QotD

So my advice to women is this: If a man ever tries to use the Bible as a weapon against you to keep you from speaking the truth, just throw on a head covering and tell him you’re prophesying instead. To those who will not accept us as preachers, we will have to become prophets.

— Rachel Held Evans wrote this in her book A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master.” There is a certain amount of rules lawyering in there — but it’s certainly a literal use of the passage.

Food for Thought

From the St Louis Post-Dispatch on the policing in Ferguson, Missouri:

A “best practices” study published in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin two years ago says it’s generally accepted that “crowd violence escalates if people think police offers treat them unfairly.”

Furthermore, the study says, when a crowd perceives that “officers act with justice and legitimacy,” disorder becomes less likely.

Cops are human beings, and human beings get scared. Their first impulse is to gear-up as if they were patrolling outside Baghdad’s Assassin’s Gate. As in foreign policy, the academic types may say that dialogue and soft power are better, but that defies the average’s cop’s attitudes.

What the public generally regards as “riot gear” — helmets, shields, Kevlar vests — is known in police circles as “hard gear.” Here’s what the FBI bulletin says about that:

“Officers must avoid donning their hard gear as a first step. They should remember the lessons learned from the 1960s civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests. Police should not rely solely on their equipment and tools.”

What we’ve seen in Ferguson is skirmish lines of officers in hard gear and videos of tear gas canisters lobbed onto roofs.

Individual officers generally have shown great restraint. But those images are doing incalculable harm, and not just to community relations in Ferguson. The nation and the world have seen horrible images from St. Louis that suggest that race relations here have a long way to go.

They’re not wrong.

(Links and emphasis from the original.)

 

Quotes: Discrimination

I ran away from home. I ran away from St. Louis, and then I ran away from the United States of America, because of that terror of discrimination, that horrible beast which paralyzes one’s very soul and body.
— Josephine Baker

Discrimination isn’t a thunderbolt, it isn’t an abrupt slap in the face. It’s the slow drumbeat of being underappreciated, feeling uncomfortable and encountering roadblocks along the path to success.
Meg Urry

I am often asked why there is discrimination against women in science. And I have given it some thought. With prejudicial attitudes, you can’t really do much. You can point out when people discriminate and ask them not to.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

I’d make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they’d all nod.
— Charlotte Bunch

What are we having this liberty for? We are having this liberty in order to reform our social system, which is full of inequality, discrimination and other things, which conflict with our fundamental rights.
— B. R. Ambedkar

Quote of the Day

There are good questions about Fat Acceptance and Health At Every Size, such as the ones asked in the panels I attended at Norwescon.  (This led to me updating my FAQ, even.)

On the other hand, there’s the recent Thought Catalog article Carolyn Hall wrote on “6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement,” which really betrays a misunderstanding of what fat acceptance IS.  There’s been rebuttals to it published. But I’m going to quote from the rather more general response of Marianne Kirby on XOJane:

Hall’s article is about her own lack of fundamental understanding. But it’s also about her discomfort with a tool (that’d be fat acceptance) lots of fat people use to feel good about themselves — or even to just not hate themselves 24/7, which is — honestly and tragically — a very real challenge for many fat folks. She doesn’t understand it because she can’t conceive of fat people who don’t hate themselves. And she probably wishes we’d stop with the self-esteem and get back to loathing ourselves for our own good.  […]

Hall has 6 points that she raises, and so many people have answered those points. But I only have one response: Fat acceptance does not have to be for Carolyn Hall. She does not have to understand it for it to have value. Her inability to process why fat people might need something to help them leave the house and go out in public doesn’t change that fat acceptance does help and it helps people of all sizes who are looking for a way to have some hope of loving themselves.

Not everything has to be for every person. And perhaps this movement simply isn’t for her at this point. That’s fine. I hope she’s very happy. But I am tired as anything of people who want me to be miserable in my own physical form. Her article is nothing new; it’s old and played out. Move along, Carolyn Hall. If you ever need it, fat acceptance will still be here. And you’ll be welcome then. But for now? There is nothing for you here.

…yeah.  I’m not sure why my existence really pisses people off, but it definitely does.

QOTD: Workplace Wellness

Much criticism of “employer wellness programs” have been focused on privacy concerns and angering employees.  But now we’re seeing more practical concerns (also known as “does this even work?”).

Which leads me to this quote of the day, directed at CEOs:

Suppose a vendor made you this proposal: “Pay us to take your employees off the job for medical tests that the government specifically says are unnecessary, and then send them to the doctor (at your expense) even though the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says healthy adults don’t benefit from checkups. We also want you to bribe or even fine employees to drive participation. Despite this adverse morale impact and wasted time and money, we promise you’ll reduce your healthcare spending, mostly because we’ll make up the savings numbers.” […]

Think you’d decline this proposal? If you have a wellness program built around screenings, doctor visits, and “incentives,” you’ve actually already accepted it. Because (in addition to free gym memberships and other possibly worthwhile perks) that’s what wellness is for tens of millions of Americans.

— Al Lewis and Vik Khanna

Gee — let me think.

Quotes on Clothing

Image courtesy of the Rudd Center Image Gallery

Image courtesy of the Rudd Center Image Gallery

“If you don’t grow up ever seeing members of your community wearing suits or expensive clothes, it’s easy to see those who wear these things as members of an exclusive group you can’t break into.”
— Kris Gale in the NY Times 

“[P]erception is often reality. If you dress, act, and sound like a competent professional, people will generally assume you are, until you prove differently.”
Mark Melvin in Information Week

“There’s a certain despair that comes with not being able to buy clothes — access to plus size clothing is a huge issue (and one that reaches beyond fashion) because you can’t leave the house naked. You can’t go to work without work-appropriate clothing. You can’t feel confident about yourself and your abilities if you cannot accomplish the fundamental task of getting dressed in the morning. I don’t even mean getting dressed in new and trendy things — I mean that being able to even acquire clothes of any kind is a big deal.”
Marianne Kirby in xojane

“I SLAYED A FUCKING DRAGON BEFORE I COULD BUY THIS DRESS. THAT IS WHAT YOU SHOULD BE COMPLIMENTING.”
Lesley Kinzel on Two Whole Cakes

Things I’m reading

Kath as a post at Fat Heffalump on the feedback from her recent interview by Jasmin Lill on news.com.au, Brisbane blogger speaks out against online bullies. Go Kath!

Closet Puritan has a thoughtful response to some of the conflation between “Fat people are more common in communities with a Walmart” and “Eating more processed food from Walmart makes people fat”.

This Adipose Rex has some musings on Christianity and the body:

This Advent I am thinking about how if my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, then this flesh itself is sacred — this same substance worn by the God of the universe, and shaped into God’s image. If I really believe in the words I recite every week, the resurrection of the body, then this is not some temporary meat-costume I will abandon so my soul can flit off to an immaterial heaven, but the too too solid flesh that will dance in the hereafter.

This reminds me of The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts by Hanne Blank, which I’ve been reading. From the introduction:

Exercise—by which I mean regular physical movement that puts your body through its paces—is crucially important because it is something that makes it possible for you and your body to coexist in better and more integrated ways. It builds a bridge across the mind-body split. […E]xercise gives your body to you. […] Most of all, it teaches you that your body is not just a sort of jar made out of meat that you lug around because it’s what you keep your brain in, but an equal and in fact quite opinionated partner in the joint production that is you.

And over on the HAES blog, there’s an interesting discussion on healthism & privilege.

Quotes: Gratitude

“There are slavish souls who carry their appreciation for favors done them so far that they strangle themselves with the rope of gratitude.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

“Next to ingratitude the most painful thing to bear is gratitude.” — Henry Ward Beecher

“No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” — Alfred North Whitehead

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” — Henry Van Dyke

“‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” — Alice Walker

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” — Melody Beattie

Quotes: Persist

“It is not enough to be well-intentioned; one must strive to put those intentions into action in a capable way. One must consider the effect his actions will have on others. Looked at like this, to persist in ignorance is itself dishonorable.” — Andrew Cohen

“It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” — Carl Sagan

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” — George Bernard Shaw

“The sun persists in rising, so I make myself stand” — Suzanne Collins, in Catching Fire.

Saving Our Parents

As adults, we try to develop the character traits that would have rescued our parents.
— Alain de Botton
I still have problems, of course.  I just have different ones.

Series of Quotes: Behave

Working at the Food Bank with my kids is an eye-opener. The face of hunger isn’t the bum on the street drinking Sterno; it’s the working poor. They don’t look any different, they don’t behave any differently, they’re not really any less educated. They are incredibly less privileged, and that’s it.

Mario Batali

To suppose as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the rich behave, is like supposing that we could drink all day and stay sober.

Logan P. Smith

If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

Anne Lamott

You’ve got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body’s sermon on how to behave.

Billie Holiday

Don’t tell me what you believe in. I’ll observe how you behave and I will make my own determination.

Alex Trebek

 

Series of Quotes: Disease

Everything that used to be a sin is now a disease.
Bill Maher

Variability is the law of life, and as no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions which we know as disease.
William Osler

I have a disease, but I also have a lot of other things.
Teri Garr 

The doctor has been taught to be interested not in health but in disease.
Ashley Montagu 

What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn’t much better than tedious disease.
Alexander Pope

So I can’t show you how, exactly, health care is a basic human right. But what I can argue is that no one should have to die of a disease that is treatable.
Paul Farmer 

Quotes: Work

Every time a man expects, as he says, his money to work for him, he is expecting other people to work for him.  — Dorothy L. Sayers

Work is the curse of the drinking classes. — Oscar Wilde

If you don’t want to work you have to work to earn enough money so that you won’t have to work. — Ogden Nash

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day. — Robert Frost

The biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work. — Charles Kettering 

Nothing will work unless you do. — Maya Angelou

 

Quote of the Day

Scientists who study obesity at the cellular level say genetics determines people’s natural weight range, right down to the type and amount of food they crave, how much they move and where they accumulate fat. Asking how someone got to be so fat is as meaningless as asking how he got to be so tall. “The severely obese have some underlying genetic or metabolic difference we’re not smart enough to identify yet,” says Dr. Rudolph Leibel of Columbia University Medical Center. “It’s the same way that a 7-foot-tall basketball player is genetically different from me, at 5-foot-8.”

Fat has been blamed for cardiac trouble, diabetes and some forms of cancer. But fat-acceptance activists argue that the epidemiological studies that link fatness to disease often fail to adjust for non-weight-related risk factors found more often in fat populations. Poverty, minority-group status, too much fast food, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of access to health insurance or to nonjudgmental medical care, the stress of self-loathing and being part of a stigmatized group — all are more common among fat people, and all are linked to poorer health outcomes at any weight. This makes it harder to say to what extent an association between obesity and disease is due to the fatness itself or to the risk factors that tend to go along with being fat.

Robin Marantz Henig in the New York Times Magazine

Quotes: Truth

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”
—Mark Twain

“…a truth you don’t understand is more dangerous than a lie.”
Mira GrantBlackout

“I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.”
— Harry S Truman

“You can’t kill the truth.”
— Mira GrantFeed

“The great advantage about telling the truth is that nobody ever believes it.”
—Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night

Quotes: Rich

“The rich are always advising the poor, but the poor seldom return the compliment.”
—Lord Chesterfield

“The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.”
—Gilbert K. Chesterton

“When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: ‘Whose?'”
—Don Marquis

“Americans have so far put up with inequality because they felt they could change their status. They didn’t mind others being rich, as long as they had a path to move up as well. The American Dream is all about social mobility in a sense — the idea that anyone can make it.”
—Fareed Zakaria

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”
—Henry David Thoreau

Quotes: Love

“Love is kind”
— 1st Corinthians 13

“Love is an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment. […] “Love” may refer specifically to the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love, to the sexual love of eros, to the emotional closeness of familial love, to the platonic love that defines friendship, or to the profound oneness or devotion of religious love, or to a concept of love that encompasses all of those feelings.”
— Wikipedia

“Love is a chemical state of mind that’s part of our genes and influenced by our upbringing.”
— How Stuff Works

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
— Marilyn Monroe

“I love you — I am at rest with you — I have come home.”
— Dorothy L. Sayers