Posted by Pattie on 1/15/2006 09:06:00 AM

Why I feel abandoned by the left or, yep, we're irrelevant

So I sent out e-mails to a bunch of Air America Shows (below is from the M&M Show here in Phoenix)-- here is the only response so far and, well, I can't make a better case for why I don't bother much with the Left any more...


M and M wrote:


This is Fred, from the M and M Show on weekends. We take on the pharmaceutical industry regularly and routinely.

You wrote: "Every time an Air America on-air spokesperson uncritically discusses health or weight loss programs, they are contributing to this invasion of privacy and control mechanisms.'

I have never heard this, even once, from a personality on Air America.

I think the lack of outrage you cite is simply: Bigger fish to fry. Our country is being stolen daily.

While Air America may have commercials with which you disagree, I don't hear pharma apologists on the air.

Try listening to our show. We take on pharma and body-image scum any time we can.



-----Original Message-----
From: Pattie Thomas
Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2006 9:22 AM
To: M and M
Subject: RE: Ultimate Rights to Privacy


I do listen to your show often and, yes, I have heard you take on pharmaceutical industry at times -- however, I've also heard diet ads as sponsors to these takes. Am I to believe that your sponsorship isn't affecting your content? That seems a bit naive and I don't think you'd let Fox get away with such a defense.

I have not heard anything on your show about how this domestic war is a way that our country is being stolen -- fat people have been compared to terrorist by the Bush adminstration and more people died last year in America from attempts to lose weight (WLS and diet pills) than in Iraq. Now these policies are becoming the basis for employee discrimination. This is part of the big fish!

BTW, I have respectfully disagree with you regarding never hearing any Air America radio person uncritically discuss health or weight loss. Randy Rhodes goes on and on about her weight loss on her show. And Al Franken seems obsessed with Rush Limbaugh's fatness. I don't think anyone on Air America would tolerate a critique of rightie JC Watts based upon his skin color and yet it is perfectly okay to use prejudicial language to enhance other wise legitimate criticism of Limbaugh. (And yes, I have sent the same e-mail to them that I sent to you -- I contacted every show I've listened to on Air America Phoenix.)

Fat prejudice goes unmarked in the speech on Air America all the time. I may be wrong but I think I've even heard you guys call people "big fat" whatevers. This is part of the problem.

Fat prejudice feeds the pharmaceutical rhetoric that allows them to make big profits at our expense.

Those are the dots I am encouraging you to connect. I never said that you were overtly apologizing for the pharms -- I said that you aren't connecting the dots that support them. That's the "uncritical" part of this.

I just have this bad feeling that so much of our personal freedoms are being eroded while we pay attention to the "big fish" that even if we elect democrats to the house and senate next year and win back our government, that the corporate powers will be so strong, it won't make that much difference in our daily lives.

I hope for more smarts in the smart person's radio than to simply be the designated opposition to an agenda set by the righties.

Having said all that, congrats on being the only lefties who have ever responded to my concerns. I'm not wholly satisfied with the response, but I am impressed that you took the time to dialogue, which is a big step forward in my opinion.



M and M wrote:


How dare you. In no way does the advertising affect what we say. I do not believe I've ever said "big fat" anything on the air.

And, making weight the same as color is just not honest. Sorry, but these are not at all the same.

Clearly, this is an emotional issue for you, but you have no right to accuse me of altering what I say on the air for a sponsor unless YOU HAVE SOME EVIDENCE OF THIS. Do you have any evidence of this?

If you're not being heard, perhaps you should attack less and think more.



-----Original Message-----
From: Pattie Thomas []
Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2006 9:50 AM
To: M and M
Subject: RE: Ultimate Rights to Privacy

I don't think I've attacked at all.

Even if you are not directly alterating what you say on the air -- your ads are a part of your message. Being sponsored by something does convey a message whether you intend it or not. Your content is affected and undermined by your sponsors. It is the nature of communication and mass media.

I said that "I could be wrong" regarding the "big fat" comment and will take at face value your assertion that you have not said so directly and am pleased that you are offended by a suggestion as I think that it is something that is offensive.

Dismissing me as "emotional" rather than checking the sources I provided is a low blow, however and one that women have endured for a long time.

Do you even want to find out if I might have a rational basis for what I am saying or are you just that sure you know it all? I am not speaking emotionally. I am speaking personally, but I am also speaking professionally. I have a PHD in sociology. I speak all over the country on these issues. I have a long history of left activism. Dismissing me as a nut without even checking out facts is certainly easy to do, but then that is nature of prejudice isn't it?

The link to the list I provided has a number of "thin" people who are experts in their field who have studied this for a long time. I don't mind you deciding that this isn't worth your time to check out, but I do mind your suggestion that I'm "attacking" and "emotional" when I have offered evidence and sources.

Finally, consider for a moment that weight might be just like race. No effective way to lose weight has been discovered. Most weight loss efforts have led to a number of iatrogenic effects on those who have tried to lose weight. Being heavy runs in families and has definite genetic aspects. Several studies have shown that fat people and thin people do not eat that differently from each other and that fat people who exercise are healthier than thin people who don't (contact Paul Ernsberger and Glen Gaessar on the .pdf i linked, if you want specifics on the evidence). Diet, exercise and weight are not as linked as the diet-pharmaceutical industrial complex would have you believe and that "lifestyle" link is the only basis for deciding that "weight" is a different matter.

If being big is a physical characteristic that is beyond the permanent control of the person who is big (and by the way skin color is controllable -- that is what "passing" has been all about) -- how is the medicalization of fatness not any different from the long history of medicalizing race? We are talking about making decisions about people on the basis of how they look and those decisions echo years of discimination on the basis of race ("ugly" "lazy" "undisciplined" "stupid" etc.)

I am not attacking you. I am suggesting to you that you are acting upon information that needs critical study. I am asking you to consider that your beliefs about weight and health are being manipulated by economic and political interests that benefit from your believing that being fat is always bad and always controllable. I am asking you to connect the dots to the growing ways in which corporate interests are using these beliefs to justify invasion of privacy -- the very issues that the left are concerned about with the current supreme court nomination.

You guys are so good at looking at the underlying messages and connections that pervade so much of the mass media that it saddens me you can't see where the domestic battle is being fought and won.

I'm not attacking you. I'm challenging you.

Come on -- rise to the occasion -- I know that you've got it in you.



M and M wrote:

From: "M and M"
To: "Pattie Thomas"
Subject: RE: Ultimate Rights to Privacy
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006 10:04:59 -0700


I have not read your email all the way through.

I feel I have much bigger fish to fry, period. If you find this issue important, stick with it.

I have no say over who our sponsors are, and I put "weight-discrimination" way, way down the list of important topics.

I do not wish to use airtime for this issue, unless a caller brings it up. It is very far down my list of important topics.

And, who has the time to read the voluminous emails you send?

I have one life, and one show, and weight is simply not an issue about which I care enough to change either.