Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Just say no to cigarettes and chocolate milk* (and painted nails, white bread, and everything else)

"I am astonished," writes Jane Brody, "at how some women with elaborately painted daggers extending from their fingertips manage to type, dial cellphones, even sign their names. I wonder what joint deformities may await them decades hence after using their fingers in such unnatural positions."

Leave it to Jane Brody to notice a seemingly harmless pleasure and immediately think up an associated disease.

I pick on Jane Brody, but the truth is that the entire health-as-morality crusade--which Brody certainly represents-- has taken things to an unnecessarily ridiculous level, such that anything with purely aesthetic value is suspect, anything that exists merely to look good and/or give pleasure must be bad for you and thus bad, period. Not only are the aesthetically pleasing aspects of harmful substances--tobacco, alcohol (other than "red wine with dinner"), vanilla bean doughnuts, mmm...-- given no consideration whatsoever, but even acts without harmful consequences are frowned upon. Nice clothes? Fashion causes eating disorders and cocaine addiction. Television? Causes smoking among youth and thus causes cancer. Nice shoes? You'll ruin your feet. Acrylic nails? Joint disease awaits.

Life simply cannot be lived taking "decades hence" into account at all times. Do you want to be the person on the subway, sober and wearing sensible shoes and unpainted nails, when the terrorists strike?

*Apologies to Rufus Wainwright.


Anonymous said...

A life without chocolate milk, donuts, and a few other pleasures would not be worth living. And, though I don't partake of acrylic nails or cigarettes, I agree that Brody and others need to lighten up, even if they frown upon the desire of others to light up. -- JM

Anonymous said...

Actually, I do want to be the one on the subway with comfortable feet and unpainted fingernails when the terrorists strike! But I would like to have a nose ring, be drinking an almond latte, and be frivolously reading a book "for fun" when that happens! So let the others have their fake nails and donuts.