Guest post: A sound mind in a disintegrating body

Mens sana in corpore sanoIn an attempt to balance my very serious attitude towards the subject of healthism – the idea that individuals should be held personally responsible for their health; an idea promoted at a time of rising health care costs in the “Great Society” seventies, appealing to residual American sentiments of self-reliance and individualism, conveniently distracting attention from social and environmental determinants of health …

I could go on, but as I was saying, in an attempt to provide balance, I offer this guest post by Kate Gilderdale, a writer who valiantly resists healthism propaganda and whose approach to any subject is always liberally laced with humor. Kate blogs at The Jaundiced View (where this post first appeared), and I highly recommend a daily visit (laughter being the best medicine and all).

Mens sana in corpore sano is today’s mantra for many people, but a lot of us only manage to fulfil half the equation at best.

In order to attain the corpore sano required by today’s fanatical health and hotness community you have to devote two or three hours a day to honing the body beautiful so that it contains no lumps, bra overhang or bits that have to be sucked in when you walk past a mirror. This involves lunges, squats, curls, lat pulldowns, pushups, bench presses and eventual death from exhaustion unless you are of that rare elite who are truly in The Zone.

The rest of us get by by avoiding spandex and investing in Spanx, whilst using those three hours not spent at the gym to fill our brains with stuff that we hope will make us appear erudite without being unforgivably elitist.

When it comes to physical exertion, Joan Rivers said it best. “I don’t exercise. If God wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.”

Any deviations from Americanized spelling (“fulfil”) may be attributed to Kate’s proper British education.

Kitten with barbell

Related posts:
Guest post: A fat lot of good
There’s more to life than the pursuit of health
From healthism to overdiagnosis
Healthy lifestyles serve political interests
The politics behind personal responsibility for health
The tyranny of health
The problem is you


Image (Chow with fat cat): WorldChow

Image (Kitten with barbell): catsparella

Kate Gilderdale, A sound mind in a disintegrating body, The Jaundiced View, April 15, 2011

Vintage Whine, columns by Kate Gilderdale at Stouffville online

The Jaundiced View, Kate Gilderdale’s blog


3 Responses to Guest post: A sound mind in a disintegrating body

  1. Thanks for sharing this delightful post, Jan. By the way, Kate’s spelling likely has nothing to do with “her proper British education”, but rather her standard Canadian education, in which we Canucks learn how to (properly) spell words like ‘humour’ and ‘favourite’ and ‘centre’! While Americans use the Anglo-French spelling ‘defense’ (noun), we use the British spellings ‘defence’ and ‘offence’, among many other examples.
    vive la différence!

    • Thanks Carolyn. I enjoy quoting paragraphs from The Guardian and denying Microsoft Word the pleasure of “correcting” the spelling. Although Kate is currently a Canadian, I happen to know from reading her blog regularly that she is transplanted from Great Britain.

      • And just as you say, in time to confirm that reality, Kate’s blog post today reminisces about her childhood spent in the “old country!” Never mind — our spelling would still be the same….:-)