Srsly. Mallory Ortberg's "Texts from Jane Eyre"
November 10, 2014 5:31 AM   Subscribe

"Ortberg’s writing comes from a culture that is both unapologetically and unconventionally political. Not all of her work is explicitly gendered — perhaps my favorite piece of hers is a list of “The Eleven Worst Plants” — but the intersection of gender, art (writ large), and social power is her great topic, and she returns to it almost weekly in posts exploring issues such as “Women Who Want to Be Alone in Western Art History.” With Texts from Jane Eyre, Ortberg’s writing is poised to reach a wider audience. This seems, then, a good moment to pause and take stock of the stakes of her project. Why texts; why Jane Eyre?"
posted by batfish (67 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
Metafilter 2014: It's probably a post by or about Mallory Ortberg.

Not that I'm complaining. Ortberg wins the internet as far as I'm concerned.
posted by dis_integration at 5:42 AM on November 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


If you talk about Mallory Ortberg and do not mention Texts from a Ghost, you are doing something wrong.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:57 AM on November 10, 2014 [33 favorites]


I had not connected Texts-From-Ghosts Ortberg with All-Other Ortberg. Apparently it was possible to love her more.
posted by ominous_paws at 5:59 AM on November 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


The Eleven Worst Plants, for handy reference
posted by saturday_morning at 6:01 AM on November 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm not quite as aboard the Mallory Ortberg love train as a lot of the internet is - like, I like her a whole lot, but I don't glitter-puffy-heart everything she does - but one of the things I do glitter-puffy-heart about her is how much of her humor is based on literature and art. Hooray, a hilarious internet writer who's into the humanities! For ages and ages it's felt like a lot of the clever stuff on the internet has been written for sciencey techy guys - the xkcd "may be unsuitable for liberal arts majors" set - and I get the jokes, but they feel like they've been written for someone else. Kate Beaton is similarly wonderful at this.

On preview: add me to those who didn't realize Ortberg was the author of Texts from a Ghost. I glitter-strawberry-scented-iridescent-puffy-heart Texts from a Ghost.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:07 AM on November 10, 2014 [30 favorites]


I think I've just found my sister's Christmas present.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:09 AM on November 10, 2014


I will read the main link later because I read the Texts from a Ghost link first and now everything is very blurry for some reason.
posted by billiebee at 6:27 AM on November 10, 2014 [12 favorites]


For the reader, the pleasure across the board here is basically one of revenge. It’s not always revenge on the character. (I personally have no problem with William Blake, for example — I really do like his flayings — and there’s a way in which the take down of so many characters in a row can get a little wearying.) Instead, it’s revenge on a system that has made particular responses to reading seem untenable, or necessarily unserious. There’s so little room to roll your eyes at these fantastic men; to say that they suck. And there’s a tremendous catharsis that comes from a whole book that encourages you to do so.

Exactly this. Revenge on a system. Yes. A system that cannot even imagine taking seriously a female professor who declined to teach any male writers because she only "truly, truly love[d]" writers who happened not to be, say, male. Or Chinese.

Off to read Texts from a Ghost now.
posted by rtha at 6:30 AM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


I hate everyone who is about to read Texts from a Ghost for the first time right now.
posted by ominous_paws at 6:33 AM on November 10, 2014 [21 favorites]


This is good, though perhaps a bit on the over-analytical side. Sometimes a slice of Toast is just a slice of Toast. Then again, this is the LA Review of Books, so I guess that's what you get.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:34 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I mean, this paragraph:

Satire resists analysis: that’s its job. So it’s hard to know where to stop with Texts from Jane Eyre. There is more to say about how Ortberg’s access to the internet’s satiric lower registers will change as she herself becomes more culturally prominent and powerful; there is, too, more to say about how Texts from Jane Eyre both resists and indulges “relatability” as a foundation of criticism or of reading. But I am not sure how to say these things without slipping too far into a mode of critical seriousness that’s completely antithetical to the humor of Ortberg’s work. Suffice it to say that I think Ortberg is doing something new with feminist prose, and that one good effect of her prose’s success will be the calling forth of a new kind of feminist criticism: one less worried about its friendliness.

Is just, yeah, you're kind of describing the problem without noticing it there.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:37 AM on November 10, 2014


This is good, though perhaps a bit on the over-analytical side. Sometimes a slice of Toast is just a slice of Toast. Then again, this is the LA Review of Books, so I guess that's what you get.

Uh, it sounds like you're saying that the book shouldn't be taken seriously because....

Wait, why shouldn't the book be taken seriously? In what way must it be just a slice of Toast? (Am I the only one whose eyebrows are doing a thing here because an essay about a book about what is and is not taken seriously in literature was dismissed as being overly serious?)
posted by rtha at 6:39 AM on November 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


On every campus I have visited, smug dudes roam around being casually or aggressively condescending. (Once, for instance, an elderly smug dude, in a gesture that he clearly meant as one of good will, publicly patted me on the head; I was 32.)

Like street harassment, it's good to tell these stories out where men can see them too. This shit happens. It makes us incandescent with stifled rage. It's amazing more women don't go Lizzie Borden.
posted by emjaybee at 6:39 AM on November 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


rtha: "Uh, it sounds like you're saying that the book shouldn't be taken seriously because....

Wait, why shouldn't the book be taken seriously? In what way must it be just a slice of Toast? (Am I the only one whose eyebrows are doing a thing here because an essay about a book about what is and is not taken seriously in literature was dismissed as being overly serious?)
"

No, not at all. I think it should be taken seriously, but over-analyzing humor tends to kill it a bit. I love Mallory Ortberg, and I'll be buying her book. As I quoted in my second comment above, the author herself acknowledges that "critical seriousness [is] antithetical to the humor of Ortberg's work". It's explaining the joke, which ruins it a bit.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:41 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Then again, the article linked to this piece of Ortberg's writing, which I hadn't seen before, and which is laugh-out-loud funny, so I'm not complaining. She's a treasure trove.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:43 AM on November 10, 2014


I forgot that I had preordered Texts from Jane Eyre so it was such a pleasant surprise when it showed up on my doorstep last week. But the even more pleasant surprise was how many people have picked it up on my coffee table since then unaware of Mallory Ortberg who laughed so much and so loudly.

I mean it's only two of them but they are two people who have actually BEEN IN MY APARTMENT, which makes them a very select group of people I love.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:46 AM on November 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


For those who want to see her talk about/read from (fingers crossed) her work, Ortberg is on book tour! I'm going to this stop in SF next week.
posted by psoas at 6:55 AM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


The author only touches on "why Jane Eyre," but it is such an important book* to so many women. Probably because it is the rare (singular?) classic work of literature that allows a woman to a) tell her own story and b) make her own decisions. Jane is flawed, confused, scathingly scornful of those she dislikes, and tough as nails. She is the woman we would all want to be, if we were stuck in her shitty circumstances in the 19th century. Being a woman and an English major, you come to feel a kind of starvation for female characters who are neither ghostly personifications of virtue, mute possessions or unrecognizable monsters. Reading Jane Eyre (which I do about once a year or so) is like a long drink of water in the desert. I enjoy Jane Austen too, but while Lizzie Bennett has the spark and wit of Jane, she doesn't have the grit, and has no real adventures.

*(also problematic! The racism, the ableism, the fact that she still has to end up with Rochester who is kind of gross, etc.)
posted by emjaybee at 7:04 AM on November 10, 2014 [9 favorites]


I hate everyone who is about to read Texts from a Ghost for the first time right now.

I just read it for oh, like the 20th time, and still cried.
posted by gaspode at 7:19 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I know literally nothing about Jane Eyre or any other classic literature at all, so I feel like the gist of this book is probably above my pay grade, but this bit from the review is great:
If you're in the midst of dealing with a sucky man situation, expressing anger about sexism or structural inequality is the surest way to get yourself and your point of view relegated to the "crazy angry lady" category where your tone will be labeled shrill and your opinions summarily dismissed.

This is the conundrum many women find themselves navigating: we regularly experience an anger we can only partially credit and only in certain contexts safely or successfully articulate. That anger needs to go somewhere. It needs different modes. It needs, often, satire.
Might have to copy and paste that blurb the next time an ignorant dude wants to bust into a discussion about clearly satirical writing in order to complain that the writer isn't interested enough in being more polite to men or winning hearts and minds. Feminists don't always need to be serious. And a lot of the time, it isn't remotely about men or their feelings. Sometimes we're just getting together and having a larf. Sometimes it's all we can do to keep from crying.
posted by divined by radio at 7:20 AM on November 10, 2014 [13 favorites]


Malory Ortberg is great, I sometimes find myself idly refreshing her page on The Toast hoping there'll be more celebrations of minor Simpsons characters.

Also, the women laughing alone with salad page linked in the article is straight up hilarious.
posted by Ned G at 7:22 AM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jane is flawed, confused, scathingly scornful of those she dislikes, and tough as nails.

She is! And the whole thing with Rochester is so much less important than her owning her life and doing the things she feels she has to do to survive.

It's why I dislike people who dismiss it as a 'romance novel'. It lets me know 1) they haven't actually read it and 2) they're the sort of people who dismiss a book written by a woman about a woman as a 'romance novel'. Expressing that opinion lets me know immediately that their views on literature are useless and probably their views on anything else as well.
posted by winna at 7:28 AM on November 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


I can imagine being a male novelist, or even just an actual male, and finding Ortberg wearying. Her condemnation of men writing, and also men reading, is so sweeping that it borders on farcical. Isn’t it man-hating?

As a dude I was honestly a little surprised to read this. I was introduced to the Toast through Metafilter and now whenever I see posts from there by Mallory Ortberg I'm like, "oh, cool this'll be fun" and I go click and laugh uproariously or at least chuckle a bit if she doesn't quite nail it. I get that there's a feminist slant (is that weird? I don't even know if that's weird to say), I suppose, or maybe it's just kind of poking fun at how annoying dudes can be for women, but I've never found it gets anywhere close to "man-hating" in any sense of the word. Actually I think she does this really interesting thing where she kind of points out the worst of male behavior while at the same time making it funny and cutting guys slack--I think she's really generous to men in a strange way.

In any case, feminist or not I don't think I've laughed harder yet this year than when I was going through the "Women ... in Western Art" series, I was practically hyperventilating. She is just really funny.

OH and I haven't read "Text Messages From a Ghost" yet, so here we go...
posted by dubitable at 7:40 AM on November 10, 2014 [23 favorites]


I often wonder if the widespread acceptance of Pride and Prejudice as a pop-culture remix topic, vs. that of Jane Eyre, says something about how many people just don't get that book. It is short on pretty costumes, dancing, or posh places to hang out, it talks bluntly about survival, it has lots of passion but very little actual wooing. Lots of bleak moors and horrible people. A happy ending, but not a glamorous one. It would be depressing as hell if not for Jane herself, who is chock-full of burning ambition and determination and refuses to do what she is expected to.

/fangirl derail.
posted by emjaybee at 7:41 AM on November 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I don't find her writing "man-hating" or "wearying" either. Granted, I've read it in The Toast articles, not in a full book, but my reaction is the same, this is just really, really funny stuff that also happens to have a feminist slant (which is nice).

(I've also interacted with her on Twitter a few times, and she's a really, really nice person. I can't imagine her hating or bashing anyone. Which just makes the misandrist lullabies even funnier, I guess.)
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:43 AM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


No, not at all. I think it should be taken seriously, but over-analyzing humor tends to kill it a bit.

Ah, I see what you're saying (I am more awake now, too). I think I mostly agree in general, but perhaps not in specific - but book reviews are a weird creature anyway.

I started Text Message from a Ghost before I left for work and now I'm at work and kind of afraid to finish it now that I have hints, because crying in my office is not a fun way to start the week.
posted by rtha at 7:52 AM on November 10, 2014


I started Text Message from a Ghost before I left for work and now I'm at work and kind of afraid to finish it now that I have hints, because crying in my office is not a fun way to start the week.

Yeah, I just read it, and then I read "The Return of Ghost," and I was expecting something else, I must say. STOP CUTTING ONIONS IN HERE YOU ASSHOLES

posted by dubitable at 8:00 AM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I can imagine being a male novelist, or even just an actual male, and finding Ortberg wearying. Her condemnation of men writing, and also men reading, is so sweeping that it borders on farcical. Isn’t it man-hating?
It might be repetitive, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. Mesle puts it better a few paragraphs down:
In the space she creates, Male Genius is not so much a powerful symbolic order as a self-involved and bumbling habit, one that we might easily leave by the snack table while we get on with the more serious business of living dynamic creative lives.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:34 AM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, the women laughing alone with salad page linked in the article is straight up hilarious.


That is the brilliance of Edith Zimmerman!
posted by liketitanic at 8:42 AM on November 10, 2014


Satire resists analysis: that’s its job.

Pfft! Tell that to my 280-page thesis!

(Oh, wait. That really was a waste of time after all.)

[weeping]
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 8:51 AM on November 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


I read Texts from a Ghost and The Return of Ghost for the first time today. My Monday was not wasted.
posted by immlass at 8:53 AM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


She makes me laugh so hard I almost throw up. Like...every time. My only Ortberg-related worry is we'll all be too busy reading the The Toast to overthrow the patriarchy.
posted by sallybrown at 8:57 AM on November 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Much like Kate Beaton, even if I'm not particularly interested in the issues at hand (in KBs case, Canada) or the art referenced (in KBs case, Austen), one has to appreciate the brilliant/silly writing. I don't think you need to be a conservative to laugh at PJ O'Rourke, and I don't think you have to be a Woman Who Runs With The Wolves to laugh at MO.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:00 AM on November 10, 2014


Fuck all y'all for making me read Texts From A Ghost, nobody warned me this wasn't going to be more Grade-A MO hilarity.
posted by schroedinger at 9:04 AM on November 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


Reading the whole "man-hating" paragraph from the review:
However, it’s worth anticipating at least one possible criticism of Ortberg — that her dismissal of men and male behavior is too wide-sweeping. I can imagine being a male novelist, or even just an actual male, and finding Ortberg wearying. Her condemnation of men writing, and also men reading, is so sweeping that it borders on farcical. Isn’t it man-hating? Isn’t she reinforcing the stereotype that feminists, and feminist critics, hate men? Shouldn’t she be more nuanced? Shouldn’t she acknowledge more fully how many good men there are in the world?
It all sounds so defensive, so pre-emptive, and yeah, sure it is worth anticipating that the man-hater accusations will pour in. As we all know so well: men (#NotAllMen) on the internet are massive dicks about enforcing their divine right to go through life without challenging their perceptions or accepting the validity of others experiences. It sounds like the reviewer is tiptoeing around these people, and by doing so, is giving their views a perceived legitimacy. This is the point, when you talk to these men (#NotAllMen) on their own terms, it gives them tacit approval, and allows them to set the tone and direction of the conversation. It is exactly what Ortberg is trying to avoid (and in my view, achieving it). The lack of nuance, the dumb jokes and the sweeping generalisations are a massive fuck you to the haters, letting them know that she won't let the space she's working in be constrained by the views of the knee-jerking cat-calling dude-bros.

I, as a white, privileged man (#NotAllMen), enjoy reading her work for exactly that reason. I enjoy the irony of throwing all the shit back in the direction it's coming from, and find it funny imagining the enforcers of the internet reading it (for some reason I picture a cat puffing itself up upon seeing its own reflection). There's been one time when I've felt marginalised whilst reading her work (the misandrist-lullabies), and after about two seconds, I thought "hey, I, as a white, privileged man feel marginalised by this, I see what you did there". So anyway, in a vacuum, maybe I would find her work farcical and unfair, but viewed in context, as a jab back up at those who endlessly punch down, I think she's great.
posted by Ned G at 9:14 AM on November 10, 2014 [14 favorites]


I'd also somehow missed this lovely burn on the millions of "I'm an Introvert" articles cluttering up the web lately, just shared by Kate Beaton on twitter, in case you were wondering how funny MO can be outside of her gender-centric wheelhouse.

(the answer is extremely funny)
posted by ominous_paws at 9:20 AM on November 10, 2014 [14 favorites]


As much as I love Mallory's humor writing, her more serious pieces like Texts Messages from a Ghost hit all the harder for the contrast with her usual style. Count me as yet another person who first read them at work while on my lunch break when they were first published and ended up sniffling at my desk while softly wailing "Ghoooooossst!"

And I'm not even religious, but one of my other favorite pieces of hers is Bible Stories, Continued, for the genuinely lovely and sweet little takes on Genesis 2:20-24 and John 14:1-4.
posted by yasaman at 9:30 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am so looking forward to this book.
posted by kyrademon at 9:39 AM on November 10, 2014


(Ortberg, not bound by any limits of genre, moves with equal cleverness between Euripides’ Medea and The Baby-Sitters Club.)

I love this sentence in the review because it implies (correctly) that many of her readers also delight in Medea and in Claudia Kishi, and because it reminds be that so often the imagining of the behind-the-scenes of stories and characters gets derided as fan-fiction or not-serious, especially if the imaginers are women. When Serious Readers are often conjured up, their literary histories do not frequently contain the Baby-Sitters Club books, despite those being immense bestsellers read by literally millions of kids, because frequently the presumption is that the gold star standard Serious Reader is a dude. But Mallory Ortberg is a goddamn hilarious genius whose works are almost never alienating to me, and where for once I don't feel like I have to apologize for being as well-versed in murder mysteries as I am in Roman poetry, or for making faces at oblivious dudes throughout the artistic canon.


wait does this book contain anything on Catullus and Lesbia??? please let them be next if not!!
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:45 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


It makes me sad that GamerGate did not take her on in greater number when she was trolling them.
posted by maryr at 9:46 AM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


(Well, I mean I'm not sad she didn't get threats made against her or her family and such, but it is a lot of fun to watch her reply to critics with humor without humoring them at all.)
posted by maryr at 9:47 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


One of the things I love about Ortberg's writing is the way she. . . normalizes the female point of view, I guess? I feel like there's a lot of writing out there that is just as dude-centric as Ortberg's is lady-centric, but it's just portrayed as WRITING, not as "men's writing." Ortberg doesn't write for women; she writes for everyone, from the female experience.
posted by KathrynT at 9:49 AM on November 10, 2014 [31 favorites]


Oh holy wow I just read texts from a ghost for the first time. Why am I crying and smiling so hard it's not even ten in the morning. Too many feels for this guy. I gotta go read it again.
posted by DGStieber at 9:56 AM on November 10, 2014


When Serious Readers are often conjured up, their literary histories do not frequently contain the Baby-Sitters Club books, despite those being immense bestsellers read by literally millions of kids, because frequently the presumption is that the gold star standard Serious Reader is a dude.

My male cousin was super into the Babysitter's Club books when we were kids, and so consequently was I (also male), although I don't remember as much of it as I think he might. Anyway, I found a thing last week about "Babysitter's Club: Where Are They Now?" and linked it to him on Facebook. His response was, "ooh, low blow." And I was like, uh, why? I have a B.A. in literature focusing on poetry and literary theory, you have a Ph.D. in international affairs, and we both read tons of BSC books, who gives a shit? I genuinely thought he'd like it. Maybe he did and just has to act embarrassed for the cameras, or maybe he really is embarrassed, I don't know. I'm not, they were great.
posted by Errant at 10:43 AM on November 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


One of the reasons I love the toast is the comments are usually so awesome. From the Introversion article's comments:

Man, INTJs get such a bad rap. People always assume we're villains and masterminds! But let me tell you something: INTJs are the people who help you plan your party. We calculate the minimum effort necessary for maximum enjoyment, and plan ahead to reduce the stresses of being in crowds. Accidentally slaughtering all of your guests? That's sloppy. That's some ISFP nonsense right there.

As an INTJ myself I must agree that having to kill people means you've failed at planning ahead.
posted by winna at 10:46 AM on November 10, 2014 [9 favorites]


I just got around to reading The Eleven Worst Plants, and it makes me immensely happy that Ortberg shares my distaste for sunflowers. They are grotesque and terrifying and way too big.

I do not accept your false and charmless attempts at levity. You are a bad plant, and you have no right to grow as tall as you do. I am a human; I stand above you on the food chain. How dare you grow as tall as me.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:49 AM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was feeling all smug about how since I hang out with academics my first thought was that "Texts from Jane Eyre" referred to books by Jane Eyre. And then I realized I was confusing Jane Eyre and Jane Austin.
posted by straight at 10:55 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]




And then I realized I was confusing Jane Eyre and Jane Austin.

How could you confuse Calamity Jane Austin with Jane Eyre?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:15 AM on November 10, 2014


"I, as a white, privileged man (#NotAllMen), enjoy reading her work for exactly that reason. I enjoy the irony of throwing all the shit back in the direction it's coming from, and find it funny imagining the enforcers of the internet reading it (for some reason I picture a cat puffing itself up upon seeing its own reflection). There's been one time when I've felt marginalised whilst reading her work (the misandrist-lullabies), and after about two seconds, I thought "hey, I, as a white, privileged man feel marginalised by this, I see what you did there". So anyway, in a vacuum, maybe I would find her work farcical and unfair, but viewed in context, as a jab back up at those who endlessly punch down, I think she's great."

Yeah, she's fantastic. It's weird — hasn't nearly everyone experienced pompousness from a Great Authoritative Male, and thus would enjoy a skewering of it? And hasn't every guy found himself at least once in that pompous mode without meaning to be? A lot of the reactions she gets from dudes seem to be of the, "Dish it out, can't take it" variety. Like, everyone interacts with a weirdly gendered society; everyone should be able to laugh at themselves; everyone will have times when laughing at themselves should overlap with a female-subject laughing at them. There are times when she misses, but that's comedy*.

One thing that I really like about her is that she's an easy example of successful deconstruction — by recasting classic work, she's doing a great job of undermining the pompous, problematic parts. It's really fun to read; she's wicked smart.

*For me, the misses are most frequently with the captions on paintings, as she sometimes gives misreadings or glosses over stuff in paintings that I happen to know a lot about, but complaining about insufficient art history nerdery is petty and she knows way more than I do about a lot of other paintings, especially that Pre-Raphaelite stuff that is full of wan wankery.
posted by klangklangston at 12:33 PM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Texts From A Ghost, eh? Sounds kinda lame...read read read...ah. I see what all the fuss is about.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:42 PM on November 10, 2014


explain this, klang. explain that derpy cheetah.
posted by maryr at 12:50 PM on November 10, 2014


I do wish she included links to the actual paintings but also I think her glosses are in the same spirit as Ugly Renaissance Babies or my own personal file of Super Derpy Antique Animals, subtitle: Have you ever seen an animal, no seriously, have you. She's not challenging the canonical reading or history of the pieces, she's just giving them some thought bubbles. Hilarious, hilarious thought bubbles.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:58 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Along with Edith Zimmerman and Kate Beaton and others, Mallory Ortberg one of these ladies who've popped up on the internet being funnier and smarter and more perceptive than the vast majority of white guy comedians, and it just points up how sick and tired I am of white guys and their boring, repetitive white guy jokes and observations. If you look at reddit or other generic kind of mainstream sites and see what passes as funny or insightful, it's almost all the same tired old jokes that have been around ever since I can remember, anyway.

And, as with so many other things, it just emphasizes how much we've all been missing out on. How, pre-internet, odds are pretty good that these women would have either been toiling in obscurity or working for some boring white guy who'd make them write boring white guy stuff.

I like white guys plenty. I even made one once, from scratch. And all you have to do is read Ortberg writing about dads to see her real, genuine affection for them too.

It's not that they universally suck or anything. It's just that there have been mediocre white guys drowning out way more talented, interesting people for pretty much ever, and if you're not tired of that, you're probably one of them.
posted by ernielundquist at 1:00 PM on November 10, 2014 [16 favorites]


. And all you have to do is read Ortberg writing about dads to see her real, genuine affection for them too.

The Dads Magazine posts make me cry a little every time, because I miss my dad, and his dad-ways.
posted by emjaybee at 1:41 PM on November 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


jetlagaddict: "my own personal file of Super Derpy Antique Animals, subtitle: Have you ever seen an animal, no seriously, have you"

You should do a Tumblr or Twitter account or something. I'd follow.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:03 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ghoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooost....




*whimper*
posted by Deoridhe at 2:13 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Mallory Ortberg needs her own top-level domain name.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:58 PM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh holy crap, I love Mallory's work but had never read Texts from a Ghost before and OH MY GOD.
posted by sawdustbear at 3:49 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


When you're by turns nodding righteously and then deeply offended by "The Eleven Worst Plants" you know you're a plant nerd. Oh it was satire? She thinks that's funny? All right then.
posted by BinGregory at 8:18 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I hadn't read Texts from a Ghost before and it's resulted in much crying. She's the best.
posted by SarahElizaP at 8:54 PM on November 10, 2014


Mallory Ortberg basically seems to have appeared, fully formed, as the perfect internet writer. Oooh, idea time: a new subsite: MalloryFilter?
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:21 AM on November 11, 2014


It would probably make more sense for this to be MalloryFilter and come up with some other color for non-MO FPPs.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:07 AM on November 11, 2014


My partner just read Texts from a Ghost and didn't cry even a little.

and he seemed like such a nice guy.
posted by MsDaniB at 5:26 AM on November 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


There are sequels to Texts from a Ghost:
  • The Return of Ghost - also touching
  • The Ghosting of Ghost - a prequel. Mallory explained the timeline in a comment.
  • Overheard At A Ghost Reunion - ok, maybe not really related

  • posted by Pronoiac at 10:11 AM on November 12, 2014


    Been reading Jane Eyre (free on iTunes in book form, audiobook costs between $2 something and $11 something). It's much more interesting than I remember Tess of the D'urbervilles and Hard Times being, with their fallen Victorian woman and whatnot, but then I guess those are more typical for teaching high school English.
    posted by halifix at 8:54 AM on November 14, 2014


    I went to her reading last night, which roped in Alexis Coe to do some of the dialogue. Arrgh *so* fucking charming! Really highly recommended.
    posted by Pronoiac at 9:41 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


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