Links gone wild!

Some people have suspected this all along, but science is now providing evidence to support the notion that children who grow up in messy households tend to have better immune systems. The converse of that, of course, is that children born to germaphobes don’t fare very well. As a researcher quoted in this piece from the New York Times says, “Children raised in an ultraclean environment are not being exposed to organisms that help them develop appropriate immune regulatory circuits.” (I’ll have to say, though, that I could have lived a long and happy life without knowing intestinal worms can be good for you.)

It was published early last month, and is already dated in one regard (more on that below), but this article from the online magazine The American surely had Charlotte civic leaders babbling their appreciation. It’s articles like this for which the phrase “tongue bath” was coined. In describing Charlotte’s many virtues, a battalion of adjectives were pressed into service, among them “sophisticated,” “dramatic,” “attractive,” “largest” and “major.” I also got a chuckle out of this line, referring to Bank of America’s acquisition of investment firm Merrill Lynch: “[BofA] is likely to emerge from the tumult as one of the most important financial firms in the world.” That, or broke and busted. What seemed like a good thing in December looks much different in the cold light of January.

Credit must be given to the Romenesko blog on Poynter Online for ferreting out this gem from the early 1980s. It’s a TV news report about people who anticipate the day when home computers could be used to get daily news reports. “It’s not as far-fetched as it may seem,” the announcer says at the start — but by the end of the two-minute segment, a sidewalk newspaper vendor is shown hawking his wares as the reporter’s voice-over tells us, “So for the moment at least, this fellow isn’t worried about being out of a job.” True enough: Back then, it took two hours to get the full text of the paper on a computer.

2 Responses to “Links gone wild!”

  1. Barb Says:

    The worms story is interesting to me. I grew up in a house that I consider pretty dirty (at the time I didn’t know any different), but I ended up with a rare autoimmune disease. Who knows how these things happen (my disease is still mostly a mystery), but I’m glad the scientists are studying germs to try to find answers. I’m not one to fuss too much over the cleanliness of our home (and with two dogs, I don’t have much choice!), but I know we’re leaps and bounds cleaner (and overall less messy) than my parents’ house when I was growing up. So maybe I should extend the 5-second rule to make it a 10-second rule? ha

  2. Core Conservative Says:


    If some scientists believe that growing up in filthy conditions makes one stronger and more resistant to disease later, then the same logic might apply to the economy.

    I guess that means those Wall St. executives who survive the coming lean, mean, guv’ment TARP machine are more likely to be RICH, I tell you, RICH! in the coming years.

    And as for reality, mine is a fairy tale in reverse. I seem to have traded my 401k for a dirty bean stalk. Fe, Fi, Fo, Phooey!