Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Muppet Truth

Epiphanies of TV comedy:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Do These Sparrows Make the Spring?

For over ten years I've been reading about how the fashion industry is about to turn to models larger than size 0. There was Sophie Dahl for a bit* and the supposed breakthrough was being welcomed and almost announced in women's press for years -- with no effects, as far as I could tell.

Until this year, it seems, when for the first time in history I saw in a magazine a belly that resembled mine. Later in the summer I had the good fortune to go to Canada and, as one of the many souvenirs from that trip, I brought back a copy of Canadian Elle with a beautiful Frida Kahlo-inspired fashion shoot featuring Crystal Renn.

Does this mean that the runway, too, has finally ceased to be off limits for sizes larger than nothing?

It would be great.

And I'd love it if the next move was to confront the age question. I'm sick of looking at 13-year-olds showing off clothes for 30-year-olds (and bodies that are impossible for most of that audience without plastic surgery). These girls should be in school.

* I vaguely remember reading an interview in which Dahl complained that the larger girl image was imposed on her and had nothing to do with her natural weight or the image she had wanted for herself.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I'm thinking of getting this book.

I was a hungry teen: I lost weight at 15 and went crazy. My days were about counting calories, eating half of the half I already was eating, and squeezing in exercise whenever I could. At 18 I suddenly got terribly sick. One evening I took an afternoon nap, feeling oddly weak after a meal and woke up in pain. I thought I was going to die from intestinal cramps -- one of the lousiest, least-romantic, bordering on funny, deaths that you can imagine. My mother called the ambulance, I remember passing out because of the pain in my stomach, and the doctor trying to make me talk, so I stay conscious. I got a shot, which relaxed the cramps and after a few hours of sleep I went to the doctor for what was the first of a long series of visits and exams.

The diagnosis: an ulcer. Sounds simple, I know a lot of people deal with ulcers in one, two years, but I haven't been able to. Although, perversely, the illness helped me get over the worst obsession by preventing me from dieting, I still haven't learned to handle work-related stress or body image fears. (Like now, when I've gained a few pounds and, rationally, I know it doesn't really make much of a difference but I do feel I should lose them. But I'm not actively pursuing this -- just watching my thoughts.)

I wish I could have come to wiser conclusions about eating with a different inspiration than an imminent risk of a hole in my stomach.

But here's what the hole taught me:

raw food and fruit only diets -- crap: your inundating your stomach with acids and providing your body with only a small group of the nutrients you need;

mono-diets -- see above;

"cleanses" -- crap in a lot of cases: I understand they can help you once in a blue moon, but only if you don't belong to the huge group of people who absolutely need to eat regularly for hundreds of reasons (the basic: eating regularly is the healthiest option); if you want to "cleanse yourself of toxins" quit coffee, tea, and alcohol, sauces, fast food, snacks, chocolate, maybe dairy for a few weeks;

exercise -- good BUT if you find you are scheduling your life around visits to the gym, you are bat-shit crazy and if you think you're cool because you jog around your block but then you never WALK anywhere, you're not too smart;

demonizing bread and potatoes -- starch isn't toxic, you need to have a healthy balance of the amounts you consume AND advocate good bread (which does happen to be white sometimes), without half the periodic table in it, keeping it the same for months;

"halp! carbs!" -- change it to "help! synthetic food!"

The food part is easier than making friends with the mirror. I've been practicing for years. I feel like it's getting better, but there are many times when it feels like day one.

It doesn't help to have this as your ethnic beauty ideal and success story (btw, her body's chosen weight was this).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not biased against very slender people -- IF it's their natural weight. If it's a result of a fierce battle with the body, I don't support it. That's why I'm very grateful to Crystal Renn for writing her book and for interviews such as this one.

[ promo]
[Kate Harding on Crystal Renn at]
["No Longer Hungry..." at]
["Crystal Renn... on Having Her Cake and Eating It" - The Guardian]

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Marriage Equality

The American version has Cat Power playing in the background and the girl's name is Megan. The problem, though, remains the same.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Do You Want Fries with That?

I just got an email about an upcoming lecture in which Alain Badiou was described as a "mega-philosopher." It sounds like a meatball sub and BigMac rolled into one.

I think it started when "being a supermodel" became a separate profession from modeling.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The House of Mirth

"The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth."
(Ecclesiastes 7:4)

This is why I don't read the Bible.

The quote comes from notes to Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, which I've been meaning to read for years. I'm in the middle and loving it so far, although my heart is in the house of graduate student despondency (I'm reading it for an exam).

Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who get influenced by the book's cover when they read. So while there are all those editions with monumental female figures on the stairs or fainting due to excessive femininity, I am lucky to possess this Library of America edition (pictured right), where the "h" reaches somewhat too vigorously into Edith Wharton's nose. In this circumstance, Ms. Wharton's expression seems less tortured by New York society than by intrusive poligraphy, which is reassuring. You can cringe all eternity about society, but if it's not women and marriage, society finds other things to be awful about.

The cover with the triumphant "h" also makes the sense of creative struggle with the word more palpable.

I feel you, Edith Wharton, from far below your creative level. During my irregular visits to the house of blogging confusion, I get this sense of struggle in a less literal way (which my deviated septum greatly appreciates). I'm probably one of the last people to discover the much talked/blogged about style blog written by an eloquent 13-year-old. I hope she does better in combining blogging, doing her homework, and having friends than this English teacher.

I really hope she has friends rather than a book deal.

But back to Lily Bart.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Unfulfilled Wish

I wish I could think in the morning.