Reading List: Links, commentary, and Cobb Salad.

By | June 10, 2010

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Mmmm, cobb salad.

Golda at Body Love Wellness has the first of a three-part interview with Kai Hibbard, former finalist on The Biggest Loser, a show which I have recently disparaged on this blog:

You get poked and prodded by complete strangers and nobody will tell you a single thing about what’s going on. And that point was where I really believe that the dehumanization process started, where they start teaching you that because you are overweight you are sub-human and you just start to believe it. Through the whole process, they just keep telling you, over and over, how lucky you are to be there. You’re being yelled at by people [whose] job is basically to keep the ‘fat people’ in line and you start to believe it. (Source)

I won’t lie: it’s always gratifying for me when I talk about something — say, the dehumanizing effect a certain reality show has on fat people — and then somebody else comes along and says the same damn thing.

In the interest of full disclosure, though she may be anti-Biggest Loser, Kai is still very pro-weight-loss, and may be shilling diet pills. So, grain of salt.

Natalie of has words for you on the subject of personal growth in Confessions of a Former Snarker:

I did not change my mind overnight. No, I am pretty stubborn. I take after my Dad. The fight I put up was drawn out and dirty and took place over months. I denied that my snarky behaviour was anti-feminist, I denied my racism, and I denied my privilege. Smart people, who really did not owe me anything and were not obligated to educate me, offered me links and discussed things with me but I stood my ground. No sir, I was not going to back down. But after a while, months even, things started ringing true. Making fun of people, who were mostly female identified, began to feel like I was part of the system of oppression that keeps women down. That didn’t feel good at all, but I COULD NOT GIVE IN!

People change, and it’s amazing. Everyone does it, though as Natalie notes, we often make it harder for each other to grow by holding on to outdated expectations of people. Social justice is a process. Culture jamming is a process. Activism is a process. Self respect is a process. None of these ideas are straight paths to a finish line; none of them are going to just happen and be over and then we move on to something else. It’s not a matter of gaining membership to a club because you know the right passwords and secret handshakes. Activists need to live in the world if we’re going to change it; we need to recognize and respect shifting ideas and experiences rather than assume that anyone is a hopeless case. Natalie shows the way.

Oh look, Huge has a trailer. It’s not embeddable but you can watch it on the show’s Facebook page. The clips include Nikki Blonsky stripping off a pair of pants to reveal a swimsuit with an athletic vigor worthy of a burlesque performer, Hayley Hasselhoff’s gorgeousness, and lots and lots of fat bodies. Y’all, this show makes me so nervous. My primary concern is that it’s going to follow the familiar territory of fat people acting out because they secretly hate themselves, which is depressing and boring and really not very interesting to watch. I expect that a series set at a fat camp is doomed to be uninspiring on the body-positivity front, but I hope to be wrong.

In Fatcast news: I have fallen behind on editing. I apologize. It began with an allergy takedown over the weekend, and every night this week I have been busy elsewhere. But I expect to post episode 8 — part one of another two-parter on fat travel — tonight. Until then, go look at the art Amanda Chronister made, inspired by our “clap your hands if you believe in fatties!” exchange.

Finally, in Lesley’s Cattiness Corner: Courtney Cox was quoted this week talking about how playing “Fat Monica” on Friends was “freeing.” Dude, I know. Actually being fat instead of just donning it as makeup is totally freeing as well, what with the unicorns and all. That’s the part that landed this on my feed reader, but it’s not what annoyed me about her comments. It was this:

In a new interview with The Los Angeles Times, Courteney Cox reveals that while shooting Friends with Jennifer Aniston, they lunched together every single day for 10 years.

“And we always had the same thing — a Cobb salad,” she says. “But it wasn’t really a Cobb salad. It was a Cobb salad that Jennifer doctored up with turkey bacon and garbanzo beans and I don’t know what. She just has a way with food, which really helps. Because if you’re going to eat the same salad every day for 10 years, it’d better be a good salad, right?” (Source)

Apparently this was already common knowledge to fans of the series; I am not one. What annoyed me wasn’t the idea of eating the same lunch every workday for a decade — that’s just terrifying. Nor it is the implication of eating as an unpleasant necessity that happens exclusively to replenish nutrients and fuel — that’s kind of sad. I’m sure some folks out there eat the same lunch every day and like it fine, but for me, I think the room Fat Satan has reserved for me in hell probably features this kind of mundane joyless eating ritual as punishment.

What annoyed me is that she seems not to know what makes a Cobb salad: lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cheese (blue or Roquefort), hard-boiled eggs, bacon, and chicken breast, all finely chopped together. With all that, a Cobb salad is about the last salad on this whole damn planet that needs “doctoring”, and even if it did, you don’t “doctor” a Cobb salad with bacon — it’s supposed to have bacon. Personally, my favorite-ever Cobb salad came from the cafe at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (surprising, I know); the Brown Derby replica restaurant at Disney Studios in Orlando is said to reproduce the original 1940s version, but I’ve had theirs and didn’t much care for it. Too many eggs, and the liquid from the chopped tomatoes made the lettuce and bacon, which should be tasty crispy counterpoints to the other ingredients, soggy and unpleasant. You can read the (likely apocryphal) story of how the Cobb salad came to be here.

I realize this is ridiculous. But every once in awhile I have one of those moments where I need to remind myself that words mean things.

The Cobb Salad image above was taken by wickenden and is used under a Creative Commons license.

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