The Fashion of Disease

Dr. Brian J. Troth // On January 23, 2020, my ex-fiancé passed away when he was 34. When he was hospitalized, I took great care to select clothes that he loved for his bag and it reminded me of an undeveloped project on my mind: the fashion of disease. Though I haven’t quite threaded the…

(Un)fashionable Illness

Lesley Thulin // When VICE Magazine published a fashion spread that depicted reenactments of famous women writers’ suicides in its 2013 Women in Fiction issue, it was met with outrage. Some critics described “Last Words” as “almost breathtakingly tasteless,” while others chalked it up to “slouching indifference and sloppiness.” VICE’s own last words on the…

The Hype Around Wonder Drugs, Then and Now

Brent Arehart // Every day, American viewers of television and streaming services alike are targeted by direct-to-consumer ads for pharmaceuticals. We are all too familiar with them. Chances are you already know something about Prozac, Lipitor, and myriads of other drugs even if you can’t recall off the top of your head what they are…

Roundtable: Medical Humanities and Visual Culture (Part II)

Editor’s note: This two-part roundtable features critiques of contemporary visual culture as seen through a medical humanist lens. Part I drew on research in sociology to interpret pharmaceutical advertising. In Part II, below, Leah Rosen and Lilli Schussler tackle questions of the reproduction and extension of human life: Rosen in the context of 1930s popular…

Locating Emotion in Our Language and Bodies

Claire Litt // Practically speaking, heartbreak is nonsensical. We know the heart is a muscle, and that muscles do not break—they tear. Yet no despondent lover has ever laid prostrate on their bed complaining of heart tears. Though it is a muscle, the heart breaks as a bone—and the fact that we say so informs…

Glossier No More: Following the Leadership of Retail Workers

Bojan Srbinovski // Things are happening at Glossier, the cosmetics giant famous for its millennial pink brand palette and its repeatedly stated goal to “democratize beauty.” A recent open letter published by a group called Outta the Gloss, a collective of former Glossier retail employees, indicates that these workers, whom Glossier calls “offline editors,” were…

Is the Face Mask a Muzzle? A Brief History

Don James McLaughlin// On June 26, a video began circulating of a man growling “I will not be muzzled like a mad dog” at a special meeting of the St. Lucie County Commission in Florida, held to discuss a proposal for a face mask mandate. Bared teeth notwithstanding, commissioners voted to approve the ordinance on…

Proust in Pandemic: Part II

Catherine Parker // Proust and Medicine Prior to undertaking the project to read In Search of Lost Time in the coronavirus era, the only biographical fact I knew about Proust was that he insisted on completing his landmark novel in the cocoon of a cork-lined room—an idiosyncratic signature—but perhaps one that would have resonated in…