This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

Archive for the category “health”

Relax, Medical Science IS Your Friend

It’s Luddism Appreciation Week over at Slate, apparently, first with a comically pretentious essay arguing that reading e-books is not real reading (please print out this entry on fine vellum and stroke it sensually, if you want the next ten minutes of your life to count) and now with one that explores the hypothetical existential crisis spawned by hypothetical brain implants designed to improve memory and cognitive function. All our i-goods and Internet addiction notwithstanding, technophobia remains a popular exercise in pseudo-intellectualism. Read more…

Isn’t it time for freedom FROM religion?

When Republican-controlled state legislatures began enacting laws allowing pharmacists to withhold contraception, we were told that druggists’ “freedom of religion” necessitated imposing needless inconveniences on patients, including rape victims. When cases began cropping up of pharmacists not only refusing contraception, but holding on to prescriptions, we were told their “freedom of religion” was more important than whatever damages resulted to patients from having to obtain duplicate ones. When Republicans were screeching about the rule requiring parochial employers to provide insurance for contraception, we were told that religious people’s “freedom of religion” was more important than others’ autonomy, health and even life.

And so it’s no surprise that it has now come to this: a crazed religious fundamentalist jail guard, whose “freedom of religion” required nothing less than an ability to force a detained rape victim — a victim of a violent crime totally and absolutely within the guard’s power — to bear her rapist’s child. Read more…

The False Distinction Between “Illness” and “Lifestyle”

There is a relatively new argument in the conservative arsenal of talking points as to why health care plans should not cover contraception: because pregnancy is not a “disease”, and so preventing it is not a medical issue, but a “lifestyle issue”. That’s right: conservatives have become so deranged, sex is now a “lifestyle”. Next thing you know, we’ll be hearing dire warnings about the “sex-haver agenda”.

But let’s think about the logical implications of this new conservative principle, that there should be no insurance coverage for “lifestyle”, only for legitimate “medical problems” over which the individual has absolutely no control. One obvious implication is that, since “pregnancy is not a disease”, there should be no insurance coverage for pregnancy, child birth or post-partum care. After all, having children is, like sex, a lifestyle choice, and pregnancy is “natural”. In fact, since there appears to be a sizeable contingent of moral conservatives who believe that all women who have sex — even within marriage and even for procreation — are irresponsible sluts who must be held accountable for using their lady-parts, I would not be surprised if there is conservative support for forcing women to endure painful and dangerous child-bearing, just as God intended. So I do suspect that in arguing that “pregnancy is not a disease”, conservatives are laying the groundwork for denying care related to child-bearing, not just contraception. Read more…

We Are What We Eat, In More Ways Than One

Last week’s news: Paula Deen, a popular cook and author of cookbooks with an emphasis on traditional (read: breaded and greasy) Southern cuisine, revealed that she had been suffering from diabetes for the last three years. She has come out about it now in order to shill for a pharmaceutical company. There is no denying that the there is irony in the situation, an obese adherent of riotously unhealthy cooking developing diabetes. Quelle surprise. And there is something unsavory in that, having made money for herself by selling such unhealthy recipes, she is now going to make some more by selling medication for a disease that’s caused, to a large extent, by bad diet.

Still, I wish people would stop ripping into her already. The reason for that is, I am just not sure that publishing a cookbook is tantamount to promoting a lifestyle. Were it so, vegan and low-fat cookbooks would certainly have fixed our nation’s eating habits by now. Fact is, however, people buy cookbooks that appeal to their tastes. A health-conscious person may buy a Paula Deen cookbook, but certainly will not use it with any frequency significant enough to impact his or his family’s health. By contrast, people who buy her cookbooks because they like to have that kind of food on a daily basis, would eat junk just as well without her input.

It does make one think, though: why DO people indulge in diets known to lead to serious illness? Read more…

Friday Ramblings: Shorts

This just in: history is polluted by facts!!

Actually, this isn’t just in. In fact, this juicy tidbit is about a year old, but it’s just too good to pass up: The Tennessee Tea Party has demanded that school history textbooks do not mention any TRUE FACTS that reflect negatively on the Founding Fathers, including “intrusions” on the Native Americans and ownership of slaves. (Sorry for being redundant.) Lest anyone think that the TTP has taken a page out of the Holocaust Denier’s Handbook, it must be emphasized that they went beyond classic historical revisionism, by implicitly acknowledging that bad things have happened to certain groups of people in the course of the American history. The draft reads: Read more…

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