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« Alexander | Main | Choosing a How-To-Paint Book -- 2 »

December 17, 2008


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Music critic Ken Tucker lists his favorite pop music of the year.

* Health-and-fitness guru Mark Sisson lists his favorite books of all time. Pleasing to see that Mark has the same high opinion of Gary Taubes' "Good Calories, Bad Calories" that I do. It's a showstopper as well as a paradigm-shifter.

* MBlowhard Rewind: I shared some thoughts about 10-best lists generally.



posted by Michael at December 17, 2008


Fimoculous collects the mother of all lists-of-lists every year:

Posted by: JV on December 17, 2008 12:19 PM

I have to say Mike, your constant praise of Taubes finally drove me to purchase the book last week. Looking forward to it.

Posted by: T. AKA Ricky Raw on December 17, 2008 1:40 PM

JV -- Thanks, I wasn't aware of that one.

T/Ricky -- Hey, I just finished "The Mack Within." Very smart and funny, though with the jargon and slang I sometimes felt like I needed a translator. I'm still trying to get used to the phrase "stepping to a woman." Tks for that rec.

Taubes: I skimmed numerous pages of details about hormonal and endocrinal pathways and such. But it's a great study of what seems to be a massive example of science and institutions gone wrong. We all know, just know, that lowfat eating is the solution to the obesity problem, right? Everyone says so, after all, from Harvard to D.C. But what if the kind of eating that Harvard and D.C. are pushing has in fact *caused* the obesity problem? What if our official health class has goofed, and has in fact created massive unhappiness and unhealthiness? Taubes is no conspiracy-fantasy promoter, and I haven't seen a challenge yet to his book that seemed substantial. The egos, politics, and impersonal processes involved are fascinating to follow. And I was happy to take the whole thing metaphorically as well -- I let thoughts about our finance class, and cultural class, and how they've behaved and mis-served us, bounce around my head plenty. Eager to hear how you react to the book.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on December 17, 2008 6:24 PM

Isn't that tacky book cover the best? I can just imagine you pulling that out to read in polite company! It is a pretty good book though once you get past the hip-hop jargon.

Posted by: T. AKA Ricky Raw on December 17, 2008 8:19 PM

Here's an article in Reason Magazine that criticizes Taubes. Read it if you're interested in both sides of the low-carb/low-fat argument.

Posted by: Bill on December 18, 2008 1:15 AM

Ah Bill, you have torn my heart in two. Michael Fumento is one of my favourite journalists, a skeptic in the best sense of the word, who suffered considerable calumnies for his courageous and completely vindicated book The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS. A brave and enterprising journalist.

As is Gary Taubes. I found the whole foofaraw between the two to be quite depressing--it seemed to diminish both of them.

My own completely non-expert take on Fumento's criticisms of Taubes: he scores some heavy hits but overreaches, while Taubes is right about the big things, especially, as in his later magnum opus GCBC, the devastating takedown of nutrition "science" as a whole.

I believe Taubes and Michael Pollan have really put paid to the food puritans (others have helped too, but those two write for the New York Times), and that's got to be good.

The anti-fat hysteria of the last forty years is going to be recognized as what it is: a puritanical faux-scientific ersatz religious attack on the pleasures of the body, and especially the joys of food.

A bunch of pallid egg-white-for-sperm tight-lipped bloodless little bluenoses have gotten their comeuppance, and it's about time.

Just wish Michael Fumento could see it that way too.

Posted by: PatrickH on December 18, 2008 1:48 PM

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