Write about what you know

…is the famous advice offered all nascent writers.

But what if you don’t know very much at all?

You become a self-obsessed female writer, churning out the same words, just in a different order, once a week, that’s what.

There’s a few examples kicking around. My favourite is Kate Mulvey, who Desert Sun has written about a few times, pointing out the repetitive and yet inconsistent bollocks she throws out every few weeks (click the link while it still works – he recently told me he has a huge gender reassignment surgery bill was due, so won’t be renewing the web hosting contract).

We also have Jenna Hates, who writes Dear Diary style columns about annoyances most of us don’t have time to be bothered with.

We have a newcomer to the Gonzo-churn ™ genre; Mary Madigan (and a new category for this organ).

Mary’s output is starting to pick up speed now. The problem is, she’s got nothing to write about but herself. Let’s give this problem a name:

Kevin Rudd Disease; (genetic) – an inability to compose more than two sentences without using a first person singular pronoun. Prognosis: fatal tedium.

Today, Mary comments on Jennifer Aniston’s infertility by telling us we shouldn’t comment on Jennifer Aniston’s infertility (yes, I know). Except before she‘s travelled more than halfway though her column, she’s turned it around to be about Mary:

I’m not famous, and my hair isn’t nearly as lovely or iconic, but once you’re a woman over 25 and you have a partner, there’s no escaping the interest in your fertility. Suddenly, everyone in your family behaves like a tabloid journalist and you are treated like a celebrity, but unfortunately, still asked to wash up the dishes.

Forget being asked, how’s the weather? People go directly to: So, when will you have kids? Do you want kids? Have you had your fertility examined? Would you freeze your eggs? Do you make enough money to have a kid?

One can see how that line of questioning would grate. How annoying for Mary.

That’ll be the same Mary Madigan who authored this introspection about her future fertility and ability to financially support a family, right?

The moment I realised I wanted to become a mother was also the moment it occurred to me that I wasn’t in a financial position to afford a baby. In some abstract way, I’ve always figured I’d eventually have a baby. But it’s only been recently, as I hurl towards the end of my twenties, that I’ve felt that longing.

Bill’s Opinion

Jennifer Aniston tacitly signed the deal with the devil when she took the massive coin from show business; privacy was the price. She knew that. It’s been the deal since the silent movie era.

Mary Madigan wants us to stop talking about the thing she got paid to talk about 6 months ago.

Next month she’ll write a column about how we need a national conversation about it, or some such similar bollocks.

Apparently, she earns $65,000 a year for her brand of Gonzo-churn. That’s not a bad effort, but she’ll run out of combinations of the same words to use before she reaches retirement age, so will probably need to find someone else to write about.

If you’re reading this, Mary, Kate Mulvey recycled a few ex-lovers, changing the names around each time. Just a suggestion.

Do editors have a duty of care?

Remember Mary Madigan, the “writer” for Mammamia who was upset someone managed to lose excess weight, then posted pictures of herself in lingerie and was further upset by the response by rude strangers?

Well, she’s been busy and written another quality column, this time suggesting people with dogs need equivalent time off from work as parents.

In our previous post about her, we suggested the editors were encouraging mental health problems for the purpose of macabre public entertainment:

…..the editors of the publications paying for these columns are encouraging negative health outcomes by printing it. Perhaps the editors are analogous to the circus ringmasters introducing the freak show exhibit.

This hypothesis is firming up to be a strongly-held view.

What on earth do you think the public response is going to be to daft OpEds like Mary’s current offering?

Anyone who has ever met a human or logged on to social media could predict the heap of abuse that is going to be piled on to her from angry parents and people who strongly feel she should have her personal faults criticised.

The consequential cost to her mental health is not zero. Has the editor factored this into their decision to commission and publish her article? How robust is her personality?

Bill’s Opinion

Just because it’s possible for everyone to write their innermost thoughts and emotions for the world to read, doesn’t mean we should encourage it.

So far, the only articles Mary has managed to get published all have the common theme of her exposing ridiculous opinions devoid of reality. She’s being allowed to publish a diary of mental health issues for our entertainment, in effect.

It might be argued she’s a conscious agent provocateur, like Richard Littlejohn or Katie Hopkins, and she has a robust enough sense of self to cope with the opprobrium. Take a look at the comments section beneath today’s offering if you dare.

But what if she’s not? This seems like a dangerous game Kerry Warren is playing, let’s hope nothing goes wrong for her.

If jealousy burned calories

…we’d instantly solve quite a few people’s major life issues.

But sadly, the effort expended on envious feelings is neither material nor measurable. This is both good and bad news for Mary Madigan, freelance writer for Mammamia (now there’s a career path to infinite riches!).

Good news because she can get a couple of hundred dollars knocking out heartfelt columns about why we shouldn’t celebrate an obese celebrity losing a lot of weight. Bad news, because Mary is burning emotional energy being bitter over other people’s good fortune, and even more mental energy avoiding reflecting on poor life choices she has made.

The back story is a minor Australian celebrity (if that isn’t a tautology), Chrissie Swan, dropped a wheelbarrow load of weight recently and has been congratulated by lots of commentators. Her Instagram feed has a flood of positive comments, many of which are middle aged men who’ve suddenly decided she’s hot.

Our “plus sized” columnist takes issue with their sudden change of opinion. Chrissie was always attractive, she claims. It’s a backhanded compliment to suggest she’s now looking great, according to our self-appointed moral arbiter.

Context is everything, of course.

This is Mary:

This was Chrissie Swan:

This is Chrissie Swan now:

I’m sure we can all agree on what a terrible and destructive transformation she’s inflicted on herself.

The feedback from Mary’s syndicated article was predictable. By which I don’t mean lots of stupid people went on the internet and called her rude names but that she would feign shock and surprise at this reaction and then post a self-obsessed semi-naked picture on Instagram affirming to herself how gorgeous she is and her superiority in the victim olympics.

It’s been a very tiring week because my inbox got flooded with abusive messages after an article I wrote for Mamamia got picked up by The Sun & New York Post. Obviously, when men attack women on the internet the insults are always about your looks. Fat, unattractive, unfuckable…. It’s unoriginal but it did make me feel sad but then I remembered I’m gorgeous and now I’m back.

Bills Opinion

There is no problem with Chrissie Swan’s weight loss. We celebrate it because, as decent human beings, we give positive feedback to obviously good life choices made by others.

It’s a social contract; we tell each other what we’re doing well and try to kindly point out areas for improvement.

If Mary doesn’t like that social contract, it’s incumbent on her to describe the alternative system she would suggest we employ.

It’s always dangerous to attempt to diagnose mental illness from a distance but it’s clearly an unhealthy thought process to convince oneself being grossly overweight is somehow a positive choice.

Would Mary sympathise with 500 words written by a chain smoker trying to convince us it’s wrong to celebrate someone giving up the cancer sticks?

Perhaps it’s just the sunk cost fallacy to wish to convince other people of these illogical views. In addition, the editors of the publications paying for these columns are encouraging negative health outcomes by printing it. Perhaps the editors are analogous to the circus ringmasters introducing the freak show exhibit.

It’s as if we are being asked to casually put aside several million years of evolution and consciously ignore the instinctive mental rank order sorting of other humans by attractiveness. Perhaps that’s possible, but the clever money and every sexual interaction in the history of the planet suggests the exact opposite is more likely.

This denial of reality can be neatly explained by Sailer’s first law of female journalism:

The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

More chins than the Hong Kong phone directory…..