Letter to the Editor

So, Marianne was mentioned in The Orlando Weekly again

Best fat-rights blogger

http://www.therotund.com

She’s 350 pounds of soft Orlando jiggle, and she says the body mass index is bullshit and people should recognize rights for those who are beyond pleasantly plump. She’s even posed nude to prove that point. So if you’re tubby and need some inspiration on fat power, or are just a chubby-chaser looking for the mother load, you’ve found it.

Yeah. 

Here is the letter I just sent to the editor of the Orlando Weekly.

As Marianne Kirby’s friend and co-author of a forthcoming book on body acceptance, I was delighted to see her mentioned again in Orlando Weekly. (Best of Orlando 2008, Local Color.) Well, at least until I read what was written about her.

Marianne’s blog, The Rotund, is about body acceptance and fat politics. One of the recurring messages of the blog is that women’s bodies do not exist simply for the sexual gratification of onlookers. Which means “chubby chasers looking for the mother load [sic]” — as your writer so charmingly put it — will be sorely disappointed by her site. It’s light on the nudie photos (which were taken for a cancer charity), heavy on the thinky feminist shit. Not exactly the internet’s finest source for fat chick porn.

Also, for the record, Marianne’s 319 pounds of “soft Orlando jiggle,” not 350 — a fact your writer could have checked by reading the previous (1/31/2008) article on Marianne in the magazine.

I mean, really. Come on.

Best,
Kate Harding

I thought that was better than my first draft, which went: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME YOU HATEFUL ASSWIPES I MEAN SERIOUSLY AND BTW IT’S SPELLED “LODE”* LOVE KATE.

If you have a moment, I would encourage you to send your own. That is all.

*ETA: It didn’t even occur to me that “load” could be a deliberate play on words until Marianne pointed that out — probably because I’ve edited waaaay too many people who actually thought that was the correct spelling. If it wasn’t a mistake, eww.

Posted in Fat

49 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor

  1. Holy Christ. I have never seen the like of this for sheer fuckwittery. Am off to send a terse email to the Editor.

  2. LOL! Your letter totally made my bad day turn good!

    Also, WTF!? Did the writer not even bother READING the Rotund before commenting on it?

  3. You know, I am okay with the fact that they didn’t read The Rotund. These “best of” things have lots of winners and the winners all need blurbs and the deadlines are tight.

    Skimming the article on her, though? Or even doing a cursory google on fat acceptance? That would have been nice. And you know, I’m a congenital slackoff journalist myself, so I understand not being able to do even that amount of research. You know what would have been nice in that case? Not fucking resorting to sexist, demeaning drivel as a substitute for being well-informed.

    In other words, yes, I’m sure they were dashing off blurbs on everyone without a whole lot of background knowledge. But it’s utterly appalling that this is their default mode — that when asked to write a paragraph about a fat woman they immediately reach for objectifying, sexually loaded [NOT SIC] language.

  4. Instead of reading The Rotund’s blog the writer has clearly decided that the main vibe of the fatosphere must be “hey lovely men, please wank over pictures of us too, we feel left out!”
    FFS.

  5. Well, we all know the main objective of fat acceptance is to force every man, woman and child in America to find fat people attractive.

  6. Every time I see copy like that I have to wonder, did anybody with a brain read this shit before it went to press?

    Anyone?

    Anyone?

    Bueller?

    Bueller?

  7. Well, we all know the main objective of fat acceptance is to force every man, woman and child in America to find fat people attractive.

    At knifepoint, if necessary.

  8. Well, except for trolls. Obviously.
    I just mean maybe someone will see past the bullshittery.

    (Why am I still talking?)

  9. Or maybe even… at donutpoint.

    …NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is no defense against that!!

  10. Why is it asshats like this can get reporting jobs and I can’t?

    Fuck, I could write, copy-edit and fact-check circles around this dillhole.

    Love,
    Soft Brooklyn Jiggle (heh)

  11. This is one of those “alternative” weeklies whose primary value lies in their ability to sell ads, by being as “snarky” and “funny” as possible. Dan Savage works for one of these. ‘Nuff said. (I’ll write a letter, regardless.)

  12. Submitted to editor via the form:

    This letter is regarding the thoughtless writeup for “Best Fat-Rights Blogger.” Her title is promising. The text accompanying is not. It seems as if someone told the copy guy to come up with some snarky praise for a woman who focuses on the rights of fat people, and the result comes across as more of something like “SEX WITH FAT CHICKS LOL.” I’m sure that isn’t what you meant to convey. I think an apology to her would be in order.

    What it told me after submission:

    Your email has been sent successfully. Thank you for your input! Keep reading Orlando Weekly for the best in news, views, arts, and entertainment.

    Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

  13. I sent this: “I felt it appropriate to point out your *inappropriate* commentary on The Rotund, Marianne Kirby. Your blurb about her fat rights blog made reference to chubby-chasers and mother “load” (that’s actually mother lode; it’s a mining term). As Ms. Kirby is a (married, I believe) feminist, I can assure you she does not wish to be viewed as a piece of meat to be chased by pervs looking for a mother lode of…anything. I get that it was a play on words to play up the fat angle and snark at it, but it wasn’t funny and it was kind of offensive. There are people who wouldn’t mind being referred to in such terms, but I’m certain she isn’t one of them.

    This might seem ungrateful or lacking in humor, but seriously, it wasn’t cool. Why not offer an apology, as perhaps maybe you just didn’t do any research and misunderstood her focus.

    AnnieMcPhee”

  14. This is one of those “alternative” weeklies whose primary value lies in their ability to sell ads, by being as “snarky” and “funny” as possible.

    Yeah, but that doesn’t mean they need to use sexist, fatphobic, demeaning language. I’ve read a lot of alternative weeklies in my time, and there’s a big difference between being snarky and being hateful to entire groups of people.

  15. As a former Art Director for an alternative newsweekly, one who sat in on more editorial meetings than I wish I had, I can almost assure you that the sexist, fatphobic, demeaning language was totally on purpose. Alt-weekly Editors-In-Chief (at least in the conglomerate that I worked for) have some sort of sixth sense for the lowest common denominator, and will always push for offense if possible — by their screwed logic, if a bunch of people write in all angry and offended, they’ve “done their job.”

    Basically, it’s always easier to make people mad than make people think, especially when both tactics will fill their “Letters to the Editor” page. God am I glad I got out of there before I drank the Kool-Aid.

  16. Can we have a follow-up post? I’ve only sent a handful of letters to the editor to my local alternative weekly, but only one was published – the one that praised, rather than criticized. It’s not that they never publish critical LtEs – just usually only one per fuckup, and usually not mine. But once I got a reply from a writer, and we had a terse argument about sexism. It was kind of neat.

    My point is, I want to know if apologies and remorse follow. They may not, but it’s nice to see when the teaspoons lower the water level a bit.

  17. Wow….way to misunderstand everything, copywriter.

    I don’t really care if they’re one of those “snarky” alternative weeklies; what they did here was just hateful. God forbid any of them ever develop a condition that makes them put on weight. God forbid any of them needs to go on steroid therapy and start “puffing up.”

    And the standard thing applies: would they say something so hateful about a gay-rights blogger? Or someone who blogged for, I don’t know, Native American rights? I bet they’d rather die than insult those other groups because they know that’s wrong. But it’s still OK to make fun of fat people because it’s TOTALLY our fault we can’t step back from the Twinkies.

    (eye roll)

  18. Or maybe even… at donutpoint.

    That would be baby-flavored donutpoint, wouldn’t it?

    Writing letters the the editor is good.

    I still think that even better would be discouraging people from patronizing the companies that advertise in papers like this, or on radio/TV stations and websites that are anti-fat. Perhaps it’s time for folks to acknowledge how much of their revenue comes from fat people and how sick and tired we are of not even being able to get out of bed in the morning without hearing a story on the radio about the “OOOBEEESITY EPIDEMIC.” Perhaps some pressure from advertisers might encourage companies to use a little more sound editorial judgement. Just a thought.

  19. Here’s mine.

    I suppose that with the rise of extreme misogynist discourse in the mainstream and alternative media this election year, I shouldn’t be surprised when a writeup that purports to celebrate an accomplished woman turns into a slightly (and only *just* slightly) better edited version of “Hot or Not.” Nevertheless, I was appalled to read your paper state that my friend Marianne Kirby, who runs the popular, thoughtful, and well-written feminist fat acceptance blog The Rotund, is perfect for a “chubby-chaser looking for the mother load” [sic].

    If your writers had read even one sentence of Marianne’s writing, the absurdity of that statement would be obvious to you. Women’s bodies are not just pretty objects for men to lust after. We’re actually, you know, human, and Marianne’s writing fiercely demands that we all (fat or thin or in between) be treated as such.

    I can only conclude that your writers are either so incompetent that they can’t be bothered to read one word of a blog they recommend to your readership, or not intelligent enough to understand it when they do.

  20. Women’s bodies do not exist simply for the sexual gratification of onlookers.

    That line slapped me in the face. I love that line.

  21. I can almost assure you that the sexist, fatphobic, demeaning language was totally on purpose

    Well, it could hardly be otherwise. In fact, that’s why I took the tone I did with my letter, instead of being all businesslike and/or outraged. But it’s still complete bullshit and still deserves to be called out.

    The only point I regret not making is that, on top of everything else, THE JOKES ARE WEAK. I mean, that’s the thing. Dipshits like this think fat jokes are HI-larious, when the vast majority are boring, derivative, and rely on hatred, as opposed to actual comedy, to elicit the merest chuckle. You can think what you want about fat chicks, but for fuck’s sake, if you’re ostensibly writing humor, you should try being funny.

  22. I can only conclude that your writers are either so incompetent that they can’t be bothered to read one word of a blog they recommend to your readership, or not intelligent enough to understand it when they do.

    Oh, snap.

  23. Here’s mine, but I’m not sure it’s going through properly…

    “Re: the impressively-uninformed and asinine blurbing of Marianne Kirby’s fat acceptance blog in your ‘Best Of…’ rundown. It’s too bad that the person who wrote the blurb didn’t bother actually to read any of Marianne’s blog. Nor, apparently, did they read an article on her run in January by a publication local to you called — wait, let me check to make sure I get the name right — The Orlando Weekly. It’s okay, though. We understand. Research is HARD, especially when you’re trying to churn out a daily pap-… uh, when you’re trying to do a quick turnaround on time-sensitive news stor-… uh. Hm. Well. On second thought, how embarrassing for you.”

  24. Actually, I think this is pretty harmless considering all the fat-hating that’s going on out there. I’m pretty sure it was a well-intended blurb. It’s just another example of how stupid people are!! Yes, it is important to call people on their bullshit. At the same time, we need to pick our battles. Feel free to rip me a new asshole if you like, but that’s how i feel! :)

  25. It seriously took me like thirty minutes to draft my letter to the editor, because I had to sit here slackjawed saying “duuuuuude” over and over. Because seriously: duuuuuuude. Also, what the fuck? Wasn’t the point of the blurb to PRAISE Marianne? Wasn’t she winning an AWARD in the press? Were the other winners’ victories turned on them in such an outrageous and idiotic manner? No? So let me get this straight: this stupid-ass paper praises her for writing an awesome fat acceptance blog but shames her for BEING FAT?

    SO MUCH IS WRONG HERE.

    Anyway, I did manage to send in a letter, and I did manage to comment over on therotund. I just… needed to splutter for a minute, and I guess this was the place to do it. Sweet fucking crackers.

  26. Instead of reading The Rotund’s blog the writer has clearly decided that the main vibe of the fatosphere must be “hey lovely men, please wank over pictures of us too, we feel left out!”
    FFS.

    BWAH HA HA HA HA HA! Bella, I think I love you.

  27. Wow kate and everyone else THANK you for being so dead on and writing much more eloquent things than i ever could.

  28. Fillyjonk, I’m not trying to silence anyone, so don’t try to silence me by inferring that my opinion is boring and worthless. I wasn’t trying to get a rise out of people. I’ve really enjoyed this blog and your posts, so the hostility hurts.

  29. Abbasmurf, are you fucking kidding me?

    You: “Feel free to rip me a new asshole if you like”
    FJ: [rips you new asshole]
    You: Ow! How dare you?

    I mean, seriously, you say something you obviously know is inflammatory, you INVITE people to tell you why you’re wrong, and then you get butthurt when it’s pointed out that you’re behaving like a troll?

    And you follow that up by behaving even more like a troll?

    OK, bye.

  30. Journalist here. I work for a daily paper, and if it’s one thing that annoys me about the alternative press, it’s the *attitude* they try too hard to create and maintain. Here in the Dallas area, one of the metro alts is always injecting “whaaaafuck?” into their stories.

    Just do good, sound journalism and make the non-alts work harder. That’s really all you need to do. Really.

  31. Mine:

    I dunno. Maybe y’all are under the impression that all women bloggers, regardless of the content of their blogs, have an ultimate dream of dreams of being thought of as nothing more than fetishist wanktoy fantasies.

    But while I’ll wave a tiny pompon for y’all’s having a “best fat-rights blog” category in the first place, as a long-time reader of The Rotund, I can tell you right now that Marianne Kirby no more desires that characterization for her public image than any of the *male* bloggers who blog about fat rights or fat acceptance.

    And if you’d spent even two seconds skimming the article you wrote about her *for your own publication* — never mind actually catching fat cooties from spending time looking at her blog — you would have known that before you started thumbing your ‘berry to E in your blurb about her. With one hand, of course. Daaaayummm.

  32. A Sarah wrote:
    Research is HARD, especially when you’re trying to churn out a daily pap-… uh, when you’re trying to do a quick turnaround on time-sensitive news stor-… uh. Hm. Well. On second thought, how embarrassing for you.

    Which is very funny, as someone who used to work for a weekly newspaper.

  33. Cindy!!

    Are you in DFW, would you like to meet up sometime? I live in Denton.

    Sorry to interject with the unrelatedness, I was just so jealous of the Indiana/Michigan crewe. :)

  34. Letter sent. Unfortunately, uhh, I neglected to copy it so I can’t share it here. Dammit.

    I will say that I DID NOT SWEAR. I actually DID NOT SWEAR. I sounded all smart and shit. I really, really did.

    I didn’t even use non-swearwords like “douchebag” or “rutting, scrotum-faced chimp-raper.”

    I was completely non-insulting. I want a fuckin’ baby-flavored donut for my effort. That was NOT EASY.

    CHUBBY CHASERS FOR FUCK’S SAKE?! MOTHERFUCKER, I WILL CHASE YOUR ASS AND BEAT IT.

    Sorry. Had to vent. Being nice cost me some SAN.

  35. Which is very funny, as someone who used to work for a weekly newspaper.

    :fretful cringe: wellroundedtype2, were you being serious, or were you gently and very charitably pointing out that I kind of trivialized the work that people do who are employed by weekly newspapers?

    Eep… I think I did. I’m sorry!

  36. Delurking to say my letter and SM’s were published in the OW, although (for whatever reason) not our names, at least not in the online edition (although I did give them my name). Go SM! And Annie McPhee, whose name they did get in there. (But shit, ALL the letters I saw from you guys here and at TR’s place totally deserved to be in there, I’m actually stunned they picked mine.)

  37. You guys totally and completely blow me away with awesome. Thank you so much for every letter and comment you sent in. I just posted a link to the letters that Meowser mentioned – there has been no sort of comment from the Weekly, but I’m going to pick up a print edition and see if there is anything additional in there. I’ll keep you posted!

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