Hey, Hey Mamma
You know that whenever Shannon picks me up off the floor from a dusty corner of the FFFs basement and shakes me out to start typing, that there will be no a shortage of stupidity and bad metaphors.
Today, however, I will try my hand at playing devil’s advocate and walking all over my own previous posts.
You may think back and remember with fondness my old school rants of yesteryear concerning sneaky she-devil and unlikely gazillionaire, Jillian Michaels — bane of the HAES community and the take-no-prisoners Alexander the Great of the fitness and diet industry.
Make no mistake, while I love to poke fun at anyone who insists I get out of my flannel pajamas and stop eating Captain Crunch on the couch, when Jillian Michaels announces that she is going to change your life, you’re filled with dread because she’s almost infectious and militant enough to propel you right off your ass and into a jumping jack/abs crunch death spiral.
For instance, take the recent advertisements that have been popping up all over the DC area indicating that Jillian will be appearing in a series of public speaking engagements of the inspirational variety — like a televangelist tending to her flock of “I’d like some skinny please” true believers. Starting with her inclusion on the panel of the 5th annual Get Radical Women’s Conference (taking place at the Hyatt Regency just outside of town from March 22-24), which gives powerful women seeking some powerful connections an opportunity to mingle, network and exchange ideas with other like-minded female leaders in the area. There’s also her solo run at Washington DC’s Warner Theatre on April 24th as a part of her Maximize Your Life tour.
Now, I can see Shannon spitting on the ground and cursing like my Nana over all these lucrative and well-attended live performances she’s got lined up, but I couldn’t help but think that it is my FFFs duty to attend at least ONE of these events. Not to hand over my money to a smiling Michaels as she pats herself on the back for yet another stellar financial coup, but to see what I’m actually railing against.
I mean, despite my cantankerous rants and armchair critic responses to Michaels, I’ve actually handed over money to see plenty of men and women who have openly made fat jokes for fun, all in the name of entertainment. David Sedaris went on a borderline-inappropriate-but-maddeningly-funny tangent during his last engagement about how nowhere near as many people would get behind the idea of a fat, slovenly dark-haired Jesus as opposed to the thin, good-looking, almost-Nordic-featured guy we have depicted in all our paintings. Was it wildly inappropriate and politically incorrect? Absolutely. Did I have tears of laughter running down my face? You bet.
Then there are the very controversial, but incredibly popular spoken word events of Henry Rollins, who I actually have had a soft spot for since I was a kid. He can be incredibly misogynistic and deeply dividing on subjects ranging from music to international travel, but he packs houses and I routinely spend money to see him every time he comes around. I once tried to defensively justify my continued liking of the guy by explaining to everyone that what you see onstage is actually a well-construed act and that he’s actually just a big boy scout with lots of great tattoos, but my argument fell mostly on deaf ears. Then someone pointed out that I was blindly supporting a guy who said he’s never date a fat woman and once sang the line “Slip It In.” I countered with the hard won Black Flag knowledge that Ginn wrote that particular song, but you how this whole thing’s was swirling around the “be more conscientious about your choices” bowl. There was no way I could win.
So here I stand, wondering if Jillian Michaels needs to be dealt with in the same way as the rest of our mindless, but sometimes fascinating, entertainment. Do I take one for the team and buy a ticket? Nothing Jillian will do or say during this appearance will make me go out and adopt new habits, but I’m sure I can’t give her a proper dressing down or even a valid critique unless I put in the time to see what this is all about.
Viewing your entertainment through the lens of someone who needs to remain vigilant about offending others is tiring. In addition to making the lives of people who want some sort of weight loss ideal miserable on The Biggest Loser, Michaels has also built an empire.
This means she’s diversified and surprised people enough to make a killing, and that makes her a heavily-muscled financial force to be reckoned with. So perhaps I’ll take that trip downtown to the Warner (STOP SPITTING ON MY CARPET SHANNON!) and see what all the hoopla is about.