All the news unfit to print.


August 2012

Word taboo: Fat

Why do we have a taboo on the word “fat” in our society?

If you say it about another person you’re mean, if you say it about yourself you’re too self-conscious. Yes, words can hurt, can slice to your very core, but why is this such a controversial word?

I have a friend, who considered herself fat, that went on a wild rant one afternoon. Another friend had mentioned earlier that day that she felt fat and needed to go back to the gym/diet regime. Upon hearing this my friend felt that this was a comment targeted at her. She felt that the comment was meant to make her reassess her weight and diet. I was there, and it was in no way targeted at her (though I do understand her insecurities I don’t think it’s ok to allow those insecurities to blind us to what is really occurring before us).

She went as far as to say she was disgusted when anyone smaller than herself said they were “fat.” It was a personal affront to her. While I don’t think we should be able to say offensive things to other people, I don’t believe walking on eggshells is the best course of action. I think we should be able to wake up everyday and say, “I’m (insert word here) and I know it.” Whether that word is sexy, tired, smart, lazy or yes, FAT, should be up to us.

Putting a taboo on the word itself merely makes us so much more sensitive to the degree that we don’t talk about weight. Perhaps that’s why it’s such an epidemic.

I say this Pinterest post today where the comments took great offense to a photo that did not once MENTION weight, but implied it. The point of the commentary was not “Oh my god this person is fat” yet so many people took it that way. Yes, I think that speaks volumes about their insecurities.

Why don’t we talk about being fat? Why not embrace it if you so choose? I think if we owned up to the elephant in the room we might start to make progress.

While visiting a friend in Wales this year I was called a “fat bitch.” I loved it. Though I have recently lost some weight, I still consider myself “fat” or “overweight.” Not because of social constructs, but because the BMI index TELLS ME I AM OVERWEIGHT. I am scientifically “fat” and there is no amount of clothing or lying or avoiding the word that can change that.

Getting back to being called a “fat bitch” and why they used that term. It was started one night when there was one cookie, or slice of pizza or some food item left on the table. Instead of sitting around, hemming and hawing over it, each woman pretending she didn’t want/need it, one of them grabbed it and said in a self-satisfied way, “Well, I’m a fat bitch.”

It was said in humor, in jest, but since then the group of women has become comfortable in their eating habits. No more do they sit at a table with friends and worry about the menu, hoping they aren’t judged for ordering a milkshake with their burger, or eating salad all week because they feel everyone expects them too. Instead they sit at a table and say, “I could get a wrap, but I really want pasta. Screw it, I’m getting the pasta. With bread.” To which another member of the group lovingly replies, “Fat bitch.”

It takes the pressure off the table and out of the room. Yes, I’m sure each woman still has some inner insecurities, but you shouldn’t have to over-think your meals because of how other people may react.

A lot of people who are overweight KNOW it. And yes, it hurts to have people who are smaller than you say they need to lose weight or get fit, but that is their perception of themselves and they should not be persecuted for it. If they are saying things that are truly pointed toward you, and you don’t like it, say something. Speak up. Take a damn stand.

I guess one reason I’m so infuriated by people not discussing this issue is because my family does not. If you’ve met me you know I’m not morbidly obese, but you may not know that my mother, my sisters and many others in my family are very over-weight. I don’t talk about it because it’s a fact. I just look at them and wish there was not such a taboo. I have brought up the anecdotes I’ve just related in this post and other, subtler topics regarding health, to a silent reaction. It’s as if at the first mention of fat, we shut off. It’s offensive.

I know it hurts, but not talking about a serious health issue in an appropriate manner is going to hurt us in the long-run if we ignore it completely. Yes, some people may get offended along the way. That may be the price I pay to be a healthy human, or to even try to encourage healthier behavior in my family, but for some of us it’s harder to watch people slowly killing themselves than to offend them.

I personally love some of my fatty bits, so stop telling me I can’t call myself fat.


Rory Gilmore is my hero

But really. I’ve seen multiple lists online listing the books Rory is seen reading throughout the series, so to waste some time before classes I’ll post a copy of the list from this lovely blog. I see it as a personal challenge. I hope I look back on this every year and update it.

1984 by George Orwell

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Archidamian War by Donald Kagan

The Art of Fiction by Henry James

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Babe by Dick King-Smith

Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney

The Bhagava Gita

The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy

Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel

A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner

Candide by Voltaire

The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer

Carrie by Stephen King

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman

Christine by Stephen King

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse

The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty

A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

Complete Novels by Dawn Powell

The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton

Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père

Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Cujo by Stephen King

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon –

Daisy Miller by Henry James

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown –

Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol

Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Deenie by Judy Blume

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx

The Divine Comedy by Dante

The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

Don Quijote by Cervantes

Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson –

Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn

Eloise by Kay Thompson

Emily the Strange by Roger Reger

Emma by Jane Austen

Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Ethics by Spinoza

Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves

Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

Extravagance by Gary Krist

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore

The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan

Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce

Fletch by Gregory McDonald

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers

Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut

Gender Trouble by Judith Butler

George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg

Gidget by Fredrick Kohner

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford

The Gospel According to Judy Bloom

The Graduate by Charles Webb

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

The Group by Mary McCarthy

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling –

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry

Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare

Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare

Henry V by William Shakespeare

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris

The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton

House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland

Howl by Allen Gingsburg

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

The Iliad by Homer

I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy

It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito

The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence

The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Love Story by Erich Segal

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

The Manticore by Robertson Davies

Marathon Man by William Goldman

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir

Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer

Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken

The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Miracle Worker by William Gibson

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin

Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor

A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman

Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret

A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall

My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh

My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken

My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin

Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen

New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson

The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

Night by Elie Wiesel

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan

Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell

Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Old School by Tobias Wolff

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan

Oracle Night by Paul Auster

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Othello by Shakespeare

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan

Out of Africa by Isac Dineson

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker

The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche

The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen –

Property by Valerie Martin

Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Quattrocento by James Mckean

A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall

Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers –

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman

The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien

R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton

Rita Hayworth by Stephen King

Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert

Roman Fever by Edith Wharton

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi

Sanctuary by William Faulkner

Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford

The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman

Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen –

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Several Biographies of Winston Churchill

Sexus by Henry Miller

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Shane by Jack Shaefer

The Shining by Stephen King

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton

Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Small Island by Andrea Levy – on my book pile

Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers –

Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore

The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht

Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos

The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker

Songbook by Nick Hornby

The Sonnets by William Shakespeare

Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams

Stuart Little by E. B. White

Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett

Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry

Time and Again by Jack Finney

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger –

To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee –

The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The Trial by Franz Kafka

The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson

Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Ulysses by James Joyce

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Unless by Carol Shields

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker

What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles

What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire –

The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Impossible Dreams

I had my first of two orientations at USC this week and now I want to do everything, but I can’t. Instead I will make a list of the things that sounded cool that I wish I could do.

  • Be a part of Grad Student Government, even just sit on a committee.
  • Join the Quidditch Team.
  • Join the Archery Team.
  • Volunteer through the volunteering center.
  • Volunteer at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.
  • Go to Hillel meetings.
  • Intern or volunteer with their Sustainability programs.
  • Go to their cool Hispanic/Chicano center.
  • Have a sweet library job.
  • Start a Harry Potter Alliance chapter there.
  • Go to the archaeology meetings.
  • Read as many books as I can because that library/libraries is/are a thing/s of BEAUTY.

Why don’t I have more time? Do I really need sleep? I want to keep my weekends clear for working on my thesis/film that will be due in a year and determine if I graduate, but I just… ugh.


So I’m finally reading Anna Karenina, and I’m hoping to be done by the first day of classes (that’s not a depressing read at all).

First of all, even though I’m only 25% of the way in I can see how it has become a classic, worthy of multiple re-reads. Next time I read it (yes, I KNOW there will be a next time) I want to pay attention to the translation.

Second, now that I’ve started it and know a good deal about the plot I re-watched the trailer and behind-the-scenes video for the movie version coming out this year. At first I was kind of annoyed, because as much as I shamelessly love Joe Wright and Keira Knightley, I feel like their pairing is kind of stale. I actually loved her in Atonement and Pride and Prejudice, but from the little I’ve seen of her in the trailer I don’t get a good sense of her portraying a different character, especially not one so richly described in the novel.

The behind-the-scenes video explained that the majority of the sets are in this theater, reflecting the stage-like quality of the Russian elite. I feel like this could either come of brilliantly or just be awful. There’s a part of me that wants it to work because I haven’t seen a good conceptual film work in recent years. I remember seeing clips of some conceptual Shakespearean productions that were fantastic, forcing the audience to pay attention to the words, the characters and acting instead of a rich backdrop. Considering this is a classic, and has been remade so many times I could see how this would break with the traditional forms and bring some new life to the well-known story.

I’m crossing my fingers it goes well. Also, I really want some elaborate dresses and furs. Thanks.

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