Category Archives: rantage

What to Expect: Complete Inanity, Fat Shaming, And A History Lesson

Thank God for What to Expect When You’re Expecting! Without their daily emails, I would only spend one out of four minutes every day worried about body image and the bizarre physical manifestations of pregnancy; thanks to their constant carping on issues of weight, however, that increases to one out of three.

Today’s fat-phobic screed was the worst I’ve seen so far. It begins:

Here are some other [points] that might motivate you to keep your eye on the scale — and your hands out of the cookie jar (unless, of course, you’ve wisely stocked the cookie jar with soy chips).

Reader, I love you, and I even love potato chip substitutes, but if you keep a cookie jar in your house filled with soy chips, I will plant a bomb under your carriage and you will go up in flames like Archduke Ferdinand.*

*Fascinating historical note: the Archduke never did go up in flames. I just learned, doing some cursory research, that although bombs were thrown at Franz’s carriage, the assassins were incredibly inept, and none of the bombs managed to do the intended damage.

According to Wikipedia, “The motorcade passed the first assassin, Mehmedbašić. Danilo Ilić had placed him in front of the garden of the Mostar Cafe and armed him with a bomb.[60] Mehmedbašić failed to act. Ilić placed Vaso Čubrilović next to Mehmedbašić, arming him with a pistol and a bomb. He too failed to act. Further along the route, Ilić placed Nedeljko Čabrinović on the opposite side of the street near the Miljacka River arming him with a bomb. At 10:10 am,[61] Franz Ferdinand’s car approached and Čabrinović threw his bomb. The bomb bounced off the folded back convertible cover into the street.[62] The bomb’s timed detonator caused it to explode under the next car, putting that car out of action, leaving a 1-foot-diameter (0.30 m), 6.5-inch-deep (170 mm) crater,[61] and wounding a total of 20 people according to Reuters.[63]

Čabrinović swallowed his cyanide pill and jumped into the Miljacka river. Čabrinović’s suicide attempt failed as the cyanide only induced vomiting, and the Miljacka was only five inches deep. Police dragged Čabrinović out of the river, and he was severely beaten by the crowd before being taken into custody.”


Franz was shaken up but all right. He went about his business, complaining a little (and who can blame him?) about the attempted murder. Then, however, he echoed the mistake made by so many heroines in horror movies: HE WENT BACK INTO THE HOUSE. Er, well, car, in this case. That is like if the bullet had missed JFK and he decided to just keep joy-riding through Dallas to feel the wind in his hair. Sure enough, that decision was the death of him and the start of World War I: he was shot to death on the road.

/end note

Back to fat and how bad it is. Perhaps you were unaware, you fat fatty, that fat is bad, perhaps because you missed your regularly scheduled Fat Shaming Class or didn’t you do your reading on the Obesity Epidemic. Let’s go over the high points, shall we?

Excess weight gain increases your risk for developing hypertension and diabetes — both of which make your pregnancy much harder to manage, while creating risks for your baby. The heavier you are, the more likely your baby is to be larger, increasing the odds that a vaginal delivery will require the use of forceps or vacuum. That’s if you can deliver vaginally at all, since being overweight increases your chances of delivering by C-section — which makes for a more difficult recovery after your baby is born.

Obesity and ongoing health issues: Gain too much weight and you’re likely to retain twice as much after your baby is born than you would have if you gained within the guidelines. And if you think all you need is time and willpower to lose the extra fat, research has weighed in with a different idea: Women who gain excessively and don’t lose the extra weight within six months after the birth are at a much higher risk of being obese ten years later. Obesity often leads to significant health issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

YOUR FAT WILL LEAD TO DEATH AND SHAME, not necessarily in that order, so get it together, you fat fatty! What defines a fat fatty, by the way? So glad you asked. “If you’ve been instructed to gain the standard 25-to-35-pound total in your pregnancy [i.e., by 22 weeks, or five-and-a-half-months], by this week you’re likely to have gained anywhere from ten to 16 of those pounds.”

Here is a picture of Nicole Ritchie at around 22 weeks. If that represents a weight gain of only 10-16 lbs, I’ll buy a hat just so I can eat it.

Ritchie at 5 mos

What to Expect is saying you should strive to be thinner than NICOLE RITCHIE. And look at that picture! You can still see her ribs!

Say you haven’t managed to restrict your gain to only 10-16 lbs at this stage of pregnancy. What should you do to avoid the terrible fate outlined above? Now that you’ve larded your body with all this extra fat that’s going to ensure that you’ll have a C-section and be obese forever until you die young and your corpse has to be airlifted out of your bedroom with a crane, how can you rid yourself of those pounds? TOO BAD, SUCKER. You can’t. As the email goes on to note in a parenthetical, “losing weight is always a bad idea when you’re pregnant.”

Thank you, What to Expect. I will be forwarding all further correspondence to the dumpster, where it belongs. In the future, I will be getting my health news and information from Gretchen Reynolds and the NYT.


NOTE: Because I am as vain and neurotic as the next person, I feel the need to mention that I have not actually gone off the deep end, weight-wise. But what if I had? Or what if I do soon? What if other people getting this email have been trying their hardest and yet have been putting on more weight than they would have liked? These kinds of emails are gross and unhelpful. Fat shaming is not productive, not even when it comes from a “good” place, as these pieces of advice ostensibly do.

Gallup is Perplexed. Let Me Help.

It’s not clear why Americans would overwhelmingly prefer boys.”


It’s not clear why? BECAUSE THIS IS A PATRIARCHY, you twits. Land of the free! Home of the brave! Here we worship winners, cowboys, soldiers, tough guys, Don Draper and Tony Soprano, John Wayne and Gary Cooper. We hate femininity. We hate it so much we stamp it out in boys wherever it pops up.

Here men head the household because of some misguided Catholic/Christian notion that that’s the way God wants it. (The way he wanted it several thousand years ago, anyway, when last he bothered to weigh in.) Here be Mormons.

Why wouldn’t you want a child more likely to earn more, to be judged by something other than looks, to be able to have a child himself eventually — on his schedule, no pressure — and let someone else deal with the drudgery of raising it (and cleaning up after it)?

Yes, being a real man is expensive, and it certainly can be stressful and time-consuming. It’s still better than the alternative.

Some of my best friends are ladies and good lord, even *I* want to be reincarnated as a Dutch or Scandinavian man.

As a Box of Hammers

When experts come off as idiots in the pages of the Washington Post, I wonder whether the problem is with bad ideas or bad expression. Or both? For example:

“No man is an island,” said Nicholas A. Christakis, a professor of medicine and medical sociology at Harvard Medical School

“Loneliness is more than just feeling bad,” said Chris Segrin, a professor of communication and health at the University of Arizona

The researchers said the effect could not be the result of lonely people being more likely to associate with other lonely people because they showed the effect over time. “It’s not a birds-of-a-feather-flock-together effect,” Christakis said.

I’m going to put together a study showing that even really bright people speak almost entirely in cliches. Although how bright are these guys? First they tell us our fat friends make us fat, but don’t abandon them! (“‘We are not suggesting that people should sever their ties with overweight friends,’ Christakis adds. ‘But we are suggesting that people are influenced by the behaviors of those around them, and if they’re interested in losing weight, forming ties with people who are the proper weight is likely to be beneficial.'”)

Uh huh. Now, they tell us that having lonely friends will make us lonely. In its lukewarm conclusion, the article does not advise against pushing these folks off on ice floes. At least, not per se. The implication, though, is clear.

These studies are heartbreakingly, essentially American. They present us with “experts” who affirm conventional wisdom, and they “prove” that losers have a social contagion. The fat, the lonely, everyone you instinctively avoided in high school (or else WERE in high school) — all those weirdos — they are not just repellent. They are bad for you.

As awful as these men should feel for wasting our society’s time and resources, the editors of articles such as “Loneliness is transmittable from person to person” should feel worse.

Over in the New York Times, whatever editor was responsible for article juxtaposition shouldn’t be feeling too great either. Roger Cohen’s elegiac opinion piece (currently #3 on the Most Emailed List) ends extolling color-blindness in America, the Land of Opportunity:

Westminster, like Britain, has changed. Openness has grown. Bigotry’s faint refrain has grown fainter still. But I think my old school should throw more light on this episode. And I still believe the greatest strength of America, its core advantage over the old world, is its lack of interest in where you’re from and consuming interest in what you can do.

Directly below it on the Most Emailed List, however, is the article “In Job Hunt, College Degree Can’t Close Racial Gap.” In other words, Cohen’s words will totally apply to you — unless you’re black. Ouch, NYT.

The new Gray Album!

It really is too bad. Once upon a time, I liked Christian Bale. Newsies, anyone? (“Santa Fe? Are you there? Do you swear you won’t forget me? If I found you would you let me come and stay … I ain’t getting any younger and before my dying day, I want space! Not just air! Let ’em laugh in my face, I don’t care! Save a place … I’ll be there … in Santa Fe.” This is from memory, folks.)

He’s the cutest singing street-urchin this side of Aladdin but he wins out in a head-to-head because Aladdin chooses a chick with a waist the size of my wrist, whereas Jack “Cowboy” Kelly marries into a nice Jewish family.

Not to mention the brilliant American Psycho where he almost kills Reese Witherspoon.

Look at that picture and tell me you’re not cheering him on.

I hope he bounces back from this, in short. Russell Crowe and Jude Law, both once-loved, pretty decent actors currently in the doghouse, don’t seem to have redeemed themselves yet for their public sins (throwing a phone and bonking the nanny, respectively, in case your memory needs jogging). Are we more forgiving of idiot women? Britney Spears does stupid shit all the time and still goes platinum, and let’s not even get started on Lilo.

Follow up / unrelated question: If medicine is expired, do you take more because it’s weaker or less because it’s poison?