Friday, December 29, 2006

A weighty issue

Once upon a time there was an online magic group. This group was supposedly composed of Magic Utopians who were convinced they could rise above the pettiness, sameness and bitterness that infuses so much of magic.

I wish.

In a recent post to said group, one James Hamilton ("Compars"), in responding to a thread on straitjacket escapes, threw in this paragraph:
The other problem I have is so many of the people doing straight jacket escapes are middle age guys who are a tad bit overweight. Nothing more disgusting or should I say pathetic watching a fat man rolling around on a stage. In my lifetime, I have probably seen only 2-3 entertaining S/J escapes.

To which I responded:
So if one is middle aged and/or overweight one should refrain from doing escapes? Or should one just make sure you aren't in the audience?

No one else in the group seemed offended by his statement. Perhaps I'm the only ugly one in the group.

I'd be curious to hear Mr. Hamilton's cutoff age and body mass index for doing escapes. In fact, I asked these very questions, but the moderator vetoed my post. Odd that he OKed Mr. Hamilton's original post, but not mine. Apparently it's perfectly fine to be prejudiced against older fat people but not fine to question said prejudices.

I'd also like to know if other standards of attractiveness come into play, and if they just exclude one from escapes. I have scars, I'm balding, and I walk with a limp that is fairly pronounced at times. Hell, maybe I shouldn't even get on stage at all.

Given that I'm the only one who complained about Mr. Hamilton's statement (the moderator complimented him on his post) I question just how Utopian this group really is.


Addendum: Magic Utopia blog has removed this blog from its blogrolls. I will keep the Magic Utopia blog in mine.

A question: if the adjective in the offending post had been "black," or "gay," or "female," would the moderators have let Mr. Hamilton's post stand without comment? I think not. Why, then, was "fat" allowed to stand? I postulate that it is a shared prejudice. I wait to be proved wrong.


John said...

I'm with you. I saw a video of a recent performance of mine. My comment was, "If the camera adds 10 pounds to your appearance, then they must have been using about four of them!" Who was that big bellied guy doing MY show?
I've watched young fit guys do straight-jacket escapes and it seems to be more of a challenge for the older heavier guys. In the end, it really is about the entertainment. My suggestion is that the original author keep a close watch on the mirror--his days are numbered.

The Magic Utopian said...

It's a shame you have to handle this situation like this. Contrary to your blog, we did approve your first message (post number 2855). We informed you that your second letter on the subject appeared to be taunting Mr. Hamilton and we don't typically approve those types of messages. Magic Utopia is a free speech area, but when members repeatedly hound others on personal beliefs, moderators are instructed to redirect members and their messages in a more productive manner. Since this is our policy, we further advised you to resubmit your message addressed to the group instead of Mr. Hamilton. We also assured you that your second, revised message would be approved and distributed to the group. You chose not to resubmit.

We’re sorry that your experience did not bring you the MUMS you so desperately need. Sometimes, members of families disagree with each other and they find a way to make things work. Sharing our family secrets like this among the public is shameful and we thought you would have settled this in a more mature manner.

Nonetheless, we hope you will return when things clear up. We didn’t mean to offend anyone. The person that agreed with Mr. Hamilton only agreed that most modern day straitjacket escapes are boring. There was no discriminating language used against older or overweight individuals.

Best regards,
Magic Utopia

Anonymous said...

"Repeatedly hound?" "Taunt?" Methinks we define things differently.

And if you are not comfortable with how I run my blog, feel free to not read it.

I would ask how you feel about Mr. Hamilton's statement.

As I stated, apparently Utopia is a place where it is OK to be disgusted by overweight people, and to state that disgust freely. Being an overweight person, I feel unwelcome.

Regards, vb

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I posted my reply on my blog, so I figured people would know I got the first reply posted.

But I guess by commenting again here I'm "repeatedly taunting" you.

Ever so sorry.