Is it ever acceptable for a journalist to ask a successful woman if she has slept her way to the top?
If he does, and a female reader criticizes him for it, is it a forgivable offense for him to suggest that she is complaining only because she wishes that she, too, could have had that opportunity?
Can you believe we’re talking about this in 2012?
And that the journalist in question writes regularly for the New York Times Magazine?
It all began when Jennifer Weiner, a former newspaper reporter who has written nine best-selling novels, read Andrew Goldman’s latest “Talk” feature in last weekend’s Times Magazine.
The interview was with Tippi Hedren, the actress who starred in “The Birds” and is the subject of a new HBO movie that takes up her relationship with the director Alfred Hitchcock. Mr. Goldman, a freelancer who regularly writes the “Talk” feature, asked Ms. Hedren if she had ever been tempted to help her career along by having sex with directors.
“@jenniferweiner: Saturday am. Iced coffee. NYT mag. See which actress Andrew Goldman has accused of sleeping her way to the top. #traditionsicoulddowithout”
“@jenniferweiner sensing pattern. Little Freud in me thinks you would have liked at least to have had opportunity to sleep way to top”
You beat me to it. I followed the exchange between Jennifer Weiner and Andrew Goldman, and was saddened to witness his lynching. As you rightly point out, many people are eager to be offended, often in a bid to rise above their insignificance and bask in the dubious limelight of a shitstorm. A couple of weeks ago we had a taste of a similar antic with the affronted interviewee in The Rack.
I also agree with Sue; hitting a key is a damn easy.
Was Andrew out of line? I don’t think so. Twitter is not The New York Times, but a space where people drop thoughts as fast as they can text them. Someone took a poke at him and he snapped back. I don’t need any Freud in me to imagine my reply had I been in his shoes. In my opinion, his comments were personal not official.
The corollary from the disgraceful affair is that no one who writes in a public medium is entitled to give a piece of his mind if attacked.
To ask someone if he or she has “slept”—I’ll go along with the euphemism so I don’t run afoul of language zealots—all the way to the top is a reasonable question. Why? Because anyone with an IQ over 80 is entitled to puzzlement before the parade of talentless people crowding the political arena and the arts.
I believe part of it is, as I have said before, how easy it is to push a button and the supposed annonimity many feel sat behind a computer screen. Those who would not normally walk into a crowded room beside their peers feel enabled to say how they feel to a screen. Same as writing something on your blog. I mean, only you can see it, right?
There is also the sad factor that social media has made computers even more addictive. Not switching it on, just getting your jollies from how many 'likes' and comments one may receive or how many friends one can add.
To get those likes and follows and friends, a person has to make noise. It doesn't have to be good noise, just that it is loud enough to echo.
If you had seen some of the comments on internet newspapers about what happened to Rich you would have been more than angry. People sit in their little paradises 'presuming' they know other people. They take a solid fact, like the fact Rich was in Afghanistan and 'presume' he committed suicide because of course he had PTSD and because he and his wife weren't getting along.
I am using this as an example only to show that they took those facts without digging any further and without knowing the people. Only what they had been told by media who are masters at that game.
I have written stories where someone has written a review citing the underlying message I never wrote. But *they* saw it there and maybe I had written something in there subconsciously. Didn't offend me, just intrigued me. I only get incensed by reviews when someone has got real facts confused with fantasy. Would I respond? I doubt it. There again, the conundrum with writing is that you write to share and if someone doesn't like it for what you believe are the wrong reasons it must be difficult to sit on your hands.