Feeling Insecure About Your Diet Habits? Here is the Latest Health and Wellness Update to Make You Feel Immediately Worse!

Do you grocery shop at the supermarket? Well, of course you do! Lol! Duh. Anyway, to cut straight to the point, virtually everything you buy at the supermarket contains added sugar, and is slowly (but surely!) killing you! Don’t believe me? Check out this super-useful article by David Leonhardt! Sugar is bad, obviously (it’s science), but worse than that: sugar is sneaky and seeking your ultimate demise, probably. Let me tell you about all the ways sugar is quietly plotting your downfall as you go about your daily routine, and how you can narrowly avoid it.

Leonhardt describes breakfast as “the most dangerous meal of the day,” and, like, I can’t lie, I’ve always had a feeling my waffles were out to get me, but its such a relief to have something substantial on this. Basically, if you want to feel good about your breakfast, there are just a few simple steps you need to take, which only require, I don’t know, an extra forty-five minutes to two hours of your already impossible morning routine (just get out of bed two hours earlier, you lazy shit! Science says its a myth that you need eight hours to function if you homemake your granola, anyway). So naturally, first, you have to be making your own granola. I know, I know, nine times out of ten it is a failure. But hey! If you burn the shit out of it, which is the most common result, you just skip the meal, and then you don’t have to worry about your excess-sugar intake anyway! Next, you simply have to be making your own orange juice. It is so simple! You just need, like, six oranges. From there, you can use your shitty off-brand juice presser to squeeze them into one meager glass which will probably leave you thirstier than you were to begin with. The final necessity is that you invest in a food scale, so you know how many precisely how many ounces you’re intaking in this first meal. If you go over the recommended amount, feel free to consequently feel bad about it for the rest of the day! Now you’re aware of your lack of portion control, so the insecurities that coincide projected overeating should be pretty cutting at this point.

If you do stay within the recommended amounts, though, and you managed to so-far avoid the tempting beckon of that Trix yogurt you got on sale at Target because you couldn’t afford the Siggi’s organic stuff (it’s for kids anyway, idiot), don’t let your guard down. You are still in danger of the ever-insidious afternoon snack, something which can “all too easily turn into another dessert.” Rather than buy a granola bar, which appears healthy but will actually make you fat (science), take out a mortgage and buy some raw nuts (apparently Barack Obama does this) and then roast them in your abundance of spare time.

Now, for dinner. Oh, you wanted ketchup with that locally-sourced-99%-lean turkey burger? Think a-fucking-gain! There’s sugar in that shit! Oh what? That was obvious? You weren’t eating ketchup as diet food? Oh man, that’s really awkward for me. Idk what else to say. Sorry.

Anyway, you can totally have dessert! I’m not here to ruin everything! Lol! Just if you do, make sure you eat only fruit and drink only tea with nothing in it. And when you get up in the middle of the night to eat that Nutella sandwich because you’re hungry and you decided you don’t give a fuck about the health and wellness bullshit constantly being shoved down your throat, be sure to have a good cry with it! Your tears will just give the bread the softest, most incredible consistency.


The Blessing of a Polar Bear Cub

This past Friday, I was watching BBC World News on PBS, the only news program I allow myself to watch instead of those on shameless circuses of ratings-hungry cable news channels. BBC World News lasts 30 minutes and covers an eclectic mélange of world news from politics to science, from the arts to athletics, without any bias. Each story is treated with the same diligence of reporting and one story does not dominate the news program for long. Having been updated on the Muller investigation (which is most likely to end in his firing), the consequences of Tillerson’s replacement on our country’s national security image (countries can’t trust us), and the newfound evidence Britain has on a Russian agent and his daughter being poisoned through Putin’s orders (which won’t lead to any punishment), it came practically as a blessing when BBC World News reported on the first polar bear cub emerging from its den in the United Kingdom for the first time in 25 years.

A week before Christmas, polar bear Victoria gave birth in the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park. The birth had been confirmed through high-pitched screeching noises zoologists heard on the other side of the maternity den, which had been closed to the public. Zookeepers did not enter the maternity den, as to allow nature to take its course and have the mother-child bond unimpeded. Since the birth, Victoria had emerged to eat, drink, and lounge, but her child remained cloistered. Until last week.

Cub image 2 STV
Victoria and her cub.

Victoria’s cub stumbled out of the sheltered den and into the outside world with as much difficulty as it had determination. Una Richardson, head carnivore keeper at the Royal Zoological Society, recounts the moment she saw the newest addition to the wildlife park. “Suddenly I saw a small, fluffy bundle next to [Victoria] and had to pinch myself to check I wasn’t seeing things. It was a very special experience and one I’ll never forget. We also have motion-sensitive cameras safely positioned near Victoria’s den and we were delighted to see we had captured her cub’s first few steps outside.” In the coming weeks, the polar bear den will reopen to the public. Zookeepers are unsure of the cub’s gender, as they allow Victoria uninterrupted time to nurse and teach her child the ways of the world. Once its gender is known, the cub will be named.

This segment on BBC World News lasted for approximately 5 minutes. It ended the program and had newscaster Jane O’Brien smiling into the camera after reporting on the dire events dominating the news. While such a report uplifted me, such a sentiment was ephemeral. It’s no secret that polar bears, such as Victoria and her cub, are living at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland because their natural habitat is uninhabitable. The Arctic Circle is melting into a slushy sea of once solid polar ice caps and subsiding schools of walruses, seals, and whales. But for the moment, I am reveling in this piece of world news and I am celebrating the unnamed polar bear cub—revering its miniature cuteness before it grows into a 2,000 pound mammal of sullied white fur, captivated by its first clumsy steps before it grows into a carnivorous chaser of prey, and envious of the innocence it possess today, before succumbing to its primitive instincts to fight against extinction.

Reporting from BBC World News

–Salvatore Casto

The Minnesota Canon

In early February, a school district in Duluth, Minnesota decided to revise the literary canon and remove both Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird from the required curriculum. The books would still be available to students in school libraries, just not assigned in classrooms.

The reasons given were that the use of the “N-word” in both books were found often making African-American students uncomfortable, and that while both authors ostensibly were trying to write stories which combatted racism, their portrayal of black characters (primarily Jim in Huckleberry Finn and Tom in To Kill A Mockingbird) were steeped in problematic stereotypes and fit the mold of a “white savior” narrative.

I had to read Huckleberry Finn in high school, and I remember absolutely nothing about the plot, other than something about a raft on the river. Mostly this is because my teacher had the brilliant idea to have us read passages of the book aloud. My classroom was pretty evenly divided between white students and the collective other. Every single one of the others said “n-word” whenever we had to read aloud, and every single white student charged forth with actually pronouncing the word, fully sanctioned by our white teacher. Ears burning, I remember catching the eye of every other student, all of us shaking our heads and losing the thread of the story as we were battered with this word over and over again.

My relationship to To Kill A Mockingbird is wholly different. I can’t remember Harper Lee’s novel without remembering the dark brown hand wrapped around the binding, my mother’s hand shoving it beneath my nose and insisting I read. It is one of those stories that completely sucks you in. Spellbinding – literally bound by the words floating out of the page and wrapping tight around you, holding you still until every page has been thumbed at least once, finally reaching the end of the journey.

No! No! No! was my first reaction to Duluth’s decision. Don’t lump one of my favorite books in with that Mark Twain trash.

There is nothing anyone can do to convince me that To Kill A Mockingbird is anything less than a beautiful story that deserves all the recognition it’s gotten. Yes, it’s a white author writing from the perspective of a white character who perceives black people in a limited way. Scout is a prepubescent white girl, she doesn’t have full access to the thoughts and feelings of her black neighbors. But the book is able to give us respectful glimpses of their lives that at times go over our narrator’s head, but are not intended to go over the reader’s. It is a book about a white man using his privileged status to try and defend a black man – ultimately, unsuccessfully.

I can appreciate the frustration of a black character seemingly being “used” in order to educate white people about how terrible racism is, but at the same time… yeah, white people really do need to learn this lesson. They need to learn that there’s a history of white women accusing innocent black men of rape, of white men pressuring white women (sometimes violently, sometimes with pure intimidation) to accuse innocent black men of rape. And certainly this is a narrative that also deserves to be written and read by black authors, but why not celebrate a well written novel by a white person confronting the racism pervasive in her own community, perpetrated by her own people, taking responsibility for what her people have done to others and trying to push for a better tomorrow?

Also, Scout and Dill are just simply delightful.

But, perhaps I would have felt differently about this book had it been introduced to me not by my black mother, but by a white professor, with white students in the classroom gleefully taking advantage of the opportunity to spout out the n-word without impunity. I wonder how I would view Huckleberry Finn if it had been established that no student would be allowed to actually say the word aloud, or if a black professor had been teaching the material.

In theory, and specifically in the case of anything written by Mark Twain, I’m overjoyed to see the literary canon get demolished and reconstructed with a focus on inclusion and diversity, a focus on ensuring that all students are in a safe learning environment. Whereas a white student might benefit from learning how terrible racism is through the eyes of Huck and Scout, it’s true that a black student might struggle to achieve the same experience simply because the “n-word” is so triggering.

And, what the literary canon actually is is arbitrary. The reason why so much of what we read in western literature is written by straight white males is because a bunch of straight white males got to decide what we were going to consider canon. And those decisions should be challenged, because there are brilliant authors and characters out there of far more diverse background that all students could benefit from being introduced to.

On the other hand, what gets thrown into the canon also has to do with some level of popularity, or notoriety. Mark Twain was an incredibly influential figure, whether I feel he deserved to be or not. So was Harper Lee, whether others think she deserved to be or not. And then, yet again, why should we continue to teach works simply because they were influential at the time if we have decided that they contain problematic messages. Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey are popular – that doesn’t mean they deserve be required reading in classrooms. And yet I find them far less triggering to be read aloud than being forced to endure Mark Twain’s seemingly endless spiel of vulgarity.

In theory, I a hundred percent support this revision of the canon… until it conflicts with books I desperately believe deserve to stick around and be taught. But literature is, thankfully, vast. There are plenty of other important stories to explore. I’d be interested to see which books are eventually required on Duluth’s school curriculum. How exactly does one construct a trigger-free, all inclusive reading list that satisfies every student of every background in Minnesota while also being a legitimately influential piece of literature?

Sources: Aljazeera Opinion Piece; StarTribune; More from StarTribune


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