Starting on a tangent, it is said that appendicitis was not at all a common disease until Edward VII came down with it a fortnight before his coronation, thus making it fashionable. Within the next decade, a record number of surgeries were performed; new techniques were developed and a great deal of literature created around this subject. By the Second World War – thirty-five years later – appendicitis was established in surgery as one of the commonest diagnoses for acute abdominal pain.

How many of the social constructs and social disparities around us exist for the mere reason that we believe them to exist? The same Englishmen who popularized the concept of appendicitis have an old parable which runs ‘give a dog a bad name and hang him’ which may be loosely taken to mean that we live up, if anything, to the expectations and reputation that society allows us. Read the rest of this entry »