The Way Of The Culture – You’re Down? Great, Let’s Kick You!

lowell george“Cold, cold, cold
Cold, cold, cold
Freezing, it was freezing in that hotel
I had no money, my special friend was gone
The TV set was busted so she went along
I called room, room service,
I’m down here on my knees
A peach or a pear, or a coconut please,
But they was cold…”

Lowell George (Aries… hot, hot, hot)

That guy came up to me in the gym the other day to remark on my body and a few days later a woman in the gym announced happily, “You’ve lost weight!” I did a double take because I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. When I first started going to this gym I was nearly 50 pounds overweight but I eventually lost the weight and I have become a gym regular with a stable weight. Because of this no one ever mentions my weight anymore. In fact I suspect that most don’t remember or even know I have ever had a weight problem but this blog is about something else.

cross trainerSome of you recall there is a hairdresser in my gym who works out on a crosstrainer like I do but in exactly the opposite fashion. Where I put the thing on level 20 and slog along, she zips a million miles and hour like the Energizer Bunny. She is very friendly and well mannered in the gym (she does not interrupt your workout) but her energy is so frenetic on the machine I try not to work out next to her although I like her. In whatever case she is very thin.

She is very thin but lately her body has changed completely. She’s got the same grin and all but she has definitely gained weight and for no apparent reason. We are peers on these machines and are seen as such. We get to the gym at the same time and we both have tremendous prowess on them and now I wonder if the whole gym has not watched us both gain weight in tandem over the last few months.

I’ve seen her body changing and obviously something is wrong. She is either on some kind of medication or maybe something has happened in her life like it did in mine that caused her to just stress out. And I can’t imagine saying anything. Not now and not when I see it come off her as I am sure I will. She’s a gym rat with a her weight stable for years and whatever is going on I am sure she will get on top it and I thought of this today in light of the fat ban proposal.

Can you imagine having an event in your life… let’s say someone dies and you go out and eat or drink or pick up a cigarette and because of it you lose your access to heath care? How would that be? You’re down? Let’s kick you. But it seems to be the way of the culture.

I scan a lot of astrology stuff due my editing gig on the Top 10 Astrology News and recently an astrology magazine shut down. I’d not heard of them, I don’t know anything about them but all the sudden they started coming up all over the place, linked on the blogs of skeptics.

“Guess they didn’t predict this…”

“How come they didn’t see this coming?”

And it struck me as stupid and copy-cattish but also as cold hearted. Because look at this page:

The Astrological Magazine

Does it not sound as if someone has suffered something? Why would so many jump on that for a cheap joke?

paparrazziIt is clear to me now that I put on some weight during my crisis although I really didn’t know it. I knew I was eating bags of cookies but I was wearing the same clothes and I just thought whatever weight gain occurred was milder than it was. Basically I had other things pressing.

Thank goodness I’m not 22 with the paparazzi following me around snapping pictures of my ass to put on the Internet for people who look worse than I ever will to rate and comment upon.

Why do you think people are so cold?

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The Way Of The Culture – You’re Down? Great, Let’s Kick You! — 22 Comments

  1. It gives us such a feeling of security to find some way for the problems of others to be the result of some grievous sin on their part.

    If they’re somehow a bad or foolish person, then all we have to do is never ever be bad or foolish, and we’ll never have those problems.

    It’s a rare person indeed who can sympathize with the downtrodden until their own ass has been well and truly kicked a few very hard times. (And there are plenty who still never get it.)

    They don’t call it the fundamental attribution error for nothing.

    It’s fear.

    We can’t bear to have the people we hate be like us. Nor can we bear to have the people we base our lifelong assumptions on turn out to be human. If you think misfortune is a disease, then it’s a matter of survival to banish them. If you think it’s the anger of god, then it’s a matter of eternal damnation or survival to punish them… and to WANT to punish them, to believe as hard as you can in it. The fat thing has aspects of both of these in it.

    Not everybody is reacting like a rat in a corner, lashing out at every fearful thing and running. But it doesn’t take very many of us acting like animals to make a snarling mess.

  2. An astrologer friend of mine says that the layer of fat around us is protection from the outside world. Hence, when the person gains self-confidence, fat dissolves automatically by getting enough energy to go to the gym, etc.

    So basically one needs to address the self-confidence issue first in order to address the fat problem, and most of it comes from “fear” as ewinbee says.

    Some people do not even need to eat so much to mysteriously gain weight during crises or vice versa, they do not go on a specific diet but lose weight – I have noticed it is much about Jup/Sat transits to the angles and as I have a weight problem myself, I monitor this quite closely.

  3. I think people are cold because they are %200 unimaginative. And they are LAZY. Dreaming=creativity, and creativity=work.

    I have NO time for cold people. I like ‘em hot hot hot.

  4. because they don’t want to look at themselves.
    or, they don’t want to take account of themselves or their lives, so they project their disaffection on somebody… else.

    some people feel better with schaudenfreude [sp?]

  5. Did you ever wonder who is running the culture? I mean, great, it’s great to be healthy. But I have myself on several occasions gotten fat on damn purpose because I was sick to death of running, running, running on that treadmill to make the supermarket magazines happy.

    Not only that. Why is it better to have pouty lips? What’s wrong with thin lips? Do I really even have to *think* about my lips today? What’s wrong with looking forty? Where is the pyre I’m going to be thrown on when my eyecorners start to crinkle? What’s wrong with being a cab driver with absolutely no intention of or interest in getting into IT or healthcare? Does anybody have any idea how many millions of dollars have been stolen from the American people since they told us to start putting our paychecks into mutual funds instead of asking for the actual pension they took away?

    Why does some overpaid b***ch at Old Navy get to decide what color shirt I’m going to wear this Spring? Why does every brunette in the world suddenly have these stripes painted in her hair?

    Think about how many times we all ate and then did not eat and then ate an egg in the past twenty years. cardio, weight training, strength training, ohhhhh, well, I know you’re not that fat but look, you’re going to get OSTEOPOROSIS, you’ll explode like a hunk of chalk in five years if you don’t eat Dannon yogurt and buy my videotapes.

    In this country fully one third of our income goes to the government. The rest goes to pleasing our televisions and to a fake investment scam run by our employers. Apparently if we get old, sick, or unattractive we’ll all be put on trains to be re-educated or heaved off a mountaintop. We’ll have Gone Bad. That’s not a culture. What you’re talking about is a shaming technique inspired, I believe, by the same types of tactics that inspire the chinese people to work seventeen hour days and wear identical clothes.

    I’m really not kidding.

  6. An astrologer friend of mine says that the layer of fat around us is protection from the outside world.

    I know a therapist who says the same thing. Not always and whatever, but often. Being too thin can be its own overcompensation.

    Does it not sound as if someone has suffered something? Why would so many jump on that for a cheap joke?

    Because they can. They do not like person from group X, so they jump on anyone from group X, because anyone from group X is bad. I have seen astrologers do this, skeptics do this, astrologers do this to other astrologers, Democrats do this to Republicans and vice versa and so on. That’s the way of it; red in tooth and claw. They’re paying somebody else off.

    I invoke PL’s prescription for peace.

    [‘Not that I follow it all the time, mind.’]

  7. Wow, the photo of Lowell George brings back memories of a great show in DC in ’78 – and more considerate times. His voice, melody and rythm made Little Feat a simply great band. Do you have his birth particulars? PS good job with the gym training results!

  8. I hate that phrase “weight problem.” I mean, whose problem is it? If strangers/friends/relatives are not comfortable with my appearance… is that about… me?

    I don’t diet but am very active in daily life (my work requires it). And people always comment on my body (such is the life of a woman). To them, I’ve either lost weight or gained weight or whatever. But I don’t even like to be told that I look good! (Is this my 12th house Venus? Not wanting attention?)

    A friend asked me the other day why I wasn’t “skinny” –because I am so very active….

    And she said “oh but I think you look sexy.”

    As if that has anything to do with anything. As if I specially ordered and planned this body and think about “sexy.”

    As for why people are cold… I have no idea. But humans are, fairly often, cold and sadistic.

    I blame it on not enough water in the chart :)

  9. Believe me, I stand in no defense of people that do this. But from what I have observed from working closely with someone who does this…. she thinks it’s her duty to be nastiest when someone is a) successful and b) failing. She thinks it pushes them forward. Which is a nice sentiment, but it doesn’t work for all people and temperaments. On the same hand, it’s definitely for sport on her part.

  10. My weight fluctuates (due to medications) and it is scary how differently people treat you depending on how much you weigh. At one point, I weighed 105 lbs, which is scary skinny for my height. Women would come up to me on the street and tell me I needed to eat. If I attempted an explanation, they would think I was a poor deluded anorexic. When my weight went up to around 140 lbs I became invisible. Nobody noticed me. I could do whatever I wanted and nobody paid me any mind. I told my mom about it, and she said ‘Honey, thats what its like to be old!’

  11. By not gettting smacked enough as adults? *bats eyelashes* :P

    I have no answers here, but Ewinbee, Eva, and Max make awesome points I think. I’ll just listen to them today.

  12. @ewinbee – very well said, indeed
    @alma – I’ve never understood what it is about people that some folks feel it’s perfectly acceptable to tell a complete stranger to weigh more or less, or eat more or less, or … whatever.
    @moonpluto -(such is the life of a woman) I’d say we should fight against that, but I don’t know how.

  13. ewinbee’s description of the “just world phenomena” definitely has some merit. if someone can declare it all your fault, they feel safer from the same issues.

    i was so flabbergasted at the “fat ban” thing it was hard for me to think of a coherent comment. it still is.

    i know a woman who put on a lot of weight a number of years ago…right after her teenaged son was brutally murdered by a “family friend.” she spent the next 10 years involved in a death penalty case over it and she got through it the best she could. yeah, she put on weight. and you know what? she amazes me: she’s still a very positive, optimistic person despite living through a level of pain i can barely comprehend. but people have the audacity to judge.

    there are many reasons why people get fat. it’s not about fault. it’s not a fucking moral issue. i was not a bad person when i was fat, and i am not a better person now that i’m not fat. i’m healthier and happier and feel better, but i am NOT morally superior. in fact, i believe the years i spent fat made me a better person, because i have more compassion for others, having been ignored, dismissed and downright ridiculed because of my weight for most of my life.

    nobody knows what someone else has dealt with to even be standing upright and functioning on any given day.

  14. Elsa… I have given up trying to understand it :) I have not however, given up interviewing!

    Alma – hear you on being invisible at a higher weight. It was literally like I wasn’t there.

  15. I think it is because they do such horrible things themselves, but you know how it is when you do things you are ashamed of. Cause like a kid might feel bad and go tell there parents or family member, a grown up doesn’t have anyone to shirk the responsability onto. So there are like scapegoats or whatever, as long as other people do it, i guess its ok for me too also is the moto.

  16. Ah Elsa, this one came right on cue for me today. It absolutely made me cry. I’m normal weight, but I sure got kicked in the stomach today. I sat next to someone today that dug up all of my private pain (in public), will no doubt gossip, and seemingly took pride that he was not in my place. I felt like a leper. *Look at her man, I’m so glad I’m not her!* I don’t know why anyone would humiliate someone when they are already clearly down but I imagine it’s like looking at a car accident – you stare and are glad IT happened to somebody else. IT happened to me last year in a string of such events, and then today IT came back to haunt me again. It’s hard dealing with a private pain, but it is much harder when it becomes public and you have to wear it as your daily uniform. People love to talk about others’ sorrow, and then to distance themselves by coming up with a reason for why it happened to other people and not them. “There goes so and so, guess what god awful thing happened to her – she must have done something BAD to deserve it.”

    What can I say, people are like vultures. They circle around a wounded animal and pick at it, inviting others to join.

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