Wednesday, March 24, 2004


Do you ever wonder about those decapitated photos and video clips of hugely fat people waddling down the street run as teasers to a "special" report on the evening news? They always get my attention and, as I've admitted before, make me feel all smug and skinny-by-comparison. Extensive media coverage of diet advice also makes me feel all smug and wise-by-comparion.

So it will probably come as a relief to you, dear reader, that I have been humbled this time. Indeed, struck dumb (but not so struck as to be unable to type), by the enduring nature of the quest to be less fat and its sheer inventiveness as revealed by a recent article in the Arizona Republic on the history of fad diets (hat tip: Newmark's Door).

My favorite (my recommendation is based on aesthetics, but I believe the Warrior Monk can give at least the second part of this one his personal recommendation, having tried it in college) is William the Conqueror's liquid diet from 1087:
tak[e] to ... bed and consum[e] nothing but alcohol.
Sure sounds better than dousing food with vinegar, daily enemas or eliminating all carbohydrates.

History is such a vital element of intellectual discourse.


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