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Gawker Rant: A Lifestyle Is Not a Job
If you are lucky enough to have financial means and plenty of leisure time and a lack of more pressing responsibilities, you may be able to focus all of your energies on designing your "lifestyle" to your own utmost satisfaction. Congratulations on your good fortune. This does not qualify as a "job."
"Lifestyle" is an amorphous catchall term used to cover everything from the food you eat to the clothes you wear to the way you arrange your furniture. It is the superficial bubble you create around you, in which you live your life. For most people, lifestyles are constrained by forces outside your control: you wear the clothes you can afford, you eat what you can afford, you get the furniture that you can afford, you live in housing that you can afford. Most of us also find our lifestyles constrained by time: sure, we might exercise and have some favorite recipes and move our Ikea couch to a different wall after we read that book on feng shui, but all of this stuff must fit in between the hours we spend on more commonplace concerns like earning money to live, taking care of kids, and doing the fucking laundry. A highly curated lifestyle, in other words, is a luxury good.
In the New York Times Magazine this past weekend, Amanda Fortini profiles the actress Mariel Hemingway—granddaughter of Ernest, sister of Margaux, star of Manhattan. Hemingway has survived a great many family tragedies, which is commendable. Indeed, the premise of the story is that Hemingway is a role model, a living example of triumph over grim circumstances. And she is. But what emerges more vividly is a rather sly and cutting portrait of a stereotypical Wealthy California YuppieHippie, who (accompanied by her former-Soloflex-model boyfriend, Bobby Williams) takes smoothie ingredients incredibly seriously and fills entire days with sunrise-watching, exercising, organic food shopping, and, yes, smoothie-making. This passage ties it all together:
Hemingway crouched on the rock and looked out into the distance. In the contemplative quiet, you could hear the roar of the ocean far below. Williams broke the silence: “My dad always says to me, ‘What do you do all day if you don’t work?’ I say: ‘Aw, Dad, there’s not enough hours in the day for me to take care of myself! Do you know how much stuff I have to do?’ ”
I pointed out that their joint self-care regimen is something of a full-time job.
Hemingway nodded. “We looked at each other one day, and we were like, ‘How can we turn how we love to live into our job?’ Why not turn it into helping other people live a better life? What I love about our book and our message is that it’s completely doable,” she said. “It’s not like this is so hard. Everybody can watch the sun.”
Let us be absolutely clear: there is nothing wrong with watching the sun come up. There is not even anything wrong, per se, with spending all of your time doing yoga and cooking delicious organic meals and jumping on trampolines and making smoothie after smoothie after smoothie, which you consume while running over gleaming sand dunes as your golden hair trails wildly in your wake. This can fairly be described as a lifestyle. But it cannot be described as a job.
More accurately, it can be described as an example of leisure activities expanding to fill one's entire life. This is a well-known benefit of affluence: the ability to whatever you want all day. Some rich people take advantage of this by lounging about on yachts, doing blow, and consuming great quantities of foie gras. Others choose to lounge about in Ojai conversing with new age healers and consuming great quantities of kale. One choice may be healthier than the other, but they are both two strains of the same lucky fairytale in which we have the ability to do anything our hearts desire, all the time.
- I am not here to argue against the ability of the rich to do anything their hearts desire with their own lives. That's a separate essay. I am only here to ask that they label these activities truthfully, as "wonderful, fortunate leisure," rather than as "work" or "jobs" or any other term which might in some way equate them with coal mining. The fact that the act of creating one's perfect "lifestyle"—in fact a testament to extremely rare levels of privilege—can be guilelessly presented as a "job" only goes to show the enormity of the bubble of delusion in which the rich are able to live. Even the nice ones.
Your smoothies are probably great. And so is your interior design. But please, dear Lifestyle Gods, don't think too poorly of us if we can't watch the sun rise right this minute. We have to go to work.
- Mariel's still beautiful, but also still dumb as a post, sadly. I wonder what kind of money she gets from Ernest's estate, and how many people she has to split it with.
- More proof there's no such thing as Intelligent Design: we need to make money in order to live comfortably. Truly intelligent design would have eliminated that need for either.
- R2, I read that article online this weekend. It says that she gets no money from the Hemingway estate. I would have thought she would have gotten something, but the journalist said the opposite.
- I believe Hemingway's widow (not Mariel's grandmother, his last wife) got everything, or nearly everything. Mariel never had a big acting career, I wonder where she got all that money.
- Lemay killed off Mary Matthews. That is unforgiveable in my book.
- I wondered that too. She must have married VERY well.
- This is no different than the Kardashians or the Housewives making a career/job out of pimping their "lifestyles."
- Better to say "career" than "job", as "career" used to mean "your life's work" and had a rather broad definition. Ladies used to refer to marriage as their "career", and well-to-do amateurs and dabblers did the same.
Not that a dolt like Mariel Hemingway would know that.
- Mariel's instagram:
- poor people are so tedious
- Damn her husband is FINE
- Bashing Mariel Hemingway? If that isn't picking the lowest hanging fruit...
- [quote] “It’s not like this is so hard. Everybody can watch the sun.”
Speak for yourself, lady.
- I'm sorry, but this Gawker rant is fucking ridiculous. Mariel lives in a basic ranch house and drives a rickety Mini Cooper with a broken windshield. She is not "rich." What she *has* done is what many, if not most, of her Hollywood peers have failed to do: early on she accepted the reality that there are few roles for women over 40 in Hollywood, particularly for someone of modest talents to begin with, so instead of blowing all her money on drugs (AHEM, Lindsay) or fancy cars (AHEM. Bieber), she invested in a modest Malibu property and saved up enough money to live *comfortably*, but not as some society doyenne with a closet full of furs. Any comparisons between her and reality-series idiots are total bullshit.
What *actually* happened here: the Gawker writer knows winter is coming -- in the real way, not the fun "Game of Thrones" way -- and he'll be stuck for yet another year in his fifth-floor Bed-Stuy walk-up with intermittent heat, endless roaches, and walls as thin as the crepe paper-like skin on Madonna's hands. After five years at Gawker, he's still only making $50K a year, and half of that goes to taxes, thanks to having to pay federal, state AND city taxes as a NYC resident. His life is awful, even if he has a life many of his even more-awful-off peers (freelancers, in other words) envy, and then he's subjected to a fawning story about a successful woman in a warm-weather climate who has EVERYTHING he does not, including a fucking SOLOFLEX MODEL as a life partner. So hey, it's Gawker's job to rip people to shreds, so off he goes on the spawn of Ernest.
Mariel doesn't have a "lifestyle" for a job. She doesn't have *a* job, period. If she'd worked in any other industry, her lifestyle would be called "early retirement." (Though yes, her complete obsession with living healthy is somehow comforting and worrying at the time, but if I had a family history of cray-cray and suicide like hers, I'd probably err on the side of caution, too.)
- What a great post, R15.
- Are you nuts, R16? That rant is laughable. Let's get real. Any able bodied adult who takes early retirement at 40 is a lazy slacker. If you spend your days navel gazing and knocking back smoothies instead of contributing something to the world, you should expect to be mocked as a spoiled trustafarian. The details of whether you actually 'are' one or not don't matter.
- :Any able bodied adult who takes early retirement at 40 is a lazy slacker"
How many of us would retire at forty if we could? Because I fucking well would!
Of course I hope I could come up with something more interesting to do than drink smoothies all day.
- I would drink booze all day.