This reminded me of something I read awhile ago I’m going to try to find it. It’s a home design trend in which the goal is to challenge your body to move throughout the space. It involved uneven floors and tight corridors and sometimes having to stand on one foot I think? It stemmed from a similar philosophy that in our modern civilization our bodies aren’t under enough daily stress. I can’t remember the name of the philosophy or practice though but will link to it when found.
It’s unfortunate that Nellie Bowles probably has to write X number of articles per month for the Times. Ideally, she’d be paid a solid salary and left to navigate the quality/quantity/length equation herself. (Disclosure: I have no freaking clue how Bowles is paid or managed, but her work is so hot and cold I get the impression that sometimes she’s a true artist and sometimes she’s just gotta submit something.)
This piece falls at the cooler end of the spectrum. I was already fuming (that’s the point, right?) by the time I got to “Mr. Lonsdale proposes that ‘private prison contracts tie financial incentives to performance measures,’ for instance.” And that’s when I almost tossed my iPad across the room. It’s way too easy to attack these kind of evil-simple people. I prefer bubbled-up, society-level criticisms, and more introspective, a la Susan Sontag or Rachel Solnit, who paved the way. Bowles has done that, and very well, in the past. I hope to see more of it.
PS When Readup is successful, writers like Bowles will have all the freedom they need to write how and when they want. And it’s not about cutting out orgs like the NYTimes, who do have a lot to offer - excellent editing, at the very least.