bash-2009

My fiancee Lissa posted on Facebook today that it was 7 years ago today that she’d sent me a friend request there.  That post brought me back to 2009, a really emotionally trying time for me.  My second wife had moved out in July of that year, something that I never expected would happen.  Even though there were issues, I always felt that we were getting them worked out.  Unfortunately things don’t always go as expected.

I was also struggling with running the NJ BBW Bash events with my business partner Bernadette.  It wasn’t with her personally at all, she was the ideal business partner.  My concern was the direction I’d taken the event, trying to “grow” it by extending invitations to other sectors of what was then known as the BBW/FA community.  Honestly, it was a horrible decision on my part, as it brought many of the undesirables to our events, people who I have discussed in previous blogs over the years.  Bernadette wanted to keep the events small, almost like a social club that you had to be approved to get into.  Not me, and I forced this decision on her in late 2008, and a year later, I was regretting it.

Let’s get back to Lissa.  I knew her from a previous bash that we’d held, so when the friend request came in, I recognized her, and immediately added her, something I did with most people from the community that I either had known, or recognized.

The thing is, I made sure that other than adding people as friends, nothing else would be allowed to go on.  Don’t get me wrong, no one runs up to me and exclaims “Hey, it’s Brad Pitt!”,  but having run my own business in the past, I knew that it was dangerous to mix business with pleasure.

Honestly, I was hurt, confused, and in therapy after my wife moved out.  I made the mistake of trying to get into a long distance relationship, mostly because my wife really disliked the person I was seeing, and I thought a long distance relationship could develop slowly, and allow for things to get “put into place” over time, if there was a chance things could work out.  Another mistake….bad decision on my part, I was newly separated, an emotional wreck, and you should never date/do relationships out of revenge.  To add to it, the other person also didn’t have the tools to be in any kind of romantic relationship, but this blog isn’t about her.

My dad (quoting an old Woody Allen movie) used to have a saying.  “Friendly, NOT familiar” he would say to me, meaning that in my dealings at the NJ Bash, you want people to like you & what you’re doing (running the events) so they will come back, but they don’t need to know all of your business.  It was great advice, and part of what prevented me from running from woman to woman after my marriage ended.  I always felt like the people who attended my events were like a big family, and you don’t have sex with family members.  Pretty simple, right?

Well, not really.  For me, I felt like I had been put under a microscope by “the community”, who wanted to know who I was talking with, who was flirting with me, and if I intended on taking any of that a step further.  So, women like Lissa were friends, no more & no less.

I relate all of this because there were a few people who somehow took the friendly for familiar.  I remember early on after my wife moved out that I was having some struggles with some things that had gone on at our spring bash, and that, combined with my separation, was causing some anguish.  I sought out someone online who’d attended a few of our events, someone who knew both my wife and me, and asked if I could call to get some advice about both.

Again, another mistake on my part.  It’s funny how sometimes you think people are your friends, when in fact that was never the case.  I was always impressed with her common sense approach to issues, so it seemed okay for me to reach out to her for a little counseling.  I believe to this day that my request was viewed in a completely different light, that this lady felt it more of a “come on”, than asking to help a friend in need.  We did have a conversation mostly about the community, and shared some similar feelings (most of which became material that I’ve written about in my blogs over the years).

About a week later, my wife called me from her new condo, basically accusing me of coming on to this woman, who evidently felt creeped out enough to call her and give what was her perception of our conversation.  I don’t believe in discounting anyone’s feelings, but I was really hurt that this woman wouldn’t have said to me that she was uncomfortable with a discussion of my disenchantment with the community.  Perhaps though, she had her own issues that caused her to feel creeped out.

The thing is, when something like this happens, any attempt to try to clear things up usually makes it worse, and so rather than add to any drama, I felt the best thing to do would be to avoid this person like the plague.  Again, since she was what I considered to be a friend, the last thing I wanted to do was date her or sex her up, and ruin a friendship.  Yet amazingly, a simple phone call ended the friendship anyway.

About a year later, a Facebook group started called “Don’t Date Him Fat Girl”.  I’ve written about this in previous blogs, but the short story was that it was started to protect the ladies of “The Community” from getting involved or dating people that had a history of problems, whether it was domestic violence, theft, cheating, etc.  A thread was started in that group called “Guys Who Seem Nice, But Are Really Shitty”.  I was told my name came up in that thread.  I was devastated.  I might not be the nicest guy in the world, but I was never shitty to a woman, involved with them romantically or not.  The thing about this group was that guys were not allowed into the group to defend themselves (I found out about my name inclusion through a female friend who was in the group, though she wouldn’t tell me who brought up my name).  Fortunately there were some people who knew me better than that, and defended me as best they could.  I’ll always be grateful.

I’ve always wondered if the woman that I reached out to for advice was the person who brought up my name in that post.  I probably won’t ever know, since I blocked her on all social media.

So, what does all of this have to do with the friend request that I received from Lissa 7 years ago?

Lissa honestly was instrumental in my exit from this community of people who tend to twist the truth to enhance their egos, who cause drama by accusing others of creating drama, who can’t distinguish between friendship and romance, and who put me under their microscope to judge, and then slammed my blogs when I dared to judge them back.  It’s funny, Lissa was warned by the woman who I was in the long distance relationship with that I had “issues” thanks to my pending divorce, and that she should “run away from me as fast as she could” because of it.  That never happened (thankfully), and Lis and I entered into a romantic relationship in mid 2010, and have been together since (and engaged since 2013…..how’s that for moving slowly & carefully?).

It’s funnier that most of the people who had me under the microscope are still “dating” or in one of those “it’s complicated” relationships.  But don’t worry, you can still hang out at the next BBW/FA Bash.  Have fun!

Rooshv

Last week was a huge week for Roosh V and his followers.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Roosh and his gang, I’ll provide you with a little info (though I’m of the opinion that if you’ve read my blogs before, you know exactly who he is) (Courtesy Wikipedia).

Daryush Valizadeh (born June 14, 1979), also known as Roosh Valizadeh, Roosh V and Roosh Vorek, is an American writer and pickup artist known for his controversial writings on the seduction community and antifeminism.  He is a leader of a movement that he terms “neomasculinity”.

Roosh writes on his personal blog and also owns the Return of Kings website where he publishes articles by others on related subjects. Roosh has self-published 15 books, most of which offer advice to men on how to have coitus with women in specific countries  His writings have received widespread criticism, including accusations of misogyny and promotion of rape.

I think the biggest reaction that he’s caused is the promotion of rape, and while that reaction has come primarily from the feminist community, anyone who has a moral compass would be outraged by some of his statements.

So, in early January of this year, Roosh announced through his Return of Kings website that on Frbruary 6th his followers could attend meetups in various (over 100) cities throughout the world to discuss “men issues”.  He refers to the various groups meeting up in those cities as “tribes”.  In Roosh’s words about these tribes:  “I’ve seen firsthand how valuable they are in providing a venue for men to be men, reviving the “men’s club” idea of old.”  Evidently the idea of old includes at least a tacit promotion of rape.

Several weeks later, the Return of Kings site announced 165 different cities where meetups would take place, and listed the cities involved.  This was a strategic move on Roosh’s part to garner attention for his activity that day, and the weeks leading up to the worldwide meetups brought him a flurry of media buzz.  It also brought a significant amount of “hate” from the various communities where these meetings were supposed to happen.

As those various city governments went public with their intent to “ban” those events (which depending on the city, they may not have been within their rights to do), the media began to look into the background of Roosh V, and found some things they felt needed to be brought to light.  One of those things was the piece that he wrote called “How To Stop Rape”, where he argued that rape should be legalized on private property, which he felt women would think twice about heading home with a dude if this were in fact put into legislation.  To many govenrment entities, Roosh was advocating for legal rape.  They didn’t need to hear the arguments for or against, or the post article explanation from Roosh that the article was meant to be satire.

I’m sure that he was enjoying all of this new publicity, something that he hadn’t tasted since his last big campaign, “Fat Shaming Week”, which took place back in October of 2013.  During that week, Roosh and his internet cronies trolled the social media feeds of many feminist leaders & their followers, accusing them of being a stereotypically fat & ugly feminist (in their eyes, obviously), and posted fat shaming memes, altering photos, and engaging in other forms of online harassment against them. (For more on Fat Shaming Week, read http://www.dailydot.com/lifestyle/fat-shaming-week-twitter/)

Feminists seem to be the target for Roosh & his boys, since according to him contemporary feminism has led to the downfall of Western society and to the oppression of men.

Ultimately his meetup events were “canceled”a few days before, or in my opinion, made more private, using various greeting codes to meet with other like minded men.  Since the media had pointed out how Roosh and his followers weren’t exactly model citizens, he began to play the victim card, calling more attention to the “plight” of the poor fellas from Return of Kings, who just wanted to get together and have some fun this weekend, but couldn’t, because feminists and guys who perceived these people as rapists had threatened them, in some cases with physical violence.

Part of that was courtesy of the group Anonymous, who doxed him (made public his address, phone number, date of birth, and other private information), which made it easier for his detractors to confront him in person.  Roosh, ever the brave soul, tweeted the following the day before his scheduled meetup:

So, in the wake of this “online harassment” which according to Roosh & his followers has brought them a ton of attention (and probably some money, as his site is laden with ads), one of his victims, Lindy West, has published an article expressing a tiny bit of empathy for Roosh & the gang.  You can read that article in its entirety by going here:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/07/daryush-roosh-v-valizadeh-and-his-acolytes-pilloried?CMP=share_btn_tw

The essence of her article however, IMO, can be summed up in this short quote:

“I don’t want horrible men to be doxed and threatened online – I want them to be better. I want women to be able to fight for gender equality (or even just relay our lived experiences) without facing years of libel, stalking, emotional labor, howling rage, and relentless degradation.”

I’m a little older than Lindy, older than Roosh as well.  The generation that I grew up in learned much from the old sayings that were passed down by our grandparents & great grandparents.  For younger people, the phrase “Karma’s a bitch” might be appropriate in describing the reaction to this (fortunately) small handful of men who are trying to grow their ranks by staging events that will get them media coverage.  With that said, I’m sorry to say that I don’t see them learning anything from these recent events.  Quite the contrary, I think they’re going to dig their heels in and try harder.  I absolutely understand Lindy, and her feelings, and even though behind her writing she has a little smile on her face, she doesn’t want anything to happen to this guy, the result of him getting doxed.

karma

I wish I could be the kind of person that Lindy West is.  I’m too close to women who have been raped over the years, and anyone who attempts to legitimize it will incur my wrath if I encounter them.  I’m certain that Lindy has as well, but maybe her sense of ethics is better than mine.  I’m happy that this has happened to Roosh & his boys club.  There is never legitimacy in rape.  Rape is an act of violence, plain & simple.  Many of you who know me know that I’ve boycotted the NFL for the past two seasons because they’ve done little to stop violence against women by their NFL employees.  They’ve given it lip service, but violence against women continues, as the recent reports about Johnny Manziel (and subsequent defense of his actions by Deion Sanders) proves that.

Male response to these kinds of situations are critical.  Feminism (despite what many of Roosh’s followers think) can exist hand in hand with masculinity when men can become supporters and allies to the feminist movement.  That’s not to say that feminism can’t exist without help from men, in fact, it already does, and thrives.  I was raised to respect people of all genders as equal, and as I got older I realized that while my heart was in the right place, the reality was that women in our world still held on to “second place”, and that needed to be changed, and the only way to do that was to become not only a supporter of women’s causes, but an active participant where I could do so.

To Roosh,  I’m sure you’re thrilled with the attention your group of guys are getting.  I’m sure it’s making you a ton of money, as your book sales on how to pick up women & get “laid” in the various countries that you’ve visited are probably up.  I’m sure your boys are going to step up their activities against the “fat feminist machine” that you seem to be focused on.  Just remember that they have allies, and remember THIS old time saying: “what goes around comes around.”

 

It’s been some time since I’ve written a blog, but I’ve been motivated over the past few weeks.  It has nothing to do with size acceptance, which his been the subject of so many of my blogs.  So, what has brought me to the point of writing again?

Two Words.  Donald Trump.
donald trump make america great.png

Thirty-five percent of Republican primary voters support Trump, up 13 points since October, though another candidate, Ted Cruz is beginning to gain momentum.  The thought of a Trump presidency has me scared enough to consider a move to Canada or Mexico, not only because of Trump himself, but because of my disappointment in the American public.

I’m not going to discuss his recent comments on refugees.  That’s already been discussed by many who are more knowledgeable about that topic than I am, though I can’t tell you how much I disagree with him.

I want to relate a story about my dealings with Trump, and his organization in Atlantic City.

Let’s go back to 1988, I opened my first video/entertainment store with my then brother in law in Ventnor, a small town just south of Atlantic City.  We opened during the height of the video rental craze, but had invested nearly everything we had & then some to get the business off the ground.  By 1989, my partner decided to leave the business on a leveraged buyout by me (and I had to borrow a significant amount of money to do so), and by 1990, I looked to expand the business.  One of the ways to do so was to offer movie rental services to the local casino-hotels in Atlantic City.  I picked up Bally’s Grand, and within a few months I had the Tropicana, The Sands, Resorts, and then later Caesars and Harrah’s.  The casinos primarily used my service for their limousines, so that their “high rollers” would have something to watch on the drive to the casinos, but later extended to placing movies in the hotel rooms (remember, this was before pay per view, and other video streaming).

So, in late 1990 I was approached by the first Trump property, The Taj Mahal about supplying them with movies as well. Supplying movies at that time required a pretty big capital investment, since each casino would essentially “rent” anywhere from 50 to 100 movies per month from my business, and each movie at that time cost anywhere from $50-$75 EACH, so if I was to pick up another casino, it would require an additional $6000 per month to set them up with new release movies, which would then be ongoing.  That expense would be somewhat reduced when the older movies were returned by the hotel, since I could sell them for a few dollars and apply that money toward newer product for them.  After some consideration, I decided that since it was Trump, I’d go ahead, and sign a contract with them as well.

Fast forward a few months, and the second Trump casino, the Marina (then called Trump Castle) approached me about doing business with them as well.  Again, it was Trump, and the Taj Mahal seemed to like my service and pricing, and recommended me to Trump Castle.  Another $6K investment, and we were in business again with a new Trump property.  Having an entrepreneur’s spirit, I took the initiative and approached Trump Plaza about doing business as well.  After all, the other casinos were paying me well, money was coming in on a timely basis, and my cash flow was good.  The Plaza and I struck a deal, and we spent even more money to jump in on the third Trump property.  Simple deal, bills for all 3 casinos were to be paid by the Taj Mahal, which should have raised a red flag for me, coming from a financial background, but the Atlantic City casino business did many things that defied financial reasoning, so I went with the flow.

Fast forward into 1991, around March, and while they were behind in their payments, they were paying me.  Suddenly the payments stopped.  I called the Taj and spoke with several people in finance who told me to sit tight, the money is coming.  In an effort to get the Taj opened, much of the construction of the casino was financed with junk bonds, and the casino was in some debt, especially since business was not as great for them as anticipated, which had caused a “small” cash crunch.  “Don’t worry, Mr. Trump will pay on all of his debts, you’ll have your money soon enough.  Just keep bringing the movies and everything will be fine” is what I was told.

By May there had still been no payment, and I kept receiving the same answer.  I decided that before Memorial Day weekend, I would take matters into my own hands.  I went to all 3 casinos prior to one of their biggest weekends of the year and got as much of my inventory back as possible.  Fortunately for me, I had filed what is called a UCC-1 financing statement which established my business as owner of the inventory.  The casinos tried to stop me, but I showed them the business document I’d filed with the state of NJ and told them they had no legal right to my inventory.  I got back a little more than half of the movies that I’d supplied them with.

I then filed suit in court against the Taj Mahal.   A few days before the trial was scheduled, I received a visit from a courier who represented the Trump properties.  Basically they offered me about a third of what they owed.  I was financially beaten down, since not only did I not have the money from them, but I was out a significant amount of money that was required to purchase the movies that had yielded me no profit for almost 6 months.  I accepted the money, and signed an agreement to settle the lawsuit. 

I lost a lot of money doing business with Donald Trump.  a few months later (I don’t remember the exact date) the Taj Mahal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allowed him to reorganize the debt while the casino remained open.  Not long after the filing, another business on my block, a candy & gift shop called Hugs & Kisses closed their doors.  The reason?  She hadn’t been paid by Trump properties for goods that she had supplied to them, which forced her to shut down as she had negative cash flow.  There were others in the area.  Fortunately for me, the money I received was not required by the bankruptcy court to be repaid back to Trump, which can happen in bankruptcy cases.  All the money I received in that settlement was used to pay off my creditors, and unfortunately, there was nothing left for me to show for my efforts.  Interestingly enough, right after the bankruptcy, I was reapproached by the Trump Casinos about doing business with them again.  I simply informed them that if they wanted to do business, my new terms were cash in advance, and of course they balked.  They tried to get me to agree to having all of the billing go through Trump Plaza, to which I said no, and then provided them with a list of about 15 other local video stores in the area, with a suggestion to get their videos through one of them.

This time my business decision was spot on, since in 1992, The Trump Plaza Casino/Hotel also filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  More local businesses closed, thanks to this.   That place had lost over $550 million, but Trump, being the clever negotiator, agreed to give up a 49 percent stake in the hotel to Citibank and other lenders.  In exchange, he received more favorable repayment terms on the debt.

To add insult to injury (seeing a trend here yet?), another Trump company went into bankruptcy in 2004 (by then, I’d already been out of the video business for over 5 years, having sold off a store, and liquidating my inventory in my original location & closing for good).  This time, with the company nearly $1.8 billion dollars in debt, Trump was back to cutting deals, this time agreeing to reduce his stake in the company to about 25 percent in exchange for lower interest rates and a new loan.  The move meant that Trump would have to give up control in his company, but considering what had been going on under his leadership, that was probably good for the company.

And guess what?  In 2009, Trump Entertainment Resorts declared Chapter 11 after missing a $53.1 million bond interest payment.  Trump and the rest of the board of directors could not reach an agreement over whether or not to file for bankruptcy, resulting in his resignation as head of the board. The move saw his stake in the company reduced even further on what Trump called a now “worthless” investment that he assured was less than a percent of his net worth.  This is essentially the SAME BUSINESS that 17 years ago, I was told that because it was Trump, I’d be paid.  I’m pretty sure there were more business casualties thanks to the financial mismanagement of this man.  Of course, his personal finances (with the exception of the original Taj Mahal bankruptcy) were never at risk.  I would have loved to go into business on someone else’s money, amassed wealth as a result, and then financially harm others who believed in him by financing his growth, like I did.  By the way, even though he’s no longer involved, Trump’s Taj Mahal again filed for bankruptcy in September of 2014, putting several hundred people out of work in the South Jersey area.  Of course, Donald didn’t care at that point.  In fact, he publicly high-fived himself by saying he had the “sense” to pull out of the Atlantic City Casino business in the years prior, yet another spin on the truth of his failure there.

And that’s the point of my writing this.  The guy has two issues.
1.  He LOVES money, especially if it belongs to someone else, and makes it his goal to somehow get that money from someone else, at any cost……..then once it’s his, he HATES that money, and can’t spend it fast enough.  I dread the thought of a Donald Trump economy, and you should as well.
2.  He’s a liar, and uses his delusion to spin positive results from negative situations (which I mentioned above in the case of the last Taj Mahal bankruptcy).  I can’t vote for someone who not only lies, but actually believes his own lies.

Yesterday in a news conference with local religious leaders, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter called Donald Trump an asshole, and while he later apologized for his language, he insisted that Trump’s rhetoric is harmful to the country.  I don’t usually agree with Mayor Nutter, but we agree on the subject of Donald Trump, though for different reasons.

donald-trump-taj-mahal

He couldn’t run a casino (three, to be exact), and you expect him to run America?  Get real, people……

Wow…..

Let me start by saying that while I haven’t been blogging, I have been active in size acceptance, not only via social media, but offering advice and support to others more active than I’ve been.  With that said, I want to thank the many people that continue to read my blogs at an incredible rate, more now than ever.  I don’t know if my message is starting to resonate with some, but regardless, I appreciate your support, and who knows, maybe I can find the time and patience to pick up my writing again at some point.

So, why this blog?  A few things, actually.

Let’s start with an article published several days ago on xoJane by my friend Cary Webb.  The title of the article is

Why I’m Over The Size Acceptance Movement or Hey, SA, What Have You Done For Me Lately?

The short version is that Cary has become somewhat disillusioned with the Size Acceptance Movement, and tells us why.  I’ve linked you to her article, so please take a moment to read it, if you haven’t.

A lot of what Cary has outlined has also been said by me in other blogs, including my last one, called “Move To The Back Of The Line” and another called “Why Size Acceptance Won’t Succeed (For Now).

In her blog, Cary leveled some criticism at some of the “leaders” of SA, and expressed her preference for leaving the movement behind.  Specifically, she felt that there’s far too much exclusion within the movement, making it appear fragmented (which I also believe that it is).  I’ll go one step further and say that I think there may be some “competition” within SA, where certain leaders (& their followers) will take the time to discredit other people in the movement, again with the end result that people lose focus on the real purpose of SA, which is a relatively simple concept, that fat people are treated poorly in our society and that needs to change.

I’m greatly disappointed that this happens.  “But Phil, I (we) are fully aware of what SA is, and we agree with it, BUT………”

My issue is that there shouldn’t be a “but”.  When I first started blogging several years ago, I did my best to dissociate myself from certain people and factions of the movement because of what I felt were differences in ideology, practice, treatment of others, and anything that essentially pissed me off.  Over the past couple of years I’ve begun to think that I wasn’t really of any value to the movement by being so exclusionary.

After you read Cary’s article, take a few moments to read the comments and you’ll see many people proving Cary’s point, doing their best to exclude allies and supporters (including me).  Interestingly, I had one difference with Cary on her article.  I reached out to her today, and told her that I did, and the reasons I disagreed with her point.  Cary held her ground, and in spite of the difference, at the end of the conversation we thanked each other for both support and friendship.

So, how can we have a difference, yet not want to eliminate each other from our lives (or from a movement)?  We’re both pretty passionate people, yet were able to discuss our points of view from a point of respect.

keep-calm-and-lets-agree-to-disagree

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve eliminated people from my real life and internet life (which are very much the same, in case you’re wondering), but it’s always because of something the person’s done or said that violates my core values.

Unfortunately, some people within the movement have unfriended me at the flip of a switch, turning on me for a comment that they may have simply misinterpreted, and rather than engage me in conversation to see what I meant, pile on with their allies (again proving Cary’s point about fragmentation & exclusion within the movement) and tell you off, and then *poof*, you’re out of their lives.

Case in point, a couple of years ago, a person I’d considered a friend took exception to something said in one of my blogs.  Let me say that in the past I’d supported her SA efforts financially, offered advice to her, and helped her with some copyright issues she was having.  And although she never supported my (and my partner Bernadette’s) efforts at the NJ Bash, we let her use our event for some personal endeavors related to her project.  Again, with one statement, and little dialogue, just an admonishment, I was kicked out of her world.

I can promise you it was more her loss than mine, based on what I’d done for her vs. what came back in return.

In the comments section of Cary’s article, I was again taken to task by someone (who I don’t know), who took issue with the fact that I even had an opinion about the SA movement, since I was male, and wasn’t fat.  I have to say that I believe that she’s in a minority, but I think I have a place, based on the fact that I used to be fat in my youth, I’m engaged to a fat woman, and I’ve raised all of my kids in a size positive home.  Despite the fact that I responded (more than once) to her, she refused to acknowledge my background (even when several really nice people came to my defense), and went on with her own personal agenda that SA is STRICTLY a women’s issue, and that while allies are welcome, they have no place in shaping the movement, since they can’t know what fat people go through.

Well, should we stop doctors from treating cancer if they’ve never experienced it? 

Again, alienation and fragmentation is where the movement is headed, if we can’t put all of the pieces together to focus on what the purpose of SA is.  Statements like “this is triggering me” and “I just can’t”, while understandable for some people, can’t remain at the forefront if you’re really committed to helping the size acceptance movement.  Please understand that while criticism from within should be welcomed, discussing differences and respecting them will allow you and others to focus on moving the Size Acceptance Agenda, and isn’t changing the rest of the world what we really want?

To that end, just a quick plug for my friends at Fierce, Freethinking Fatties.

Fatties

They are in the process of renovating their website that will make it easier to navigate and essentially help them do a better job of pushing the SA agenda, which they happen to do very well.  I support them, and I’m asking you to support their efforts as well.  Please take a minute to read about their fundraising campaign (they’re just under 50% of their goal with only a couple of days left as I write this) and can use all of the support they can get.  EVERY contribution will help them, so if you think your dollar won’t go far, send it to them anyway, and see how much of a difference it will make when their new and improved website kicks off!!  Here’s the link to their funding page:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/renovating-fiercefatties-com/x/9567261

See you down the road.

 

 

I’ve been writing my blogs here for the better part of 4 years.  Over the past several months, I’ve thought about taking a  break, not just from writing blogs, but from engaging in any kind of fat activism,

yawn

That’s quite a yawn, and that’s part of the reason I need a break.  During the time that I’ve been writing, there have been a lot of other people who have been writing, many of them far more articulate & thought provoking than I am.  There have also been some who in my opinion, are there only to seek fame (and fortune) in fatopia.  I’ve always felt that the message of fat/size acceptance is far more important than the people who write about it, and are active in it.  I’ve read stories about Dr. Martin Luther King feeling he was an instrument of the civil rights movement, and that’s always been my feeling when I compared that standard to the “leaders” of the SA movement.

Of course, with every Dr. King that comes along in our lifetime, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of Rev. Al Sharptons.  This blog isn’t about Rev. Al, but if one is interested in what I mean in terms of opportunism and how he’s taken advantage of each opportunity to gain (whether financial, or in terms of press coverage), you can read the following editorial http://for-the-masses.com/wordpress/the-opportunist-known-as-rev-al-sharpton

I’ve come to be increasingly disappointed in the fact that people in SA continue to look to the wrong “leaders” in the movement, rather than focusing on SA’s message, and then seeing who fits the bill best to represent the components of the message.

For the past few years I’ve belonged to a Facebook group of over 1300 members whose mission involves activism, the type that could involve posting to other blogs or editorials a body positive message, or correct misconceptions about fat as it involves health, fitness, etc.  While I’d been quite active in the group, I became disillusioned with the fact that while many of the members spoke “tough” in the group, most were quite passive when it came to actual activism outside the group.  While several friends I’d made there did their best to explain why some didn’t have the “spoons” to (which I’m assuming means their ability to handle) make comments, I wondered why they’d join a group that seemed to exist with activism being the main purpose.

Then the administrator of the group redefined the group to include a support function.  I have no issue with that at all, as we all need support from people we feel comfortable with.  The only problem I saw was that the group was spending far more time on support than they were working on activism.  To those who continued to work on the activism there, I thank you and applaud your efforts.  For me however, it was frustrating, especially when I’d post blog after blog, article after article, asking for activism, and there was little.

Around mid December of 2013 year, I published a blog called Celebrity former fatties & separating themselves from the pack (aka-not-cool-adam).

The blog described an encounter that I had with Travel Network’s Adam Richman of “Man vs. Food” fame, a former fat celebrity who lost a lot of weight, and somehow felt he was far enough removed from his size to ridicule a woman he’d been on an airplane flight with by calling her “Smart Car Sized”.  I begged people to get involved, not just in the Facebook group, but also in various forums.  While my exchange with Richman was inconsequential (at least to me, since I’d already taken on several others in my blogs over the years), my real issue was with a young man from Great Britain who’d been motivated to tell Richman off on Twitter, only to have Richman tell this man to have his wife “suck Satan’s leathery cock” (his wife was recently deceased), and that the greatest impact he could have on the world was to hang himself.   I included this information in every plea I made to get people involved in what I thought was a more than just cause………a former fat man who not only engaged in fat shaming, but also misogyny & who also suggested suicide to a critic.

Little happened.  Richman went about his business, and I continued writing my blogs/rants.

Fast forward to this mid June.  Adam Richman went on another tirade, this time on a woman who corrected him after he’d posted a photo with the hashtag #thinspiration.  After the correction he called the woman the “C” word.  Well, a fat feminist blogger (one that I have linked to in my Education/Edification page on my blog), picked up the story, as the girl involved was a friend of hers.  Her blog was picked up immediately, and before you knew it, the story ended up on the Jezebel website, where it blew up.

The blogger has received a ton of press over her blog, to the point of getting hate directed at her from every part of the internet because of it.  Of course the press has come as the result of Richman’s show being pulled by The Travel Channel, and her blog had a lot to do with it.  In case you aren’t familiar with the story, you can read about it HERE

Let’s be honest, the exchange Richman and I (and my friend) had are not all that dissimilar to the exchange that Richman had with the blogger (and her friend), yet my story and blog received little or no support, and hers received national coverage when it went viral after being picked up by various websites.  Let’s also be honest and admit that I do little to publicize my blogs, but there are several reasons.  First, the origins of my blog came as therapy for me, I was writing for me in an effort to come to grips with some issues in my life.  I showed them to a few people who suggested that I make my blogs public, which obviously I did, but that leads to reason #2, which is that if one is committed to a cause, the cause is what should take precedence.  I don’t want or need to be known for my blogs, but the information in them (in my opinion) should be.

What the past few months have shown me however, is that perhaps I’ve overstated the value of my writings.  I had the same story about Richman 6 months prior, and that story barely made a ripple.  I get it, within the size acceptance community, to see a guy (again, more women are involved in SA than men are, it’s perceived more of a feminist issue) who’s not fat (then why is he here?  Is he a fetishist?) writing blogs about SA, it may come off as disingenuous.  I’ve also haven’t ingratiated myself to the various parts of the fat community, having rid myself of many of the people who’d I’d been “friends” with from my involvement with the NJ BBW Bash, and more recently, my blogs that have been a little more critical of the size activists, who appear to be in a competition to become spokesperson for the movement.  I have a mistrust of many of them, who I feel put their own personal goals ahead of the goals of SA.

Some of you know that I also financially support fat positive projects.  Well, recently, someone I know from SA lost their job & posted about it in several groups I’m involved in.  They mentioned that with their down time, they were going on tour with their cause, and wanted others to donate to facilitate that.  In looking at their itinerary, it appeared to me that all they wanted to do is have a fun summer that included several social events, and there was no way I was supporting that.  I want to have a fun summer as well, but I wouldn’t do it in the name of Size Acceptance and by taking money from my SA “family”

So obviously I’m not very popular in various size acceptance circles, and in some cases reviled in the social part of the fat community.  I’m good with that because I didn’t start blogging to make friends, and more important, as I said earlier, the actual message is more important than me.  Don’t get me wrong, I do get lots of reads, but rarely do I see anyone moved to action, at least enough to cause me to feel that the messages I’m sending are worthwhile.

I’ve been really fortunate to have made some really close friends along the way.  I do remain friends with some people from the old NJ Bash days who feel that I speak the truth about what goes on in that part of the world.  I also have become close with some fat activists and bloggers in the process, and we talk a lot on Facebook.  One of those friends who’s been around this for a long time said this to me recently, and I keep reading it over and over:

There are 3 groups going on right now, the FA/NAAFA/HAES, The Size Acceptance Group, which is the 20something bloggers living their lives online, and then the whole BBW Basher thing. They overlap but the SA and BBW bashers are the real problem and why we the truly morbidly obese are treated so poorly because they are the first to holler loudly that they aren’t the “bad fatties.”

And I agree with all of this and now question why I’m writing for some of the people that I genuinely don’t like, and who don’t like me, either?  I understand that the world is made up of more people than just the ones I don’t like, and that I should be blogging for them, but I also know that I’ve pissed off enough people over the past few years to understand that my efforts aren’t always appreciated.

I know after reading this some of you are going to message/write me to tell me “But Phil, it’s not LIKE THAT!”, or
“You know how much I appreciate your insights!”

That’s great, and I sincerely appreciate the comments, but the fact is, I want to get away from this…maybe for a while, and perhaps for good.  Those of you who feel connected to me through the blogs are welcome to send me a friend request on Facebook, or continue to follow me on Twitter.  If you’re already friends with me, you’re not going anywhere, unless of course you want to.  Hopefully you don’t want to….

I’ll still discuss SA on my various social media pages, but it will be in support of others who may have written something that I know in my heart didn’t have an underlying motive other than the intention of what they’d written.  THAT my friends, is what real support and activism is about, not about racing to become the “lead dog” in size activism.  I thank all of you who’ve read my blogs over the past 4 + years, but for now I’m done…….

sorry-were-closed-sign

In what seems to be becoming a semi annual affair rivaling Mel Gibson & Alec Baldwin tirades, Adam Richman, host of the popular TV show Man vs. Food, went off on a vile social media rant several weeks ago.  Interestingly enough, the rant was directed at one of his fans, who simply posted to inform him of his use of a term that she felt he didn’t quite grasp the meaning of.

Unfortunately for her, he does grasp the meaning of telling people off on social media, and proceeded to do so to her.  If you don’t know the entire story, I suggest that you read THIS ARTICLE, which will share all of the details.  For those of you who don’t want to read the article, here’s part of his rant.

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There was more, but if you want all of the dirt, just read the article.

He did apologize, sort of.  Of course his supporters, fans who adore Adam for being “cute” on TV, and others who admire him for his recent weight loss came out of the woodwork in support of him, to be expected.

The problem for me, of course, is that it’s not the first time it’s happened, and likely not the last.  For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, read my previous blog which chronicled a similar encounter about 6 months ago.  Similar comments, one in particular directed at a friend of mine who had taken him to task for his comments, only to have Richman tell him that his wife (who had recently passed away) should “suck Satan’s leathery cock”, and that he should also commit suicide.  I hurt for my friend, he could handle the comments directed at him, but anyone would be devastated over vile comments directed at a deceased loved one.

I complained to the Travel Channel over Richman’s comments.  As most of you readers know, I don’t actively promote my blogs, so there wasn’t the same furor that there is over his current rants.  Of course, Travel Channel (via the Scripps Network) hid behind the following response that was sent back to me:

> Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2013 23:01:16 +0000
> From: IS6061_58741@is.instantservice.com
> To:………………@hotmail.com
> Subject: RE: [Concern] tc_man_food (#6563-397150059-0702)
>
> Hi Philip,
>
> Thank you for taking the time to write to us. Our brands and sponsors do not control our on-air talents’ off-air conversations, however, we will be glad to pass your comments along to our executive team for review.
>
> Best regards,
>
> Scripps Networks Interactive Customer Service
>
> SCRIPPS NETWORKS INTERACTIVE – the Leader in Lifestyle Media
> HGTV | DIY Network | Food Network | Cooking Channel | Travel Channel | Great American Country
> Frontdoor.com | HGTVRemodels.com | Food.com | ulive.com

 

So, of course I was thrilled to see today that the Travel Channel had decided (after Richman’s latest rant) to pull his latest show, called “Man Finds Food”   From the Jezebel website:

After Adam Richman posted a hate-filled rant on social media, Travel Channel has pulled his upcoming show.

 Oh boo. Richman, as you will remember, posted a horrifying series of attacks directed at people who questioned his use of the hashtag #Thinspiration on a photo. Richman, the host of Man vs. Food recently lost a significant amount of weight and was using the photo of himself to celebrate his new physique. When others tried to point out that #Thinspiration is used in pro-bulimia and pro-anorexia circles, Richman pretty much lost his shit.

Today, Travel Channel announced it was postponing his new show, Man Finds Food. The network would not confirm the reason for change, according to The Washington Post:

The show, featuring Richman uncovering “delicious hidden food treasures” across the country, was supposed to debut on July 2. Then the channel suddenly announced it would be postponed with no details about a later date. A surprising move, given that Richman is one of the network’s most profitable stars, the host of shows including “Man v. Food,” “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” “Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America” and others.

Here’s a thought! If you want to have a successful career as a television personality, try not telling people “Grab a razor blade and draw a bath. I doubt anyone will miss you.” Especially don’t tell them that in a public forum where everyone including the people who hired you and paid you tons of money can see it and wonder why in the world they should let someone with such a scummy point of view host one of their TV programs.

Everyone say it with me: “Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!”

In an effort to be the “nice guy”, Adam Richman released an apology to ABC’s “Good Morning America” program this morning, which I believe was sent AFTER Travel Channel pulled the show.  Here’s what he said:

“I’ve long struggled with my body image and have worked very hard to achieve a healthy weight. I’m incredibly sorry to everyone I’ve hurt.”

So, is this really an apology, or a way to get viewers to feel bad for his plight?  Adam, nearly 2/3 of the world struggles with body image, thanks to fat hatred and comments like you’ve made in the past.  By the way, what is a “healthy” weight?  I’ve seen people weigh 400 lbs and more whose blood pressure, sugar levels, lipids, etc were all in what was considered healthy ranges for all of their lives.

I spent a little time looking around on the internet, finding out more about Mr. Richman.  He’s quite a charitable person, having been involved in Soccer Aid (a charity football game), raising money for Cancer Research UK, and makes numerous appearances on behalf of various charities.  It’s difficult to reconcile the two different behaviors, except to say that perhaps the charitable side is at the urging of his PR department, in an effort to somehow offset these horrible comments that end up on social media.  I don’t know which side is the real Adam Richman, but I really hope it’s not the one I’ve seen on Twitter and Instagram.

I visited his Facebook page today in an effort to explain to some of his fans who support him why his most recent outburst was wrong.  Less than an hour later, all comments on his page (except those made by his own media machine) were removed.

I just want Adam to know that I’m okay.  Most of my friends that you’ve insulted and/or hurt are too.  I think we’re okay because a little bit of justice has been served (for now), and perhaps you’ll realize that there can be consequences for being an ass.  Hopefully you’ll learn from this incident and move one, avoiding the pitfalls of using social media.  Better yet, hopefully you won’t be an ass.

HOPEFULLY

Because, if you don’t, the “idiot with the stupid blog” will be back to write about you.

bruce-lee-quote-if-you-make-an-ass-out-of-yourself-there-will-always-be-someone-to

I’d rather spend every day with you and your issues, and working on them and making you whole again, than spend a day without you……

 

This week is the 4th anniversary of the first time that Lissa and I first spent time together.  I’d known Lissa online, and from one of the NJ BBW Bash events that she attended.  We’d chatted here and there during the year or so prior.

After my second marriage started to dissolve before my eyes after almost 8 years, I got myself into therapy, for several reasons.  The first was to better cope with my marriage ending.  The second, was to get my own emotional state in order.  After the breakup, I got myself involved with someone who also had emotional issues, and didn’t want a serious relationship.  I tried to force it on her, rather than realizing what she was capable/incapable of, and the 7-8 months of push-pull had left both of us emotionally exhausted.  I’d felt like it was a cycle that I’d continue to repeat if I didn’t do something about it.

this-relationship_o_152172

In the midst of all this, Lissa began to talk with me about visiting.  I was about to take a break from social media right around that time.  I’d just come off the April NJ Bash.  I’d even written a blog about how I needed a break in order to “get my smile back”.  This was on the heels of not only the ending of the relationship I tried to have after my marriage, but also the beginning of the end of my affiliation with the NJ BBW Bash, after accusations had been made about my reasons for involvement by people who attended the events.

Lissa understood that, and I took a hiatus.  I continued my therapy, read a lot, and prayed.  I knew that I was the only person responsible for changing the things that I needed to change to move forward, regardless of whether I chose to be alone, or in a relationship.

Fast forward about 2 months, and I reached out to Lissa, and suggested mid June as a time to meet.  It was right around Fathers Day Weekend.  I would have been a fool to think that I was “cured” of my issues in 2 months, but after discussion with my therapist, we’d agreed that it would be an acceptable thing to do, as long as both of us (Lissa and I) understood that this was a casual date, one that would last several days, with no obligations for either of us.  Lissa had agreed to it, and hey, we both had nothing to lose.

We had a fantastic week together, and after she left, I wondered if if was solely because there was no pressure to move it forward.  She returned to Iowa, but moved to Ohio shortly thereafter.

We talked a lot, both online and on the phone, after she left.  I could see things beginning to move forward,  I knew that IF I was going to again get into a relationship, I’d need to be prepared to cover my end.  By August of 2010, we talked virtually every day.

Then by the end of August, I found myself in the hospital, with a bilateral pulmonary embolism, and blood clots in my legs.  When I told her where I was, she along with a friend, jumped in the car & made the drive to NJ.  They stayed at my place while I was hospitalized.  Upon my release, she went back to Ohio.  One of the things that I’d learned from the previous relationship was that at some point the distance between people should close if the relationship has any chance of moving forward (the last woman was from Canada).  It was during that time that the ex from Canada reached out to Lissa to “warn” her about me.  She said I was nothing but drama, and that my ex wife had “ruined me”, and that Lissa should run away as fast as she could from me….

It wasn’t long thereafter that Lissa told me that she was offered a job in Conshohocken, PA and wanted to take it, so we could spend some time together.  My divorce was not final (in NJ, you need to be separated for 18 months to get a “no fault” divorce), and I didn’t want to confuse my son about why someone was living with me so quickly after my marriage breakup.  Lissa understood, and she moved to Gibbstown, NJ, about 30 minutes from where I lived.  I have to say that as hard as I was working on me, her understanding of where I was emotionally made this relationship even more valuable, since few others took that into consideration.

Actually, Lissa moved in once my divorce was final, and she and her daughter both live with me, which they do to this day.  We got engaged in August of 2014, not long after my father passed away, and while we don’t have a set date to get married, I’m working on making the proper emotional adjustments that will allow me to do that.

I’ve learned lots of stuff over the past couple of years, thus proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I’ve re-learned that good relationships take work, and a commitment to both partners to work, both alone and together, towards the common goal of making the relationship work.  That comes a whole lot easier when each person’s focus is the other one in the relationship.  Most important, I’ve learned the value of that one person who “gets you”, the person who understands where you are at emotionally.  I’ve also learned that I need to do the same for my partner, if the relationship has any chance of success.

Thank you for showing me this every day, and happy anniversary, honey………..I love you!

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