Peter Tosh -- Mark of the Beast
Alpha Blondy (from Ivory Coast)
"Venus figurines" such as the famous Venus of Willendorf have been found in archaeological sites from Spain to Siberia, from at least as early as 25,000 to 30,000 years ago. They are generally assumed to have been symbols of security, fertility, or possibly hawtness, based on the exaggerated secondary sexual characteristics and obesity depicted.
I wonder, though, how people living in hunter-gatherer subsistence societies would ever have had the experience of seeing an obese woman?
We have a mistaken understanding of the amount of work and time required to subsist as a hunter-gatherer, I hear. They may have worked many fewer hours than the typical modern cubicle worker. And cave-dwelling Europeans may not have been as mobile as nomadic peoples, and with less exercise may have had more opportunity to develop love handles. But still, any group that could have one or more members achieve morbid obesity would seem to me to require a stratified society. I don’t think anyone believes that paleolithic people had that.
But what if they did? What if it was an aspirational goal to be able to have a queen bee in your clan group that was so huge as to be almost immobile, requiring nearly total care by the group. That would be quite a point of pride, eh? Like having a ten-car garage or a pet rhinoceros.
Has there ever been physical evidence of plus-sized prehistoric people? I wonder.
Photo placement winner of 2012, already.
I read a disturbing rant this evening on Wonkette:
I commented on it, thusly:
Half of me is now paralytically depressed, and the other half is seething with a desire to commit activism of some sort.
Violence would be satisfying but not likely to be productive. So maybe an online viral thing that rates corporations according to their social responsibility — paying some taxes, providing some employee benefits, not overcompensating executives, following relatively ethical business practices, treating employees fairly, refraining from blatantly whorish political activity, etc. Kind of an Angie’s List meets the Better Business Bureau meets the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Have a list of the Worst Corporations in the World, and what their products are. Companies that fight back would just generate great publicity for the project.
Just a thought. Anyone interested?
The idea seems to hold up when I come back to it.
Here’s what I’m imagining: I decide I need to buy a product. Let’s say a circular saw.
I go to Corporate-Citizenship-Ratings-dot-org (or whatever) and look up power tool manufacturers. I find out that one of the several manufacturers ranks pretty well for corporate social responsibility: they have a green practices initiative; they are a gay-friendly employer; they don’t make undisclosed contributions to political parties, candidates or PACs; but they manage to pay relatively little in local, state, or federal taxes. They score a 3.6, say, on the 5-point scale. It’s all summarized in a grid, and compared to its competitors.
I also look at the listings for retailers. I can compare the big box guys to the hardware chains to, I don’t know, power tool boutiques. I can see what their CEO is paid, if they belong to the U.S. Chamber of Fucking Commerce, and whether they dodge taxes.
I print out three copies of the page that compares three of the manufacturers, and three of the retailers.
When I go to buy my saw, I give a copy of each page to the salesperson, or maybe someone at the service desk. It tells them that I have chosen their product/store because of its favorable profile for social responsibility. And it maybe also points out where they might do better.
I also visit two other retailers and give them copies as well, with the bad news about why they lost my business. The losing manufacturers, I don’t know, maybe I email their copy to their customer service department.
So maybe the project would be more like Consumer Reports than a sit-in or simple boycott. Not very sexy. But the effect could be transformative if it takes hold. Suddenly the factors that corporations generally ignore in their business practices would have economic consequences: if companies trash the planet, buy politicians, freeload off society, fuck over their employees, enrich the rich and empoor the poor, they stand to lose business as a result. If the rating process is explicit and “transparent” (pardon the buzz word), they couldn’t buy an unearned rating. Attempts to bully the project or skew the ratings would draw public contempt.
A culture change could develop, one that you can see in rudimentary form now in magazine ads now occasionally, with boasting about charitable contributions or green policies or whatnot. Corporations would jockey for position about being good corporate citizens. “We paid two billion in federal taxes!” “Yeah, but that’s three percent of profits. We paid ten! And we still paid investors a good return.”
Odd how little clusters of “good” form in our frightful neighborhood of humanity, isn’t it? Or perhaps not. Maybe there is a certain “gravity” of decency, compassion, empathy and love that pulls like-minded spirits together into those clusters. I am genuinely, truly happy that you have been so fortunate as to haven been drawn into such a bundle of all that redeems our fragile species. Go with god, my friend, and continue to revel in our human spirit.