Are the obese the new persecuted?

It’s just that they’re beginning to look like they’re at risk of being oppressed.

Firstly, I’m not obese; not overweight either so I’m not writing this as a subjective plea for understanding and tolerance.

Secondly, why the focus on this group recently? Yes, numbers are growing, yes, questions about why they’re growing need to be asked but why are drinkers still being ignored?

The obese population is being blamed for a huge burden on our (UK) health care system with more hospital beds being taken up by those with associated health issues. They’re virtually scorned. And you only need to watch one US TV programme made for young girls (Zoey 101, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Really Me…) to see how they view anyone with more than just skin covering their bones.

The fat (or normal-sized) person will always be uncool, have a weird personality trait, be over-emotional, not be part of the core ‘sleek and skinny’ group. They’re just portrayed as ridiculous.

I’m wondering whether the next step is to make ghettoes for them. Or special homes, or camps…

If they’re a drain on the health service and on taxpayers money; if they’re not being employed as much as thinner people, aren’t we doing the opposite of helping? These news stories and documentaries only assist in cementing our existing dislike of larger people. And I think it extends beyond the obese.

It seems to encompass the slightly overweight. God help us if we adopt the US model of body beautiful.

In UK society, we’re already leaning towards a prejudice towards not just slim but skinny.

But… it’s the big folk carrying a lot of food storage who’ll survive in a national crisis. Famine and food rations and disasters where food is scarce will be water off a duck’s back. The bony, starved skinny mob will die within a week. Leaving the genes of the large to repopulate. Ha! What a surprise, in evolutionary terms!

Just a thought.


True blogging

I’ve read a lot of blogs on different sites and I’m questioning whether there are – or should be – any ethics in this medium.

I’m not talking about guidelines and PC-based rules. I mean, should a blogger be writing what he really thinks/feels?

I’m not sure but I feel increasingly that writing should be real in this sense. And I don’t mean there’s no room for fiction.

But fiction disguised as fact… well… I find it irritating.

Probably 90% of bloggers hope to make it big one day. As writers. What I see is a group of writers claiming to hold opinions they clearly don’t in the hope of grabbing attention.

From the faith obsessive to the slob to the bad parent to the reckless car driver. Are they being honest?

I suppose the web is a haven for anonymity and we can try out different personalities: the racist, the obese/poor/unemployed person and so on. (We can’t easily fake being a neurologist or psychiatrist.)

Much of it is written to incite and invite comment. But I’m convinced most of our honestly held opinions are scandalous enough. We all have prejudices; we don’t have to take on new ones to be outrageous!

We don’t think they are because we mix (usually) with like-minded people who tend to share our outlook on life. Same income bracket, kind of neighbourhood, politics and values etc.

The hitch is that opening up our real selves online is unnerving. Because it leaves us vulnerable. And we know that readers’ responses will be to us and our true statements not some outlandish, extreme, invented opinions adopted to provoke.

But then wouldn’t that in itself encourage truth and authenticity? A reader would respond with their own true feelings about what you’ve written. A good thing surely.

I’m aware that my online writing identity is of a fictional character not my own; my purpose in doing that was to allow myself freedom. To lie.

I thought I’d be able lying on a regular basis as a blogger. But I must say neither here nor in my other main blog have I lied about what I feel. I really do get exasperated at coffee shop staff here and pets and house selling and the rest.

Should it worry me if other bloggers lie? Maybe not.

In that sense I suppose blogging is a truthful representation of the global population in general. An array of values, beliefs, ethics, personal morals and a universal striving to be noticed. How we get noticed is our own business.

A lesson for me: learn to tolerate all bloggers the way I do people in real life. And maybe learn to lie a bit better.

The cosy, comforting appeal of ‘home-made and traditional’

Can you imagine a hand-painted sign outside a garage saying, ‘Home made vehicles; made with all British parts’. The pedals might be in the wrong order and the wheels all different sizes but hey! That’s the charm of home-made!

Or your new gadget arrives in a recycled Jiffy bag and a comp slip which reads, ‘Home made tablet’. Might be made of MDF and be four feet by six (‘didn’t have the right tools to cut it any smaller I’m afraid…’) but how very characterful.

We forget that making anything well needs skill, care and experience. Even cooking.

So why does food advertised as home-made still make us swoon?

At every UK market, school fair, fundraising event and village fete you’ll find a stall with home-made cakes. Some might even add the boast of being ‘traditional.’

I’ve sampled many. Mainly because I’ve been taken in by their appearance. My adventures have been full of heartbreak.

The flapjacks that are far too sweet, the cornflake cakes which have been made by smothering the cereal in melted milk chocolate (I want to vomit) or the fairy cakes which taste of nothing at all.

Do we forget that home-made doesn’t equate to the talent of a patissière with a professionally equipped kitchen and a high-quality, tried and tested recipe? What is it about the phrase ‘home-made’ that makes us go weak at the knees (and then the stomach)?

I think I know what it is. The fantasy that we’re going to be indulged with a fictitious mother-love via the product. Some buxom, aproned lady who calls you ‘dear’ and can offer tips on stain removal and caring for sheep. It will be infused with the kind of her ‘I’ve-got-all-the-time-in-the-world’ attitude. We’ll feel cared for and nurtured by eating that pale-coloured thing in a fluted cake case.

Or even more than that. We’ll be transported to a bygone era where (we think) food was unadulterated and things tasted good. I’m guessing.

There have always been bad cooks. Most the world probably live off poorly prepared food.

My advice? If you crave home-made, make it yourself.