Restart the Insanity

Restart the Insanity

Remember Susan Powter--the brash, blond, buzz-cut Dallas soccer mom who was screaming "Stop the insanity!" on her weight-loss infomercials in the '90s, like some sorta inverse Richard Simmons? Well, she lives in Seattle now, has grown her hair long, has converted to lesbianism and is making a comeback--traveling across the country in a Winnebago to hawk her new book, The Politics of Stupid, with the message that all these South Beach Atkinsites are seriously effed up. She rolled through Dallas in late June, and we caught up with her to ask a few questions.

What's your beef with the Atkins people? I have seen it work for a bunch of friends.

My first thought, when I looked up from the diaper pail and heard Atkins, again, was "Didn't someone shoot that guy?" We've already done the high-protein lie in the '70s. Can't talk "high protein" without talking antibiotics, bovine growth hormone, dead cats and dogs for feed, horrifying mass-manufacturing conditions, destruction of the world's rain forests, an insane system of investment/returns--and a whole lot more. Facts are that the top five killers in this country are directly connected to the foods these boys are telling millions to eat. And the protein push is all about one of the largest lobbies in this country that started losing a whole lot of money when consumers got a tad educated. It's about the P&L--bammo--eternal life in a puppet named Atkins. Profit before people. [It's] emblematic of corporate America. And it ain't got nothing to do with solving the problem of the epidemic of obesity.

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So wait, who's pushing this diet on us?

Duh. Where does the profit lie in the foods that used to "top" the food pyramid? I guess "they" don't like being bottoms. It's all about resurrection. Big money and lots of war go into themes like resurrection.

Coke vs. Diet Coke? Is one better than the other?

You'll have to ask: a) teachers who use it as the science experiment it is--which one dissolves teeth "better"; or b) someone who drinks the shit. 'Cause we don't.

When you say fast food is bad, that doesn't apply to Whataburger, right? Surely you've got to miss Whataburger.

Credit for the name alone--no need to even pretend any thinking went into that.

So you are a self-proclaimed "radical feminist lesbian" now. How's that working for you?

As opposed to "mediocre Republican heterosexual"? What do you think?

Ah, right, of course. Why do you think women drive themselves crazy in pursuit of the perfect body while men tend to, you know, not give a shit?

Women drive themselves crazy, do they? It's not the billion-dollar ad campaigns, socialized, glamorized, advertised slaughter, slavery? "You, too, could be" a beauty queen--[as if that's] one of my fucking goals in life--with three months of cutting, scraping, capping...all done by a panel of "expert" men who are there to help you, of course. Only one of the thousands of weapons of war directed [directly] at women...all reduced to "those little women driving themselves crazy."

OK, so just to be clear, when I'm ordering a double cheeseburger, I should get fries or should not get fries with that?

It's your colon--do whatever you want.

What's wrong with being fat, health issues notwithstanding? Are you prejudiced against fat people?

Health issues notwithstanding? What a stupid question.

I like your new hair, by the way. I think it's very sexy.

Oh, my God, he thinks I'm sexy!

--Dan Michalski

Sack of Kittens

In this installment of Sack of Kittens: Crossing Ellum. Looks like? The band Scott Stapp was in before Creed. This is, perhaps, because singer Matthew JC looks exactly like Scott Stapp, except he generally wears a shirt. Sounds like? The band Fred Durst was in before Limp Bizkit. This is, perhaps, because singer Matthew JC sounds exactly like Fred Durst, except he doesn't use words like "agreeance." In a previous Full Frontal interview ("Paradise Lost," July 24, 2003), however, Mr. JC did say he was "up in a heaval." Where do I know Matthew JC from? He was in another local band called Pulling Wool. Oh, and he was briefly on Fox's Paradise Hotel. How they describe their sound? From the official Crossing Ellum bio: "The band's broad musical influences, grounded in a pure guitar-driven/arena-rock feel, are combined with current hip-hop influences which culminates in music that's not quite 'guitar rock' and not quite 'rap-rock.'" What that actually means? It's also not quite "good." Kick-you-in-the-crotch terrible, really, but you wouldn't want to say that in a band bio, I guess. Other descriptions that might fit? Date-rape rock. Or maybe ick-hop. You make the call. Sample lyrics? "Knick knack, paddy whack, give that bitch a bone/Walk away fast 'cause I'd rather be alone/Jack was nimble, Jack was quick/Thoughts of you make me real sick," from--surprise, surprise--"I Hate You." Can I have some more? OK: "London Bridge is falling down/Ignoring you works best I found/Jack and Jill went up the hill/To get away from you because they had their fill." So: Crossing Ellum looks like Creed, sounds like Limp Bizkit and their front man was on one of those reality dating shows--isn't this a sign of impending doom? Only if they manage to sign a record deal. Or if Matthew JC manages to find the magical Tibetan dagger that will kill the Golden Child, as has long been prophesied. Number of kittens in the sack they're currently standing on? Eight, and they're hoping it ends quickly. Avenge them! --Zac Crain

Summer Reading List

Full Frontal flips through some of this summer's poolside reading, so you don't have to. From front to back, here are the first and last sentences, or thereabouts, of some novels you might want to read, some you probably should avoid and at least one (Paris 75016) you or an ex probably wrote.

Modern Ranch Living, by Mark Jude Poirier: "Kendra Lumm lifted her uncle's old dumbbells for the first time when she was nine years old...Merv rested his hand on Kendra's shoulder, squeezed it a little. 'Yes, please,' he said. A bottle of water was exactly what he needed."

Gotham Diaries, by Tonya Lee Lewis and Crystal McCrary Anthony: "Looking good had become a way of life for Manny Marks...Like the sun, Lauren was returning to the world after a dark, cloudy period. She was approaching the vast horizon that held the promise of a long and fruitful life."

Paris 75016, by Lolita Pille: "I'm a bitch...Humanity suffers. And so do I."

Old Boys, by Charles McCarry: "On the night that Paul Christopher vanished, he and I dined together at his house on O Street: cold watercress soup, very rare cold roast beef, undercooked asparagus, pears and cheese, a respectable bottle of Oregonian pinot noir...The champagne, as it should, left its half-sweet lingering aftertaste on the tongue."

Dick: The Man Who Is President, by John Nichols: "The suspicion that every serious observer of Washington had entertained for months was finally confirmed three weeks after George Bush and Dick Cheney took their oaths of office...Dick. The man who is president."

Skinny Dip, by Carl Hiaasen: "At the stroke of eleven on a cool April night, a woman named Joey Perrone went overboard from a luxury deck of the cruise liner M.V. Sun Duchess...'No, Dr. Perrone, you are not.'"

The Coal Tattoo, by Silas House: "Anneth was dancing in her tight red dress and everyone was watching her, the way she closed her eyes and felt the music running up and down the backs of her legs, the way the curls trembled down in her eyes as she threw her hair about, stomping her feet with one leg proudly thrust through the high slit that ran up one side of her dress, and it was like seeing joy made into human form that could travel across the dance floor--it was like seeing the music itself...She listened to their breathing, quiet and remarkable, a proof of life that sounded like a prayer."

The Self-Destruction Handbook, by Adam Wasson and Jessica Stamen: "Do You Have a Drinking Problem?...In short, enjoy yourself, and know that we will always be there to help you not help yourself."

Positive Worlds, Powerful Results, by Hal Urban: "One of the observations that many readers of my first book, Life's Greatest Lessons, made was that I didn't try to sell them a 'startling and new formula' for permanent success and total happiness...My hope and prayer is that reading this book will do the same for you."

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