Friday Ephemera
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The Perils of Jogging

For want of anything better to do, we turn to the pages of the Guardian, where columnist Zoe Williams is once again unhappy and resentful

The tweeting began before 6am, as healthy, responsible people announced to the world that they were going to the gym for their 6am workout, and might go for a run later… By 7am, someone had posted a picture of themselves doing a complicated yoga posture on a log, and I was as angry as a bull. The problem wasn’t the hashtagging; the problem is with fitness itself.

Ms Williams, it seems, spends every dawn monitoring Twitter hashtags of which she disapproves and raging at the thought of strangers exercising. And she does this while writing an ostensible fitness column for the Guardian, the details of which she struggles to retain:  

I have been writing a fitness column for a year and in this time I’ve digested very little about what exercise does for your body.

Or as the headline puts it,

I’m not sure what exercise does for your body.

This appears, incidentally, inches above a reminder of the importance of supporting the paper’s relentless professionalism. However, there are some things Ms Williams does know:

I know everything about what [fitness] does to your personality, and none of it is pretty. 

You see,

Start doing something new, and you can’t stop talking about it… It’s not really talking, though, is it? It’s boasting. 

And so,

Unavoidably, over time, this makes you more rightwing, as you descend into an aerobics-powered moral universe where only the weak need each other.

So there we are. According to Zoe, if you visit a gym, or cycle, or merely take the occasional brisk walk with a dog in tow - or presumably have any kind of goals, however modest, and then achieve them - you’ll become boastful, consumed with “self-love” and wicked delusions of “self-sufficiency,” a gateway to the greatest sin of all: not being leftwing. Because leftwing people, like Zoe, are free of vanity and unblemished by urges to signal superiority of one kind or another. Say, by telling us, quite often, that they’re not at all rightwing.

Still, it’s strange just how readily Zoe leaps from ‘people can be a bit tedious when banging on about their enthusiasms’ – the word blogging comes to mind – to ‘regular jogging will make you vote Conservative because feelings of achievement and capability are politically corrupting’. Presumably, leftist piety is arrived at via indolence, whining and half-arsed flummery. Though it’s not, perhaps, as strange as declaring one’s own piety and compassion – as opposed to all those dreadful rightwing people - while sneering at a cancer charity because its most direct beneficiaries are men.

Which Zoe then does, with an obligatory misandrist jab, by dismissing the Movember Foundation, an independent charity that raises money for research into treating and preventing testicular cancer, along with efforts at suicide prevention, as an excuse to “grow a moustache to celebrate your prostate.” No doubt Ms Williams would be just as keen to describe as irksome any of the numerous charities catering to women’s health issues, with those little pink ribbons being worn merely to “celebrate your tits.”  

Previously. Via Ben