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Kellogg's Cornflakes

"Is God a man with two arms and legs like me? Does He have eyes, a head? Does He have bowels? Well I do, and that makes me more wonderful than He is!"

Kellogg's Cornflakes, the bland breakfast flakes that go almost instantly limp in milk were originally invented to bore you into such a deep coma that you would fall face down in the milk drenched flakes, drown, and thereby be spared the temptation and sin known as masturbation.

Like many Christian conservatives before and since, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg believed that masturbation, and in fact all sexual excess, was sinful -- "sexual excess" here defined as "sex for anything beyond reproduction". For instance: after marrying, Kellogg chose to spend his honeymoon sequestered from his wife, valiantly striving to complete his his influential book Plain Facts for Old and Young: Embracing the Natural History and Hygiene of Organic Life (1892). Talk about your dull, soggy flakes.

Kellogg himself seems to have solved the problem by redirecting his attentions to an obsessive fascination with cleansing the bowels. For Kellogg, the tube linking anus to lips was a seething quagmire of pollution, poisoning the mind and spirit as well as the body. Kellogg, a vegetarian himself, recommended abstaining from flesh and spicy foods, augmenting the diet with plenty of fiber, drinking lots of water, and irrigating with regular enemas of water with a yogurt chaser. And as director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Kellogg had ample license to apply his approach to many captive well-to-do neurotics in need of mental restablizing.

According to Kellogg, 90 percent of all human ills originated in the bowels. One would think however that all 90 percent originated in the twiddling of the crotch, given the fury with which Kellogg attacked the humble practice of masturbation. In Plain Facts for Old and Young, he advised that the first line of defense was keeping children busy and constantly under surveillance -- that is, working them daily to the point of exhaustion. The vigilant parent must especially be aware of a child's goings on in the bathtub, on the toilet, or in bed, for solitude was a temptation to vice. Furthermore, all parents were urged to watch for such tell-tale "symptoms" of masturbation as bad posture (slumped shoulders), a fear of the opposite sex, and hanging out in groups with other children of the same gender. Stiffness in the hips in boys or a wiggly walk in girls were also clues. Also a child who suddenly became more bold -- or worse, more timid -- was surely a masturbator as well.

To stop these hideous acts of depravity, Kellogg strongly advocated circumcision of young boys (note that, up until this era, most non-Jewish American boys were not circumcised), stating that the operation should be done without anesthesia because the remembered pain (and the soreness which followed for several weeks) would serve as a lasting reminder deterring the child from rummaging.

Another deterrent recommended by Kellogg was to wire a boy’s foreskin together at the tip such that any mere erection would become very painful. The wire was of course to be attached by piercing the foreskin with a needle, with the wire following along in place of thread. For the multitude of American males who do not (thanks to Kellogg and his ilk) have a foreskin, it may be worth mentioning that the foreskin is considered to be much more sensitive to pain and pleasure than the bald penis you may currently own.

But Kellogg did not single out only boys for torment -- perish the thought! Girls too must be prevented from self-pleasuring, at all costs. For girls Kellogg recommended that application of carbolic acid directly to the clitoris was:

an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement, and preventing the recurrence of the practice in those whose will-power has become so weakened that the patient is unable to exercise entire self-control.

The worse cases among young women are those in which the disease has advanced so far that erotic thoughts are attended by the same voluptuous sensations that accompany the practice. The author has met many cases of this sort in young women, who acknowledged that the sexual orgasm was thus produced, often several times daily. The application of carbolic acid in the manner described is also useful in these cases in allaying the abnormal excitement, which is a frequent provocation of the practice of this form of mental masturbation.

Of course, now medical doctors know that carbolic acid is extremely poisonous. When applied to the tissues, and when applied directly to muscle or nerve, it causes instant paralysis. And when swallowed undiluted, it produces violent gastro-enteritis, with vomiting and purging, followed by collapse, delirium, and often by convulsions and death.

Nonetheless, if carbolic acid did not do the trick, Kellogg reasoned it was necessary to surgically remove the clitoris. He cites one such surgery, he performed at the request of the girl's father. Sure that his 10 year old would go to hell for her sinful indulgence, the father had resolved he would rather take her out in the wilderness and leave her to die rather than have her infect the minds of her siblings with her evil ways. Kellogg and cliterodectomy were her only hope for continued life and salvation. The good doctor happily obliged.

John Harvey Kellogg Although it is hard to judge whether Kellogg and similar theorists were the cause or merely the voice of 19th century Americans' surging hysteria over masturbation, we can certainly see that the shadow of this era has lingered in our culture for over a century. Only now with the threat of HIV looming more menacingly has our society begun to switch gears and tout masturbation as a good complement to abstaining from premarital sex -- but only because horny teens were having trouble abstaining without jacking off. And Christian bible scholars are revealing the all new politically correct truth that the bible doesn't really condemn masturbation at all!

Surely Kellogg is rolling over in his grave at this latest theological development. But at least people still like his cornflakes. But wait! The cornflakes we consume today are not John Kellogg's simple flakes of corn! They are actually an adulterated version of his original creation, spiked with sugar and who knows what else. In fact the Kelloggs' breakfast cereals were manufactured by his brother Will Kellogg, whom he sued for trotting out the Kellogg name on something much more palatable than the original gruel served up at his Battle Creek Sanitarium. No doubt this insidious corruption of American breakfast cereal explains why Americans are the horny bastards they are today.


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