Said Rev. John Riley, chancellor of Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kansas, explaining the new policy removing the word "yoga" from the names of classes that teach yoga or I guess one should say yoga-based exercises. The term "lifestyle fitness" is the replacement.
This makes me wonder where a Catholic analysis of the idea "lifestyle" would go. I actually agree with Riley that "yoga" is a Hindu practice that someone who wants to be strictly Christian ought to think carefully about, and I would add that there is a problem of cultural appropriation, especially when you take the part you like and strip away the deeper part. What if nonChristians wanted to use some of the mannerisms of communion in serving wine and bread?
But the new term "lifestyle" is a word I avoid using. I asked out loud to Meade "What do you think of the word 'lifestyle'?" and he said "I try to avoid it."
Some elitists look down on those who use it. It's one of those words that those who eschew them claim are not a word. But the OED has it, dating back to 1915. The definition is: "A style or way of living (associated with an individual person, a society, etc.); esp. the characteristic manner in which a person lives (or chooses to live) his or her life." (I'd like to hear a Catholic analysis of whether a Catholic college should be teaching an individual style or way of living other than a Catholic way.)
The OED's 1915 example of "lifestyle" is "This spirit of expediency..excludes any possibility of peace or rest in unity with the universe. The author applies to it, as the ‘life-style’ of our age, the term Impressionism." Those quotes give a sense that people were saying "life-style" back then.
I searched the NYT archive and saw that the word really took off in 1968 and 1969, which corresponds to my perception that it's a Baby-Boomer/ counterculture/ hippie word. Here's Ada Louise Huxtable writing about architecture in 1969 in "The Case for Chaos":
I don't think I've ever used the word "lifestyle" on this blog except in a quote. (And I'm not using the word in this post (if you observe the use/mention distinction). Oh, no, wait. I did use it once. I'm checking again with a hyphen, and found this from 2008:
Can singlehood be portrayed as good but only good enough to reduce the number of bad marriages and not good enough to attract the kind of staunch adherents who advocate marriage as a way of life? Is DePaulo's book a nice, reassuring middle-of-the road sort of a thing, designed to take the edge off the predicament of not having a spouse? Or is she really promoting singlehood at the expense of marriage? If she is, you see the problem. That's the basis of my punchline: "The pleasures of singlehood must be kept hush-hush. It's not a legitimate life style, you hear?" I want to be single, and maybe so does DePaulo, but we might live to regret promoting this simple, free, self-indulgent life-style.Whoa! That's really funny, considering the absolutely direct connection between Bella DePaulo's book and my marriage to Meade in the following year.
So funny the things that crash and connect when you're living the blogging lifestyle.
ADDED: In the blog archive, I see that "lifestyle" is a word for which Dan Quayle and Valerie Jarrett caught grief.
Bearing babies irresponsibly is simply wrong... Failing to support children one has fathered is wrong. We must be unequivocal about this. It doesn’t help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice.Jarrett:
"These are good people. They were aware that their son was gay; they embraced him, they loved him, they supported his lifestyle choice. But when he left the home and went to school, he was tortured by his classmates."