Monday, April 25, 2022

The Freedom To Be Free From Criticism

Thinking about poor Jamelle Bouie today, grinding his teeth and refraining from even obliquely mentioning the piece mentioned below. Laughing at the absurdity of the Times publishing an editorial which asserted that freedom of speech is essentially freedom from criticism, then tightened their social media policy demanding that their employees don't criticize each other's work, and THEN publishing a rich white lady criticizing all the uppity minorities for daring to criticize rich white ladies for the act of putting on brown and blackface for great financial compensation.

A completely ridiculous rich white lady!
First it was going to be advertising, partly inspired by her mother who became a copywriter the same year as the fictional Peggy Olsen did in “Mad Men.” Then it was teaching and library work on a sojourn in Asia. Then children’s book publishing at Scholastic, having applied on “a whim.” Then business development for documentary films and what was then Turner Broadcasting and Time Inc. Then it was following “a guy” to London. Then, finally, she got some freelance work there for The Economist. That eventually led to her first book deal for The Starter Marriage, which was something of a sensation upon its 2002 release.

“It was kind of a novel idea for people at the time,” Paul said of the book, which looked at the budding phenomenon of short-lived and childless first marriages, inspired in part by her own to Bret Stephens.

But a career writing was always the one she wanted, Paul says over Zoom, sitting in front of appropriately book-filled shelves.

Even after moving to Thailand in an effort to put herself through something uncomfortable, then traveling through some of China having decided to stop eating anything but one serving of rice a day for weeks because she hadn’t suffered enough in life to “appreciate” things appropriately, Paul didn’t let herself try writing for a living. Eventually she succumbed, just as she did to proper food after almost a month without.

This is the career path of a person with infinite connections, the kinds of connections that let white ladies get paid lots of money write books from the perspective of Mexican immigrants, but she did the rice thing so she knows the struggle is real.