Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dr. Edward Thompson, the Infamous Doctor Award and the Doctor No List

One of the reasons non-FatLanders came to FatLand after the Other Side/USA and FatLand resumed relations was to see FatLand doctors. Even people who were not considered fat made the trip because FatLand doctors had the very-much-deserved reputation of treating patients not only with the latest technology, but with compassion and wisdom. It turned out that FatLand doctors were miles ahead of doctors on the Other Side/USA also because they had invented new techniques for performing surgery, not only on FatLanders and/or fat people, but on others, such as many of the elderly, who could not undergo traditional and often invasive surgery.

There was a particular doctor who wrote an infamous article which was published in the Other Side, in the Washington Post. He claimed to be compassionate toward fat people, but the ways in which he described them caused people in FatLand and on the Other Side to be angry, and not only fat people either. From this time on, someone who pretended to be tolerant and compassionate toward fat people but was clearly not was called a Doctor Thompson. This doctor was also given the Infamous Doctor award in FatLand, a yearly event. At this event, the names of doctors who treated patients badly were read and officially listed on the Doctor No list.

Most of these doctors lost patients, as a result.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Neighborhood Helpers

Police people in FatLand are not even called "police." They are called Neighborhood Helpers. That is their main job - to assist anyone in the neighborhood who is lost, hurt, anxious, cold, hungry, confused, or in any other condition for which they need some kind of help.

Their secondary job is to respond to calls which may involve non-FatLanders who are acting inappropriately, whether by harassing, using a weapon (no guns of any kind are allowed in FatLand), or any other actions that signal intent to harm. By contrast, if a FatLander or a non-FatLander is acting in an unusual manner or even an eccentric manner, but is causing no harm to anyone, including himself or herself, the Neighborhood Helpers will not interfere. Example: someone runs naked through a field, but does not look unhappy or sick.

Their third job:  to make sure that the Prime Law is enforced, that dieting and scales are not mentioned. This can get difficult. For instance, if a few people in a bar get drunk and one of them starts saying loudly that he thinks that scales should be allowed so that assholes can be forced to sit on them, does this constitute a violation? It probably does, but not technically. However, they can probably escort the drunk person home on the grounds that he should not be driving or even walking. So they have now solved the problem without having to invoke any rights clauses or giving the drunk person more of an opportunity to act out.

The Neighborhood Helpers must wear clothes that have at least two colors of the FatLand flag. Since the flag is green, gold and purple, a helper could wear gold and green, or purple and gold, to fulfill the requirement.

There are no jails in FatLand.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


FatLand was simply unprepared for the deluge of Other Side/USA tourists who wished to visit FatLand after the Pro-Diet and Health laws were repealed and relations were repaired between FatLand and the USA.

A number of hotels had to be built in a hurry. FatLanders helped out by renting out rooms in their houses and by letting the visitors camp out in their backyards. Orientation leaders from both FatLand and The Other Side/USA were trained in a month's time, squeezing in about three months of tourist handling science.  Small restaurants and roadside stands were built, as well, not to mention portable and non-portable bathrooms. Tour buses were built; the FatRail was refurbished.

FatLand Immigration Services created 1400 new jobs in order to deal with the avalanche of visa requests. The checkpoints on both sides of the border were rebuilt, with friendly signs marking them instead of the military style border markers that had been in place for most of FatLand's history.

At first FatLanders were suspicious of the tourists, wondering if many of them had come just to gawk at FatLand. However, when the overwhelming majority of USA tourists proved curious, friendly and supportive, FatLanders began to change their minds.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Project Remember

The FatLand Cultural and Historical Institute and Archives opened officially in 2045 after having financed a project which inquired into the origins of FatLand and  dispatched three archivists to uncover them. It also assembled a considerable collection of memorabilia from its early days, including photos, journals, drawings, paintings, recollections of all kinds, recorded interviews.

In 2046, another project was begun. It proved controversial, but most FatLand inhabitants, almost all of whom were refugees from the Other Side, supported it wholeheartedly. Those who didn't were mostly those who had considerable business relations with people and companies on the Other Side/USA. The project was to amass as many verbal -written and recorded- memories in interviews which detailed life on the Other Side during the Pro-Health and Diet Laws. The memories included, but were not limited to, hiding from and being assigned to Reeducation Centers.

The project was called Project Remember.

Many FatLanders volunteered for the project, but broke down when answering questions from FatLand interviewers. The memories were too terrible and too recent for them to be able to recount them with any calmness. Even so, FatLanders could not keep themselves from going back and listening to the interviews over and over.

Winston Stark made every effort to stop the project, including threatening the directors and developers of the project. In this case, they actually got together and responded with a polite equivalent of "Go f--- yourself." Stark was incensed, but realized that in this one instance, there was really nothing he could do to stop the project or dissuade those in charge of it from carrying it out.

As a response, Margaret Clancy, publisher and manager of the first and largest FatLand newspaper and online news service, offered the project free publicity.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

FatLand Porn and Archives

FatLand must be one of the few states in the world to encourage the viewing of porn. At least, its own homegrown porn.

This was done as part of an effort to reassure the inhabitants of FatLand that they were beautiful, sexy, desirable. It was done to make them want each other after all the stigmatization, the name calling, the manifestations of hatred they experienced on the Other Side/USA, especially during the Pro-Health and Diet Administrations. The most horrific example cited by many of them was the name calling and water throwing (not food, which was now too expensive) as they stood in line at the Reeducation Centers. It wasn't enough, they said, that they were about to be put in the Pro-Health equivalent of prison and possibly starved; they had to experience demonstrations of hatred, bigotry and shaming on the way.

Statements such as these and longer accounts to go with them were then collected and housed in the FatLand Historical and Cultural Institute and Archives. When refugees escaped from the Other Side, they weren't in much of a mood for porn or erotica.  However, after a few years in FatLand with counselors, therapy and a lot of good food and even company, they were quite happy to view homegrown FatLand porn and erotica. Unlike in many other countries/states, FatLand not only did not outlaw it, but continued to show it liberally.

The downside of this facilitating was of course that people from the Other Side/USA kept trying to sneak into FatLand to view fat-celebratory porn. For the span of the Pro-Health and Diet Laws, before they were repealed, fat people were not allowed even to be shown in movies. It was as if fat people and their bodies acquired an underground sexiness because they were banned, quite the opposite of what the Pro-Health and Diet admins had in mind.

Once the borders were open again, people from the Other Side began to come to FatLand again, not only for the porn, but for the tolerance, openness, lack of judgment on size, great food, great night life and the best chocolate for miles.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Fat Geniuses

Ever wonder why you don't see or hear about fat geniuses?

Oh, they exist. It's just that the mainstream media -and even the less mainstream media- aren't willing to give them print or air time. The image of the genius has been so stereotyped for so long that they cannot imagine a genius who is not thin or spectacled or stooped.

The FatLand school system sought to redress this seeming lack from the time it was built. It also provided a number of schooling choices for parents so that they could make certain that their children's learning needs were being met appropriately and that their talents were being developed and utilized. They offered four kinds of schooling:  ungraded/untested. intense writing and verbal emphasis, multilingual schooling, online schooling. Students were always allowed to hand in essays in lieu of testing of any kind.

What was remarkable is that they found at least ten "geniuses" per grade in any school, leading the papers on the Other Side/USA to ridicule them. To make their point, the FatLand schools offered to test their "genius" students in front of monitoring groups from the Other Side/USA.

They tested. All but one of their geniuses continued to test in the "genius" zone.

The monitoring groups slunk away with their tails -and tales- between their legs.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

FatLanders are not expendable!

I wrote a poem a couple of days ago about Marius, the young giraffe killed because he was considered "expendable" in the Zoo Director's opinion and vision.

Many refugees who had to leave the Other Side/USA and flee to FatLand were also considered "expendable" in the schema of the Pro-Health and Diet Law administration. Sometimes refugees feel this way about themselves, that they are not really wanted. Hopefully their own determination and willingness to stick with their new land, even as they slowly vault past the hurdles set up to try the patience and perseverance of immigrants, keep them in their new country until they obtain a green card (or the equivalent) or citizenship.

In FatLand, not only did refugees and citizens need to be convinced that their company would be welcome to others, and that they should mingle and get out to create relationships and patronize FatLand establishments. They also had to be convinced that they were welcome additions to FatLand with something special to contribute, that they were not "surplus" or "expendable," as they had been clearly earmarked on the Other Side/USA.

This was done by creating online forums and actual forums at both the block and municipal level to solicit opinions and expert opinions from FatLanders. As many of them as possible were invited to contribute to the forums and enough legwork was done by the organizers of the forums to make sure that the backgrounds of these FatLanders were taken into account as closely as possible when they were asked to contribute to the forums. Or, for that matter, other group efforts in any areas or subjects at which they excelled.

It is not easy to make people who have internalized their unworthiness after a lifetime of bigoted propaganda feel not only welcome, but worthy. That FatLand did so is a tribute to its Boards and determined, proud inhabitants who wanted all of its residents to feel that they belonged and had contributions to make, and not just some!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

FatLand and Medals for Heroism

In FatLand 3, the newly elected FatLand Senate will debate the question of whether medals should be given to FatLanders who saved the lives of Other Siders during the span of the Pro-Health and Diet Laws before they were repealed. This would include physically helping them to escape or avoid the Reeducation Centers, providing food or money for them to buy food on the black market, providing devices to foil the monitors of the Pro-Health and Diet Law admins, providing materiel/materials with which to foil scanning and censors, and providing funds for all the above.

I know how I want them to vote..

Thursday, February 6, 2014

FatLand Art Museum

It is true that during the first years of FatLand, museums and institutes of learning were not top priorities. But even then there were people who believed that FatLand deserved, in the advertising vernacular, "world class museums."

Interestingly one of the first museums to be built was the FatLand Art Museum. FatLand's location afforded spectacular views and was conducive to all sorts of scenes:  nature, abstracts, neo-impressionist, sculpted among them. What drove FatLand artists to create the most, however, was being able to paint and sculpt in an atmosphere which didn't frown on them or on their creations. When the stigma didn't exist, when they could mingle (when they wished), or simply purchase bread, eggs, macaroni, cheese, canned fish and milk (eerie similarity to my own graduate school regime here) in the middle of a creative period without facing any sneers or harassment, their desire to create burgeoned and drove them to new heights of personal expression and public appreciation.

As FatLand grew and its citizens grew more confident in their right to go about their lives unimpeded by stigma and harassment, FatLand artists began to reclaim the beauties of FatLand inhabitants - in nudes, in studies of people at work, shopping, sitting in parks, running, and finally, in sports, as well. There were even a few somewhat controversial but much lauded scenes of FatLanders making love.

And the FatLand Art Museum came to be known as the prime venue for art featuring fat people proudly, prolifically and happily.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Garrison Keillor type character for FatLand III

Maybe I could make a Garrison Keillor lookalike and be-alike a character in FatLand III: To Live Fat and Free.

You see, I have a fantasy about him. (He is big and tall. Fat? Some say yes, some say no.) The fantasy is about his voice. He grabs me, holds me very close, puts his arms around me and whispers into my ear in that voice of midwest silver that he is going to do certain things to me and tells me exactly which things in careful detail..

Oh, I'll bet I could fit him in somewhere.

Um, fit him into the book, I mean..

Sunday, February 2, 2014

FatLand and Football

FatLand's first athletic team: football players. They pounded any amateur teams from The Other Side.

When relations between FatLand and The Other Side/USA were restored, FatLand applied to become part of the Southwestern Conference and was accepted.  Teams grumbled and kept saying that FatLand had an unfair edge. FatLand coaches then offered to train teams from The Other Side. One team accepted, then quit the training program because they found it too long, painful and stressful.

So much for trying to undermine the legitimacy of the FatLand team, who went on to take five championships in a row.

FatLanders who formerly had no interest in sports or in football found themselves rooting for the FatLand Football team. It was so much fun to see nerdy looking scientists and carefully groomed fatshionistas (of all genders and sexes) jumping up and down at games and chanting cheers along with tougher looking dyed in  the wool football fans.

Then again, FatLand succeeded once more in broadening its citizens' horizons and in making them proud of yet another facet of their home.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

FatLand and Public Celebrations

When FatLand was new, people were so busy trying to build it up and plan it that things like weddings and anniversaries were celebrated in people's homes without a lot of fanfare.

When it became a little older and a little more settled, some of its inhabitants grew interested in building things like Wedding halls and catering establishments.

The tourists from the Other Side who came to see FatLand in the easing and then repeal of the Pro-Health and Diet Laws were extremely disappointed to see FatLand inhabitants celebrating weddings and anniversaries just as they did on the Other Side.

What their guide had to explain to them was that the FatLand celebrations of personal and life cycle events were remarkable not in their originality or departure from Other Side customs, but precisely because they were conducted so similarly to those of the Other Side. Their remarkable nature, the guide said, lay in the fact that FatLanders felt secure enough to conduct them in public because in FatLand, they were secure from harassment and public abuse.

For so many years, the guide continued, on the Other Side, mostly very brave fat people held their life cycle celebrations in public, and this despite the fact that they were sure to be harassed, embarrassed and shamed by bullies (of all ages). Many fat people learned the hard way that the Other Side/USA frowned on public happiness for fat people. Of course when the Pro-Health and Diet Laws went into effect, fat people did not hold public celebrations for fear of being spotted by the Pro-Health and Diet admins and being sent to Reeducation Centers.

And that, the guide explained, was another obstacle negotiated by FatLanders when they started holding personal and life cycle celebrations in public. They had to power past their fear that someone would inform on them and land them in a Center, even though such thing never had existed and never would exist in FatLand.

So, the guide concluded, what you may see and view as a simple celebration was actually the work of the untangling of many fears and many years of having to hide from probable public harassment and abuse. The FatLand celebrations themselves, the guide concluded, were triumphs of determination over bigotry and hatred from years past and over the place that once encouraged such hatred.

A possible lesson might be that hatred never wins forever. True? Many of us hope so.