Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Crazyness of Weight

If you want evidence of just how bipolar our culture has become, look no further than today's CNN.com headlines. On one hand, we have a 196-pound eight year old whose parents might be charged with child abuse because they let him get so tubby. Then there's a link to a video story (sorry, it's a javascript link so I can't link to it directly from here) about a sorority that's being accused of kicking out members who aren't thin enough. The United States has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world, but we also have one of the highest rates of "thinning" eating disorders, and a subculture that is trying to redefine anorexia and bulemia not as diseases but as lifestyle choices.

In the words of David Lynch, it's a strange world.

It's almost like a perfect microcosm of our culture. Americans strike me as kind of like teenagers; we're still trying to figure out what clique works for us. Do we like the wholesome, goody-two-shoes Britney Spears? Or the sex kitten, drug-using Britney Spears? That conflict is one of the things that leads to people shaving their heads and going into rehab; motherhood is an ideal, but so is going out without any panties and partying with Paris Hilton.

Someday we'll make sense of ourselves. But these growing pains are a little, well, painful in the meantime.

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