Empire of dust
In the world of wellness, it’s difficult to tell the difference between a euphemism and a metaphor, or between poetry and nonsense. (The word “wellness” itself is a fabulous dodge—as though any two people, much less a whole demographic of consumers, could agree on a definition of the word.)
If something has a “cleansing” effect, is that a euphemism for “it makes you go to the bathroom” or a metaphor for the beatific mood that is said to result from drinking green juice? If our bodies need to be detoxified, how’d they get toxic to begin with?
Women stopped buying douche products decades ago when we all finally agreed on the premise that the vagina is a self-cleaning organ. Isn’t that true of our bodies in general? Or no?
I wrote an essay about all of this—the celebrity wellness industry, our modern-day cult of productivity, bee pollen, Gwyneth Paltrow—for the New York Times Magazine.
There’s a twist awaiting you at the end, if you get that far!