Tuesday, March 09, 2010

On behalf of "the stay-a-beds"

What's the opposite of living off airplane food at home in the name of Ambition? Beginning each day with an hour-long exercise walk (i.e. not an hour-long walk to one's office), following that up with a swim, and perhaps some knitting or other "productive activity." Jane Brody's days sound delightful, but altogether incompatible with any life other than a lucky (financially and health-wise) retirement; a life as a soy-and-yoga-fueled Tribeca trophy wife; or a job that consists of being super-wholesome and once a week writing about it, in a smug tone, for the NYT. (Smug how? Brody refers to those not yet up-and-exercising by 6am as "the stay-a-beds.")

The problem with food-movement writing, personal-health writing, and associated genres is that those who define the field tend, by definition, to have unrealistic ideas of the changes someone not professionally devoted to whole grains is likely to make. It's not only that Pollan, Brody, and company represent The Yuppie Coastal Lifestyle. It's that even within that world, they're the extremes. This serves to set up the backlash, to make those who claim that 'real people' ('real' defined as those in exurbs, in inner-cities, or as busy-bee recent-college-grads in NY) have no time for anything but reclining with a plate of fried slop seem reasonable by comparison.

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