It’s a new school year, and I’m facing down what might be my last year of coursework before I become a doctoral candidate. It’s exciting, but this year I’m facing one of my biggest scholarly challenges yet: teaching my own class.
Warning: Assholes ahead.
I had already been mulling over this whole “public humiliation for sport” thing because of some reddit shenanigans that pulled me into that toxic little corner known as /r/fatlogic. But reading Caitlin’s story, and her uplifting followup, reminded me of the deeper impact this emotional terrorism has on random people just trying to live their lives and use social media like everybody else.
Hurting my back ended up being a real blessing in disguise. Prior to starting rehab, my legs would cramp multiple times a night. Now I can’t remember the last time I’ve woken up and cramped. The majority of my exercises lent themselves well to off-ice training, which made me more motivated to keep up with them. I learned that my sacroiliac joints suck, but a brace does wonders for it. I’m learning a lot about how my body and muscles work, which is something that never sunk in when I was supposed to memorize all the muscles on a rat for zoology class.
Trigger warning: Discussion of weight loss.
Earlier this summer I tried to make a comprehensive chart of all the logical inconsistencies in the conventional wisdom about how fat operates physiologically. Here’s one example: for around half a century now our culture has taken it for granted that fat tissue itself (at least above a certain “ideal” minimum) presents significant dangers to the human body, so that the more of it you have the worse your health is likely to be (and the less, the better). Let’s call this Belief A. More recently, starting in the late 1990s, I started to see news reports about studies showing that losing a mere 5-10% of body weight provided people with dramatic health improvements. This gives us Belief B: no matter how much “excess” fat tissue you might happen to have, the first 90-95% of it is relatively harmless and can remain right where it is without any significant risk to your health. Now, Belief A and Belief B cannot both be true; they are incompatible. How could anyone possibly manage to believe both? Yet some people do, amazingly enough.
I created a feast for my regional group of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) that was five courses, 25 dishes. Most of the recipes I used were my own recipes, adaptions (or redactions) of recipes that were in existence pre-1600. And then, with the help of friends, I executed this feast for about 90 people last Saturday.