Monday, August 13, 2007

Views From the Tower Wants YOU!

Hey, isn't anyone going to make a comment here? I don't have to venture online to talk to myself; I do that all the time anyway!


Thomas said...

I think I may have the distinction of being the first person to comment on your blog.

I came across your site because of our shared interest in Muriel Spark. What a fabulous author she is.

As far as your FA crusade goes, I will add my two cents. I have a friend who is large and I see the negative attention she gets and the people who don't want anything to do with her because of her size. I think there are many different reasons why various people are overweight or obese. Arguments about the "Obesity Myth" aside, food policy in the US and the free market's singular focus on making us consume as much as possible puts some people on a course for a health and weight situation that they might not otherwise have been headed for.

MizB said...

Yes, Thomas, you were the first, which entitles you to a lifetime supply of Eskimo Pies and an all-expenses-paid vacation on Staten Island! I'm always happy to meet a fellow Muriel Spark fan. She's a clean, sparse writer who manages to be funny, poignant and insightful in a very understated, direct way. I see you’re also a fan of Margaret Drabble. I didn’t hang in with her past a couple of books, but I remember her work being as dense as cheesecake, high strung and suffocating and dazzling in its intensity. These English ladies have some game, eh?

I agree that government’s poor oversight of our food supply has resulted in methods of cultivation and processing that for all intents and purposes amounts to poisoning and has had a negative impact on public health. But when you speak of your fat friend and how people avoid her because of her size, I get the feeling you think her response should be to change herself. Why? If people avoid her because she’s dull or stupid or mean, that’s one thing. But as her friend, doesn’t it disturb you that she’s being dismissed and disrespected for such a superficial reason? She’s the injured party, not the judgmental characters who are, I gather, contributing to her unhappiness. I hope you’ll consider supporting and advising her differently – and that you (and she too??) will come back to The Tower to continue the conversation. Thanks again for your comments.

Thomas said...

No, I don't think she needs to change herself. I advise her on a lot of things, but weight is not one of them. I mentioned her to indicate that I was aware, from personal observation, the shabby manner in which overweight people are treated. My comments about food had to do with government and industry injecting high fructose corn syrup in everything they can get their hands on.

In any case I would much rather talk about books...

The thing I love about Muriel Spark is that her characters no matter how quirky they are are still believeable. I like Margaret Drabble a lot, but I must admit I am in the middle of one right now that (The Needle's Eye) that is a bit too much or too depressing or too something for me at the moment. My favorite of hers is easily Seven Sisters. I kind of consider Drabble the poor man's Iris Murdoch.

MizB said...

My apologies, Thomas, for my fat over-reaction. I'm heartened to know that you're aware of the shabby treatment (and disapprove).

Yes, Spark's characters are very believable. I especially like the characters in Memento Mori; almost all of them are elderly, yet none of them are stereotypical old people, they're just aged individual persons. I think in general, Spark showcases that distinctly British personality: guarded, conservative, proud, yet capable of Monty Pythonesque goofyness.

Alas, I've never read Iris Murdoch, but I'm open. Any suggestions for which book I might begin with?

Since I'm a woman writer, I've always been drawn to other women writers. You seem to be, too. Is there something you particularly like about women writers? Do you think one can generalize about universal differences between men and women writers? I still haven't made up my mind about that -- except to say that Hemingway and Mailer both give me the pip, and for the same bullshit macho reasons.