06 November, 2006

Wherein I Fisk Two Idiots

This conversation about fat, dieting and feminism led, in a roundabout way, to me watching today's Oprah. I'm about 20 minutes into the show, which is as replete with commercial breaks as ever, when we get to this conversation (transcribed word for word) :
OW: Thanks, Kirstie, for being so bold and for being an inspiration to all women who are waiting on themselves to get their lives together and lose the weight.

KA: And thank YOU for helping me because you helped me--the kitchen was the catalyst to the weight and the smoking [A little over a year ago, Oprah sponsored a remodelling of Alley's home kitchen to provide her with a "beautiful space"] I mean you really, really changed my life.

OW: Thank you so much! Thank you so much! You know what's great about it? I know how you feel, because when I bought a beautiful home in California I wanted to be able to measure up to that. And so, I saw that in you when you had that beautiful..when Nate came and redid your kitchen you wanted to measure up to the beauty you were surrounded by.

KA: (giggling) I didn't. But now I do!


Shall I break it down? I think I shall.

OW: Thanks, Kirstie, for being so bold and for being an inspiration to all women who are waiting on themselves to get their lives together and lose the weight.


Hear that ladies? If you're fat, it's because you are fundamentally a failure. You are the problem. Well, you AND your disorganised, chaotic life. You may think that you're fat because you enjoy food and pleasure more than you enjoy self-denial and self-loathing. You may think you're fat because you have better things to do in this life besides obsess over trivial things like what you eat or drink. No. You are fat (and by extension unlovable)† because you haven't been able to get your [life] together.

OW: Thank you so much! Thank you so much! You know what's great about it? I know how you feel, because when I bought a beautiful home in California I wanted to be able to measure up to that. And so, I saw that in you when you had that beautiful..when Nate came and redid your kitchen you wanted to measure up to the beauty you were surrounded by.


Okay. Maybe it's not you. Maybe it's the fact that you have had neither a very expensive remodelling to your already-well-appointed kitchen nor a lavish manse in sunny California. You in your drab life have failed to surround yourself with the appropriate amounts of wealth and beauty that will serve as a catalyst for your desire to better yourself.

Pardon my french, but to borrow a phrase from Ivy: "Bitches. PLEASE."

What kind of person measures her value and worth against the very transient objects in her home? And is it any wonder that she would also then measure her value and worth against her very transient physical body? This all strikes me as a very mournful commentary on some people's interior lives.

I'm fat. I say that a lot because it's true. It wasn't true when I was younger, and it may not be true as I age. I'm presently losing some weight as I modify my diet for health concerns. As I said over at Feline Little Britches, I like how I look now that I'm two sizes smaller, and I wouldn't mind seeing how I look in sizes smaller still. But at no point have I had a personal moment where I look in the mirror at my slightly-slenderer self and say "A ha! At last I am worthy of my living room set!!!!" I still laugh at the same jokes, knit a mean afghan, whip up a mean dinner and enjoy the pleasures of life.

I'm glad that Kirstie Alley found Oprah to remodel her kitchen, Jenny Craig to pay her to be a spokesperson and thus go on the diet for free, and a personal trainer to help her exercise. I'm glad Oprah has the net worth of many smaller island countries and can thus buy a "beautiful home in California" to inspire her. And house her live-in chef.

Even more than that, I'm glad that I can surround myself with real women who know about life and live far more triumphantly than two vapid celebrities who are still labouring to measure up to the furniture.

† Alley admitted in an earlier interview with Oprah that she hadn't had sex in four and a half years because she didn't want to have "fat sex". That bespeaks a self-loathing from a more deep-seated place, rooted in body image issues that go beyond adipose tissue.

8 Comments:

At 6:06 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Slartibartfast said...

Dang! Good fisking - I think I need a cigarette after that one!

Why anyone looks to Ms Winfrey for inspiration is beyond me.

I used to have a "thing" for Alley (even big Alley), but that last statement from an earlier interview gives me the creeps.

 
At 8:07 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger W said...

This is tangentially related at best, but I have to share it.

I heard a stand up comedian say this once. To paraphrase, "Of course Demi Moore looks good. If I had her money I'd pay some one to walk around and smack the cookies out of my hand."

 
At 10:42 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

Bitches, please, indeed. That's what always kills me about celebrities, they always think that the rest of us could live like them if we'd just try harder.

When I become a celebrity, I am SO not going to be that way. I'll probably give so much money and shit away that I'll always be poor. :D

 
At 6:55 AM, November 07, 2006, Blogger newscoma said...

If I had a personal trainer named Sven, 14 assistants doing everything I usually do in a day and the actual money to afford Jenny Craig, I guess I could pull off the Kirstie/Oprah thing to.
As it is, I'm poor, overworked and underpaid and have healthcare bills that will take me two years to pay off.
But hey, that's just me in a bitter moment.
Elections and Oprah tend to make me cranky.

 
At 7:01 AM, November 07, 2006, Blogger P. K. Nail said...

Proving once again that Oprah - like most celebrities - is an island unto herself.

 
At 7:43 AM, November 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only Oprah would stick to giving away cars ...

and on another related note will Hollywood ever realize that *normal* people don't care what they think about politics? If I have to hear another pampered celebrity talk about how we should vote this way or that ... ugh.

Sigh. Tomorrow there will be no more corker v ford ads. Wheeeeee!!!

~ Lacy

 
At 7:45 AM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Malia said...

Amen!

 
At 9:44 AM, November 07, 2006, Blogger grandefille said...

Ms. Coble, you consistently lay the smackdown in such an eloquent and yet succinct manner that I am amazed and awed. Thank you.

It kind of breaks my heart to see Oprah do and say the things she does. I keep thinking, "Hometown girl! Hometown girl! Mr. Vernon didn't raise you to be a twit! You're not a twit! Why are you being one?"

I know we're all entitled to be self-obsessed vacuous twits occasionally, but unlike Ms. Winfrey, we don't set ourselves up as role models with daily TV exposure to people who aren't self-aware enough to recognize and reject the twittery.

And please don't get me started on poor Kirstie Alley. Such a gorgeous woman. Such a muddled mind. So sad.

 

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