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Face of the enemy...

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday December 15, 2010 12:31 PM

... and thighs, and tum:

Lipo-terrorists like the sinister figures above are the target of a new national-security roundhouse punch from the sinewy arms of the well-toned Michelle Obama, First Gymrat of the nation:

First lady Michelle Obama [thinks] that the nation is seeing “a groundswell of support” for curbing childhood obesity, and she is unveiling new ammunition from current and retired military leaders.

“Military leaders … tell us that when more than one in four young people are unqualified for military service because of their weight,” the first lady says... “childhood obesity isn’t just a public health threat, it’s not just an economic threat, it’s a national security threat as well."

You can't make this stuff up, can you?

Every society has its own characteristic forms of dementia. For the sexually repressed Victorians, it was hysteria. For us -- mind-over-matter Gnostics living on the slippery glutinous slopes of the Great Rock Candy And Animal Fat Mountain -- it's anorexia nervosa.

I recently became acquainted with a young fella suffering from this malady -- yes, it happens to guys too, though much more often to girls. In accordance with Nature's usual heavy-handed irony, he works in an upscale grocery store here on the upper west side of Manhattan, and he had me in stitches with his imitation of the "yoga moms" who bustle in and scrutinize every label with narrowed eyes and grill the staff relentlessly about trans-fats and glycopenes and I dunno what-not -- are they all biochemists?

(Michelle Obama, of course, is the professional-bourgeoise yoga mom par excellence: disciplined, energetic, ambitious, rational -- in an instrumental kind of way. Knows what she wants, knows how to get it, and expects the staff to jump when she says "frog".)

My acquaintance thinks it's a "cop-out to blame the society" for his illness, and I understand his reasons; it's a very personal struggle for him. But leaving aside the dubious concept of "blame", it's hard not to read anorexia as the vector sum of a ferocious double bind: "Eat! Lose weight!"

The two horns of this dilemma correspond to our contradictory but equally indispensable roles in the great machine of Wealth Creation. On the one hand, we are consumers. On the other, we are producers. The consumer side must consume a lot to keep the machine going. But the producer side must be disciplined, self-denying, Stakhanovite, underpaid and overworked. The consumer side must be oral-aggressive. The producer side must be anal-retentive -- or no, that's not right; it must be so starved that there's nothing to retain. The reality of life in the present phase of capitalist society is the contrapositive of Fordism: we've got to consume even though they don't pay us.

Curiously enough, when you look at the matter demographically, the real producers in the society -- regular blue-collar Janes and Joes -- tend to make up for their exploitation at work (or the concentration-camp regime in their schools) by hoovering down the Cheetos and Budweiser at home. And -- look you, there is correspondences in all things, as Fluellyn says -- the merit-class rentiers living in actual fact off the fat of the land have made a religion out of lowfat yogurt.

The Janes and Joes get to bear two burdens: production and shame. The Yoga Moms (and Marathon Dads) get two types of income: money income, of course, commensurate with their credentials and their sedulousness at the office; and psychic income, in the form of moral self-congratulation.

I wonder which takes more actual pleasure in life? The two jolly girls shown up top look like they're having a good time. Michelle almost never does.

Comments (26)

Nice peg. They are gnostics, and hermeticists. Sadly, so are their self-appointed high dudgeon adversaries.

Brian M:

As a "self-improver" I must doth protest! (While laughing out at this wonderful post). Not anorexic, but certainly gym obsessed. I do it (the gym obsession) to stave off the looming terrors of the other parts of my life. So...some of us are merely using a different type of drug. LOL>

Brilliant, MJS. I got nothing to add except my praise and my surprise at seeing that MO quote here before I see it at Shakesville.

Brian M:

Maybe this can be a form of antiwar protest...feed your children to the point they are unqualified to serve their betters overseas. Especially since "Timmy is Gay" may not work much longer.

Curiously enough, when you look at the matter demographically, the real producers in the society -- regular blue-collar Janes and Joes -- tend to make up for their exploitation at work (or the concentration-camp regime in their schools) by hoovering down the Cheetos and Budweiser at home.

Thing is, there isn't much left of the blue collar Janes and Joes. Obesity is increasing among people who have little to do with the labor force, let alone assembling cars or unloading docks. What work they do, when they work at all, is more like low-wage service jobs, not really "blue collar" in the classic sense. It's less like the psychosis of exploited labor and more like boredom.


I suspect the hormones and refined carbohydrates they put in everything has more to do with the problem than ennui. People like MO tend to be naturally thin, not disciplined. They mistake their ability to down just two bags of chips every night rather than three for discipline, and scoff at those who gain weight while exercising their asses off and avoiding snack food altogether.

The permascowl on MO's face calls to mind Charles Loughton playing Gracchus in Spartacus: "You and I have a tendency towards corpulence. Corpulence makes a man reasonable, pleasant and phlegmatic. Have you noticed the nastiest of tyrants are invariably thin?"


Frankly, Michelle doesn't exactly look like she's living off low-fat yogurt.

...People like MO tend to be naturally thin, not disciplined. They mistake their ability to down just two bags of chips every night rather than three for discipline, and scoff at those who gain weight while exercising their asses off and avoiding snack food altogether...

Careful there, Sean. Oxtrot is liable to stop by and give you a stern lecture.

I think I was supposed to be hurt when he dumped me off his blogroll after I told him his moralistic lecturing to fat folks made him sound like a Class-A jaggoff. Mostly, though, I was tickled to note how much his attitude was in line with Mama Obama's. It's not all that unusual among the "real" Lefties, either. I always loved that bumper sticker popular among certain Indymedia Diet Faithful: The Earth Is Dying To Make Room For Your Fat Ass, or some shit like that. Yeah, because my life is so much more a waste of resources than that of the average rich Yoga lady, or my dipshit ex-boss who liked coming around when I was trying to work, in order to tell me about the big bucks he was shelling out for his amazing 400-calorie-a-day diet.

[snerk] My job literally entails running around all day making sure the Yoga ladies get their overpriced ugly-ass sportsgear on time. In a truly hilarious turn of events: I ran around so much in the course of this job in the last year or so that I went down one trouser size. Eating whatever struck my fancy and wouldn't push me further towards the Bankruptcy Hole. I really should write a whole post about it one of these days, but virtuous activity is fucking tiring. I'd like to see how cheery Michelle would look if somebody forced her to do her affirmations for eight hours straight, five days a week. :p


I am concerned that Oxy my have ridden his mountain bike over a cliff. I couldn't google up anything from him since about 22 or 24 November. That is a long period of silence from such an irrepressible opinion brand.

Give us a shout out if you are still reading around, Oxy.

Al Schumann:

I had great fun getting a fat gang started. We rough up the scrawnies a little, nothing serious. It's fun, really, especially the look of panic when they see the barbecue grill being wheeled up. That's just to mess with their heads a little, though. We've never actually cooked one.

Al Schumann:

Woodchuck Central has the full list of irredentist personal virtues. While we're all getting skinny to help boost military readiness, we can also bank locally.

The link to Sara Robinson was an unkind gesture. My eyes have bleedy spots.


is not only a sexy man hat lady
she's real for the best
in and of and for us
green baret merit muffins

her list of anti corporate culture
does and don't
turned into a life style
chock full of style of life
substance of mission primo choices
hard sacrificing choices
involving hard give ups and turn downs

but hey
i'm less brown
i'm more lean i'm goin' local
and last week i quit my job at
universal cluster-funds bank corp
to work for
a community recycling center


"psychic income, in the form of moral self-congratulation"
this phrase should not suggest
a certain prolonged state
of self satisfaction
like the hunger of fatsos exercise gerbils
and various breeds of low cost drug hounds
the pleasures are fleeting very fleeting indeed
and yet unlike
most other socially licensed addicts
who left to their addiction spiral
simply die in a corner or an expensive
job creating hospital bed

the meritoids addictions
make them a danger to us all

Al Schumann:


The sensible progressive network of deep thinkers is a source of curmudgeonly joy to me. The utterly mindless combination of finger-wagging and fascism alerts gives me hope: one day I will make a fortune selling hair shirts. I think my signature line should consist of sustainably harvested woodchuck clippings. The serious, well-heeled progressives can choose their own woodchucks and watch as the beasts are shaved with ergonomically-correct clippers.

Heh. Well, in this case your deeply deserved pleasure caused my eyes to bleed, Al.

dandy don:

Been joikin' off to that pic of the fat bitches. The bony negresss is hot too, in a different kinda brown-sugar way.

Thannks for posting these.


A real degenerate, or a bien-pensant posing as a degenerate? Being a real degenerate myself, I suspect the latter.

Maybe it's Milton Bradley Marx' dad, MJS. Buy him a domestic beer and see if he challenges you to fisticuffs.


I think you're on the right track, Ms X. But if so... Dad's a bit of a disappointment, after The Big Build-Up.

Al Schumann:

The ideal blog comment section would consist almost entirely of sock puppets. The real commenters could drop by for quick snark while the socks libeled and provoked themselves into a fine lather.

It's a dream, of course. Socks can't feed on each other, even when they're run by different puppeteers. There's no nourishment.

dandy don:

Get some black fatties up there real sooon. Real lowclass "precious" negresses. also lowclass white trash too. the blakies in the political rapp one are too upscale. I like them real fat and the lower class the better. black is beautfil.

Oh, c'mon, Al! You are so totally op's sock. Actually everyone here apart from me is op's sock. I actually work for Daily Ko$.


ahy ms zeno

your comment seems
a transference

as a former chitown
cbot trader

turned algo writting
autotrade design

held same notion

though usually only
aboard the nellie

did it become

must have been
the wave and
wheated bourbon



op's sock
i like the sound of that

BTW, if any of my other socks are hanging around today, please let Markos know that he's late with our checks again. Still have a ton of holiday shopping to do. Thanks!

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