Most days upon waking, I check the rhythms of my heart and thank fuck I’m evenly alive. Then, as caffeine storms the blood-brain barrier, I generally manage gratitude of a more elaborate kind. I am grateful that I live with love. I am grateful that I live with health care. I am grateful that I have, unlike one billion others, more than enough to eat and that life in this peaceful nation gives me time to fart about in the garden and learn the Latin names for all the plants I am bound to kill inside a season.
I sit down at my PC with coffee and within minutes, I remember that I am very fucking lucky to have formed relationships with the nation’s better publishers. I am very fucking lucky to write for the informed and engaged audiences they have built. Like a lot of writers, I sometimes grizzle about the instant, idiotic comments that misinterpret the things I have clearly said. But, hey, I get paid and, honestly, a lot of internet comments reveal a readership careful and constructive in its receipt and its response. I even actually learn things from the internet’s lower-half.
It’s unseemly for the media class to complain too much that it is misunderstood. We are a culturally, if no longer economically, privileged group and even though I have lost my shit in the past, and am likely to lose it again in the future, when people cram my inbox and my face with claims that I am evil and/or stupid, I know that I shouldn’t.
So, for the most part, I cop it on the chin when Madam Kafoops reads only the headline to which my work is appended and tells a wide audience, via smartphone, “RAZER IS BAD FOR WOMEN!”. When Monsieur Palaver screams, “YOU ARE THE ANDREW BOLT OF THE LEFT”, I remember that I can, unlike Mr Bolt, follow the rules of informal logic and that this comparison is one unworthy of thought. I do learn from good criticism but I have no truck with bile so, unless I am enduring a particularly shitty week, I let it go and remind myself of all the good morning feelings and let them persist until teatime.
But. There’s one not infrequent sort of comment affixed to my work I cannot let go. I will not try to explain here why you should desist in making it and I will not urge you to feel ashamed if you have. I do not like to deliver moral injunctions and I do not suppose that the future flourishing of the world rests on people behaving nicely. I think it rests on everyone having health care, nice food and time to kill plants in the garden. I am simply fucking venting on a blog so that I don’t take an enormous reeking dump-slide on the professional internet. Because, DAMN if I see it one more time:
I have been called “fat” more often than I can recount. To both old and new media platforms, this “criticism” has been lobbed for almost a quarter-century. It happened again on a piece I wrote that had nothing to do with gender or girth few days ago—don’t bother looking as the mod cleaned that shit up minutes after it was squeezed from a mean little poo-hole. I know it shouldn’t shock me, but still it really does.
I will not honour this critique nor dishonour my sisters by disclosing my BMI. What I will say, though, is that the recent charge that I was a “fat chick” and, by implication, not to be taken seriously as a writer—a profession undertaken neither genitally nor abdominally—is a very low filth.
I know, of course, that like all other ad hominem turds, this reveals the one who shat it to be free from any genuine authority. Fat or femininity are not considerations one takes to review of a written argument and nor, of course, are characteristics like ethnicity, physical ability or gardening prowess. If you don’t know this, then you can’t actually read (a statement of fact, not a literist slight). If you don’t know this, you can take your unstuck sexism and shove it in the place from which your other invective derives. If you don’t know this, what the fuck are you doing on my blog? I hate you, we have nothing to say to each other and why the blind shit did you Google me? You are a shoe-box over-stuffed with cruel thought and poorly filed hate-dookies and I imagine, although I would not publicly say it, that you haven’t enjoyed a satisfying climax since the Kings of Leon stopped making good records. Possibly since Dylan went electric. Fuck off, move over and give the real trolls some room.
“Fat chick”? What the implausible cock? What drives anyone to offer this up as a response to, say, a piece on counter-terrorism? More to the point, what drives me to distraction when I see it? I’m unsure. I don’t even give a crap that it is “sexist”. The world does a perfectly good job of reminding me it is sexist in far more deleterious ways and if an icy wad of non-dairy dessert has managed to freeze their keyboard in the service of very poor taste, who cares?
But. Seriously. “Fat chick?”
Why do I mind? I am not even one of those ladies who gives a crap. As long as my Special Someone wants to do me and my fashionable friend Nadine says I look nice in such-and-such an outfit, I don’t care. Every so often, I might say “hey porky, lay off the carbs and extend your long run to 10K”. But these considerations do not dominate or even dent my life. I am, in fact, very impatient with women activists who think that they have a “right” to be thought of as beautiful. When all I want is the privilege of not seeing my physicality, real or imagined, referenced in the cocking comments section.
I think I’m probably so annoyed by “fat chick” because it’s such a Golden Oldie. There is not now, nor has there ever been, a professional week that passes without such reference to my girth. Whose measure, again, I will not disclose for fear of giving this stump-dumb cuntiness legitimacy.
As I said, I am not in the habit of imploring large number of people to “just behave”. Your superego is none of my business and do go about calling people “fat chicks” as much as you wish. But, I am in the habit of encouraging new and interesting ways to insult people, you paltry plate of penis-ham bad even beyond its Best Before. Which isn’t very good, but you should certainly try to do better.