The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright...

Do celebrities deserve their privacy? Well...yes and no. The recent debacle in Woods' life raised that question once again. And while individual human beings and families deserve the right to work out their foibles out of the glaring light of tabloids, people like Woods were happy to trade on the fame to make hundreds of millions of dollars. He's a billionaire NOT because he is the greatest golfer in the world, but because he is (or was) considered a role model. It was his endorsements, coming to him as a world-wide brand name. Now, if he was only endorsing golf clubs, balls, carts, and shoes perhaps a case could be made that he was just extending his physical skills into the market, and appealing to people who wanted to PLAY like him, not BE like him. But I couldn't begin to list the number of products he represents. And that means that he is a role model, and if he didn't want that, he shouldn't have taken the money.

Strangely, when it was cheating with one woman, both men and women were kind of "oh, Tiger...we're disappointed." But now that it's coming out that there are as many as eight different women, there is an odd mythic quality to it all, with women reacting as if they just stepped in something stinky, and men often revealing a queasy admiration. Maybe he can get an endorsement deal with Trojan. Or Extenze.


Strange little political tidbit. KFI in Los Angeles is very conservative, KPTK (internet) is very liberal. The liberal talk-show hosts have been split on Obama's performance, praising certain things, criticizing others. The hosts on KFI universally attack, but it's a little strange...last night I heard one attack him because he wasn't aggressive enough on health care's Single Payer option. What? That's's as if KFI has made a decision that you can now be either liberal or long as you savage the Democrat. That was a little disorienting.


Experience is not what happens to you.

Experience is what you DO with what happens to you.

--Aldous Huxley

This is so incredibly important in growing up and getting on with your life. You may not be able to control what happens outside of yourself, but you have the ability to control everything you feel and do. Not that we often TAKE that control, but the potential is there. And it is vital that we engage with this internal mechanism, and daily work to cleanse our perceptual mirrors and react from mature emotions. Yes, we all have experience, but our past needs not control our future. And while it would only be a fully enlightened being who is never controlled by outside circumstance, all of us have experienced having very different reactions to stimuli than those around us (apparently) experiencing the exact same thing.

I bring up weight issues so much because it is a common cultural touchstone, and also, of the three major arenas, the ONLY one under our (almost) complete control. In other words, your behaviors cannot ever, ever control how another human being feels, so relationships are not under our control. And our financial success depends upon dozens, or thousands, of relationships, so that is even more dicey. But weight has to do with our behaviors. And for goodness sakes, listen to the excuses people make, the reasons they come up with, the lies they tell to avoid the guilt, blame, shame or fear. The straw man arguments. It's horrifying when you realize that the EXACT same thing is happening in the other two arenas, but because you can blame "him" or "her" or "the economy" or "my business partner" or "my boss" or "my employees" it is ten times harder to nail down the perceptual fog or negative internal menagerie that stands between us and a clear, vital expression of self.

Look at it. This is what it is to be a human being, lost in the dream of powerlessness. The sad thing is that most of us would not accept such excuses and lack of clarity in our children. We would tell them to do their homework, even if they want to play. To eat their vegetables, even if they want the ice cream. To be polite even when they want to scream. There is NOTHING we ask our children to do that does not have an analogous relation to our adult lives. NOTHING that we do as adults that does not have its root in what we do as children. How dare we ask our children to have discipline when we ourselves do not. No wonder children do not obey--they can damned near read our minds, and they know when we're b.s-ing them.


I just got back from Florida, visiting with my in-laws. The available radio in Quincy Florida isn't very broad, but it does have the usual top-40, and Country-Western. And so I listened to both, and narrowed in one of the feelings I have about Rap music. And here, I'm talking about Corporate rap, and Top-40. Although most of the stuff I hear blaring from CD players in cars (I know it ain't commercial radio from the cursing) is even worse. Here's the thought: Rap sounds like the music of young men with no fathers. They have no perspective on life, on childhood, on their hungers for power and sex. They just don't understand how it fits into the overall structure of life. I contrast this with any other era of black music, or most other types of music. No opinion about Death Metal or whatever. But Country Western constantly impresses me with its storytelling. I can listen to a C&W station for an hour and hear stories about childhood, falling in love, working, marrying, struggling with family and finances, even growing old. Rap consistently represents a very narrow range: the high-testosterone 15-25 year old period when it seems as if acquiring money, power, and sex is all that life is about. Never heard one about parents growing old. Damn near never heard one about raising your own kids with responsibility. And where are the comments about relationships with fathers? Almost non-existent, while mothers are deified, and women treated like disposable sexual Handi-wipes, where getting a lap dance at "the club" is roughly equivalent to going on a date.

And this plays directly into that original thought. "My God," I thought after listening to the fifth homage to drugs and goin' home with somethin' "to poke on." (There's a charming, affectionate phrase. Would they want someone talking about their sisters that way? Their mothers? Sheesh). I thought: "These young men have no fathers. No uncles and grandfathers." There is no circle of men who have passed the Testosterone Flush phase (and trust me--that is an intoxicating hormonal brew. Sex and power and a direct electrical jolt to the emotional balls.) Without perspective...well, it seems that life is short, "sexual transmutation" is a voodoo dream, and the idea of only having sex with a woman who you would be willing to be with for twenty years, until YOUR sons are men...well, that seems absurd, simplistic, and terribly terribly out of touch.

I'm going to listen to more in the coming days, and see if I can disprove my thesis. But let me tell you...there is almost nothing more dangerous than swarms of young males who think they are men...and are not.

I remember hearing some asshole talking about how if you wanted to drop the crime rates, abort black babies. How true how true...statistically. But if you REALLY wanted to drop the crime rates, abort 99% of male babies--black, white, brown or yellow. NOW you're really having an effect. Odd how no one makes that suggestion. I wonder why?


Steve Perry said...

Tiger, Tiger ...

That a good-looking rich jock fools around is no surprise. It's the nature of the critter. Lot of sports icons have been caught at it. (And it's not just jocks, I believe the numbers are better than 50-50 that married men will have an affair at some point during their marriages. And only slightly less for women.)

What is amazing is that somebody in Tiger's position could think he *wouldn't* get found out, which bespeaks that Bill Clinton arrogance.

You don't have to think about it very hard to see why.
Rich and powerful men start to believe they are bulletproof somehow. The big head stops working. You believe that enough money or power can shield you.

You know what the perfect crime is, don't you? Not one where the cops can't figure out who did it. It's one nobody ever knows about at all. The only way to be sure, absolutely sure that if you do the crime that nobody will ever rat you out is, you never tell anybody about it. Nobody knows you did it but you, so no partners. None.

I knew a guy used to be a world-class library book thief. Thousands of them, maybe tens of thousands. He and his live-in girlfriend had a falling out and split.

Guess who called the cops and turned him in?

If, every time you stick your head out the door a herd of paparazzi snaps pictures and videos and shoots 'em straight to DMZ? When you live in the fishbowl, somebody is always watching. But if you make the beast with two backs, you involve somebody else who might decide that a hundred grand from the Enquirer is a nice perk after you and she decide to go your own ways.

Up for a new part in the reality show? A little publicity couldn't hurt. Want to write an autobiography about all the boys in the band you slept with? Naming names is the first thing they want to see.

More partners you have, the more likelihood this is gonna happen.

Tiger will do fine -- he could step off the course tomorrow and never worry about where his next meal, house, or yacht was coming from. His marriage?

MIght see a Coby-sized rock on his wife's finger next time she goes to the Safeway. Or her packing up the kids and dogs and moving out.

Hello. My name is Tiger, and I'm a sexaholic ...

Daniel Keys Moran said...


Not Coby, Kobe.

If you're going to slam the guy, at least spell his name right. :-)

Pagan Topologist said...

That's funny, Dan. I saw "Coby" and read it as "Cosby." I was trying to recall whether Bill Cosby had bought a huge diamond at some point. That it referred to someone else never crossed my mond.

Steve Perry said...

Oops. Mea culpa. Too early for me, sorry.

And I didn't slam him. You saw the rock his wife sported after Colorado, and even if he was not guilty of the criminal matter -- which will always have an * by it -- by his own admission he was doin' The Nasty outside the bonds of matrimony.

Given what that ring cost, it was an expensive liaison, not even to mention the collateral costs.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

In re weight: I'm dubious about your claims about weight because I've read quite a bit from people whose lives were worse when they pushed their weight down to more socially acceptable levels, and better when they stopped assuming that whether or not they were fat was important.

There's something else about health and quality of life which is under most people's control-- much more than their fat percentage is-- their strength, endurance, and coordination.

Unknown said...

I have mixed feelings on the whole celebrity/privacy issue. Back when, as far as I knew, Tiger was still at just one alleged mistress, someone wrote an article in The Root saying that he owed it to the public to come clean about what his wife was doing with that golf club, because he was a role model. And that one rubbed me the wrong way, for two reasons.

The lesser one is that I don't think celebrities, even ones who are viewed as role models, owe it to the public to cooperate in giving up their privacy, and I think it's wildly unrealistic to expect a guy to be more willing to air his dirty laundry in public because he makes lots of money from endorsements.

The bigger one is that I don't think victims of domestic violence should be ragged on in public for not being good role models; Tiger as a guy who might have been clobbered with a golf club doesn't owe us anything.

On the other hand, Tiger as a guy who was serially adulterous, with three, or six, or eight, or however many mistresses, while also being super famous and making tons of money from endorsements, has earned fair and square the ribbing he's getting, with the remix on Youtube of the voice mail pleading with one mistress to change the name on her phone, and the joking article in the Borowitz Report about the million Tiger Woods mistresses marching on Washington, and the like.

Still, the mistresses don't look terribly good either, with this one releasing voice mail and that one talking about an emailed sexual fantasy, and so on.

Daniel Keys Moran said...


Whatever the truth of Kobe and that girl is (and only she and Kobe and God know) at best Kobe's a guy who was playing around on his pregnant young wife while on the road. And Colorado wasn't the first time, though it wouldn't shock me any if it turned out to have been the last. Not many guys get the kind of wake up call Kobe got.

As to Tiger ... shrug. Was listening to NPR the other day and they pointed out that Tiger ... lives in a gated community in Florida and crashed his Cadillac in a single driver accident, which goes to show that ...

... golf can turn absolutely anyone into an old white man.

(And he had his left turn blinker going all the way down the driveway .....)

Reluctant Lawyer said...


I have to disagree with you about Tiger Woods being a role model. The problem is that if you took away his ability to play golf to an exceptional degree, no one would have heard of him. He could have been the most honorable, stand-up, gentleman - a knight incarnate, and if he was a bus driver, no one would care. In fact, no one would seriously refer to him by his nickname.

Additionally, he gained a significant amount of fame for being a DIFFERENT exceptional golfer. Quite frankly, in a sport of old white men, he stood out for more than just his ability. (No offense intended to anyone out there.)

Trojans and extenze -- even better, Tiger could become the next Smiling Bob -- insert obligatory comment re: bigger club - swinging - hole in one.

Oh hell, I know I wasn't the only one making the joke.

Vince Moore said...

Freakonomics, if I remember correctly, makes the argument about the relation between abortion and crime by pointing out that in the late 1960s the federal gov't started bracing law enforcement on all levels for a spike in crime rates starting in the late 1970s/early 1980s. And none came. But no one could figure out why. The author of Freakonomics then looked at the one factor nobody took into account: the legalization of abortion in 1973. The author posits that the legalization of abortion more than likely eliminated the generation of folks that would have led to the rise in crime rates the feds expected. You may want to check the book out for yourself.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Vincent, the idea about abortion leading to less crime wasn't that a generation was eliminated. It was that women were able to put off having children until they thought they had sufficient resources to raise them.

It sounds to me as though a fraction of a generation was delayed, not eliminated.

However, I can easily believe that Steve heard something which wasn't much like the Freakonomics argument.

lu yu said...

Hey Steve,

I've been reading your posts here for a couple of years, and I thank you for reading my comment.

If we assume that the majority of consumers of hip hop (or rap) are in some respect fatherless or lack strong male role models, then it is only natural that much of the music produced would be designed to appeal to their mindset.

But, we see this pattern in all commercial art. For the most part, people produce music, films and books to sell them. And if the market is looking for rap music that reaffirms the male interest in power, money, drugs, and women, then you should expect to see that most rap music is tailored to this lowest common denominator.

And you see this with action movies, romantic comedies, science fiction films/shows/books, hour long crime dramas (CSI, Law and Order).

So I think that, on some level, it is wrong to judge the whole of hip hop and rap by its simplest and most base forms.

I think that you should check out Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Jay-Z. Except for Lupe Fiasco, they all flirt with the "street/thug" aspect of the music. But, I think that unlike many of their peers, they often transcend that aspect.

Shady_Grady said...

Actually Nancy, I think that Vincent's characterization of the Freakonomics abortion hypothesis is actually quite close to what its authors were saying. The authors maintain a NY Times blog.


The person who made the comment about aborting black babies to reduce crime was the former Education Secretary Bill Bennett, who said that he did NOT agree with the Freakonomics theory that abortion had reduced crime, but nonetheless STILL said that aborting every black baby would reduce crime, although he also stated that this would be reprehensible and impossible to do in any case. So he contradicted himself. (Shrugs)

Ethiopian_Infidel said...

"There's something else about health and quality of life which is under most people's control-- much more than their fat percentage is-- their strength, endurance, and coordination."

My impression is these correlate closely with healthy weight. It's patently obvious that the obese generally have diminished strength and endurance do to the energetic demands of hefting their inordinate bulk. One often sees morbidly obese people laboring to walk; running or hiking for them is clearly out of the question. I myself remember my grossly overweight days in the mid 90's, when climbing a modest hill was laborsome. While I'm still working to reduce my weight to desirable levels, I've made enough progress to run for nearly an hour and to do all-day hikes at substantial elevation. The difference is delicious and incomparable.

Steven M. Vance said...

I have mixed feelings about the 'right to privacy' issue, and am not sure what the best answer is. Was Tiger a role-model? Maybe not explicitly, but certainly implicitly. Many of our celebrities are, especially sports celebs. They are held up as success stories, especially if a 'minority', a case of someone who made good. Think of Tiger's clean-cut, well-dressed, well-mannered image. Why do you think all those companies wanted him for endorsements? Do you remember Dennis Rodman getting as many endorsements? I believe if you polled a large number of people, you'd find Tiger was perceived as one.

What I find disappointing is our culture's fascination with other people's private lives. Every religion I know of says its wrong. I could really care less what he's doing in his private life. I have enough going on in my own to satisfy me. And the same goes, with me, for damn near every other public figure out there.

I'm glad someone remembered Freakonomics. I couldn't remember the name of the book. Interesting stuff. I recommend it.

Weight. There is a sensitive topic. I'd recommend you try "The Obesity Myth" by Paul Campos. I love how people think its such a cut-and-dried, black-and-white issue. A disease. Or a lack of self-discipline. In many (if not most) cases, its a symptom of a larger problem, and the person needs to deal with that issue if they want (and need) to make a lasting change. Unless they are like my wife, who inherited a thyroid disorder from her parents right after our youngest child was born. A doctor told her "You can be overweight and unhappy, or overweight and happy, but you'll notice there was a constant there." Y'know what, though? Many people don't take the time to find out if there is an underlying problem...they just assume she is a weak, simple-minded, glutton. Prejudice takes a lot of different forms, and its far from dead.

Steven Barnes said...

Tiger is a role model whether he "should" be one or not. It's why he's now a billionaire. Otherwise he'd be a great golfer worth about fifty million or so.
When you say strength and endurance are more under personal control than weight, that is almost certainly true. But you missed my point: that the physical body is under better control than our relationships or careers, and that the lies we tell in one area will propagate into others.
It is unfortunate that the obese are often thought lazy or stupid. They are no more these things than anyone else. It takes WORK to carry that bulk around. All I'm saying is that some of us can hide our wounds, but the obese are carrying theirs in public for all to see...and then trying to convince us that they have no volition in the matter.

Steven Barnes said...

I believe that there are people who are happier overweight. These are people who have chosen (unconsciously, usually) to hide behind their physical size. If they reduce size without dealing with the underlying problem, OF COURSE they are going to be miserable. No one suggested this. I have never suggested anyone force their weight down. What I do suggest is that we clean out our mental sewers, and use results in all three arenas to measure our success. Never, ever, EVER would I suggest for a moment that obese people are not worthy of love, respect, or consideration, and defy anyone to find a single thing I've said to the contrary. I love people far too much to hold such evil in my heart.

Marty S said...

With respect to Tiger Woods, I don't understand all the time the media has spent on this, or other celebrity events. With so many really important issues, like health care, Afghanistan and global warming to be confronted.

On the weight issue I think that for some people it is just not that important. Steve teaches his son yoga and martial arts because that has helped Steve and he believes it will help make his son a better man. I think that's great! But it reflects Steve, his set of priorities and his world view. I emphasized problem solving exercises with my sons and now with my grandsons because developing the brain to its maximum was my most important priority. I posed logic problems to them or math problems like how many ways can you divide a rectangle in half. The answer if you think out of the box is an infinite number ways. And there are if not an infinite number of set of priorities there are probably almost as many as there are people.

Steven M. Vance said...

Hmmm...I see I may have fired off a little more focused shot than I intended. Words are awfully slippery sometimes.

I have a serious issue with our nation's obsession with weight. Elementary school children are turning up with eating disorders. In large enough numbers that they are being reported and that statistics are available. Overweight Americans are treated prejudicially in a myriad ways. In trying to create a healthier nation, we are hurting a lot of people.

Obesity is VERY big business. And when big business is involved, a lot of things become suspect. Business is almost always motivated by profit, and all-too-rarely by altruism. Again, I recommend The Obesity Myth. is also quite informative. Things are not as cut-and-dried as people think.

Lobo said...

Tiger's real problem is that he got married when he clearly wasn't/isn't actually interested in being married. Would anyone have raised an eyebrow if he was pulling all this tail and he wasn't cheating on someone? If he was just Tiger Woods, golfer and ladies man, he probably would be on the same financial footing and you wouldn't be able to sell a mistress story. It would be just another dog bites man tale. His behavior makes me wonder if maybe his marriage was more in service of the image he was trying to portray than any real attachment to the woman he married.

It also seems to me that the kind of woman who would try to kill you with your own golf clubs might not be the most pleasant person to live with.

Josh Jasper said...

Thought you might enjoy this movie review of "The Blind Side" and the follow up by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Ethiopian_Infidel said...

"Elementary school children are turning up with eating disorders. "

The junk food-laden diets of many American kids and adolescents is arguably itself an eating disorder. Among some populations such as Dominican immigrants, childhood-onset diabetes is rampant! Needless to say I'm rather dismissive of attempts to deny the patently obvious epidemic of American obesity and its often disastrous medical consequences.

"Overweight Americans are treated prejudicially in a myriad ways. In trying to create a healthier nation, we are hurting a lot of people."

While I despise prejudice and deplore the pain it inflicts, discomforting impetus is required to galvanize people into abandoning detrimental ingrained habits. Consider the cost-benefit analysis: it's rationally and humanely preferable to literally save lives at the expense of hurt feelings than to sacrifice lives to protect egos. For analogy, consider smokers in CA, who are severally stigmatized by relentless anti-smoking efforts. Is it better ignore, and thereby tacitly condone, smoking, or to proclaim tobacco consumption unhealthy, filthy, and to castigate those who persist in its use, thereby inspiring some users to quit? Ditto for obesity nonacceptance. Enhancing and saving life is worth inflicting some emotional discomfort.

BC Monkey said...

"lost in the dream of powerlessness."

I like that phrase. Short, sweet and accurate.

Waking up from that dream is hard, and I agree that starting with weight/the body's condition is the best place to start. What you put in your mouth is under your control and learning to control weight brings you in contact with the forces you're going to encounter in any larger effort. You learn that your progress is defined by what you WILL do- exercise and pick the right foods, what you are willing to give up (because you cannot have it all, both all the foods you want in any quantity and a controlled weight)and the resistance you will have from your own self AND the resistance you get from those around you. (In my efforts, I'm currently getting a lot of the latter. I have around 10lbs more until I reach my goal fat level, yet my family and friends all insist that "You don't need to lose any more weight- it won't be healthy... you can lose too much weight, you know!" Amazing how many unsolicited gifts of chocolate and cakes suddenly start coming your way. Fortunately, I've already spoken to my doctor and he has "no concenrs at all" about my health if I reach the goal weight. That is my talisman against the resistance I'm receiving from those around me)

On the Tiger Woods circus going on now, Steve, do you think that Tiger is black and his wife (and his mistresses) are white plays any role in how big a story it's become?

Steven M. Vance said...

I love it. I'm so glad that you all have the certainty of your convictions. Its a testament to the effectiveness of modern advertising, for which considerable cost-benefit analysis has been done. I'm also glad we brought our children up to be healthy (without giving them an obsession about weight), because I wouldn't accept a cost-benefit analysis that told me the end was worth the means, if it was at the expense of our children. When people are reduced to statistics...well, its good to remember the phrase "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions".

(I wonder if a single person who reads my comments will take the time to read anything over at Somehow it seems unlikely. Predictable, too.)

BC Monkey said...

On the comments about the two radio stations, well, welcome to the experience any conservative has reading the NYT. The designated conservative columnists are chosen not for being strong conservatives voices, but for their focus on criticising conservatives and generally agreeing with the left. (For example, David Brooks promotion of McCain first, and then once McCain had the nomination, deciding to endorse Obama)

On a related note, there's an interesting story here- an NPR correspondent who appears on FOX News has been pressured by NPR to stop appearing on FOX because FOX is "biased". ( So, let me get this straight- FOX is biased, so NPR thinks the solution is to have less representation from the Left. Talk about self-fulfilling.

I eagerly await the stories where FOX has pressured its reporters not to appear on NPR due to NPR's leftist bias. (Sarcasm ends)

Speaking of self-confirming propecies, Sun Bear, you're right. I have never been to the blog you mentioned. I never heard of it. Imagine that, not having heard of a given blog. (If it were Drudge you were referring to and I hadn't heard of it, that would be different) I will justify your expectation of not visiting it. Cheers!

BC Monkey said...

Unrelated, but this... is beautiful.

The Future's thin end of the wedge.

Steven Barnes said...

I teach Jason yoga because he needs to learn to control his emotions, and controlling his breathing is one way to do this. Of course, I also teach him critical thinking skills, but the concept of balance has been the most crucial in achieving a life that satisfies me.
I suggest engagement with the body to others NOT because it has been important to me, but because over the years I watched so many people destroy their lives in this aspect, and confess that they had ignored or avoided it due to pain and fear--and had always lied about it "not mattering."
After thirty years of this, I came to believe that it was safer to assume everyone wants health, success, and love than it was to believe that there are people who don't. It is simply too easy to lie to yourself and others about this.

Ethiopian_Infidel said...

"I wonder if a single person who reads my comments will take the time to read anything over at"

I dutifully reviewed this blog and, indeed, it does furnish provocative food for thought. Integrity demands we reconsider some health assumptions that may have been overly influenced by media hype. However, I'd also extremely critical of some of its assertions. For instance, I have considerable difficulty buying the notion that "All food's essentially the same, as is implied by the dismissal of "healthy eating" benefits(A carrot's as good as a Twinkie?). Nor can I readily accept that the exercise aficionado enjoys no aggregate health benefits compared to the couch potato. Apart from the admittedly contentious fat issue, we KNOW physical activity improves strength and coordination, decreases stress and probably benefits neurological processes. These seem reason enough to promote its benefits. I also admit that striving for physical fitness is partly driven by cosmetic considerations. I WANT to look strong and active, and, within reasonable limits, maintain a fat percentage that doesn't obscure musculature.

"Steve teaches his son yoga and martial arts...I emphasized problem solving exercises"

If I had kids, I'd enroll them in Marital Arts AND encourage them to read and calculate voraciously. Mental and physical prowess are intimately intertwined and both must be cultivated assiduously in pursuit of excellence. Marital Arts is a particularly excellent for this. I recall realizing during karate class I was also learning Classical Mechanics! The physics of staged rockets is identical to that of the body posture progression in throwing effective punches.

Marco said...

For years, I've operated under the assumption that pretty much any big celebrity is damaged goods as a person, and I consider them guilty until proven innocent. Whether they are an athlete, politician, artist, or any other sort of really high-profile individual, being surrounded by sycophants, eager fans, and regular opportunities to indulge one's vices - especially away from one's spouse if one is not single - is very likely to lead to yielding to temptation, and probably to developing a pattern of regular indulgence. Constant flattery and the habit of exercising power also facilitate the development of a bountiful ego. This is especially true when one adds wealth to the equation. I'm not a complete cynic though, and cautiously hold Wayne Gretzky up and exception to the rule. My fingers still are crossed though.

As for the weight loss, I went from 244 pounds to around 210. I feel so much better! My back seldom hurts anymore. My feet don't ache at the end of the day, as they always used to do. My knees used to pain me too, but they almost never do now. Other physical problems have also faded or vanished. I look and feel better and feel more confident. I feel so much happier.

Marty S said...

Steve: My comment about your priorities versus mine was in no way meant to criticize your approach or to indicate that you don't work on your son's critical thinking skills.Nor was it meant to indicate any one set of priorities as better than another. As a person who writes science fiction for a living one would expect you to teach your son critical thinking skills. That said, in your posts you often address the training in martial arts and mental discipline, not the critical thinking this leads one reading your posts to believe that if one listed your priorities for your son in order of importance, these would come at the top of your list. This may reflect the nature of what you discuss on the blog rather than your true priorities, but only knowing you through the blog, that was the impression I formed.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Never, ever, EVER would I suggest for a moment that obese people are not worthy of love, respect, or consideration, and defy anyone to find a single thing I've said to the contrary.

From October 16, this year:
And if you'll notice, the most vicious demagogues protest most loudly that they "don't notice race." Yeah, right. If you want to know if Limbaugh could possibly be an honest person, look at two things, please:

1) his weight struggle

2) his miserable history with women.

In my usual way of putting things, I'd say you're kidding yourself. I think that in your parlance, this would count as lying.

The bit about Rush was only a little shocking to me. It's how I've seen your views about fat people all along.

If you take fatness as a proof of ill-health and of lack of self-care, and those as evidence that a person isn't generally reliable, then this is lack of respect.

Part of the situation is that some fat people are healthy. For that matter, some thin people are sick.

Your equating health and leanness is an idea that's actually dangerous. It's not uncommon for fat people with medical problems to be told by doctors that if they lose weight, their problems will go away. While I realize you're not responsible for the culture, I wish you wouldn't spread this idea.

What's more, your equating leanness with health offers nothing for people (fat or thin) who are actually sick.

I don't believe being fat is generally a sign of personal wounds. The reason I don't believe it is that I think it's hard work to push one's fat percentage much higher or lower than it naturally is.

If it's at an unhealthy level for psychological reasons, this will show up as extreme eating and possibly exercise patterns.

Also, if fatness were a result of psychological problems, then there would be more people who spontaneously lost weight because they'd gotten their heads together.

I'm fat. (4'11, 178 pounds, a little muscular for a woman but not strikingly so) I have psychological problems, such of which have made it hard to exercise until recently. On the other hand, I've never been completely sedentary for long.

These days, I can do the Tibetans pretty easily, and I'm rather smug about it.

I've never binged. I've cut way back on the simple carbs because they make me feel bad in the short run. And I've never had an extremely bad diet, simply because it was clear that I need fat and protein from real food to feel good.

An observant friend has told me that even when I'm too tired and stressed to think straight, it doesn't affect how I handle food.

Lately, I've been working on eating just enough to feel satisfied. This isn't the same thing as not hungry-- there's a specific sensation of feeling nourished. It's harder than I expected. There was some anxiety involved.

I'm past that part, and eating to satisfaction feels more comfortable, connected, and dignified. However, I still weigh the same thing.

I think there's a lot of normal variation in how much fat people's bodies want to hang on to, and if someone reports being hungry, cold, weak, low energy and/or prone to illness at a lower weight, it's plausible that it's just the way their metabolism works rather than proof of psychological problems.

Twins are very likely to be the same size and shape. You can buy laboratory mice according to how fat they're likely to get. I think a lot of fatness variation is just genetic, not psychological.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

I forgot to mention-- one of the reasons I don't believe women are fat because they're trying to fend off sexual attention is that I know fat women with active sex lives.

Steven M. Vance said...

Thanks for looking. Really. I don't take everything on that site as the gospel truth, either. However, I think there is evidence out there that things aren't as simple as the media/obesity industry want us to believe, though. Profit motive makes a lot of things suspect in my book.

Back when the Post-9/11 fears were really flaming, I used to suggest to people who were very much afraid of the terrorist threat that they spend $1 at their local dollar store for the book Fear Less, by Gavin de Becker. I didn't think a buck was a lot to spend for some piece of mind. To the best of my knowledge, not one individual did so. They'd rather stew in their own juices, seemingly, then challenge their own viewpoint. Sad, really.

And thanks for admitting that part of this issue has to do with aesthetics. I think that is the case for a lot of people. Most don't want to admit it, I suspect.

I've known a number of overweight women who were victims of childhood sexual abuse who seemed, on some semi-conscious level to be trying to hide behind weight. By their own admission, eventually. Not every overweight person. But some, yes.

Steven M. Vance said...

(sorry...had to step away from the computer earlier) While I am sure that there are quite a few different factors that are in play where issues of weight are concerned - including genetic predisposition, various diseases/disorders (like my wife's faulty thyroid), sedentary lifestyles, diets that don't go well with people's genetic backgrounds (if there is a correlation between traditional vs. nontraditional diet and Type II Diabetes in Native Americans, it wouldn't surprise me that some diets don't suit some ethnic groups), and other issues, I am just as certain that there are emotional issues in play with some people who have weight issues. I've known a lot of people on both sides of the mental health equation, and it seems pretty clear. And there are a lot of people who seek help, but more for the validation of their worldview or for attention, then to get better. Some people who square their issuage away do lose weight.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Sun Bear, I do think there are people who gain weight as a side effect of having been abused. I don't think this is the major reason that people get fat.

Of the people who lost weight after they got their issues squared away, how much was it that they made major weight loss efforts, or was it that their eating and exercise habits changed spontaneously?

wraith808 said...

Tiger is a role model whether he "should" be one or not. It's why he's now a billionaire. Otherwise he'd be a great golfer worth about fifty million or so.

I'd respectfully disagree. The ability to make him a spokesperson has something to do with his marketability as a person. But it's based for the most part on his golf skills. Celebrities should not be role-models in general. Tiger might be a role model for an up and coming golfer in his golf game. Or a football or baseball or basketball hopeful might look to someone to see how best to angle themselves towards that. I might look to you or Steve Perry to see how to get into writing and succeed. But do I know you? Do I know Steve Perry? No. I know what you place before me to know. And that's not enough to make someone a role model. You put more of yourself on the line than most, so you might be excepted to that rule. But in general? People are their idealized self, rather than their true self. And this is only magnified by fame and fortune.

It's also amazing that with the tenuous links and such reputable news outlets like RadarOnline and TMZ leading the charge that we've already said that this is true. No smoking gun has come forth, and until it does, judgment is very premature. He has to deal with his family over whatever the problem is first and foremost. I think it's smart to withdraw from the public eye, and that we should give them that room as fellow humans with empathy. He's trying to save his family- and that should be the most important thing to him, and we should have enough empathy to let him do that.

Steve Perry said...

I understand somebody came out with a joke T-shirt for women: HAVEN'T SLEPT WITH TIGER!

Only, they couldn't find enough buyers ...

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