Thursday, March 27, 2008

12. A Book of Curious Advice

The title: A Book of Curious Advice: Most Unusual Manners-Morals-Medicine
The author: Ruth Pepper Summers
Publication: Sterling, 2004
Got it from: La Library

I'm not going to "review" this book since it is a compilation, but I would like to say: holy crap. Some of this advice given in actual magazines and health pamphlets: damn.

Charles Darwin, on how to cure a broken limb, 1833: "Kill and cut open two puppies and bind them on each side of a broken limb." [Say whaaaa?]

On how to have beautiful children (1872): "During pregnancy the mother should often have some painting or engraving representing cheerful or beautiful figures before her eyes, or often contemplate some graceful statue. She should avoid looking at or thinking of ugly people or those marked with disfiguring diseases." [Well, that's it. I definitely won't be able to go to work when I'm pregnant.]

(1892): "Do not give opium to children under the age of one year except on the advice of a physician." [But opium for all toddlers is a-okay!!]

This one, from something called "Creative and Sexual Science" (1876) made me laugh so hard I almost fell out of my chair. You just know it was written by some woman who had to resort to her only means of getting her boorish husband's attention:
"Have your wife's breasts declined since you courted and married her? [Stop making her pregnant. That usually does the trick.] It is because her womb has declined and rebuilding it will rebuild them and nursing up her love will rebuild her womb and breasts. Come, court her up again as you used to before marriage [make love to me like you used to, Harold] and, besides reddening up her now pale cheeks, lightening her now lagging motion, you will redevelop her shrivelled breasts. [What about our shrivelled sex life, Harold? What about that?] Stay home of nights from your club rooms, billiard saloons and lodges [come home to me, Harold!] to read or talk to her [omg talk to my wife? wtf?] or escort her to parties, lectures, concerts and you'll get well paid every time you see her bust. [Yeah, Harold, who needs gambling and billiards when you can stare at my hot boobies all night long!]"

I'm not even going to talk about the recipes for pigeons and squirrels in the back.


Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, I sort of agree on the beautiful pictures concept, because IMO people become what they have been influenced by..for example myself and my brother have come to resemble our uncle and grandma, respectively (despite being adopted).

On the other hand seeing someone or something merely in passing probably wouldn't make much of a difference. The influence of what I'm talking about is long-term.

But the other ideas are beyond strange. ;(


KJH said...

If they want me to contemplate beautiful Greek male statues, I'm there.