July 3, 2012 Leave a comment
Never too busy to blog. A number of FB friends of mine commented on this NYT essay quite favorably (it argues that we are all over-scheduled and need to scale back), but it really rubbed me the wrong way. Slate’s Bryan Lowder captures exactly why:
Where I lose Krieder, however, is in his suggested speed-bump for our “endless frenetic hustle.” Instead of offering realistic solutions like, say, the institution of a Spanish-style siesta for everyone into the workday afternoon, he glibly praises his ability to beg off work for an entire day dedicated to “chilled pink minty cocktails” or, better yet, to decamp completely to an “undisclosed location” (according to an author bio, a country house somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay), as if these were steps we all could take if only we were brave enough to do so.
While both sound like lovely ways to relax and focus on writing, respectively, the likelihood that most readers will be able to join Krieder in his charmed indolence is low; so low, in fact, that his waxing romantic about the spontaneously chill life smacks of a kind of obnoxious classism which unfortunately undermines an otherwise provocative point.
As Krieder himself admits, his own “resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue,” even if he did “make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money.” Regardless of Krieder’s own personal financial situation (which I know nothing of), the pleasantly open schedule that he advocates is almost never possible without a healthy stack of family money or generous institutional grant.
I resent the implicit assumption of Krieder’s piece that anyone—from a soybean farmer to a New York blogger—could disappear for a retreat or fizzy drink in the middle of the day if only we wanted to escape our silly self-imposed bonds badly enough. Most of us need a stable income (hello, student loans), and moreover, the ongoing nature of assignments in many jobs means that as much as we might like to dedicate only morning hours to “the work,” we do, in fact, need to be connected for much of the day.
Yeah, so basically pretty obnoxious. Even to somebody who often has almost has much control over his schedule as Kreider.