Friday, October 29, 2010

What the Fuck, RWA?

See, I have a theme going. Dear Author pointed out today that RWA hasn't really done anything about sound rogering Dorchester has given some of its authors, but back when Harlequin was going to start up Harlequin Horizons, they called an emergency meeting and removed Harlequin from their list of approved publishers.

Okay, let's look at the facts here:

Harlequin Horizons

  • Harlequin announces that they are going to offer a self-publishing model.
  • Before the service can actually launch or generate any kind of revenue, RWA calls an emergency session and boots Harlequin.

Dorchester Publishing

  • Dorchester decides that for the next six months, all mass-market titles will be released digitally. Books scheduled for mass-market release will have their release dates moved to some nebulous time in the future, and they will be digital only. Authors who have taken out ads and otherwise spent money promoting their book are basically told to deal with it.
  • At this point, RWA has already smacked Dorchester's hand for not paying authors.
  • Dorchester reverts rights to work back to some authors, but continues selling (and making a profit on) those works that are no longer legally owned by them.
  • RWA still hasn't made a decision.

It boggles my mind that Harlequin got straight up spanked by RWA because they were going to do something that possibly would hurt authors. It was a big enough emergency that RWA national had to hold an emergency session to make a decision. But Dorchester is and has repeatedly harmed authors and it's no big deal?

Inconsistent leadership and spotty protection for authors is one of the reasons I no longer belong to RWA. Unfortunately, there really isn't an organization out there that compares with them in terms of helping someone become a writer. So, if you're considering joining RWA, I would say approach it the way a person who just wants a discount on makeup approaches starting a Mary Kay business: Get in, pay for what you need, get out.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I don't know why someone felt the need to post Maura Kelly's address in the comments to my last post, but KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF. Maura Kelly is an idiot, but at least she's not a fucking creepy stalker.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Maura Kelly, I Will Kick Your Boney Ass.

Recently, the enormous pile of fail that is Marie Claire magazine ran an op-ed piece by one vapid freelancer who took the opportunity to spew, like so much monkey diarrhea spraying the walls of a zoo enclosure, helpful advice for fat people.

The article is, if you want to treat your eyeballs to a feast of idiocy and self-importance heretofore unimaginable by people with souls, Should Fatties Get A Room (Even On Tv)?.

Okay, let's just grapple with that title there. Should fatties get a room? No. No, if I have to watch people of culturally acceptable body sizes pawing over each other in the supermarket check out line because the very sight of broccoli sends their libidos into overdrive, then I am allowed to kiss my husband in public. See, it's the "(Even on TV)?" part that gets me. It's like she's saying, "Of course, we all know it's unacceptable for fat people to touch each other in public. What decent human would even question that. No, no, what we are discussing is the probability of fat sex assaulting you in your very living room!"

That is, in fact, what the article is about. Or supposed to be about:

The other day, my editor asked me, "Think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?"

Her editor was talking about Mike and Molly a sitcom that has drawn criticism for it's portrayal of two overweight people in a relationship.

But because she can't get over her own hatred of fat people, she can't write an article about that. Instead, she needs to warn us all about the dangers of being fat:

Hmm, being overweight is one thing — those people are downright obese! And while I think our country's obsession with physical perfection is unhealthy, I also think it's at least equally crazy, albeit in the other direction, to be implicitly promoting obesity! Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer.

Now, let me address these comments one by one, because otherwise I'm going to just start screaming DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE and end by throwing my laptop on the floor and stomping it to dust with my rhino-like body weight.

First of all, you cannot say something like "And while I think our country's obsession with physical perfection is unhealthy," and then jump right to using fucking fashion models as an example of health. If you believe you can equate the fashion industry with healthy body image, you are high. You are high on all the drugs in the world.

Second, "No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy," is a statement that I'm sure you, as a physician, are completely qualified to make. What? You're a not a doctor? I'm sure I saw it in your byline... hang on...

Maura Kelly is a freelance writer who is working on a novel. She rides her vintage Raleigh as often as possible — usually wearing heels, and always wearing her helmet. (She will not be a fashion victim!) Follow her on Twitter.

Oh, that's right. YOU ARE NOT A DOCTOR. You have no idea how to evaluate the health of any individual, let alone many, many individuals throughout the world. Either you're too busy picking out which high heels to wear on your bike or you don't wear your helmet as often as you claim you do.

As for your claims that obesity is costing our country epic amounts of money in health care costs... where's your data? "And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer." That's a fine statement to make, but on October 18 of this year, USA Today reported that obesity is responsible for 17% of our national health care spending. Seventeen. Percent. The article states $168 billion. The American Cancer society cites cancer ("even cancer.") at costing $228 billion last year. So... I'm guess you're not a mathematician either, then, Ms. Kelly?

She goes on to say:

yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.

You heard it, fat people of America. Maura Kelly and the editors of Marie Claire find it "aesthetically displeasing" to watch fat people do anything. I don't know, I can imagine quite an aesthetically pleasing scene, almost poetic, in fact, involving a person with rolls and rolls of fat bodily shaking a clueless and rude freelance writer right out of her heels and helmet. Seriously, what kind of a fucked up, completely backward human being do you have to be to look at an expression of love between two people and decide it that it's gross, simply because those people look different than you do? Pretty fucked up, I think. I'm just being brutally honest here.

Now, don't go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I'm not some size-ist jerk.

Actually, "size-ist jerk" isn't what I would call you at all. I would call you a vain, body-obsessed asshole who is far too invested in what other people do with their bodies. You didn't give me the wrong impression when you compared me walking across a room to a stumbling drunk or a heroin addict. You gave me a very clear picture of what a pathetic person you must truly be in real life, if your own fear of fatness manifests itself in actual discomfort from having to just see a fat person walk.

But ... I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It's something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.

Perhaps some of us have better things to do with our minds, Ms. Kelly, than obsessing over everything we put in our mouths, or what the overweight maintenence man at the gym is doing about his body. This might surprise you, because I'm sure you've never experienced this, but the second you stop worrying about what everyone else on the planet is weighing, you start to do other things, like think and enjoy your life.

(I'm happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it's cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you're getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there's plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me. It will take some time, but you'll also feel so good, physically and emotionally. A nutritionist or personal trainer will help — and if you can't afford one, visit your local YMCA for some advice.)

Thank you so much for you completely unsolicited weightloss advice! As you are probably aware, all obese people ever eat is processed American cheese by the fistful, and we only ever get off our fat asses to lumber about distressingly in front of non-size-ist non-jerks like yourself, because we get our rocks off disgusting you.

Maura Kelly, you should be ashamed. But you won't be. I'm sure you'll look at yourself in the mirror and pick over your every flaw, just like you picked over the flaws of so many anonymous fat people in your article. You'll surround yourself with beautiful people who are similarly repelled by the very existence of fat people like me, and you'll all live in fear until the very day you die that someday, you might wake up fat. It won't happen, but you'll always be afraid of it. So, I feel sorry for you. Because all the advice you "helpfully" try to dispense, all the times you go to the gym, all the times you you hang out with your "plump" friends to try and feel better about your own weight, that will never alleviate the hatred you have for your own body.

Don't pity me, I'll just keep on pitying you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

National Coming Out Day

Years ago, I worked at Meijer, which is like Walmart but bigger and Michigan based. I worked on the "cheese wall" which meant I spent my entire shift putting cheese products up in the big refrigerated case near the grocery section.

One day, a guy from the grocery department approached me. We occasionally said hello to each other, but cheese mongering is a lonely road, so it's not like we were BFFs. He came up to me and said, "Hey. I have something I want to tell you. I'm gay."

We were in the middle of a huge Kraft sale, and I was really busy. So I said, "So?"

He explained to me then that I was the first person he had ever come out to. He wanted to practice before telling his parents that night. He was twenty-one years old. Imagine that for twenty-one years, you knew that there was something about you that people didn't like. And that in order to make everyone happy, you just had to deny that this part of you existed.

National Coming Out Day is a wonderful idea, but it's a sad one, as well. It's sad that every day isn't a good day to come out. It's sad that kids are still being mocked for their sexuality, resulting in the tragic consequences of the past weeks.

No kid should ever have to worry that their parents will stop loving them for being who they are. No one should ever be bullied into suicide over the way they were born or the way they weren't born, in the case of Transgendered individuals.

If you are a closeted gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or queergendered individual reading this, I hope that one day the world changes enough that you don't have to hide anymore.

Friday, October 8, 2010