Tag Archives: documentary

Rich Hill: Sundance Was Wrong

2 Oct

I don’t think the documentary deserves the film festival’s grand prize.

I found the film to be overwrought and overly dramatic. A one-sided portrayal that preferred a melancholy look even during happy times.

I watch documentaries ALL the time–it’s my favorite genre, actually.  So it’s not like I just don’t get it.  But I almost turned this one off before the halfway point.  Nothing was happening.  We looked into lives, but there was no further analysis or explanation.  I figured the reviews and forums would note the same thing–but to my great surprise–people seem to love it.  And the one review (A) that wasn’t glowing, got a bunch of hostile comments (B).  Saying that the author of that piece was pretentious, and didn’t understand small towns.

I feel like the bleak story is garnering praise, not because the film is accurate, but because the middle and upper class urban audiences watching it feel guilty.  The viewer feels guilty about living amongst more people, having more, and thus getting a greater advantage in life.  What viewers don’t understand, is money doesn’t mean happiness.  And yes, there might be more opportunity for people with means, but it doesn’t mean having to aquiense to a dreamless, disenfranchised exsistance you can’t crawl out of.  Some people are happy, even in poverty, because they have family and nature and traditions.  There aspirations may not be the same as the affluent, but people in poverty aren’t as dire day-to-day as this film presents–there IS some real happiness.  Kids don’t remember presents or not having the latest brand name jacket–they remember LOVE.  It’s no accident the “good” kid in the film has both a mother and father.  Audiences are mistakingly saying the movie is a good one, not because it is, but because they feel the need to acknowledge small-town, poverty-stricken America.  Which IS important.  But that doesn’t make this a good film.

And don’t get me wrong–the story of poverty (and the stories about and by marginalized groups) are important to tell.  But the ACCURATE stories.  It’s not doing anybody any good to skew the facts in either direction.  We need to hear about, and understand these concepts, but in a manner which leaves the subjects dignity.  This film may aim to provide empathy, but you actually leave the film judging.  Why can’t Independence Day fireworks BE authentically happy?

I am from a small town, and there was joy.  Sure, I didn’t have access to AP classes, cultural events, or big corporate jobs, but my community is not suicidal because of it.  I think a real weakness in this movie is  how it took away their subjects decency–under the auspices of being candid, empathetic, and non-judgmental.  Instead of taking about what Apache’s mom does for work, how many hours, what struggles she may have to face–the camera scanned the filthy walls, and trash on the floor.  Also, this film may have shown what were supposed to be happy moments, but did so in a way as to make the happiness less-than.  The melancholy feel was pervasive throughout the hour and a half.  This one-sided film neglected to mention the teachers, the sports, the churches that are certainly predominant in rural America.  There ARE people trying to make a difference in these kids’ lives, and it’s a shame that the film-makers were so busy trying to show the misery they neglected the heroes.

I currently live under the poverty line, am on food stamps, and go without many things.  I live the mango scene almost daily–EBT does not buy over-priced produce that has a short shelf-life.  You have to buy Grocery Outlet sodium-infused cheap foods to make the money last.  But this doesn’t make life unlivable and depressing as this film would have you believe.  It does not mean you’re starving and hurting on a daily basis.  Poverty alone, does not equal total hopelessness, as “Rich Hill” purports.

I also can criticize the film because I lived in Missouri for 6 years (C).  So it’s not like I don’t know–as commentors were saying on the other critical review of the film.  I loved Missouri, actually.  And I’ve lived in Dayton, Nevada, Reno, Seattle, Spokane, and Salt Lake City, so I have places to compare it to.  Missouri is often made out to be this horrid Bible-Belt place where renecks spend every moment they’re not in church hunting or doing meth.  And this film helps play into those stereotypes.  Choosing Missouri as the location for a poverty film is cliche.  There are rednecks and losers in every state and city.  Missouri is not inherently poverty-stricken, or uneducated.  Like any place else, there are poor, trashy people, criminals, and hooligans, churchy people, and hunters.  But there are also scholars, progressives, and winners there.  This film would have you believe Missouri is squirrel-eatin’ country folk who caint do right.  It’s an unbalanced assessment.

The hugest weakness of the film, is the fact it gives no overarching commentary.  I don’t mean, they should tell us their opinions or make the movie biased, but information and context would make the film better (D).  I want to see a map of where Rill Hill is located in Missouri.  It should be stated or inferred that there is no way to make money because of location, it’s in the hotbed of meth, or it used to be a gold mine, but is now a ghost town.  Location would give the viewer an idea of WHY.  I want some context as to HOW the town has no jobs and adults have seemingly given up (or had no hope in the first place).  I want to know the population size, employment statistics, at the very least, an explanation about how the town named “Rich” Hill became so desperate.  I also wanted to know if the profiled families are the worst of it, or if this is the common way for people to live in this town.  The film offers none of that.  Only bleak long shots of toys strewn in yards, dirty walls, and foul-mouthed youth.

In the end, I accuse this of being an exploitation film, little better than The Kardashians.  Though the subjects of the film are at the opposite end of the spectrum, they are still being portrayed in a one-sided overly dramatic and frivolous light.  And that’s not fair.

(A)

Rich Hill

In his essay from the late 1940s entitled “Manners, Morals, and the Novel,” literary theorist Lionel Trilling stated that “pleasure in cruelty is licensed by moral indignation,” and would go on to claim the middle class as the group of people where such a strange aesthetic relationship often takes hold, designating moral indignation as their “favorite emotion.” Rich Hill exists in this space. Detailing the lives of three separate, impoverished teen boys living in Rich Hill, Missouri, directors Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos allow their camera to probe and linger in spaces of disorder and grime, but without any discernible purpose other than gaining access to lower-class spaces—another popular pleasure created through middle-class distance. Rich Hill is poverty porn, examining lower-class spaces with pity as its operative mode and engendering little more than a means for viewers to leave the film acknowledging its sadness.

The film, which won the documentary Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, unsuccessfully attempts to transform its subjects’ circumstances into lyrical lament a la David Gordon Green or Terrence Malick. However, Palermo and Tragos don’t have an eye for it; beneath aimless tracking shots of dilapidated buildings and an indistinct, almost temp-track melancholic score, the boyhood struggles of Andrew, Appachey, and Harley remain at arms length, primarily because the filmmakers confuse access with insight. That access amounts to “boys-will-be-boys” moments of cursing out the TV while playing video games, applying far too much cologne, and sleeping in Playboy Bunny bed sheets, juxtaposed with more aggressive behavior, such as when Harley bluntly explains his thoughts on sexual violence: “I got strong feelings about rape; I’m against it,” and concludes by stating that he would like to murder rapists. It becomes clear that Palermo and Tragos include his views to set up a later revelation: that Harley was raped by his stepfather as a child.

Child rape is a questionable “payoff” in any film, but remains consistent with Palermo and Tragos’s undiscerning insistence of revealing the depths of sorrow afflicting these lives—or it reveals their banal manipulation tactics and cognizance of what will outrage the middle-class viewers bound to see their film. They also feature lines from their subjects like “It feels good to have the bills paid for once” or “Me and my mom used to listen to this song before she got locked up” with little more in mind than piling on the pitiful sorrow. Of course, an entire socioeconomic stratosphere exists outside these communities, but Rich Hill makes no mention of it; it’s too busy wandering in and out of its simplistic aesthetic register, juxtaposing fireworks with arm wrestling and any other number of forced metaphors (wilted leaves barely hanging to trees in the wind is perhaps the most risible). Missing is the joyful peculiarity found in Louis Malle’s God’s Country and the devastating ethnographic urgency of Martin Bell’s Streetwise. Near the beginning of the film, a train chugs through the small town. The far-reaching grasp of industrialized expansion may have arrived in Rich Hill, but purpose or insight into this dynamic have eluded Palermo and Tragos’s grasp.

http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/rich-hill

(B) comments:

  • You are far too pretentious to critique this documentary.

    Speaking as someone who grew up poor in the foster care system, it was refreshing to see a story that wasn’t sugar coated and didn’t have a happy ending. Your critique exposes just how narrow minded, callous and pompous you are. What a whimsical little fairy tale world you must have grown up in, where magical pumpkins were a plenty and any hardship or strife was manufactured purely for the sake of drama. If only we were all as privileged as you.

    Wow….have you ever lived or been to rural America? That seems to be the issue with your review. Maybe, they didn’t convey the message enough for those of life of privilege? The documentary was right on for REAL America…be happy your life took a different path..It is ugly and unfortunately..REAL

    http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/rich-hill

    (C)  Comments that prove my points:

    • I’m looking forward to seeing this film, but not because I believe it will be a good film. I’m curious to see exactly how inaccurately this town, one that I have lived near for over 20 years and have family live there, is portrayed.

      The film makers told the community that this would be a celebration of small town life. Instead, they chose to take the three saddest stories they could find and sensationalize their plight. Two of the youths in the film no longer live in Rich Hill and continue their transient ways as many families in their situation do. They are not a product of the town, but instead found their way there, stayed for only a short time, then left.

      The community has been following the press releases related to this film for many months. All of them are very similar: comparing Rich Hill to a third-world country and making outlandish claims such as the people are disconnected from the world and that the local school has the best jobs in the area. Nothing could be further from the truth, even though I will admit that the town resembles nothing like New York, Los Angeles, or Sundance (and I am thankful for that!)

      As I said, I do plan to see this film for as cheaply as I possibly can. I refuse to line the dishonest film makers’ pockets any more than they already are. I truly hope that this “documentary” dies a quick death as many festival films do.

      I will not see this “film”, nor will I give it another thought after I am through typing this. I grew up in Rich Hill and I am thankful I did, some of my best memories take me back there, and I will cherish those memories until the day I die. I do not live there now, but another small town in fly over country and I go back and visit Rich Hill when I can. At one time in my life I had the privilege to be an active duty U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA and I was able to witness for myself just how “glamorous” certain parts of “The City of Angels” are. After reading the review, It seems to me that maybe these Hollywood “elites” should focus their lens on the third world, dirt-water areas of The Greater LA Metropolitan Area (especially Hollywood). You see, while I may have grown up in small town America, I have visited and sometimes lived in the big cities of America and around the world and you can find these stories any and every where you go.

    •  

      Snobbish filmmakers from California go to rural Missouri to make a reality film about poor people.

      This makes me sick.

      http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/rich-hill-sundance-review-673217

      (D)

‘Rich Hill’ review: Successes can’t hide film’s shortfalls

Updated 7:19 pm, Thursday, August 21, 2014

Documentary. Directed by Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo. (Not rated. 91 minutes.)

“Rich Hill,” a melancholic, impressionistic portrait of three impoverished youths in small-town Missouri, is both ambitious and unambitious.

What makes this elegy worth watching is the unfettered access to Andrew, Appachey and Harley, teenagers who are dealing with a hardscrabble existence in which role models are nowhere in sight. Throughout the film, we marvel at how directors Tracy Droz Tragos and cousin Andrew Droz Palermo capture the kids and their interactions with their families – it’s all very natural.

The cinematography is so beautiful, and the score so hypnotic, that the project threatens to come off as an exercise in trailer park porn (for the record, there are no trailer parks in sight, but you get the point).

Even though these talented directors for the most part walk a fine line between glorifying poverty and making a statement about small-town life, they fall short in providing context for the boys’ problems and in explaining why it’s so tough for them to find help. This is a big-picture topic, and we have big-picture questions.

Do the boys or their families reach out for assistance? Is there any aid available? Any mentor programs? Do people around them care? Are there a lot of poor kids like this in town? We don’t know – and we don’t see the boys or their families in many meaningful interactions with the outside world.

After the first five minutes or so, we figure out that these kids’ prospects are grim, and most of the subsequent scenes say the same thing, even though they are exquisitely filmed and edited.

As it stands, “Rich Hill” is a poetic statement about the sadness of rural poverty. It could have been a lot more.

Advertisements

“Crazy-Love” = RomCom

12 Jun

http://www.metafilter.com/62571/I-dont-want-no-more-of-this-Crazy-Love

-What’s missing from this unusual love story is love. Not once did I believe that Burt cared for Linda, the actual woman and not his idealized pin-up version. Linda was a victim of both a man and the times. Born in 1937, she came of age when women were expected to marry young and produce children. The police laughed at her when she was repeatedly harassed, and when Burt destroyed her pretty face, her marriage prospects dwindled to zero. The reconciliation with the man who maimed her was an act of survival.
-It seems unacceptable that someone should only receive 14 years for blinding and permanently disfiguring someone on purpose. Anyone who can convince themselves to do that is never going to be safe to have in society.
-If this strategy doesn’t work (as it shouldn’t) why perpetuate the myth that male violence towards women is merely misunderstood affection (and that the correct response to stalking/harassment is to embrace the stalker/harasser)?
-The day before the attack, in the face of several threats on the eve of her engagement to another man, Linda Riss called the police and begged for protection. Their failure to act resulted in Riss v. City of New York, a staple in Tort Law classes around the country. She lost and the case stands for the proposition that you can’t sue the police for failing to protect you unless they took some action or made some assurance that caused you to rely on their protection.
posted by Partial Law at 3:09 PM on July 2, 2007

-Partial Law – That of course, was addressed in VAWA, which created a private right of action when police departments failed to uphold their own orders of protection. This was then gutted by Castle Rock v. Gonzales, one of the many shameful decisions of the Rehnquist court and one of the most heartbreaking cases in a long-line of them.
-What a disgustingly misogynistic movie. This isn’t about a krrrazzzy kourtship, this is about a sociopath exploiting a woman in a scary manner. This isn’t “crazy love”, it’s about a subhuman asshole and the regrettable inequalities that facilitate his exploitations. This story isn’t unique or unfathomable, it’s going on everyday around the world. There is a woman in the US right now looking the other way while her live-in boyfriend molests her children. There is a woman in the Middle East right now marrying the man who raped her because her “purity” is gone. A woman in Indonesia is staunchly defending her drunken husband who beats her weekly. And on and on.
-In my opinion, he is Narcissistic Personality Disordered (NPD) with some BPD stalker traits. And she is Histrionic Personality Disordered (HPD).

“The essential feature of the histrionic personality disorder is a pervasive and excessive pattern of emotionality and attention-seeking behavior. These individuals are lively, dramatic, enthusiastic, and flirtatious. They may be inappropriately sexually provocative, express strong emotions with an impressionistic style, and be easily influenced by others.

“Women with HPD are described as self-centered, self-indulgent, and intensely dependent on others. They are emotionally labile and cling to others in the context of immature relationships. Females with HPD over identify with others; they project their own unrealistic, fantasied intentions onto people with whom they are involved. They are emotionally shallow and have difficulty understanding others or themselves in any depth. Selection of marital or sexual partners is often highly inappropriate. Pathology increases with the level of intimacy in relationships.”
-As I said above, stalking and harassment is not “courting” behavior. These are tools of control and compulsion and future validation does not mean that they were ever acceptible. Were I to kidnap someone and hold her in my basement for years until she agreed to marry me, would that mean that my act of kidnapping was just extended courtship?

Fast Food: Detained, Strip Searched, Sodomized

16 Apr

EnronAll from phone instructions of a person claiming to be a police officer or upper management. Enron 2 It sounds crazy, but I remember taking Social Psychology for extra credits in the summer and people will do strange things.  For instance, whe group mentality drives people to shout “jump” to a suicidal person on a ledge.  Or how the ethos at Enron let them perpetrate such obvious crimes.  Humans are wired in certain ways, and it can have very scary consequences.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strip_search_phone_call_scam

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

 

Here’s what happened from http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20051009/NEWS01/510090392/A-hoax-most-cruel-Caller-coaxed-McDonald-s-managers-into-strip-searching-worker:

She was a high school senior who had just turned 18 — a churchgoing former Girl Scout who hadn’t received a single admonition in her four months working at the McDonald’s in Mount Washington.  But when a man who called himself “Officer Scott” called the store on April 9, 2004, and said an employee had been accused of stealing a purse, Louise Ogborn became the suspect.  Summers said “Officer Scott” in Mount Washington knew the color of Ogborn’s hair, as well as her height and weight — about 90 pounds. He even described the tie she was wearing.  Summers, 51, conceded later that she had never known Ogborn to do a thing dishonest. But she nonetheless led Ogborn to the restaurant’s small office, locked the door, and — following the caller’s instructions — ordered her to remove one item of clothing at a time, until she was naked.

By the time the caller telephoned the company-owned McDonald’s in Mount Washington in April 2004, supervisors had been duped in at least 68 stores in 32 states, including Kentucky and Indiana. The targets included a dozen different restaurant chains.  Managers of at least 17 McDonald’s stores around the nation had been conned by that time, and the company already was defending itself in at least four lawsuits stemming from such hoaxes.  Some of the strip-searches weren’t even reported to police, because embarrassed restaurant officials were reluctant to publicize them, said Jablonski, the ex-FBI agent. The fiercely competitive chains also initially were reluctant to talk to each other. “For a variety of reasons, they were slow on the draw,” he said.

By now, Ogborn had been detained for an hour. Her car keys had been taken away, and she was naked, except for the apron. She would later testify that she thought she couldn’t leave.  “I was scared because they were a higher authority to me,” she said. “I was scared for my own safety because I thought I was in trouble with the law.”

He pulled the apron away from Ogborn, leaving her nude again, and described her to the caller. He ordered her to dance with her arms above her head, to see, the caller said, if anything “would shake out.” He made her do jumping jacks, deep knee bends, stand on a swivel chair, then a desk.  He made her sit on his lap and kiss him; the caller said that would allow Nix to smell anything that might be on her breath.  When Ogborn refused to obey the caller’s instructions, Nix slapped her on the buttocks, until they were red — just as the caller told him to do, Ogborn testified later.  Louise Ogborn had been in the back office for nearly 2½ hours when the caller said she should kneel on the brick floor in front of Nix and unbuckle his pants.Ogborn cried and begged Nix to stop, she recounted in her deposition. “I said, `No! I didn’t do anything wrong. This is ridiculous.”  But she said Nix told her he would hit her if she didn’t sodomize him, so she did.

Like the rest of her ordeal, it was captured on a surveillance camera, recorded on to a DVD. And it continued until Summers returned to the office to get some gift certificates, and Nix had Ogborn cover herself again.

And finally, she realized the same. She called her manager — Lisa Siddons — whom the caller had said was on the other line. Summers discovered Siddons had been home, sleeping.  “I knew then I had been had,” Summers said. “I lost it.  “I begged Louise for forgiveness. I was almost hysterical.”  Summers watched the store video later the same night, saw what Nix had done, and called off their engagement. She hasn’t spoken with him since, according to her attorney.  She initially was suspended, then later fired, for violating a McDonald’s rule barring nonemployees from entering the office. A couple of weeks later, she was indicted on a charge of unlawful imprisonment, a misdemeanor. Nix was indicted on charges of sodomy and assault.

Many police departments filed their case away under “miscellaneous” because they couldn’t figure out how to pursue the caller, Prewitt said, or had trouble figuring out what crime, if any, he had committed.  Several departments were able to trace the calls to phone booths in Panama City, Fla. But that was as far as any had gotten until the Mount Washington hoax.  He eventually learned the call had originated in Panama City, and that the largest seller of phone cards there was Wal-Mart. But that didn’t help much — the largest seller of everything is Wal-Mart, and it has three stores in Panama City alone.

The camera at that store was trained on the registers, and it showed the purchaser was a white man, about 35 to 40, with slicked-back black hair and glasses. The same man could be seen on Flaherty’s video entering the other Wal-Mart, where he was wearing a black jacket with small white lettering.  Flaherty and a colleague flew to Panama City on June 28, 2004, and local officers immediately identified the jacket as the uniform worn by officers of Corrections Corp.of America, a private prison company.  When they showed it to the warden at the company’s Bay Correctional Facility, he identified the man as David R. Stewart, 38, a guard on the swing shift.  Stewart denied making the calls, but when confronted, he started to “sweat profusely and shake uncontrollably,” Flaherty wrote in a report. Stewart also asked, “Was anybody hurt?” and said, “Amen, it’s over,” according to the report.

Stewart eventually was brought to Bullitt Circuit Court, where he pleaded not guilty to solicitation to commit sodomy and impersonating a police officer, both felonies, as well as soliciting sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment, both misdemeanors. He was released on $100,000 bond pending his trial Dec. 13. His bond was posted by his brother, C.W. Stewart — a retired police officer from Cheektowaga, N.Y.  Detectives in other jurisdictions say they didn’t press charges because the caller’s crime would be a misdemeanor for which he could not be extradited.

Across the United States, at least 13 people who executed strip-searches ordered by the caller were charged with crimes, and seven were convicted.  But most of the duped managers were treated as victims — just like the people they searched and humiliated.  Many of the supervisors were fired and some divorced by their spouses, Annunziata said. Others required counseling.  But the duped managers have been condemned by others.

McDonald’s blamed what happened on Stewart and Nix, over whom it says it had no control. The company has sued both of them.  In court papers, McDonald’s also has blamed Ogborn for what happened to her — saying that her injuries, “if any,” were caused by her failure to realize the caller wasn’t a real police officer.  Questioning Ogborn during a deposition, Patterson suggested that although she had no clothes, she could have walked out of the office, but stayed voluntarily to clear her name.  “Did it ever occur to you to scream?” he asked.  Her therapist said she followed orders because her experience with adults “has been to do what she is told, because good girls do what they are told.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Crime Solved–Using the Speech & Hearing Sciences

19 Feb

Their child, Nicholas Barclay, had been missing from Texas for 3.5 years.  Out of the blue, the family got a call from Spain saying he had reappeared.

They world-renowned child psychiatrist knew beyond a shadow of a doubt the man couldn’t be from America pharyngeal musclesbecause at 13 years old, his Texan accent would be cemented.  Speech is developed primarily until age 7-8.  Even three years of being forced to speak French wouldn’t erase the initial dialect patterns formulated in early childhood.

pinna 4The second big tip-off was the ears.  Ears maintain their shape throughout the lifespan.  And this imposter had Darwin’s tubercles.  The Texas missing boy didn’t.  The ears were diffierently shaped, so everyone knew the two could not be the same.

Come to find out the imposter, Bourdin, had stolen youth identities over 500 times in 15 different countries.  In France, they called him, “le chamillion.”

big lazard

Enhanced by Zemanta

My Attention Span

10 Sep

Calls for another list.  Maybe as much as paragraphs.

*I thought I liked “Portlandia” because it makes fun of (crazy) Oregon, but maybe it’s already stale on episode 6.  I feel it’s more of a sketch comedy now, then finding different aspects of Oregon (weed?  anti-vaccine?) to mock.  I’ll give it another short chance before I give up on it.

*Where did Aimee Mann come from, how has she been on the scene so long, and why am I just now hearing about her?  I saw her play herself as a maid on “Portlandia” and she seems like one cool gal.  Like a 1990’s coffee-house kinda vibe.  Apparently, she was popular in the 1980s. . .  I’m listening to her now as I type this, and before when I was re-writing my class notes.

*The above re-writing of notes is not (just) an OCD thing–I promise!  This instructor uses over-head sheets and random organization during lecture.  So my notes are not only ugly, and unbearable to study, but scribbled unpon and difficult to decipher.  As a means of getting it all in a form I can understand in the future, and studying, I write them in outline form right after class.

*I was paranoid about my stupid short paper.  I cited my sources, which you should always, always do on a formal (college) paper, but I fret no one else did.  Also, I did NOT count the citations in my word count.  And because I included one (10 word) statistic, my paper went over max-length by 9 words.  So it looks all crazy and long, and I hope they don’t take the time to do an exact count, and I really hope they don’t take off a ton of points for over-shooting the length.

*I have this terrible habit of avoiding eye contact and mumbling.  It’s partially, from work, where I’m legit busy with my hands and multi-tasking most of the time (exp:  asking about appetite while I’m down on the floor weighing a cat), but it’s also from shyness.  And maybe some sort of anti-social aversion?  I offered to take everyone’s assignment to the prof after class and noticed myself awkwardly averting my gaze like some sort of serial killer or something.  I need to keep mindful of this in casual situations, because I know I don’t do it in formal instances like a job interview.

*Speaking of jobs, my boss gave me a timeline (finally!) of most assuredly before the semester and probably before the end of October for my schedule change!  I will be counting the hours until I’m off of Fridays!!!!!!!!!

*I feel like I’m doing a little better with studying, but at the cost of running.  It seems like whatever I do first in the day is the KIND of day I am going to have.  If I work first, the day is wasted with work tiredness.  If I run first, it’s a fitness day.  When I study, it’s a productive school day.  I’m not sure why this is, or how I can feel accomplished at all three on the same day. . .

Enhanced by Zemanta

Next American Beauty

24 Oct

America the Beautiful 2

a documentary following up on one of my favorite documentaries (“America the Beautiful) EVER.  And that’s saying something.  The first was about the harsh beauty industry and it’s treatment of women in order to make lots and lots and lots of $$$$$$.  This one focuses in on the obesity epidemic and health and dieting industries.

95% of all diets fail.

1/3 of American adults are obese.

1/3 children are overweight.

400,000 die from obesity every year and this was widely publicized   The figure was according to the CDC, a VERY trusted source.  Proven erroneous.  25,814 is the true number.

Thin people are perceived as attractive, intelligent, and of a higher class.  This is evolutionary according to a researcher on the documentary.  But I don’t buy that.  Super-thin cavemen would not thrive.  They would need to eat more frequently, they would not have great insulation, thinness would not support an appropriate muscle mass for escaping predators. . .

BMI invented by a mathematician 1830-1850.  Never intended for

Overweight Side Effects:

spinal problems, higher instance of miscarriage, joint problems, increased cholesterol, skeletal problems, increased heart size, and increased blood pressure, and stroke.

Raw Diet=uncooked.  No animal products, no caffeine.  Blame animal products for heart disease.  They say “You will be completely disease free.”  My comment:  What the fuck is this bull shit?!  They are drinking wheat grass shooters as a part of their detox.  Wheat grass offers vitamin K, the end.  Which no one is lacking.  $80 for a gallon of grass juice!  That is rich people throwing away their money.  I say that’s privilege.  And who can stick to such a regimen?  It is hardly realistic.

Smoking helps with weight loss.  What?!  So this is not about health.

Diets= deprivation, then regain and increase weight.  It is NOT lack of discipline!  This does not work long term.  A restrictive diet can only be maintained short term, and by those with unnatural devotion.  Psychological willpower must overcome biological drive to eat.  Biology dominates the psychological restriction.  Decreasing calories slows metabolism, which is why people gain all weight plus back.

Adolescent boys with eating disorders:  Which goes against everything I know about eating disorders.  Our capitalistic society preys on, and objectifies WOMEN.  To learn over 1 million males struggle with eating disorders was shocking.  Especially straight males.  All of the boys of the documentary lost weight because they wanted to impress girls.

Famous (tall) black model was 103-117lb during her entire career.  4 hours cardio per day on no calories.  Thinner is better.  Get thinner, thinner, thinner!  Kate Moss=bad representation.

A woman with an eating disorder is 12x more likely to have a daughter or a sister with an eating disorder.  Insurance companies don’t cover eating disorders enough.  They make sure the suffers live, and pull funding, before life skills are formed, not to mention before mental stability is realized.

Eating disorder suffers fight back with denile and defensiveness.  Dieting ability is a diagnostic precursor for eating disorders of all types:  Anorexia, binging behaviors, or compulsive overeating.

50 billion dollars a year on diets/dieting products.

On any given day in the U.S. half of all women are on a diet.

1 in 4 men are on a diet.

Almost half of American children between first and third grades say they want to be thinner.

In 1970 the average age for a girl to start dieting was 14.  By 1990, the average age fell to 8!

I don’t know if I trusted the information in this documentary like I trusted the first documentary in the series.  I felt like the “facts” and “interviews” were manipulated.  Also, I felt the documentary was skewed toward–fat is not unhealthy, BMI is wrong and inaccurate, lawmakers trying to help the obesity problem are corrupt, eating disorders are more prevalent then overweight people, average woman in America is size 14, etc, etc. . .

 

Patriarchy Loves a Diet

21 Jul

These are stats from a documentary I watched about the obesity epidemic–that I can no longer remember the title of–sue me.

As a nation, we spend 137 billion on fast food and 60 billion on weight loss products.

Health care costs 147 billion in America.

39 million missed work days.

Whoa.

As I’ve said before–it’s all about calories consumed vs. calories expended.  There is nothing complicated about that.  Half the battle is just knowing where your calorie count is throughout the day, so you can make informed choices.  The other half of the battle–is finding the will-power to execute the CORRECT choices.

As a disclaimer, I have to tell you I have never dieted.  Not a true– trying to lose weight, limit food or only eat certain things, and ramp up the exercise to lose X amount of pounds–diet at any rate.  I think that is just a big money-maker.  Women, especially, are made to feel bad about their body (through media and culture), then presented with some pseudo-science so they can “fix” themselves.  The diets are complicated, rigorous (to keep women busy focusing inward instead of on important world matters), and impractical for long term.  Meaning, women will be forced to try diet trend after diet trend in an attempt to “fix” their body.

Showing people losing or maintaining weight is a simple process is not in the best interests of business or patriarchy.  That’s why it is usually presented as such a huge, work (and money)-intensive undertaking.  If women knew they just had to balance calories in/calories out–which is a cheap, lifelong, simple process, a whole lot of companies lose money.  Besides, I think it’s unhealthy to cut out entire food groups.  Not to mention high maintenance.  Which gets us back to what women spend their time doing.  Patriarchy would rather women are jumping on the latest diet bandwagon, spending loads of cash in order to get thin, and preoccupied with their bodies–it dis-empowers them.

No–no way.  I couldn’t last one day on a typical diet.  I love food.  It may be my favorite thing in the world, even.  And I do not believe in such things as dieting for feminist reasons, and because I think women are too focused on weight.  BUT just as good body image is important, so is good health–and the above stats show this country has a deficit in that.  Here are some tips (as tried by me, a naturally thin, and newly RE-fit person) that will save you calories (and as a bonus, money):

-Always have a healthy snack (wheat thins, dried fruit, a granola bar) in the car.  If you get hungry on the road or tempted by greasy fast food–pop some of your healthy option to take away the hunger pangs and re-direct your mind.  This is especially true for road trips.  Pack a cooler at home, or go to the grocery store before leaving.  You’ll reach the destination faster too, b/c you can just grab a smarter choice snack from the back seat instead of stopping at limited choices with bad food.

-Try never to eat fast food.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve eaten at Mickey D’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, or Carl’s Jr.  Not because I TRY not to go there, or am ethically opposed (I am, but since when does that stop me?) but because I genuinely do not care for the food OR I like just other places better.  There is nothing good about FAST food.  If you MUST eat out–upgrade to bar & grill fare or better.  It’s still not great, but higher quality.

-At restaurants–stick with the appetizers (only!)and share them with your dining companion.  Salads are expensive (sometimes MORE calorie-laden then other choices) and leave me hungry so I make poor choices later.

-I never, never, never have the will-power to control my portions.  At home, use small plates, or load up the plate with produce before squeezing the entree on.  At restaurants ask that they box half of your (giant, over-sized) portion up before even bringing the food to the table.  This ensures you will eat ONLY half–and that you have left-overs that are a full meal.

-Instead of eating ice cream, cake, pies, cookies, and other high-cal foods for dessert–stick fruit in the freezer.  It’s a really yummy treat, plus since it’s frozen it will force you to eat slower and your stomach is more likely to register when it is full.  I’m a dessert person from way back, but frozen grapes, mangos, or bananas are adequate to super-yummy in the evening.

-Watch out for those empty calories!  Attempt to eat foods that will make you full over time instead of drinking your calories, eating salty stuff that leaves you hungry in an hour, or gobbling down a bag of junk.

-Water is boring, but obviously necessary.  To help you WANT to drink it, freeze juice, lemon juice, or those Popsicles that come in the liquid tubes in the ice cube tray.  Plunk a flavor cube in the water for more taste.

-On days you know you will eat too much, go on a run, hike, or exercise vigorously to counter that.  And eat less the next day.

Those are really the only tricks I sometimes remember to use.  I’m blessed with the metabolism of a hummingbird, luckily.  Which I fully realize is a fleeting gift, so I need to try to establish healthy habits for when it expires.  For those that have less stellar metabolisms, and for everyone who wants to improve their health, give my tips a try.