do the job well: compassion, consideration, compromise to name a few. Watching the way the pundits have brutalized each other over this issue, it seems neither group has the tools for marriage anyway. Both sides seem really busy walking around with the wrong kind of head stuck up their asses.

So let me respond to both sides.

To the conservatives I say this: America is a secular nation. If you want a religious state to enforce your "moral" opinions as law, move to Vatican City, or become Muslim and move to Iran. Gay marriage isn't going to ruin the institution of marriage. The institution was born flawed. It was born as a means of controlling valuable property; namely women and children. Explain dowries, brideprices and white virginal dresses (the safety seal on a woman to make sure she wasnt tampered with.) Even today the father still 'gives away' the bride. Anyway, you all should stop trying to control everyone else's behavior and get your own life right. Start with, "Judge not lest ye be judged" or "whoever is without sin throw the first stone."

To the liberals I say this: Marriage is not a ticket into society's loving, accepting arms. Legalizing gay marriage will not free you from the shackles of second rate citizendom. It will not tear down the fences between you and your suburbanite neighbors. It will not make your partnerships more fulfilling. It will however allow the government more control in your life. Along with marriage rights come divorce rights, where a single sexual infidelity can be legal grounds for a lifetime of alimony. Where monogamy is part of the law, and where what you do (or don't do) in the bedroom is grounds for divorce. Marriage laws will always allow the government access into our private sexual lives because marriage is about our private sexual lives. If the liberals want everyone to be free to make their own sexual choices, they should be fighting to get government legislation out of marriage instead of giving more relationships over the province of political moralism.

To everyone else I say this: People are gay. Get over it. To each his own. Live and let live. Different strokes for different folks. And if we can get a whole new group of folks to pony up the fee for a marriage license, let em'.

The states could use the revenue.


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