$3 a word

Last week, I read this article in The Atlantic: “How Junk Food Can End Obesity” by David H. Freedman. It’s basically an extended rant against people who dare suggest we choose to eat healthier, less-processed foods.

He argues, for instance, that a McDonald’s smoothie is a better choice than a fancy-pants one because it a) takes less time to make, b) contains fewer calories, and c) is cheaper. He does note, however, that the McDonald’s smoothie “contains artificial flavors and texture additives, and … is pre-mixed.” Yum?

(I suggest that if your smoothie consists of ingredients other than milk and fruit and takes longer than 30 seconds to make from scratch, you’re doing it wrong. But that’s just me. I make my own.)

Anyway, that’s not what this is about. That’s just the set-up.  This morning I read a critique of that article: “The Atlantic: How junk food can end obesity” by Paul Raeburn. At the end of the critique is this tidbit that caught my attention:

At the going rates for stories in national magazines, Freedman probably was paid around $30,000 for his 10,000-word story.

Is that a typo? Can that be for real? $30k for any 10k story seems… wow. That’s… a lot. I am actually shocked. I guess I’m just used to writers being paid nothing. Or maybe I’ve just been a grad student for too long. I mean, $30k? That’s an annual salary for some people. Just saying. On the one hand, I’m annoyed because the article was silly (good link-bait though, so I guess it’s a win for The Atlantic), but on the other hand, I realize it’s time to stop undervaluing my madwordskillz and time to start aspiring to $3 a word.