Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sweet Child O' Mine

Via @GallagherMeow on Twitter, shaky handheld footage of Guns and Roses, February 14, 2010.

Guns N' Roses from Purple Magazine on Vimeo.

Big Man On Mulberry Street

The affair of Kevin Smith v. Southwest Airlines et al appears a little less resolved than I believed. If you read Smith's post, which is terribly long, but informative, you will see that, contrary to most of the media reports on the issue, Smith's issue with the company is purely a customer service issue-it's not so much that the decision was made, but much more that it was done so poorly-without regard for their policy and without regard for human decency.

I'm a big dude. I make no secret of that, and anyone who has seen me face to face can confirm this fact. I could stand to lose 50 pounds, lets say, and 100 wouldn't kill me, I don't think. I weigh less than Shaq, but then again, I'm not 7 feet tall either.

Smith has gotten some unfriendly advice and comments about this affair, mostly along the lines of, "Hit the treadmill, Fatty!" This is entirely beside the point and needlessly cruel. Fat people know they are fat. Given the choice, there is not a single fat person who would forgo thinness. Similar to homosexuality, given the many disavantages, what rational person would possibly want to choose it?

Dissimilar to homosexuality, there is a element of human choice in weight problems. There is a psychological element, a social element, a behavioral element-like all human behavior, it is multifaceted. I know I could lose weight, I know I should lose weight, I know how to lose weight, I know bad things will happen if I don't lose weight. And I don't lose weight.

People like my brother will say, "Well, you just eat less." Which is, technically, true.

But it is also true that it is possible for a major league player to hit 96 home runs in a major league season. Lots of things are true. But all that the fact that YOU did something proves is that YOU can do it. You're not me-you don't have my collection of neuroses and beliefs and insecurities and wants.

I guess what I want, and what Smith wants, is for Southwest, and society, to acknowledge my humanity. Even though I'm a big guy, I'm still a person.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Overall, I'm stupid.

So Velvet Verbosity posts these little 100 word writing prompts, and I have been known to participate. Half looking at Twitter, I got the clear impression, somehow, that the word was "beat." So I came up with this:

“Boston beat New York, 4-2, on the strength of two homers from the veteran first sacker …”

“He gets a three on the river to take down two cowboys? Bad beat, man…”

‘ “You beat your man to the spot, you get the call!”, the coach yelled, feeling his job slip away…’

‘ “I’m beat,” she said, sitting on her bed, looking at her children with love and sorrow as she slid her shoes off, letting them fall with a loud clatter…’

“ Behind it all was the beat, Ulrich’s drumming propelling the band to play faster, harder, longer, louder…”

Which is, you know, 100 words. So it's technically an entry.

But it turns out I was confused- "Beat" was a piece of micro fiction posted here , in order to fulfill the actual word challenge, which is "overall".

So, overall, I'm stupid. But you already knew that.

Tom Ripley, the main character of Patricia Highsmith’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” is a simply amazing literary creation. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anyone quite like him. As self involved as Holden Caulfield, but utterly amoral, yet seductively so-like a more evil Humbert Humbert, almost. Intriguing-a totally baffling character, but one who makes you want to come back for more, which is, you know, kind of the point.

Director Kevin Smith has become involved in somewhat of a kerfluffle with Southwest Airlines, which I have always thought of as a fairly customer-focused outfit. The story is available at both and, or, if you’re on Twitter (and if you’re not, just why the heck not?), @thatkevinsmith has been on about it all day long-if you read his stream, you will essentially learn his side of the story.

It has apparently progressed into the mainstream-as CNN and ABC are now touching on the story, if not actually covering it.

The story, as far as I am able to understand it, is that Smith was asked to leave a Southwest aircraft because someone believed his weight (Smith is pretty severely overweight, and makes no attempt to claim otherwise) required him to use two seats. Smith says this isn’t so, and used Twitter to raise his complaint.

Southwest, to their credit, recognized the issue Smith was raising, and has taken steps towards mending the breach. These steps appear incomplete, as of Smith's latest blog post. Leaving the facts of the issue aside, this shows again how smart companies respond to customer pressure, and deal with it, and attempt to defuse it. Dumb companies ignore it and hope it will go away.