I have an essay in Sunday's NYT Magazine. The title, Going to Great Lengths, refers to the FDA's recent approval of a biosynthesized growth hormone for the treatment of very short children who have no other apparent ailments. That's tne news peg. Here's the thesis:
We think some biological phenomena deserve treatment and sympathy and others don't. If you have chronic migraines, we'll help. If you're ugly, too bad. If we say that being short is treatable and offer medicine to change that biological fate, then we're saying there's something wrong with being short.
We need a new, less pejorative category: "biological conditions we don't like." Not diseases or disabilities, simply dislikes - conditions that keep us from being whom we want to be. We can treat dislikes without shame. Or we can leave them untreated without entitlement. Otherwise, we will label everything we don't like a disease, no matter how absurd the consequences.
For those wondering what The Substance of Style and The Future and Its Enemies have in common, here's one theme.