Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's in FatLand

The first official New Year's Celebration in FatLand was held on Deceer 31, 2014-January 1, 2015.

 A skating rink was created. Padded skates, kneepads and shoulder padding, as well as padded vests, were given out for those who simply wanted to walk around the rink instead of skating. There were lights overhead and a couple of bands, as well as an emcee. Emcees, actually. Angela was one of them.

Free hot cider was supplied.

When New Year's came, people sang Old Lang Syne. Then they sang the FatLand National Anthem (which is in the appendix of FatLand: The Early Days).

People were encouraged to walk around and go back to their places with other people, and with friends, if possible. The FatLand Board knew that many people in FatLand lacked family and many lacked friends still.  Counselors were instructed to make sure that everyone got home safely.

Visiting on New Year's Day, 2015, was encouraged through ad campaigns that had been started a month before. "Have someone to dinner on New Year's Day. Everything will taste better." Of course people had a good time with that one, but it did result in many group visits and sharings.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Creating Family and Community

Many refugees from the Other Side during the reign of the Pro-Health and Diet Laws had friends and organizational contacts who looked out for them and managed their escape/s from The Other Side to FatLand. However, there were also quite a few immigrants who managed, with their last reserves and cash and strength, to make it to FatLand on their own. They were broke, lonely and depressed.

The FatLand Board and therapists saw quickly that these people needed a lot of time and help. The way they gave a sense of community and family to these new FatLanders in dire straits was to adopt them. Every FatLander who did not have relatives in FatLand was adopted by a FatLander.

It is worth mentioning that fully half of these immigrants had parted company with their birth families long before. Most of their birth families were ashamed of them. Some of them were just beginning to develop new "families" of their own, some with good friends who appreciated them and thus fulfilled a family-type need for warmth and affection that their families were incapable of meeting.

So besides needing people to talk with, these immigrants needed someone to tell them that they were wonderful and worthy people. The counselors fulfilled their roles; others told them that they were needed and wanted. It took a lot of time and a lot of effort to manage to get so many new FatLanders to be proud of their bodies, their beings, themselves.

It was worth it.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mortality in FatLand, and why it went way way down

As stated previously, mortality went way way down very soon after FatLand became a territory. It was probably getting lower even before that, but was tracked more closely after FatLand acquired territorial status.

When asked about the reasons for FatLand's extremely low mortality rate about 30 years later, one of the doctors on the FatLand Board said, "More than half of the reasons pertain to what we don't do. We don't: a) refuse patients care because they are "too fat" b) tell them to lose weight before treating them  c) stigmatize them by weighing them in front of other people - or weighing them at all, for that matter  d) ask them to squeeze into uncomfortable seats  e) provide them with hospital gowns that are too small and leave embarrassing gaps  f) tell them not to eat x, y or z foods g) assume that they are diabetic h) assume that they are or are not exercising a certain amount  i) criticize the way they look  j) tell them that they won't be able to get any partners  k) show disgust at their bodies  l) assume that they should receive any "average" amount of medication  m) overmedicate them because they are fat  n) undermedicate them because they are fat  o) ignore their own accounts of their experiences  p) act too busy to converse with them or answer their questions   q) assume they won't follow instructions  r) talk down to them  s) take their blood pressure with small cuffs, which would cause readings to be inaccurate  t) consider or call them lazy and unattractive  u) shy away from touching and comforting them because they are fat.

And this is of course just a recitation of what hospitals and medical centers don't do. Add: not being stigmatized or harassed when walking, working, playing, exercising, cooking. Add: being welcomed in any establishment, especially and including restaurants and food supply areas. Add: not being discouraged from exercising and other kinds of movement, especially but not only sports. Add:  not being forced to exercise or play. Add: being considered attractive and/or "normal" or in the swim of things by other people. Add: having access at any time to a counselor for any situation. Add: having a job for which one is qualified and not being discriminated against at work or in interviews for work and/or the hiring process. Add:  having a plethora of stores that carry one's size and an abundance of styles in that size and other sizes from which to choose.
Add:  not being made fun of in the drugstore when one wishes to purchase birth control devices or meds.
Add: not being made to feel self-conscious when one bathes or showers, in public or private. Add: And so many more..

Thursday, December 26, 2013

FatLand and self-esteem

The first couple of FatLand boards felt that they faced a daunting task in presenting FatLand schools and the rest of its newly emigrated population with images of fat people positive enough to assist all of them in promoting and celebrating self-esteem.

However, they found that it was not quite as daunting as they'd originally thought.

Angela, who had been one of the two women who had had a key role in producing "Living Fat and Happy" -the TV reality show that had indirectly fueled the beginning of FatLand- said to the board, "Well, look at all of those magazines with models from the Other Side. How did they do it?  They show their models smiling, confident, wearing clothes that make the most of their figures. Our women can be at least as hot if we show them smiling, confident and wearing clothes that showcase their sumptuous figures. And we should show them in a variety of poses  - running, walking, sometimes with another person, sitting, riding, playing, on swings, in sports, near the water, in the sky, if possible. Same for our men. And you know what? This may shock some of you, but promote some kind of erotica or porn sites, or both. It will show our FatLanders that they are hot!"

"And," she continued, "have contests in which FatLand writers write novels about people in FatLand or fat and interesting people from the Other Side. Maybe separate contests, one for FatLand novels and one for novels which feature fat people elsewhere. Fat heroes, protagonists, even villains if they are interesting and perhaps hot. Some hot fat pirates, for instance. Or fat vampires."

Her ideas proved practical and inspiring. Perhaps that is yet another reason that Winston Stark wanted her exiled from FatLand

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Here comes Santa Claus...

Turned out that many FatLand women had fantasies about Santa Claus, and they had very little to do with getting toys..(well, not those kinds of toys..)

One of them involved sitting on Santa's lap and telling him just how naughty she, the fantasizer, had been in detail..and how naughty she'd like to get with him.

Another one involved interesting stuff with Santa and his elves.

The person who was compiling the Santa fantasies, and who ultimately concluded that FatLand needed a few Santas for adults, hoped fervently that she did not hear of anyone who thought strange thoughts about the reindeer. Luckily she did not.

Then someone asked her why Santa always had to be a man, and she realized he didn't.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

FatLand Monuments and Public Places

The early residents of FatLand believed strongly in pluralism and in not privileging any one belief system or spirituality over another. This was at least partly because they knew all too well what privileging people who looked a certain way had done on the Other Side/USA.

As time went on and FatLand grew, people who were not quite as firmly pluralistic started to request permission from the FatLand Board to put up religious monuments in public places in FatLand. The Board turned down their requests every time, noting that they felt that public display of such monuments would cause divisiveness and feed rivalries.

In 2046, as yet another wave of emigres travel to FatLand, some among them wish to convert others to their belief systems.  They mount a campaign for FatLanders to be able to erect monuments in public places once again.

The answer of the Board is as follows:  We are all both private and public citizens of FatLand. As private citizens we have the right to put up in our own residences any signs or symbols of our celebrations of holidays. As public citizens we bring our ability to let go of any spiritual beliefs when we enter the public square and be present only as FatLanders. As public FatLanders we all meet together and remain tolerant and welcoming of each other, whatever our beliefs. As private FatLanders we allow anyone we wish into our private sphere and profess any belief we hold true. The two must never meet.

We thus must regretfully inform you that your application to place religious monuments in our parks has been declined.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fatness and hotness

In a Facebook Fat Acceptance group yesterday and today, a discussion took place pertaining to the blog of a well known Fat Acceptance Activist, who wrote that fat women need not "settle" for someone to whom they are not attracted. She also wrote that fat women certainly could get together with "hot" men (she mentioned "tall men with tattoos").

The thing is that she did not mention the weight of the hot, tall men with tattoos, so theoretically they could be of any or many weights. (This is her preference, not mine.) But most of the men reading the blog took it to mean that she did not appreciate fat men, and/or that fat men were not "hot."

I read it a few times, just to see how I felt. At no time did I interpret her words to mean that fat men were not hot. And yet most of the men did. So I substituted "men" for "women" and "women" for "men" to produce a  statement about hot women to see how I felt upon reading it. I must admit that I didn't feel offended at all. The reversal simply produced a statement about how fat men could get together with all sizes of women. I would certainly hope that this indeed would be the case.

I read the blog post again, wondering. Did the writer not cater to men's egos enough? Then again, was the "tall men with tattoos" a bit too narrow, so to speak? And was the idea of  "hot" restricted a bit too much to a specific set of appearances?  If she had considered "hot" to be witty, urbane and verbally adept (my preferences), would fat men -or at least the fat men reading the blog- felt less left out?

I bring this up because there was something that the FatLand Board and counselors knew they had to handle, and this became part of the agenda for FatLand education, as well. They had to make people coming into FatLand feel a) that they themselves were worthy and sexy b) that fat people in general were worthy and sexy. It is not easy to make an entire population feel worthy and sexy when they have been told from the beginnings of their lives, and constantly, that someone with their particular look/looks is ugly and unsexy. Interestingly enough, though, simply coming to a place in which no stigma or harassment attached to their appearances helped to begin with. The rest was a matter of posting enticing photos and pictures, publicly sharing people who were strong and confident in their fat sexiness online and in print media (Margaret Clancy's FatLand newspaper helped a lot in this) and creating the "Hotty of the Week" photo section for women and men.

I know that this is indeed what some Fat Acceptance Activists are trying to do in magazines and other media. I am starting to understand why mentioning "conventionally hot guys" might hurt egos, even if the intention of the blogger was not to do so.

However, I would ask the men who took offense at this:  Have you never gathered with men you know and whistled at blonde, thin women and called them "hot"?

Yeah. I thought so..

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday thoughts

There are many Christians, pagans and Jews in FatLand. There are a few Hindus, as well. There may be a few Muslims, but they have been pretty quiet thus far.

All this is to say that FatLand keeps its religions/belief systems very very separate from the FatLand Governing Board, which has pretty much stood for most of the government that goes on. That will change, as mentioned previously, in FatLand (3): To Live Fat and Free.

Thus far FatLanders have held services or gatherings inside their homes for the more religious holidays, if they wished,  and gathered together outside to celebrate FatLand territorial holidays. This will change somewhat, as well, as more FatLanders seem to want to express their religious beliefs in larger places with more of their sister and fellow believers.

What is considered important throughout, however, is that FatLanders give gifts made and/or created in FatLand. There is even a campaign to give non-traditional gifts, like poems, songs, cards, homemade greetings and crafts. Kind of echoes the USA in the nineties.

Before the Health and Diet Laws crept, then swarmed over the land.

And now, in 2046, the Health and Diet Laws have been repealed.

And FatLand and the USA must initiate and redo their entire relationship.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The personal is political; the political is personal.

Today on Facebook, a friend said that she was happy to escape to my blog for fun when she wanted a break from politics.

Well, it may not exactly surprise many people that Fat Acceptance/Liberation is political for me in the deepest sense. Here's why.

Once upon a time it was considered more or less all right to discriminate against women who didn't think or look acceptable in the eyes of the Male Establishment  - in other words, it was all right to shame, belittle or ignore women who thought differently than the mainstream or who were not as thin as Barbie Dolls.

That is where Fat Acceptance/Liberation comes in. It is no longer acceptable to blame people -but especially women- for their weight. It is not acceptable to pressure women to starve themselves. It is not acceptable to assume that any illnesses or conditions a woman has are curable if she loses weight. (They are not, and thin people get all the diseases and illnesses and conditions that fat people get.) It is not acceptable to make fun of women who wish to exercise but who don't happen to look like Barbie Dolls.

It is not acceptable to discriminate against heavier women by paying them lower salaries than those paid to thinner women.

It is not acceptable to try to convince women that if they starve themselves or mutilate themselves surgically, they will become magically acceptable to some powers that be in Big Med and Big Pharma and Big Finance and Big Diet.  95 percent of weight losses are short-term, with all the weight and often more regained in 2-5 years.

Think of Fat Acceptance/Fat Liberation as the the next great issue of the Women's Movement. (And Ms. Magazine has published articles about how dieting is anti-woman and anti-liberation).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Relearning Eating

Relearning Eating

When refugees came to FatLand from the Other Side during the Health and Diet Administration oppression, most of them had forgotten what it meant to enjoy a meal.  Friends of theirs had had to sneak food to them, or they had had their intake monitored very strictly by the Health and Diet admins, whether in their homes or in Reeducation Centers.

They often had to relearn how to eat, down to what they found tasty and what they didn't, how much they could or wished to eat, when and even where they felt all right about eating. At first some of them were even sneaking food into their rooms because they were still afraid that someone would see them and report to the authorities. When they finally figured out that no one was going to report them or come for them because they were eating, they started to make weekly trips to local supermarkets, at the urging of their counselors. Counseling centers offered cooking classes as well, which, according to graduates, were not only useful but fun.

The next step simply took time. When they weren't weighed and no one cared what they weighed in FatLand, people started to create food coops so that those in their neighborhoods would have access to cheap fresh  produce.                                                                                                                                         

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Interview with the Vampi- with Frannie

Tracey L. Thompson, author of Fatropolis (Pearlsong Press), has done a dynamite job of providing some really interesting and provocative interview questions. I'll try to do them justice.

Q. What inspired you, or gave you the idea, to write FatLand?

I spoke elsewhere, maybe even someplace in this blog, about the fact that one of my dad's hobbies was reading about and going to places where utopian ideals were present. The first utopian novel was Utopia, by Sir Thomas More, published in 1518. So for a long time, people have been seeking, whether in literature, reality or both, places that they consider will provide perfect living conditions. If you think about it, though, they had to have leisure and enough freedom from want even to write and think about utopias. FatLand is in this line. 

Yet another, related strain of utopianism was present in my upbringing - that of Socialists and union organizers, people forever trying to improve the conditions of workers and poor people in the USA and in the world. I grew up with the motto "a shenere, besere velt" (ah shen-er-eh, beh-seh-reh velt), "a lovelier, better" world," in my head, and the anthem of the organization in which my grandparents and parents were active, the words of which are these (Workmen's Circle Hymn):  "Un ale far eynem un eynem for al, baloyktn in eynem fun eyn ideal/Dem groysn, dem sheynem, fun arbeter klal."  "All for one and one for all, joined together in one ideal/the great, the beautiful from workers united." (Sounds a lot better in Yiddish..)

So in a way it was natural that I would seek a utopia in fiction for people whom I believe are some of the most oppressed in this country and in much of the world at this time, a group of which I am a determined member - fat people.

Q. Why is the story of FatLand set in the future?

It actually begins in 2010 with the first passage of the first of the so-called Pro-Health and Diet Laws. As more restrictive laws pass, more people seek an escape from the USA. I figured that in thirty years, it would be a thriving, going concern. Which it is, in the story.

Q. What made you pick Colorado as the place where FatLand was established?

Hehe.. I guess I've always liked the idea of Colorado, mountains, hiking, sunsets, and thought that there would still be enough land left to be able to provide for a territory of 400,000 - 500,000 or so.  Probably also, that there would be lumber and water resources enough for such a venture.

Q. Who is your favorite character in FatLand?

Oh, probably Winston Stark, the ultra-corporate villaiin who has a love-hate relationship with fat people and FatLand. He seems to be investing in it somehow much of the time, then aiming to destroy it the rest of the time. Part of him seems to yearn toward fat people and especially the fat woman he adores, but can't bring himself to marry. (In these feelings he is not alone. Many men seem to feel the way he does.)
Q. Your latest book is the second part to the Fatland Triology. Are you finished writing part III? When is it scheduled to be published?
Part III - FatLand: To Live Fat and Free- is slowly taking shape. I have a lot of ideas about what will go into it.

Q. What inspired the political intrigue in your books?

When we would sit around the dinner table - especially at my grandparents' place- politics and political intrigue were often the chief items of conversation. Of course half of  my grandfather's (mother's father) life was lived with political intrigue - from the time he had to escape from Philadelphia because of the Palmer raids after World War I (raids in which Communists and Socialists were arrested and often deported at the behest of Attorney General Palmer) up to and after the time he fought factionalism as a Socialist in the 1970's. (He died in 1985 after an eventful and very interesting life.) Just hearing about it and about the lives he and his friends lived were enough to get me fascinated by political intrigue.

Q. You are very skilled at writing sex scenes, if you don't mind me saying. What do you think makes a good sex scene in a book? Are there any books that have inspired you in this area?

I take that as a high compliment.

Ah. What makes a good sex scene:  slow seduction. Each time. Not the same kind, but the same pace. Slow. But also feelings must be present. Physical moves without intense wanting and without conversation and sounds and yes, smells or other sensual involvements, and moistness, are rather lackluster. And I think the reader should know the history of the lust or love or both, somehow. 

My inspiration was not a book, but a person.  I've never seen anyone as talented as he was at seducing. All I have to do is ask myself how he would do something, and I then derive the inspiration and order for a scene.

Q. I noticed that the streets of Fatland are named after famous Fat/Size Acceptance Activists. What gave you this idea?

The streets of Coop City and to an extent, the Amalgamated Housing Area, both in the Bronx, are named after Socialists and Progressives. I thought it would be a good idea to do something similar for FatLand - to name streets after Fat Acceptance and Liberation Activists.

Q. What is the take away message that you meant for readers to get from reading your books?

That they deserve to live their lives in joy and not in fear of the anti-fat police, whatever their size.

Q. What books have inspired your writing style?

This is trickier than it sounds because one can love certain books but not necessarily have one's writing style influenced by them.  I know which books had the strongest effect on me:  Villette, by Charlotte Bronte, Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. I would like to think that they have had some kind of formative influence on my own writing, but I would not dare to claim them as such.
Q. 100 years from now, what do you hope people will say about you and your books?

She was crazy, but she was the first to write about a land where fat people could live proud and free.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Territorial status

Tracey L. Thompson, author of Fatropolis, sent me some questions to be answered via email. I will answer them tomorrow on this blog.

In FatLand (2): The Early Days, the archivists use interviews as a way to authenticate and add to the information they have gleaned from written sources. They find, to their surprise, that there were two logical sides to the question of whether FatLand should stay a territory or become a state.

A little extra wink and knowledge tidbit here:  If any of you have seen The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, you may recognize that the Convention scene: in FatLand: The Early Days was in many ways a rewrite/re-visioning of the Statehood Convention in the movie. Most FatLanders who cared enough to be politically active cared enough about the fate of FatLand to vote for it to remain a territory instead of becoming a state. Ironically, in this instance, the last thing most FatLand citizens wanted was for FatLand to have to follow the directives of the Health and Diet Laws that ruled at this point on The Other Side/USA.

Yet later in the book, Vespa raises some issues around territoriality. She points out that if they had decided to go for statehood, they would have had roads, electricity and infrastructure way faster than they actually obtained them, and that they would have had to accept funding from Winston Stark, whose love-hate affair with FatLand started around then.

But as many people pointed out, most people in FatLand at the time did not regard statehood as an option.

Friday, December 13, 2013

FatLand Spy Climb, FIN and drones

FatLand Spy Climb was a game invented by FIN, the FatLand Intelligence Network.  It consisted of pointing to hills or setting up a number of objects or obstacles and betting on the time it would take to jump or run over them. It came with its own precise point/s system.

Yet another proof that fat people could be fit.

The training for FIN, however, was as much emotional and psychological as it was physical. FIN members had to know where threats might come to FatLand, and from where, and what kind they might be. For this they had to know the politics and economic conditions of the countries in their areas. Some FIN members were assigned the Middle East. Others were assigned Europe. Yet others were assigned the Other Side/USA.

The greatest number of threats to FatLand came, of course, from the Other Side/USA. It is notable that someone from the USA was the only American to fly drones over FatLand, although, of course even the USA itself did not do so, even at the height of the Other Side's Pro-Health and Diet Laws enforcement.
It is also notable that when the Pro-Health and Diet Laws were repealed, the USA was bombarded with requests to obtain visas for FatLand.

They were curious, after all that time.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The female character I wish I were

Angela, from FatLand (2):  The Early Days is the kind of woman I wish I could be.

Very dynamic, superknowledgeable about organizing things, determined, tough, cool. (The witty part we both have - or I like to think so).  Angela knows how to get her questions answered. She knows how to get people to do what she wants. She knows how to motivate people.

She is also a great speaker. I am pretty good, but I don't get much of an opportunity these days. In FatLand (2) she goes into the USA/Other side to speak to people who might be interested in settling in FatLand when FatLand needs settlers.

And yet, as I do/used to do, she falls in love with the wrong person. He is not willing to go out on an emotional limb, and neither is she.

And yet...she mourns when he dies for the rest of her days..

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mortality, Stress, an ax to grind

In FatLand (I): The Novel, the issue of mortality in FatLand, as opposed to the Other side, is explored. It starts to embarrass someone who has an ax to grind that FatLand's mortality rate is actually now lower than that of the Other Side.

Why? Well, many reasons. First of all, the stress level just in itself is much, much lower in FatLand. And many studies now show that the same symptoms and illnesses that are correlated with supposed fatness are also correlated with high stress levels. So guess what: when the stress goes, the illnesses either leave or appear in much less severe forms. And this goes for people of any weight. But it goes double for fat people because not only does stress make them feel sick, literally, but it deters them from doing things like moving their bodies and eating happily (i.e., they don't get the nutrition from their food that they should). In FatLand, where people can now move without being harassed and can eat without someone looking suspiciously at everything they eat, stress is further reduced for them.

Secondly, as stated elsewhere, the economiic safety net is very strong - payment during periods of unemployment, counseling and job matching service, single payer health insurance coverage. For everyone. A lot of stress is removed when one knows that her or his family won't starve if unemployment occurs and that a job will come along in not too long.

And of course the person with the ax to grind is none other than Winston Stark :)    He can't stand the fact that his CompleteFitness franchises failed in FatLand, so he is doubly disgusted when Sandor Forman's GymNotTrim franchises take off and are wildly successful and provide opportunities for FatLanders to move and play without worrying about their weight.

Winston Stark stresses over this and many other things pertaining to FatLand, counting the time until his plans can come to fruition..

Monday, December 9, 2013

FatLand Poetry Anthology

The Poetry Society of FatLand has finallly announced a request for poems about FatLand, to be included in an anthology!

This can only happen when there are enough poets in a place who a) are proud enough of where they live to want to write about it  b) have lived long enough in a place to know it well enough to write about it  c) have lived in contact with enough other people to derive feelings and stories about their particular feelings and interactions in their area or place.

They will write about streets, places, histories - their own and Fatland's, their own intermeshed with FatLand's. And if there is a bit of nostalgia, well, that is all good. It is good to feel nostalgic about someone or something because it shows that you either loved or wished it into being good enough to love.

A contest may follow, now that FatLand has gotten over its extreme non-competitiveness..good or bad? Not sure.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


A very much respected professor gives one of her most sought after courses twice a year at one of the FatLand universities. It is called "The Origins, Chronology and Reinvention of Scapegoating." In it, she explores the entire construction and creation of scapegoating particular groups or people. According to her, scapegoating is as old as speech itself. There were always in groups and out groups in the oldest cave clans, based on cave rights and hunting and attachment customs (attachment was the equivalent of marriage).

But when people started to settle down into farming communities, the nature of scapegoating changed. Instead of focusing on one group, or simply the opponents/adversaries of those who held a particular territory and/or cave, it began to divide people or even communities into hierarchies on the basis of the strength of their connection to a powerful leader. Those who were closest to the leader determined the order of favor of the groups in the communities.

She traces the history of scapegoating up to contemporary times, in which, she states, scapegoating is done by those of all groups and classes who wish to acquire status within their own group by imitating the leader and thus gaining status within their own group by gaining the approval of the leader for their actions. Thus, she says, fat people are scapegoated by those who may or may not actually hate them, but who know they will gain status by doing so. (And this certainly works out as true, even when the "status" is economic, considering the appeals of diet-selling concerns.) In this time, she states, the scapegoaters will often find support for their expressions of hatred from corporate and institutional concerns who are trying to target fat people for profit. This, she says, is what gives contemporary scapegoating of fat people such a deadly edge - the fact that it is both bolstered and even encouraged by both corporations and institutions.

Of course her lectures serve indirectly to support FatLand's claims of being by far the best places for both fat and not-fat people to live, since scapegoating is almost unknown in FatLand...

Saturday, December 7, 2013


It developed that in the time of their growing strength as a viable state, factions began to form along the lines of views of  gender orientation. The conservative FatLanders, of whom there were a growing number, were adamantly against making trans people a protected category.

Until they learned that two of the people on the present Board were trans. And not just any two, but two of the most prominent - the present Chair and the Vice Chair.


The more liberal faction had a field day with this fact. Then the conservative faction quickly found another issue around which to rally. Its leaders said that FatLand was paying too much unemployment compensation to those not employed, and that they should either have to work for it or face cuts in compensation.

The FatLand Board Chair, whom they had unknowingly attacked before they knew of her trans identity,  explained to them -or reminded them- that since all unemployed FatLanders go through counseling and sign up automatically to be informed of job openings, they really planned to work as soon as an opening came through.

The conservative faction then found another issue:  the lack of territorial sponsorship of Christmas Holiday Celebrations.

The Chair told them that they were perfectly free to mount any number of Christmas celebrations they wished, but that the Territory sponsored only Territorial celebrations, not religious ones.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Housing in early FatLand

In the very early days in FatLand (detailed in FatLand: The Early Days), many of those who wanted to live in what eventually became FatLand had only tents to sleep in. Those who had already built some kind of house took in refugees when they could. A lot of people worked very hard to put together temporary shelter and facilities for those who wouldn't be able to get housing for a while. In winter, early FatLanders took in as many people as they could.

There was a spirit of helping, but people found that it felt rather incredible to be able to help others -and get help from others- in a place and an atmosphere in which they knew they would not be taunted, harassed or otherwise stigmatized.

Thirty years or so later, some FatLanders felt nostalgic about those early days, the days in which they were all working to build houses and then to build FatLand.

One person voiced her disapproval of the slowness with which FatLand was building houses and roads and a viable water supply storage and pipeline. She felt that FatLand should have been a state instead of a territory. Many people argued with her and reminded her that being a state could easily have drawn FatLand into the Health and Diet Admin program, the very reason most of them fled.

Of course FatLand was voted into being as a territory in the territorial convention of 2014..

Thursday, December 5, 2013

FatLand signature dishes

Although FatLand has been addressing its restaurant imbalance and funding and encouraging smaller, mom and pop and diner type places, let it not be said that FatLand is not original in terms of creating and naming its own signature dishes!

In ice cream:  Candy cane swirl. Pieces of candy cane and marshmallows worked into and mixed into vanilla ice cream.

In stew:  FatLand Vegetable stew.  With sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, yellow butter beans, parsnips, turnips, green beans, and lentils or pulses. Spicy!

In meat dishes:  Fried salami! Served on rye bread with mustard and small stuffed cabbage leaves on the side. The stuffing for these particular cabbage leaves consists of rice, raisins and mint leaves with a hearty sauce.

In South Asian dishes:  Palak paneer (spinach with cheese) coated with an almond crust. Served with raita (yogurt with mint).

In Italian dishes:  Yellow squash stuffed with eggplant puree and topped with provolone and sauce.

In fish:   Fried fish balls with truffles and egg salad and sour cream.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Restaurants in FatLand

Around the fifth year of so of FatLand's existence, the Board held a meeting with FatLand restauranteurs. There were bar owners, restaurant owners, bistro owners, pastry shop owners. What there weren't : owners of diners and family restaurants.

The FatLand Board Chair said:  We asked all of you to be present today because we felt that we needed to address a scarcity or void in the FatLand restaurant scene. Today there exist many gorgeous high end and chic restaurants and bars and bistros. And yes, pastry shops. What we don't have are more casual alternatives.  We also don't have fast food chains, but that is partly by choice. However, at least half of the time, when someone wishes to have a meal, she may not always wish to take genteel forkfuls of almond brioche with kumquat marmalade, or spear fried eel from on top of peppercorn-grilled and marinated tuna. She may simply wish to order fish and chips, or a bagel with cream cheese. That is where we lack. Of course she can get these things or at least their raw ingredients in a market. But what if she wants to sit down after a day's work and relax in a peaceful, casual atmosphere in not-super-fashionable clothes? And perhaps she wants franks and beans, or pizza, or corn fritters, or vanilla pudding. Right now we don't have one restaurant that serves these things.

We are offering you a chance to buy and start casual dining venues. We have a list of locations and suggested food offerings. You can of course change the offerings any time you wish. We just want you to get an idea of the probable clientele in each one.

Most of the restauranteurs made polite murmuring noises, but showed little to no inclination to look at the packet given out by the Board. Two, however, did show interest and started to ask questions about financing and location.

In the next six months, FatLand received a casual South Asian restaurant and a diner.
Both restaurants were standing room only for their openings and on subsequent weekend nights.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Broken Hearts in FatLand

When people escaped from the Other Side/USA to FatLand, dating and romance -and yes, sex- were often the last things on their minds. They simply wanted to be safe from the Fat Police, as they called the personnel employed by the Health and Diet Administration who were responsible for monitoring weights and for sending fat people to Reeducation Centers.

As time passed, however, and they began to see that people in FatLand wanted to be friends with them and sometimes more, they started to take minor steps toward establishing relationships, with the help of the Counselors. Some became involved in relationships, some happened on one-nighters.

To many of them, however, it seemed rather ironic and deeply upsetting that some of these relationships didn't last. They then turned to the counselors again, who assured them that life happens that way to everyone, and that they should try to get involved in things they liked and let the hurt leave when it was ready.

The best thing about FatLand, one of them observed, was that at least they knew that people weren't breaking up with them because they were fat.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hosting Meals

Once a month, kids in FatLand host their classmates for a meal at their houses. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) puts out a spread, with the help of people who do exactly this for a living - they plan events and social occasions and meals. They even do the invitations. The only thing the parents and kids have to do is decide what they wish to serve. They take into account food preferences and allergies, but most hosts take pleasure in providing a wonderful and multifarious spread. This way FatLand kids get to experience a variety of foods and tastes and cultures.

The wonderful thing is that it is all paid for by the Education Fund.