May 8, 2015

"New Apostle of Hygienic Living Founds System on This Rule: 'Breathe Deep/Chew Long/Drink Enough/Eat Little.'"

"BACK TO NATURE" MOVEMENT GROWS/Civilization to Save Itself by Abandoning Artificial Modes of Life."

A New York Times article published November 16, 1907. A summary of the rules:

Found through a search for the word "eugenics" in the NYT archive. Context:


Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I think it was back in those days that musclemen would go to the gym to work out with Native-American clubs.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I have to wonder how well Dr. Edward Dewey of "no breakfast" fame got along with Dr. J. H. Kellogg of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

clint said...

I love advice like "avoid excess".

Wonderfully circular.

traditionalguy said...

This was the Eugenics Lobby at work.

It happened before most doctors accepted the germ theory widely enough to sterilize anything or bother to wash their hands.

It was before that difficult man Col. Gorgas overcame an entire industry of elite medical opinion makers and started a ridiculous campaign to kill mosquitoes, which nearly ended Yellow Fever and Malaria death rates in Panama that had stopped cold building TR's Canal.

And it was 50 years before Penicillin and other antibiotics made Medical men into demi gods.

Scott M said...

"Chew, chew, chew,
That is the thing to do.
Chew, chew, chew,
Good food is good for you;
Chew, chew, chew,
But only if you chew:
That is the right thing to do."

Road To Wellville 1994

rhhardin said...

If you've ever given a dog a nice piece of steak, you'll know that dogs do not savor.

No chewing in involved either.

tim maguire said...

This is just the first stage, eat less. Then comes drink less so as not to disadvantage people in arid regions. And finally, breath less so as not to deplete the earth's oxygen resources.

Ralph Hyatt said...

The Road to Wellville is an amusing look at the birth of the fitness culture.

This clip is one of the few that I could find that didn't have Bridget Fonda being "treated for hysteria" by a doctor.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Bathe with soap, or without soap?

Sammy Finkelman said...

Maybe with soap, but only if it Ivory.

robother said...

Personally I've always considered Dr. Kellogg a flake.
But how did a "Eugenics" search turn this up? This seems more "Hygienics".

Ann Althouse said...

It's funny that a man was famous for having the idea of not eating breakfast.

Fernandinande said...

"The radio's playin', gonna eat all day.
Let's buy two now and get another for free.
Let's Eat, Let's Eat
I wanna move move move my teeth
Let's Eat, Let's Eat
I wanna chew chew chew on a piece.
Let's Eat, Let's Eat "

From Nick Lowe's "Let's Eat".

rhhardin said...

Green living - I just bought my second tank of gas for the new car, bought Nov 2013. I didn't have to but need to take the dog to the vet for annual shots and that would leave me with a pretty empty tank when I got back.

Maybe I should buy half tanks only so it doesn't go stale.

Carter Wood said...

A different Wellsville -- this one by the early '80s Witchita band, The Embarrassment. But the impulse is the same.

JackOfClubs said...

You can trace these theories back to Epicurus in the 4th century BC, except maybe for the bit about bathing. But then again, he was probably talking about the luxuries of the rich rather than personal hygiene. I don't think many ancient peoples other than the Jews thought bathing was appropriate for common people.

mikee said...

Perhaps not considered ancient, but the Mayans thought bathing in hot water a perfect way to end the day, and even the lower classes are recorded by Conquistadors as submerging themselves in large vessels of water for relaxation and hygiene.

Bob R said...

Interesting reading on the Galton Laboratory of Eugenics at University College of London.

wildswan said...

There are different ways in which people become eugenicists, different paths.

The best-known path is straight out racism. In this path genetics is supposed to prove that IQ as measured by IQ tests is measuring an inherited human quality. Since those of African descent score low on IQ tests then the assumption is that they are inheriting an IQ deficit. This is the well known path of the scientific racists.

Another path, that of inherited racial poisoning, was quite common in early days of eugenics. In this path those whose parents were alcoholics or had TB or syphilis or ate the wrong foods inherited "bad blood" or "racial poisons" from their parents. So the right foods were a necessity to prevent "bad blood". Kellogg belonged to this section of the early eugenics movement. His foods were "pure" and so those who bought them would hand on blood untainted by "racial" i.e., inherited poisons.

A better understanding of inheritance (in the case of foods) and of germs (in the case of syphilis and TB) caused the decline of this wing of the eugenics movement.

You can't understand eugenics unless you realize that there have been four major forms (mainline, Nazi, reform and biodemography-neo-social biology) and several minor forms.

You start as a utopian, wish to realize your vision through social reform based on science, use biology as your science, use evolution within biology as your guiding star,

and - THE FATAL STEP - you choose to go on and use social selection to reform society. Most people drop out of this path when they realize they have engage in social selection but a eugenicist goes on and chooses a human group to be eliminated or at least weakened in numbers by a policy initiative. That choice to reform society by social selection is unredeemable, inescapable, ultimate wickedness of all forms of eugenics.

wildswan said...

You could believe in syphilis as a racial poison and try to cure syphilis or you could become a eugenicist and believe that crime is caused by syphilitic degenerates who should not be allowed to have children - sterilization, castration, life long confinement thus becoming a means to social reform.

Or maybe crime is caused by the Jews and sterilization, castration, life long confinement are too expensive and a final solution is needed.

Or maybe crime is caused by the blacks and the black birth-rate should be driven below replacement level as Margaret Sanger thought and as Planned Parenthood has succeeded in doing. (Not that the break-up of the black family family has reduced crime.)

Socialists have always supported birth control and not at all because they believe in inherited mental defect. Socialists keep the birth control clinics open because that was on their agenda. And so socialists are guilty of ignoring the way in which eugenicists twisted the original socialist birth control agenda into a genocide against the blacks.

Wilbur said...

Although I exclude no food groups, Wilbur has eaten a healthy diet since adulthood. That said, there's little doubt that a lot of people, including Wilbur, would be healthier eating less food.

But I'm into epicurean pleasures, aka flavah. Seriously.

William said...

I have fresh blueberries and yogurt for breakfast. Apparently it's healthy. So that's one healthy habit. By such small increments do I move forward perfection.......When syphilis first arrived in Europe, it was far more prevalent among the aristocrats than among the peasants. They were the only ones who could afford to fool around. Bad teeth were also a sign of good breeding as only the wealthy could afford to indulge in sugar.

David said...

These are the ones who eventually moved to California.