Tuesday, May 10, 2005

On A Governor's Advice and Body

Arkansas' governor, Mike Huckabee, is teaming up with Bill Clinton to get Americans thinner. Governor Huckabee has even written a book, Quit Digging Your Grave with A Knife and Fork. From what I understand, it utilizes a "12 Stop" method that tells folks what not to do, if they want to get thinner. The article linked above appears to list these 12 "Stops,", and I thought that the last one was worth mentioning:

12: Stop "Neglecting your spiritual health."

Is there something problematic about a sitting (no, exercising!) governor of Arkansas imploring people not to neglect their spiritual health? Probably not. For one, "spiritual health," is probably a sufficiently bland enough statement in regards to faith as to be inoffensive. Second, it's a book published, distributed, and sold nationally; Gov. Huckabee isn't mailing these to every Arkansas home. And third, it's fairly personal advice that seems to work well with a public figure making his private figure even more public.

What needs to be examined, more, I think, is what is involved in a public campaign that draws attention so specifically to these politicians' actual bodies. It's as if their political identity is providing the warrant for the significance of their physical identities. Usually, I suspect, we go the other way: we imagine our physical bodies and needs, use our bodies as evidence, and then establish our political identities. This seems to be different. I bet there is a dissertation in here, and probably a whole body of literature to cite, too!


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