1981 saw the release of Sharky’s Machine, a Burt Reynolds helmed taut crime thriller. The film is both a love letter to the city of Atlanta and an astute critique of the systemic corruption that held the city hostage for much of the seventies and eighties.
Critic Roger Ebert had this to say:
SHARKY’S MACHINE has a lot of plot, most of it inspired by the original novel by William Diehl. Maybe it has too much plot for a movie that Reynolds has referred to as Dirty Harry Goes to Atlanta. But this is an ambitious film; it’s as if something inside Reynolds was chafing at the insipid roles he was playing in one car-chase movie after another. He doesn’t walk through this movie, and he doesn’t allow himself the cozy little touches that break the mood while they’re letting the audience know how much fun Burt is having. The result of his ambition and restraint is a movie much more interesting than most cop thrillers.
This film came into my life during a very low point and provided both the inspiration and encouragement to chafe at the insipid societally sanctioned roles required of me. And my handle is a loving homage.
That answers question number one.
In The Fantasy of Being Thin Kate closed with the following:
The question is, who do you really want to be, and what are you going to do about it? (Okay, two questions.) The Fantasy of Being Thin is a really convenient excuse for not asking yourself those questions sincerely — and that’s exactly why it’s dangerous. It keeps you from being not only who you are, but who you actually could be, if you worked with what you’ve got. And that person trapped inside you really might be cooler than you are right now.
This was my first entry into the Shapely Prose world and at the time when I read this quote I wasn’t having any of it. I was going through my own TFoBT and I had some damn good reasons why I deserved a “doctor’s note” to be excused from class.
My logic was as follows: Being brown and female were two fixed points of oppression. Being a chunkerbutt wasn’t. So if I could jettison this one oppression in order to lessen (but not entirely relieve) the way in which the other two impacted my life… (wait for it) THINGS WOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER.
No matter how you arrange the notes, the song is the same.
Who was this woman to take away my sunshine! My reasoning was certainly legitimate. I had oppressions and examined things through lenses and used “the way in which” and found things problematic. I didn’t need anyone harshing my mellow.
Gimme my weight loss! Give me my moment standing inside one pant leg. Give me my makeover montage set to New Attitude.
I had been on this roller coaster before. I practiced body acceptance, usually when things were going well. It was always amazing how a couple of challenges would send me back to the fantasy. Oddly enough it was through my fiction that I was able to find my way back. I created a character who could only complain about her life if she turned it into a blues song. I spent so much time living with this character that I found myself Bessie Smithing my own woes. It is quite challenging to pout when you’re making harmonica sounds without the benefit of an actual harmonica.
Harmonica sounds led to making complaints in Vader voice, which of course led to actively seeking ways to get out of the body snarking business completely. Talking like Vader gives you a sore throat.