“The southern gospel fat ass”
From Pamela Furr’s blog:
I want to preface this blog posting with this disclaimer. I AM A FAT ASS. I am bigger now than I’ve ever been. This is disappointing and depressing. I look terrible and I feel terrible. I’m embarrassed to go out in public sometimes around people who knew me when I was hot. But I am determined to change that. I say that a lot, and one day I’m going to mean it. I’ve got a trip to
riding on it, not to mention my self esteem and my health. Barcelona
THAT BEING SAID…
OH MY GOD!!! What happened to Southern Gospel Music? Where did all the fat asses come from?
I am just getting settled into my new home in
, and I’ve actually had a moment today to go through my cable channels to see what my $100.00 per month is paying for. I’ve got the Military Channel & the Pentagon Channel.. this interests me greatly. I’ve got all kinds of Discovery Channels and News Channels. YES! And to my surprise, I’ve got the Gospel Music Channel. WOW! The Gospel Music Channel. I didn’t know there was a Gospel Music Channel. Huntsville, Alabama
And of course, what do I discover? A GATHER HOMECOMING VIDEO. I didn’t know he was still making those.
I will also say, I don’t know how old this one was…
But here goes… WHERE DID ALL THE FAT ASSES COME FROM? Holy moly. I’m not joking. Everywhere you turn double chins and swollen ankles.
I ask you what happened? And I have to wonder if Howard Goodman is in heaven right now laughing his celestial fat ass off at all the people that used to make fun of him AND his family all those years for their weight. Karma may be at play here.
And then there’s B roll footage of behind-the-scene looks at the fat asses eating the catered food Bill Gaither has brought in. NO WONDER THEY’RE ALL waddling up to the microphone every night. Good Lord!!
Okay, it’s time for an intervention. There’s no sense in all these God-fearing talented people to be that fat. It doesn’t look good. It can’t feel good. The next Homecoming Tour should be called the HEART ATTACK EXPRESS.
Think about it. If Gaither started a weight loss program for his aging gospel music stars, caught it all on tape, and sold those.. he’d make ANOTHER fortune. I’ve got it. The Gospel Music Channel’s new reality show. THE BIGGEST LOSER - HOMECOMING STYLE.
You heard it here first, folks, from a FAT ASS.
I guess it’s too late to warn of those easily offended by three-letter words. But though this us a little harsh at times, sometimes plain speaking is best done in the vernacular. And few children of southern gospel speak the language of unfiltered populism better than Pamela Furr, the sometimes heretical, sometimes songwriter, always provocative talk radio diva who has, I gather, recently landed herself in
I think for those of us who spend a lot of time immersed in the gospel subculture, we become accustomed to things that might not otherwise seem so taken for granted in the rest of the world. At an event like NQC, which probably has the highest per-capita usage of wheeled mobility aids for the ill, aged, weak, and obese, you get so used to seeing overweight people all around you in the seats, the isles, the concession area, the restrooms … so much so that the sight of considerable girth and heft on stage is no more out of the ordinary than learning to hug the wall and praying that your toes don’t get smooshed when a gaggle of Little Rascals and Tomcats inches its way toward you in one of NQC’s mobbed halls at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center.
Back in the 90s, religious themed weight loss programs were all the rage. During my stint as a salesboy at the Baptist Bookstore, the Weigh Down workshop materials were hot items for women’s bible study circles and even some mixed gender groups. But this was also in a metropolitan suburban area where cultural attitudes and social norms had long ago stigmatized weight problems as highly undesirable. The body is a temple and all that. Or, as the rest of the world might say: maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that don’t stop us from doing it all the time.
Southern gospel today is still largely the domain of the rural evangelical – which takes in people who are both literally from “the country” and those who may live somewhere else but are still from the country in spirit. And in the country, you don’t pray to lard, you cook with it. Lots of it.
My grandma Maude used to keep gallons of it frozen in old sherbet and ice cream tubs, which I learned about the hard way one night when I tried to sneak a taste of rocky road from the back-porch deep freeze (in the dark, lest turning on the lights would give away my scheme). Instead of getting a scoop of ice-creamy goodness, I got a mouthful of congealed pig fat (the light was just dim enough to make the dark crispy bits of whatever had last been frying in the fat to look like chocolate chunks … blech). Anyway, it wasn’t really a meal at my grandmother’s house if a big dollop of fat wasn’t lobbed into a cast-iron skillet.
This is more than just a bit of local color from my Ozark childhood. It’s illustrative of how central fatty cooking and eating rituals are to rural life in the south. I can still recall the sights, smells, and tastes of Grandma Maude’s kitchen down to the grime in the seam of her formica table top and the way the buttermilk jars jangled in the ice box door (we never called it a refrigerator) when it closed.
In this part of the world on a Saturday night, you don’t go to dinner and movie. You have fried catfish and homemade ice cream on Dink and Donna’s car port. And it’s called supper. And it’s not just a meal. It’s a night-long festival of fatty foods. You drink high-fructose sodee (lots and lots of it) and munch on all kinds of high-fat down-home goodies all evening. Then you get up and go to church the next morning and eat pot-roast and gravy and green-bean casserole for lunch, which is called dinner.
Perhaps not surprisingly, these habits have been exported to southern gospel. When I was part of a quartet, nary a gig went by that some nice group of church ladies didn’t fix up a spread full of scrumptious belly-busting delectables.
And it’s no different in the big leagues. As Jerry Kirksey noted a while back, NQC is at least as much about a week-long eat-off as it is about music. As for the Homecoming tour, I’ve eaten one of those catered dinners that Gaither serves before his concerts. It may come in fancy stainless steel service warmed by those little fondue fire pots, but that food is every bit as irresistibly fattening as anything you’ll find at the Pisgah Heights Baptist Church basement on potluck Sunday. So The Biggest Loser Homecoming Style? Fat chance.Email this Post