Saturday, November 30, 2013

Writers in FatLand

The Writers' Society of FatLand developed relatively late in the tale of years of FatLand. This of course occurred for a few reasons. FatLanders were working hard to achieve a territorial state and to defend that state from many sorts of incursions. The publishing apparatus for books in FatLand didn't exist until online sites for both publishing and printing and selling started to come into their own. But perhaps more important than either of these, FatLanders didn't feel completely rooted in FatLand until recently, when discoveries were made about their own history that astounded them.

There has been a rush to do historic writing about FatLand, and FatLand's early days. This takes the form of both novels and historical works. Cultural analyses and even economic analyses are popular, as well. Analyses of differing expectations of FatLand's citizens are plentiful, as are new books about the Mondo sized - the very large sized people now starting to disappear from FatLand's population.

And of course there are now novels and poems. Both genres also deal with pride in being from FatLand, and how it is much much easier and happier to be fat in FatLand, and how FatLand is an example for the world and a beacon of light for fat people everywhere.

And let us not forget all the books now coming about about FatandProud, the organization that helped future FatLanders to escape from the Other Side/USA..

Friday, November 29, 2013

Winter in FatLand

Winter in FatLand

I still love winter. But once upon a time I loved it even more because everyone put on nice thick jackets and coats and it didn't matter if you were fat. Nowadays women are supposed to want to wear coats that emphasize their breasts and waists. What the hell. Since when is winter supposed to be a parade of coat for sexist asshats?

But in FatLand, winter is fun. People either walk or skate or ski down streets in the snow and wear ski clothes or wonderfully warm locally made capes and coats that recall polar bears and mountain goats. And people gather at night in bars and coffeehouses to have good things to drink. If one doesn't want to walk or ski back, there are a number of alternatives. But it is more than likely that someone will be happy to give you a ride back.

The snow settles in white waves over the ground and icicles magick the night that already glistens with stars seen through one's breath on the wind.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I am not a nice person. Roberta in FatLand 2: The Early Days is also not a nice person. She is a lot more athletic and cagey than I am, but she is still not a nice person. She watches as Dash -the leader of their project to find out more about the origins of FatLand- seems to fall for Janine, the shorter blond archivist. Unknown to the other two archivists, however, Roberta is actually a member of FIN  - FatLand Intelligence Network. As were her parents, who are now retired.

Roberta first objects to Dash leading the project because he is not from FatLand. But he is an expert on 20th Century media, and they need his expertise to identify important papers and clues as to the Reality Show from which FatLand originated. She then starts to appreciate that they have some rather lively exchanges when they disagree about things. Janine, to her credit, is not stupid and does participate in a few of them. But she seems mostly to support Dash.

How often have women seen this - that the men they really like seem to be more interested in women with whom they don't have verbal rapports?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Weddings and social participation

I said in a previous post that in FatLand 3, people will agree that it is time to start constructing things like wedding halls and hair salons.

But it actually took quite a while before FatLand even formalized the civil and legal wedding process. Frankly not a lot of FatLanders were thinking of getting married during the first few years. There was too much to think of and to do, and -the bugaboo- many lacked the self-esteem to participate in courtship. The block counselors were able to help with some of this by encouraging people to get out and have fun in FatLand. But the extra impetus toward self-esteem had to develop over time.

It developed when people started to walk around and see that not only were there a lot of people shaped as they were, but that they were not experiencing harassment or stigmatization of any kind. That was the first step.

The second step was to start participating in social activities - sometimes as minor as going to a cafe for lunch or stopping off to pick up a soft drink or candy or fruit.

The third step was to start talking to people. Not just casually, although that was starting to occur as people were walking around. But for a little longer, and more deeply.

The fourth step was getting together at/having parties or going to a Festival together (FatLand doesn't have all those festivals just so people can eat and sing - although it helps).

The fifth step... :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Imagery of Escape and Protest

I just listened to one of my favorite protest songs, "Marat/Sade," sung by Judy Collins. It was not really written as a protest song at all, but ended up as one when its words began to resound with people angry at the state of things in the USA who wished to draw the parallel between conditions in France in 1789 and conditions in the USA in the 1960's, and then again in the 2000's.

In the 1960's, I was already aware of the gap between people who earned living wages and people who didn't or who didn't have jobs. Now, in the 2000's, the gap is between billionaires/multi multi millionaires and everyone else.

But the person I always identified with the words of Marat/Sade was my grandfather, who kept working at his Socialist paper but was then notified that goons were after him and that he had to get out of town (c. 1919). Many of his buddies were not as lucky and were deported.

So the imagery of escape in FatLand comes straight from my own family history.

My grandfather went south and worked on different newspapers there. He returned in four years, when the worst of the Palmer raids had already been conducted and the far right was now focusing on Immigration acts which would limit the numbers of people from Southern and Eastern Europe who would be allowed to come to the USA.

When we write and speak and organize people who do not buy into the "Thin = Healthy" dictum of the Diet/Health/Pharma complex, we are as dangerous to the established order as my grandfather was during World War I.

And as he did, we will go on doing exactly that - writing and speaking and organizing.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fat Underground Railroad and its real life inspiration

On the FatLand page on Facebook, I noted that the Fat Underground Railroad that smuggled out fat people from the Other Side to FatLand, especially fat people who were about to be assigned to Reeducation Centers, was inspired by the Underground Railroad during the 1850's and early 1860's, led by Harriet Tubman  (with, by the way, strong participation from the Boston area. Yet another reason I love Boston..). She smuggled more than 300 slaves to freedom.

And here is the wonderful song about her, sung by Ronnie Gilbert (originally of The Weavers) and Holly Near.

I am honored to draw from real life occurrences and sheros. Let us hoist a glass to Harriet Tubman, our spiritual ancestor who saved so many lives.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Movie/Show ratings in FatLand

So how do FatLanders now cope with their kids wanting to see "forbidden" shows, including porn?

They don't disallow shows. However, shows that feature fat-shaming come with red flashing lights and the rating FS. Thus parents have the option of either viewing material with their kids and talking about it, or they can choose not to view it at all.

Fat positive shows come with a green light and the rating FP. Similarly, trailers and summaries and videos about "neutral" -non-fat-positive, non-fat-shaming or negative- come with "N" ratings.

Teachable moments occur when parents ask kids what they thought of the FP (fat-positive shows/movies) and the N (neutral) shows. Or- perhaps with determined parents and older kids- what they thought of the FS (fat shaming or negative shows) versus the FP shows.

Fascism? Not to me. To me this is informed choice, and a chance to educate.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Babies in FatLand

The entire issue of whether a woman should have a child, in FatLand, is up to her and her doctor. If she wishes to have a child, she has a child. If she is pregnant but does not wish to bear the child, the embryo or fetus, at whatever stage it happens to be, is removed. If the fetus is viable, it is removed and kept and cared for by the Department of Child Protection and Alternatives until an adopter is found.

If the woman who held the fetus in her stomach wishes to change her mind, she can do so until an adopter is found.

If a woman gives her child up for adoption, she has a month in which she can change her mind and decide to keep the child. If she wishes to have visitation rights, she may do so. If she wishes to bring up her child along with a helper family, she may do that, as well. The helper family arrangement seems to work rather well, for the most part, with both the biological mother and the helper famiily making a big fuss over the child and with both generally feeling extremely lucky to be part of the child's bringing up.

If someone- male, female, ungendered, transgendered or bi-gendered- wishes to bring up a child but needs assistance and support, the Office of Child Assistance stands ready to provide it. This includes advice, help in washing and cleaning -and this includes diapering a baby and cleaning the house- and cooking, buying clothes for the child, helping the child with homework, shopping for the parent, babysitting, nannying, teaching, planning parties. And more.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

FatLand Lounges

Besides excellent toillets, FatLand had/has world class lounges.

Forget the vinyl furniture of dorm lounges, and the rubbery impersonality of airport lounges. FatLand furnished the lounges in its official buildings and many of its businesses with deep, comfortable recliners and couches. Some FatLanders went into these buildings -official and unofficial- just to use the lounges. And no, they did not use the lounges for anything more nefarious than writing or thinking or reading or texting/voice talk.

There is a scene in FatLand 2: The Early Days in which the leader of FatandProud, peacefully ensconced on a cream colored sofa in a lounge in one of the Safe Houses, aids and abets an archivist in seduction. That is how ubiquitous the lounges were. And they were all furnished differently. One could listen to music, bring up almost anything on the Smart Screen, play whatever games one wanted  - and all in the quiet good taste of a pleasingly furnished lounge. Often, businesses found that it was just, well, good for business to maintain an attractively furnished, kept and supplied lounge. Made customers more likely to buy, as well.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

World Toilet Day: Toilets and FatLand

Since yesterday was World Toilet Day, it seems appropriate to talk about FatLand and toilets.

At first toilets in FatLand were made like "standard" toilets, except somewhat wider. These proved slightly more comfortable for most FatLanders, but still not adequate. The engineers and biometrics people soon figured out that not only did toilets have to be made wider, but the bathrooms themselves had to be made wider, both for men and women. The engineers and biometrics people (and some then called bariometric) also figured out that things like the flushing mechanism, toilet paper and sanitary napkin depository had to be placed very differently than they had been in standard bathrooms so that they were usable and would not cut into FatLanders' thighs.

Special bathrooms were then created for the Mondo Sized people, those over 400 pounds. These bathrooms came with cleaning jets, like in European bidets, but stronger, with longer and deeper reach. However, ironically, the second and third generations of FatLanders protested against building more Mondo Sized bathrooms because, they said, they used up tax funds and were not as applicable anymore. The second and third generations didn't produce as many Mondo Sized people. Perhaps this was due to their not having dieted and experienced the yo yo cycling that ratcheted up the weight of some first generation FatLanders, or perhaps due to lack of stigmatization, they grew into their "natural" weights without harassment or intimidation or concern trolling.

Be that as it may, the first generation FatLanders called them selfish and unfeeling. This difference led to a war of words which was finally resolved in debate in the new FatLand Congress, where it was decided that FatLand would maintain the Mondo Sized bathrooms it had already had built, but would wait until the results of a study then being carried out before they built more.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

To a Fat Revolution

The wonderfully ironic thing about being fat in the USA is that supposedly more than 65 percent of us are in the "overweight" or "obese" categories. This provides us with several alternatives. We can either unite and create the equivalent of a FatLand in the USA, in which everyone is treated with fairness, dignity and tolerance, and in which no one is stigmatized or harassed for what they weigh or any other characteristic or belief.

We can sit on people who try to stigmatize or harass us. (At times I like this one a lot.)

We can foment a revolution, which is what the Fat Underground, our predecessors and mighty first born, were doing, at times, with success.

We can write books which put forth, whether subtly or otherwise, the idea that being fat is simply another body size, with its resultant attractions and normalities and frailties, just like other sized bodies.

We can continue to expose idiocies like The Biggest Loser and many other media circuses that batten on the abuse of fat people.

And we can continue to live as if our lives took place free of hatred, bigotry and stigmatization.

In a way this may be the most revolutionary act of all.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Censorship in FatLand

Until the events of 2044 unfolded, FatLanders were able to access any sites they wished from anywhere. However, when investigation revealed that the children of Board Members indirectly aided in a murder by becoming involved with a site that actively promoted hatred of fat people, the Board decided that FatLand would have to undertake a more thorough vetting of sites to make sure that their citizens were at least aware of the negativity spewed by certain sites and, in a few cases, made the decision to censor them.

It was again a case of balancing possibilities. Should they allow an unfettered flow of anti-fat venom into FatLand, to be accessed by their children and adults, as well?  FatLand, they felt, had enough of a job to instill positive feelings and self-esteem in their children. If accessing a site and seeing the hate caused them to feel bad about themselves, there was really no good reason to keep it accessible.

On the other hand, if their children were feeling that they weren't seeing the rest of the world from FatLand, which sought to protect them from bigotry and stigmatization, perhaps they needed to see how it was in other parts of the world. Thus the FatLand Exchange Students Bureau was launched.

A better way to see the Other Side, they figured, than sneaking back and forth to The Laurels, the diner on the Other Side that served actual food in the time of the Health and Diet Laws.

And, they said, if this was indeed be it.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Porn and Burlesque shows in FatLand

Porn and burlesque shows in FatLand?

Well, yeah..

At first the FatLand Board was not exactly thrilled at the idea. After all, in a way, everyone in FatLand had fled objectivization. So the thought of having bodies used to excite people sexually was not one they wished to get behind (no pun intended).

But Jimmy, one of the original inhabitants and members of the group included in the reality TV show that led to FatLand's establishment, explained to them that there was nothing wrong with having people in FatLand derive pleasure from seeing beautiful fat people.

Since Jimmy was a double agent and worked for Winston Stark as well, it was difficult to tell whether Jimmy was speaking on behalf of Stark or not. However, the Board concluded that if they didn't allow porn or stage shows, FatLanders would go elsewhere to seek them out. It was also true that non-FatLanders might actually come to FatLand to view beautiful fat people not wearing much, but they figured that one-day visas would take care of that.

And it might also provide FatLanders with more self-confidence, as well, to see that fat people could be alluring and sexy and hot.

And - since the establishments that promoted this kind of entertainment would be taxed, FatLand would gain and its treasury would be enriched.

It was specified, of course, that the shows would include both male and female entertainers..

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Dietism - the tendency to regiment one's eating habits strictly according to detailed rules even after one goes off a prescribed diet.

To their consternation and horror, doctors, psychotherapists and block counselors found that at least a third of the time, refugees from the Other Side/USA were recreating and sometimes sticking to diets they had been forced to follow on the Other Side, even though the FatLand Constitution expressly forbid them. Upon discussions with these patients, doctors, psychotherapists and counselors all concluded that they had to do a lot more toward making patients at home with their bodies and their food choices than just telling them not to diet.

They decided that the best way to do this would be a series of social events, parties in buffet style highlighted by Tasting FatLand. This is/was a three day festival in which different restaurants and food stores and boutiques put out some of their favorite offerings on tables on the sidewalk on a couple of intersecting FatLand avenues. "You don't have to eat most of them," the counselor assured her patients. "Try some. See what you like. Ask the chefs about them."

This proved successful with about seventy five percent of the patients, who started adding more and different kinds of foods to their meals.

The other twenty five percent needed something else. The doctors, psychotherapists and counselors put their heads together, and decided that the best way to wean these often-still-frightened dieters off diets was simply not to say anything to them but to have them work - actual work, not psychotherapeutic work- with people who enjoyed their food, whatever it happened to be.

Bingo. Ninety five percent of the other twenty five percent got out of the dieting mentality.

It turned out the the other five percent were following certain diet-like plans for a very good, albeit horrific, reason. They had had electrodes implanted in a certain center of their brains, preceded by deep hypnosis which ordered them not to eat certain foods. (Jimmy in FatLand : The Early Days talked a lot about this.) The electrodes were removed from their brains. Their reactions toward forbidden foods remained for some time. Slowly the proscriptions started to erode.

Very slowly.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Light of Belonging

I was looking at a video of old subway and el (elevated) lines of the Bronx, where all of my grandparents lived when I was born, and where I lived at intervals, and where I visited often. I thought of the trains I used to take, and a poem I wrote about the el station serving one set of grandparents. I thought of the stately apartment buildings, many of them art deco.

Mostly I thought about how the large kitchen opened itself to seat us and feed us and make us feel wanted and happy. One of the most satisfying parts of this experience was, believe it or not, being able to look straight across into our neighbor's window (it was a big building!) and see them sitting down to dinner as we sat down to dinner, and to see the lights from their kitchen as they saw the lights in our kitchen through their window. Neither they nor we pulled down the shades or blinds. We were happy to let the light filter in so we could be lit and warmed by it, as they were lit and warmed by our lights.

I dream about this building and the kitchens at times, and the dream gives me a deep feeling of peace and belonging, as the reality did.

This feeling, more than anything else, is what I wanted and want people to feel when they think of FatLand.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The FatLand Festival

Once a year FatLand holds its Festival to honor those who worked very hard to convey (often hidden) immigrants to FatLand in the early days, in the days when the Health and Diet Laws were being enforced most strongly.

This Festival also honors those on the Other Side who continued to work to get fat people out of the USA/Other Side if they were in danger of being sent to Reeducation Centers during this same time span.
All the names of the honorees are read. Then the FatLand Anthem is sung (See appendices in FatLand: The Early Days for words.)

Then everyone eats.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sleep and FatLand

It may sound like a minor detail, but ,many of the people who came from the Other Side to FatLand observed that they slept much better. Of course during certain years, especially the years of the reign of the Health and Diet Laws, it was all too easy to experience sleeping problems on the Other Side/USA, so the contrast, once they did reach FatLand, was of course pronounced. But even after, FatLand continued to be a haven for people who liked to sleep, and often those who had had trouble sleeping in other places.

You can see why. Can you imagine sleeping in a place in which harassment for your physical shape and how you look is considered a serious crime? You are assured of not being attacked or belittled or hated, even, for how you look. It is as if a terrible and embarrassing burden has been lifted from your mind and body and heart. Violent crime itself is almost unknown in FatLand.

You go inside, open the window a smidgen to get some of the cool valley air and realize that no one is going to get angry at you or hurt you. You keep telling yourself until you almost believe it.

When you finally believe it..zzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Prove it all night

Once upon a time a really silly book entitled "The Bronx Diet" appeared - in the late 1970's or early 1980's, I think. It purported to make fun of diets. I don't quite know why it decided to use The Bronx in its title, unless to suggest a melting pot ethnic type place gifted with all sorts of yummy and late night restaurants (which The Bronx was for a long time).

But instead of taking this idea badly, I thought it would be super wonderful if a place like this actually existed. FatLand is replete with late night  restaurants and night clubs and 24/7 eating establishments. You can actually make a circuit of FatLand, starting at one end and driving or taking public transport (the buses run all night, something that also used to occur in the Bronx and now only occurs sporadically throughout NY) from one excellent eating/dining establishment to the other. You can of course procure spirited drinks as well, if you wish and if you drive responsibly and don't start to dance with a lampshade on your head.

I am also channeling Boston of the 1970's here, especially the Watertown diners that were open and stayed patient with a group of rowdy college kids who'd been inhaling..

Marijuana is of course legal in FatLand and is used medicinally for a number of ailments.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hospitals in FatLand

Hospitals in FatLand are always fully staffed because people are paid to train for nursing.  During the reign of the Health and Diet Laws, some people actually sneaked/snuck into FatLand because their care and food were at least ten times better than on the Other Side/USA. Many of them were not fat. Many were.

Of course FatLand has bedsheets, beds, bathrooms, waiting areas, testing equipment, waiting area facilities, elevators and dining areas that are fat-friendly. But just as important or perhaps even more so, it has nursing personnel -and doctors and specialists!- who do not look with disdain or disgust on their fat patients (since they are rather in the majority, anyway). As people who live or lived on the Other Side know, nothing chills the blood like a stay in a hospital in which those with whom one comes in contact daily make nasty faces and nasty remarks and comments.

Ironically, according to statistics, FatLanders stay in the hospital an average of two days only, not three or four as is often the case on the Other Side. They seem to recuperate much faster than people on the Other Side. All sorts of theories and hypotheses have been hazarded, but none of them have zeroed in on the very simple truth behind these numbers, which is that FatLand medical personnel do not make remarks about any of their patients in the patients' hearing. So simple. And yet so difficult for hospitals on the Other Side to achieve.

Oh, gee. Couldn't be because people on the Other Side are weight-monitored and stigmatized for their size if it falls over a certain BMI, and the people in FatLand are not...


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

From Board to Republic

Election Day.

I have a feeling that in FatLand 3, FatLanders will reluctantly approve a republic type government with a Senate and a House of Representatives which will replace the present Board type of government. Protesters will argue that the Board form of government, while useful during the earlier years of FatLand, is simply inhibiting democracy and the free expressions of choice. Having senators and congresspeople, they argue, will make government in FatLand more responsive to the concerns of FatLanders. Those opposing the change/reform will argue that the republic type of government will make it easier for lobbyists to line the pockets of legislators.

Solution: No lobbying allowed.

But will such a form of government also divide FatLanders from each other and cause factions to grow?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Hospital: No Place for a Fat Person

As some or more of you may know, I have been spending a lot of time in the hospital in the past few days because my mom experienced chest pressure, weakness and swollen legs. (They have her on Lasix and other meds, in addition to the ones she is already taking.  She is 4'9 because of osteoporosis and basically not visible on a cloudy day. The staff seem to like her a lot because she is super easy to move. They see me as something between a nuisance and a pest.)

My being there got me thinking:  Hospitals are bad, bad places for fat people. Even as visitors. But worse for patients.

For visitors:  uncomfortable chairs, uncomfortable bathrooms, uncomfortable convertible couches, difficult to maneuver elevator spaces.

For patients: under or over judged medication amounts, harassment or bad treatment or lack of treatment by hospital doctors and nurses and aides, badly administered blood pressure tests, blood tests, EKG's, echocardiograms, chest and other x rays; badly fitted hospital gowns; difficult to use bathrooms; difficult or impossible to use beds; improper or incomplete clean-ups or body cleansing by nurses and aides; malicious name calling, ridicule and gossip within earshot of patient. Patient requests frequently ignored or given very slow responses.

So can you just imagine if all these problems for fat people are abolished in FatLand and hospitals are fat user-friendly? Boggles the mind, does it not?