Friday Fluff: Bring Me the Fluff

Shapelings, I’m not feeling very fluffy today. Over the last 24 hours, my very, very old dog Lucille has not been doing well, and Al and I decided it’s finally time to put her down. I haven’t made the call yet, but barring a miracle, we’re going to do it within the week.

I adopted Lucille in the fall of 1999, and at that point, the vet estimated she was between 8 and 10 years old. I figured I’d be lucky if I had her for 5 years, and I got 9, so I can’t complain. Here she is claiming my yoga mat for her own, which was one of her favorite things to do before she pretty much lost interest in everything but sleeping and eating.

The fact that she’s still eating makes me doubt myself a little, but then, this dog is so food-obsessed, I’m pretty sure she’d still be eating even if all her organs were shutting down. Waiting for her to lose interest in food would mean waiting for her to suffer tremendously, and that’s exactly what I don’t want to do. At this point, I am actually hoping to walk into the kitchen — where she’s been camping out right next to her food bowl about 23 hours a day for the last few months — and find she’s died peacefully in her sleep. But I don’t expect I’ll get that lucky — and the fact that that seems like the ideal scenario to me right now tells me it’s time.

So. After that downer, I need some fluff. Bring on the fluffy links, Shapelings! (And yes, pictures of puppies are okay — I can’t imagine a scenario in which pictures of puppies would not make me feel a little bit better.)

Read ‘Em

Bake sales fall victim to push for healthier foods. I will likely be writing a long, ranty post about this either here or for Broadsheet later today. In the meantime: AAAAAAAAAHHHHH! (Sample scream trigger: “In Berkeley, Anna X. L. Wong, a kindergarten teacher at Jefferson Elementary, incorporates “good foods” versus “bad foods” into the curriculum…”)

Magazines trash men’s body image, too — and female models are still the culprits. Only seems to apply to straight men, and I have no idea how large the sample size was (the study will be published in Human Communication Research soon, but right now, we’ve just got an article based on the press release), but it’s interesting. 

And if you missed this last week, check out the study that showed fat women have more sex than “normal” weight women

The study used existing data gathered by the National Survey of Family Growth, and focused on heterosexual, penetrative sexual encounters that could potentially lead to pregnancies or disease transmission. Nearly 8,000 women were involved in the survey.[Prof. Marie] Harvey admitted that she had preconceived notions about women’s weight negatively affecting their sexual encounters, in part based on previous studies which suggested obese women were more impaired in sexual function and quality.

However, the new data clearly revealed that larger body mass does not lower sexual activity. Data revealed that 92 percent of overweight women reported having intercourse with men, while 87 percent of women with normal body mass said the same.

Fat women everywhere: No doy.

Kudos to Harvey for admitting to the preconceived notions, at least. But ouch ouch ouch to this: 

“It goes to the need to approach every woman as you provide prevention programs and services,” Harvey said, “to understand that all women are potentially sexually active.”

Everyone who’s already blogged about this study has said it already, but once more with feeling: We needed a fucking study to show that doctors should give fat women information about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases? Prior to the study, it was just okay to assume that fat women didn’t need sexual health info, since nobody wants to fuck a fatty? Gah.

Mad Men Open Thread

Okay, so this is a fluff post because I don’t have the energy to write anything else today, but it’s not entirely off-topic. Longtime Shapelings know Roberta and Deborah Lipp as two of our earliest and, for a time, most prolific commenters — they were here even before Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine, I do believe. They haven’t been around much in the last year, though, because they got busy with their now INSANELY popular and well-respected Mad Men blog, Basket of Kisses.

Last night, the sisters Lipp threw a Mad Men finale party in New York, which was attended by none other than show creator Matthew Weiner. I have stolen a photo of the three of them being adorable:

How fucking awesome is that? 

I am so excited for Roberta and Deborah that their Mad Men obsession has paid off beyond their wildest expectations. I’m also grateful to them both for hounding me until I finally sat down and watched the whole first season in just about one sitting. (I did get up to pee a couple times.) Seriously, if you aren’t watching this show, WHY AREN’T YOU WATCHING THIS SHOW? 

Anyway, the second season finale was last night, and it was terrific, as expected. Please use this thread to talk about Mad Men, the Lipp Sisters, projects of your own that have taken off like crazy, Jon Hamm on Saturday Night Live, and/or where to find clothes like Joan’s in plus sizes.

You Know, You Really Are an Asshole

So, I guess I can add Denis Leary to the ever-growing list of comics I once loved who have gotten both more hateful and less funny over the years, finally reaching a point where I can’t fucking stand them. See also: Bill Maher, Dennis Miller. (Young’uns, it’s true: Miller was funny and not such a blatant loon once, a loooooong time ago, before you were born.) Chris Rock is on notice.

An excerpt from Leary’s new book:

There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can’t compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don’t give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you – yer kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or both.

Oh, stop. My sides hurt. 

And another: 

Hillary Clinton - “If she had changed her campaign motto from ‘Blah Blah Something Change’ to ‘Vote for Me or Your Wife Won’t [Bleep] You,’ she would have had the election wrapped up at sunset on Super Tuesday. As Tip O’Neill once said – all politics is local. And for men, it doesn’t get much more local than your crotch.”

HA! OMG IT’S SO TRUE! Jesus fucking Christ. You forgot to mention she has cankles and might be a lesbian, and also, men enjoy beer and sports. 

Cherry on top? The title of the book is Why We Suck: A Feel-Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid, so I think it’s safe to assume his insights into fat people’s behavior are equally fresh and hilarious.

I don’t know, maybe Leary’s always sucked this much, and I’ve just gotten older and a whole lot more “humorless” about the kind of “jokes” that could be written by 8-year-old bullies if they wouldn’t get in trouble for swearing. But whether he’s changed or I have, Fillyjonk nailed the basic problem back in December:

It’s not that misogynist jokes — and racist jokes and gay jokes and nationality jokes and jokes about the mentally disabled — are unfunny because we’re just soooo politically correct. It’s not even just that they’re mean and offensive; mean offensive humor can be done well. It’s the fact that, though you as a privileged person may not realize the extent of it, these jokes are just SO FUCKING OLD. 

Seriously. Except, even massive amounts of privilege don’t explain why someone who’s been working as a comic for 30 fucking years doesn’t realize or care that jokes about men thinking with their dicks and shrinks coddling people who really just need a swift kick in the ass are TIRED. I mean, like 15, 20 years ago, there was that guy who did the whole “Shut the fuck up — it’s a revolutionary new form of therapy!” bit. OH WAIT THAT WAS YOU. You recycle that with a shot at parents of kids with developmental disabilities, and that’s your fucking leap into the 21st century? Way to keep it edgy, dude. 

I am just so fucking sick of smart, creative people playing to the lowest common denominator. It almost doesn’t matter to me if guys like Leary and Maher are really misogynistic, ableist, whateverist. I’m offended most by the laziness and cynicism of their schtick — why bother actually being funny when you can get just as many laughs/dollars tweaking lines you wrote in your fucking sleep 20 years ago? There’s a crucial difference between these guys and the douchehounds FJ was writing about: The douchehounds really do think hateful, played-out bullshit is still funny. (The douchehounds are, no doubt, Leary and Maher’s core audience.) But I’d bet everything I have that Leary and Maher are way too smart to be entertained by their own weak-ass jokes. They’re putting out a crap product they’re obviously not invested in and really shouldn’t be proud of, even if they are. That offends me as a goddamned consumer.

And also, you know, as a human being. There’s that.

Shapelings, who do you think is actually funny these days?

Friday Fluff: What the Hell Do You People Want from Me?

Alternative title: “Please Allow Me to Further Exploit Your Generosity for Free Market Research.”

So, you’ve already told us what your favorite posts are. (Thank you! And we’ll be reposting them soon.) Now, if you would be so kind, please tell us what we can do make Shapely Prose more interesting/fun/awesome for you. (Other than, you know, posting more often and more substantively. We’re working on it.)

For the record, here are some things we won’t do, no matter how nicely you ask:

  • Stop swearing so goddamned much
  • Allow diet talk
  • Quit being bitchy to commenters we don’t like
  • Tone down the feminism

Beyond that, though, we’re pretty open to suggestions. Some thoughts we’ve had already include:

  • Trying to make it easier for Shapelings to find each other and meet up in person. (Anyone have ideas for the best way to go about this?)
  • Vlogging (which would only be me, for obvious reasons, unless FJ and SM did it with bags over their heads) and/or Podcasts (which might only be me, if FJ and SM are worried about their voices being recognized).
  • Soliciting more guest posts, especially from folks who are underrepresented around here. (If you’re one of those folks and would like to guest blog, please shoot me an e-mail.)
  • This would be a looooong-term project and might ultimately be deemed too much of a PITA, but it’s a thought: Trying to put together a community blog like Feministing‘s.
  • Writing more about topics beyond fat/body image/HAES, etc.
  • Skype group chats

What do y’all think of those ideas, and what other ideas you have for making this place a better hangout? I can’t guarantee that we’ll implement all — or, frankly, any — of the new ideas, but we’d definitely love to hear your thoughts.

Help Us Pick More Favorites

So, as Sweet Machine already told you, we’re going to be reposting some old stuff over the next little while. We’ve got a few ideas of what else to put up, but I’m wondering what your favorites are. Was there a particular post that got you hooked on the site? Is there one you’ve sent around to your friends? Is there one you recall liking, but you can’t figure out what keywords to use to search for it? We’d love it if you let us know.

Something to Talk About

Yeah, I’m phoning it in once more, and this is pretty much just another open thread. I will, however, offer some topics for discussion.

-Wednesday is the last day to register for Abundia, a weekend retreat for fat women that will take place in Zion, IL Nov. 7-9. (H/T to Paul there, ’cause I got distracted after the organizers e-mailed me and forgot to plug it.)

-Vesta44 went off on a magnificent rant about the news that fewer people are dieting.

-Paul again: Thinking makes you fat. Or not. (Granted, that might explain a lot.)

-Finally, I shall quote myself quoting Tina Fey in an Emmy acceptance speech last night:

I thank my parents for somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities. Well done. That is what all parents should do.

It actually bugs me that Tina Fey, in stuff she writes for herself, so often bases jokes on the idea that she’s not thin or beautiful enough to be on screen at all. Because even if she thinks of herself as a geeky underdog — and even if, unlike all the Hollywood starlets who claim to have been losers in high school, she actually was a geeky underdog for a long time — these days, the woman is fucking conventionally gorgeous. Whenever there’s a crack about her looks on 30 Rock, I’m torn between being sad that she apparently doesn’t see that in herself and being pissed off that she’s reinforcing the idea that having brown hair, glasses, and a figure that’s maybe a size 2 instead of a 0 actually equals ugly. (On a side note, I’m hopeful that Christina Hendricks’s va-va-voominess might help Hollywood realize that beauty can at least go up to a size 4 or so.)  BUT. Having said that, I really love this quote, and not only because it cracked me up. First, since she’s being falsely modest about her talent as well, the dig at her looks is softened, and second… it’s fucking true! All parents should do that! It took me 30 years to develop the disproportionate confidence in my looks and abilities that finally turned me into a reasonably happy, reasonably successful adult. No one likes an egomaniac, but frankly, no one likes self-loathing people, either — and it took me way too long to realize that.

All right, Shapelings, what else have you got?