Imagine a world where questioning the originality, authenticity, character and depth of one writer’s output was met with threats to undermine the critic’s employment, an effort to curtail First Amendment rights, and finally blackmail. It could never happen in America, right? How many “real writers” would go to such lengths to stifle an unfavorable assessment of their work?
The new “New Chic Slit” refers to a brand of female writer that hone their skills on blogging platforms from the comfort of their plush Manhattan apartments, whom in the opinion of this commentator would do mankind a service by slitting their wrists rather than attempting to slit the throats of anyone who levels a critique at their questionable art form, the success of which is an anathema to many on the right side of the bell curve.
These bloggers who take their cue (if not lifting their entire craft) from the work and success of Candace Bushnell, Amy Sohn, Sex and the City, are all girly and cute. On the surface it may taste like chic-lit but underlying their work is a smug contempt for the masculine, a disrespect for or at least indifference toward true feminine ideals and an unhealthy intolerance for any form of critique, even though they are viewed widely as copycat or “cover” artists.
I was recently exposed rather harshly to this unhealthy level of intolerance after I blogged about Stephanie Klein. Let the record show that when the depth, meaning, character and originality of one writer’s work was challenged by numerous bloggers, including this one, it was met with the following scorched earth response by that individual and her surrogates:
1- One blog was served with a CD in an effort to stifle their legitimate first amendment right to parody said writer
2-This blogger had his employment relationship threatened by another surrogate; and
3-After it was “ironically” revealed that said writer may be a plagiarist herself, her surrogates adopted a more elitist posture, resorting to class distinctions, belittling the relative net worth and socioeconomic status of the Consigliere (via a ceasless barage of emails from various anonymous gmail and blogger addresses and postings to other websites) in a vein effort to marginalize him.
4-Blackmail: When that did not work, they tried next to impugn the integrity and volunteerism of those involved in Manhattan Society.com and suggest that it was in fact some large for profit enterprise defrauding New Yorkers, when it is in fact a volunteer effort of a few individuals, including this writer, that assists in the promotion, publicity and networking of charitable fundraising in New York City, recognized by nearly every major New York charitable organization as a legitimate conduit and worthwhile FREE PRESS. They threatened to report this writer to the IRS and the FTC for Charity Fraud. Use of knowledge of a crime in an effort to negotiate or protract some benefit is itself criminal.
4-Other bloggers who have commented and supported the Tale of Two Sisters parody blog were also subjected to ceaseless harassment from said blogger and her surrogates, “anonymously.”
Why am I not surprised that a spoiled princess would have her own surrogates who are also elitist snots, grasping for straws to illustrate their relative status over anyone else or worse? In the soul less world of this crew, obviously unless you receive a book deal from Judith Regan or manage a Hedge Fund, you are but the working proletariat who’s opinions are inconsequential to the Queen and her followers. I mean how dare the little people speak out against you. Contrast this with the critique leveled at a “REAL WRITER” Amy Sohn who posts her negative reviews and angry letters on her own web site for the world to see. A real artist recognizes that critique is part and parcel of being an artist. It goes with the territory. Wisely, said writer and her troops have not harassed the New York literati for their critiques which were leveled below. She (or her alter ego as it was called by another blogger appropriately) instead picked on a variety of secondary bloggers.
Alex Blagg: A Modest & Indecent Proposal
Young Manhattanite: And That’s What it is All About
Young Manhattanite: It’s Like Faking An Orgasm With A Blow-Up Doll
Young Manhattanite, Tastes Like Chick-Lit
sf’ist: Get Ur Geek On
fishbowlNY: Imposters!How dare you! Only I can blog about my fabulous and fascinating sex life!
The Lusty Lady: a very Malice entry
Lindsay Roberston: someone’s head is so far up her own “rosebud”
A Tale of Two Sisters: a public service announcement from the fabulous goldsteins
Subtext Whore: The De-Klein of Miss Klein
HollywoodPhony.com: Yet if I was to punch you, I would go to jail
Luke Ford: Chris London vs. Stephanie Klein
MeMe First: The weblog internet queen of Manhattan
Bring Back Sincerity: The Compelling Story of the Girl Who STILL Worries About Her Weight
Capital Region People: The “Craptacular” Stephanie Klein
Overheard in New York: The Voice of the Big Apple-Blogga Please
His Fault: Why Stephanie is still single
TMFTML: Your blog is so self-indulgent Stephanie Klein sent you a box of tampons and a note that says, “Get over it.”
Gawker: Greek Tragedy: The Blogger Book Deal
DC’ist: what circa-1999 blogger do we go for next who will have a sense of humor about it? Stephanie Klein already has people lining up across the Mid-Atlantic to mock her, and she gets mad. Yawn. We’ll stick to the locals -quoting The Cleveland Park Junior League
Lindsayism: Straight up & Braggy: The Other Side of Fame
Alex Blagg: The Greek Tragedy
Alex Blagg: Profiles in Douchebaggette’ery
The irony is these Chic Slit writers come from affluent backgrounds with barely a hint of stress, drama and devoid of any real pain than a credit card bill for another pair of Jimmy Choos that their Trust Fund or Daddy will not pay for. Their manufactured sass appeal with the backdrop of New York City, in the case of one I refer to as the Puff Daddy of Chic Lit, sells to middle of the road folks who can identify with the poor little rich chic with apparently similar problems. Her literary art form is however, is as predatory as the psychologist who keeps you in therapy and on medications so that your weekly installments continue to support his golf game.
This Predatory class of bloggers seek only to profiteer off the proliferation of female blogs, and feed off the notion that their narcissism is a valid cultural industry. Their angst is, however, largely contrived and distilled perfectly to fit a Madison Avenue concept for marketability to fill the gaping void. Who they are and what they are is carefully scripted caricature of femininity that can be marketed towards those to the middle and left of center on the bell curve, an audience of idiot savants receptive to finding solace in feminine cliches.
The incubator for Stephanie Klein’s “Greek Tragedy” was her position as a Creative Director at a global advertising agency, Madision Avenue’s Young and Rubicam. An ideal platform from which to develop and program her prose just so to prey on those left of center of the bell curve or the lower middle class, conveniently on the heels of the end of Sex and the City and her “starter marriage.” Whatever sisterhood that these predatory bloggers belong to is not ground in any congruent sense of femininity other than “self entitlement.” In short they are the “niggers” or the pimps of the feminine playing off of feminine cliches that appeal to the sympathetic ears of the mediocre masses.
There are no meaningful lessons for the reader beyond self absorption being marketed as a healthy thing. Predatory bloggers have no real pain in their lives that can in any way resemble the class struggles and real pain that their target market feels. That women who work, support families, are severely overweight or have real love life or financial problems somehow find solace in these vapid self centered daily diatribes is quite sad. How can someone sipping Sancerre at a trendy West Village restaurant with her chiclets in lingerie blouses, kvetching about her starter marriage and failure to obtain the requisite alimony package to supplement her trust fund, ever comprehend? The writers prose is devoid of any soul beyond inspiring sympathy in her audience for what??? Herself.
They want you to feel their pain, yet there is no pain other than one scripted to sell the notion of themselves as deeply compassionate human beings. (reference: another writer’s self indulgent rant “and all the Kings men” illustrating to her readers the depth of her compassion and existential angst over what to do in the face of tragedy in New Orleans inspiring sympathy for the conundrum of her own pain over the inhumanity of Hurricane Katrina, yet not providing a single link to the Hurricane Relief effort. Why? Might her readers leave her self induglent blog?)
Ironically, their audience is usually far more worthy of sympathy and likely facing far more serious problems in terms of their own survival, like the female artist struggling to get by in NYC on a $30K secretarial or waitressing job. While SK’s audience would learn more about life struggles perhaps from such an individual, she does not have time to become Stephanie Klein. If she is to be commended for anything, it is for filling the gaping void. The difference being that few on the right side of the bell curve, consider her a meaningful voice on or for women, New York, sexuality or relationships. She only adds to the gender political equation.
Character, humility and any having any boundaries or notion of fair play are but foreign concepts to this “Busted” class of women. They prostitute the souless aspects of femininty delving deep into such profound topics as the depth of their self absorbtion. Why “busted” instead of broken? As my friend Ray said to me, “broken is sort of what happens when you drop your digital camera or your iPod. It sucks but you can always get it fixed. Busted is like taking a shot to the head from Mike Tyson, which you never recover from.” That is what I mean by “busted.” They are soulless mercenaries interested in only one thing, shoving their prose down your throat and making sure you like it and if you don’t, then you are to simply shut the fuck up and not mess with their cultivation of a fan base, increasing readership and their almighty technorati ranking.
These bloggers block any commentary which does not otherwise confirm the relative wisdom, talent and insightfulness of the writer. Their link monopoly extends only to those within their band of sister bloggers, but in the case of one blogger in particular, she regularly only links back to herself and prior examples of literary brilliance on the referenced topic. Linkage within this growing sisterhood of Chic Slit bloggers is limited to those who worship at their alter exclusively. Stephanie Klein’s blog is so self consumed that one would be hard pressed to find a link that allows you to escape her web site, unless you are a sycophantic fan, or a fellow blogger from the same school, e.g. “This Fish“, who can drive traffic to her site.
How perposterous is it that literary wunderkinds such as Stephanie Klein, whose work at best amounts to “cover art“(and who has already been accused of plagiarism), dare get angry then when critics of their prose engage them in a most basic and valid inquiry as to the relative authenticity, character and origin of their work? Even more perposterous when you consider especially that these cover artists offer no acknowledgement whatsoever that Sex and the City, My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Amy Sohn have had any influence over their craft. That my friends is called Chutzpah with a capital “HUH”
Ironically, Benjamin Wagner the one man who legend has it, has been intimate with both Stephanie Klein and Heather Hunter, is himself now blogging about the media attention that he is garnering for recording cover versions of famous songs, putting them on iTunes so that fans of the original artists will stumble upon his remakes and perhaps download them to their iPod’s when they look up the works from the original artists. I await the New York Times Fashion & Style column on Mr. Wagner. Perhaps our society has evolved to a point where there are no original ideas or art left. Is cover art the new art? And is that bad or good? One critic even states that “Plagiarism is necessary. Progess implies it.”