Pursuing health in the promised land. Our unprecedented passion and intensity with which we appear to be pursuing the holy grail of perfect health has a long tradition…
Sylvester Graham’s dietary reform views, imbued as they were with ideas of sexual abstinence, pseudo-spiritual aspirations, conspiracy theory and old-fashioned spite, were enthusiastically ingested by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, one of the founders of the breakfast food business. Dr. Kellogg also founded the Battle Creek Sanitarium, an enormously successful spa that in the early twentieth-century attracted such oddly assorted notables as Johnny Weismuller and Carrie Chipman Catt.
Kellogg did not insist that his guests give up meat, but he did warn them that it was bad for their dispositions as well as their health. To make things easier for vegetarians, Kellogg invented some eighty grain and nut products, including a meat substitute called Protose, which was supposed to taste just like beefsteak, and one called Nuttose, which was supposed to taste like veal.
Kellogg also plumped for the ideas of Horace Fletcher, who contended that the way to achieve perfect health was to chew each mouthful until “it was liquefied and a strong Swallowing Impulse compelled its deglutition.” As a rough guide, Fletcher suggested that a mouthful of dry toast be given thirty chews, while Boston Brown Bread might require seventy or eighty. “We are chewing hard out here at battle Creek,” Dr. Kellogg wrote to »Fletcher in 1903, “We have gotten up a little chewing song which we sing to the patients. It is only doggerel but it helps to keep the idea before our people.”
(see link at end)…Veblen saw conspicuous consumption of goods eclipsing conspicuous leisure: as goods grew more numerous, and as the “instinct to workmanship” mitigated any advances in noble indolence, conspicuous leisure would be overtaken by conspicuous consumption. But he overstated the case, particularly when consumerism is as full of “experiences” as objects. From paintball to cooking classes to luxury cruises, 21st century leisure is a fully documented, and therefore comparative, pursuit. Curated on Flickr and Facebook for public display, they are, to use Veblen’s characteristically caustic mode of understatement, conspicuous wastes of time all of them.
The need to re-evaluate conspicuous leisure emerges at a point where consumption is being rebranded. Under the weight of negative broadsides against alienation, wastefulness, and exploitation, conspicuous consumption, particularly among the 21st century leisure class, has slid into its dialectical complement: conspicuous underconsumption. Efficient cars, low-carbon diets, vegan muffins – these goods vaunt not their waste but their conspicuous lack of it. The regime of self-abnegation of the contemporary ruling class, its desires to simplify lifestyles, return to authenticity in the form of natural, recycled, and otherwise “ethical” products, is transparently the same old madness in new clothes: Steve Jobs’ simple and casual turtleneck. Read More:http://www.politicsandculture.org/2012/05/02/the-hipster-labor-of-conspicuous-leisure/