The Rich Are Different From You & Me: They’re Full of Poison!

It becomes a little easier to read Noreen Malone’s New York Magazine profile of Cosmo EIC Joanna Coles — who is tall, slim, commanding, fashionable, successful, blond, attractive, witty, a wife, a mom, and an all-around VIP who is friends with everyone from Miley Cyrus to John Oliver — if you think, “Well, on the other hand, she’s got more chemicals in her than a can of paint.”

Because, according to Quartz, one thing that really distinguishes the rich from the rest of us is that they are walking toxic waste dumps.

People who can afford sushi and other sources of aquatic lean protein appear to be paying the price with a buildup of heavy metals in their bodies, found Jessica Tyrrell and colleagues from the University of Exeter. Using data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Tyrrell et al. found that compared to poorer people, the rich had higher levels of mercury, arsenic, caesium and thallium, all of which tend to accumulate in fish and shellfish.

The rich also had higher levels of benzophenone-3, aka oxybenzone, the active ingredient in most sunscreens, which is under investigation by the EU and, argue some experts, may actually encourage skin cancer.

The poor don’t get off easy, either: they’re packed full of lead and cadmium from cigarettes and BPA from cheap plastic.

Let’s go back and marvel at the Joanna Coles profile some more though shall we?

Coles is a stylish, intelligent, brass-balled British feminist who does not suffer fools and is described as looking like a more conventionally pretty version of the great goddess Tilda. But she wasn’t born with a silver pacifier in her mouth.

unlike Anna Wintour or Tina Brown, both from posh backgrounds, Coles was born in Yorkshire to a teacher and a social worker and attended the University of East Anglia. She was ambitious early. At age 10, Coles mailed a copy of the magazine she self-published, called Your Choice, to the queen. She also went through “a phase of reading poetry and then writing to the poets to tell them how much their poems had moved me, terribly earnest and rather teenager-y.”

At 17, she was asked to run as the Green Party candidate in a local election, though her father said no to the endeavor. (Later, “I was a member of the young liberals, the young conservatives, and young Labour, according to who gave the best parties.”) In her 20s and 30s, Coles worked as a reporter for several of the major British newspapers. A posting as foreign correspondent for the Guardian brought her to New York, where she delighted in the sceniness of 1990s Manhattan, as chronicled in The Three of Us, a highly diaristic book she co-wrote with her now-husband, the Zimbabwean-born writer and PEN America president Peter Godwin.

What follows reads like it should be hashtagged #AdviceToYoungJournalists.

“I had a little baby at home and Peggy [Northrop, the editor-in-chief] was like, ‘Come on. It’s ten issues a year. Just come and have fun.’ And she actually had a cup of jicama on her desk that she was eating and she pushed it across the table and she said, ‘Do you want some of this?’ I’d never tried jicama before, and as I was eating it I thought, This is an omen. This is a new flavor, and why not go into women’s magazines? And so I did.”

If anything, the move sharpened her career focus. When the Marie Claire job was up for grabs, Coles pitched herself to Cathie Black, then in charge of Hearst, by jumping into the executive’s car on the way to the airport. As with Cosmo, she proposed the idea of a more serious-minded women’s magazine. She has said that by the time the car arrived at JFK, she’d landed the gig. “I’m extremely practical,” she told me. “In whatever situation I’m in, I’ll make the best of it.”

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