the protagonist and the punch-up writer
September 10, 2019 9:41 PM   Subscribe

"When I was a sophomore in college, I took a creative-nonfiction workshop and met a girl who was everything I wasn’t. The point of the class was to learn to write your own story, but from the moment we met, I focused instead on helping her tell her own, first in notes after workshop, then later editing her Instagram captions and co-writing a book proposal she sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It seems obvious now, the way the story would end, but when I first met Caroline Calloway, all I saw was the beginning of something extraordinary." I Was Caroline Calloway
posted by everybody had matching towels (65 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Somehow I can't help but think this would be more appropriate as about a 20-tweet Twitter thread. Or maybe a Tumblr post.
posted by happyroach at 10:02 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


It's a classic 2014 personal essay! If it was a Twitter thread it would have a lot more outrage and all-caps.
posted by muddgirl at 10:23 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


I read this earlier, with very mixed feelings about the inherent voyeurism of the whole thing but still caught up in the recontextualizing narrative of the whole thing.

Some previous context from this post near the start of the year circa Calloway's trainwreck event series; this is a much more complicated lens into the whole mess than we ever got from public statements during that, all else aside.
posted by cortex at 10:27 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


A good essay with a lot of interesting nuance. But just a head's up, there's numerous instances of sexual assault mentioned throughout.

Related, I feel like there's huge missing holes in the account of Caroline, things that don't add up even when compensating for her lies and self-invention. Notably, Natalie's experience of sexual violence and Caroline's apparently total lack of it - women aren't hurt because they're not pretty enough, and I somehow doubt that it's something Caroline would choose to remember or include in her life stories if she'd encountered it. The main thing I'm taking from this essay is that moment in the middle where Natalie realizes she is not equipped to help Caroline in the ways that she actually needs while her own family and friends have repeatedly told her to distance herself from Caroline - both of these women need(ed) support and help and guidance from other women and other people, and neither seem to have had the capacity to look outward for it, at least partially because of the cultures of exceptionalism, isolation and dominance that are prevalent in their lives.
posted by Mizu at 10:34 PM on September 10 [8 favorites]


It was a fascinating read, but I found the culture of sexual violence and contempt to which the narrator is exposed really horrifying.
posted by alloneword at 11:38 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


I loved this. It reminded me of every story I've read, or heard at a party, about some engineer who went to work with a charismatic founder at some start up and kept on plugging thinking big money was just around the corner, only to end up hating that founder and having been shorted at least 3 paychecks. Except so much sillier.

It was very bougie, and absolutely no one was remotely likable. It was like seeing a Harmoney Korine made for the Lifetime network.

I would not be surprised if Natalie's tale ends up being as fictionalized and punched-up as Caroline's, but it was still a fun little spite-read. On the other hand, Natalie's clearly a victim of sexual abuse in here, and she's so much less angry at those aggressors than she is at Caroline? But then, they are not the focus of the essay.

I do see people being dismissive of it in a way and in vernacular that I associate with misogyny, which is disappointing.
posted by taterpie at 11:41 PM on September 10 [21 favorites]


Hmm I wasn't crazy about that, in some ways I feel like her narrative was almost the inverse of Caroline's; equally elliptical and self serving in some ways.

Like, what was the essay about?? She wasn't Caroline calloway, she was a collaborator at best, an editor at worst - an arrangement that even in this generous narrative seems to have been understood and agreed to by all. There was no distortion of identity here.

Caroline was a shitty friend, like lots of people are. But as a shitty friend she also offered her broke buddy two hundred bucks a week for apartment cleaning, paid for her flights home from Europe etc etc.

The narrative felt self serving to me and the essay lacked a purpose and seems only to have been written and published due to calloway's notoriety.

The experience of having a charismatic, flakey friend is quite universal in one's early twenties, but I think the author failed to universalise it, or illustrate anything especially insightful or original from it. The humble bragging about her writing ability did also not endear me.

I think there's something to the idea that as we are forming our adult identities we often latch on to these "role playing" types that exhibit personality or lifestyle characteristics we are think we are lacking or want more of. The intensity of young friendships is perhaps due to how wrapped up they are in our own identities; every relationship transaction is a statement (damning at times, exhilarating at others) about ourselves.

The ability to move past these friendships, either grow them into something genuine or grow ourselves, is a kind of rite of passage, but some people get stuck, like Peter Pan, in the thrill of the relationships and the narcissism and self validation they can give. Once your own identity has coalesced, it seems faintly ridiculous and not at all real - of course that was part of the original allure.

But I don't think this essay really captured that.
posted by smoke at 11:56 PM on September 10 [13 favorites]


If you're familiar with Caroline from Blogsnark or GOMI or similar places the amount of benefit of the doubt that a bunch of people who aren't familiar with her are willing to extend based on this essay is pretty surprising.

Is it because communities based on hate aren't a great way to get a read on someone? Is it because the author does too good a job humanising her? Is it because something about her is genuinely appealing before it curdles on further exposure?

All I got is questions.
posted by zymil at 12:23 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


Looked at Caroline's instagram after reading the article. A lot of her latest posts reference this article. Text message receipts, a screenshot of the article, even a picture of the Yale plates Natalie mentions.

A couple of things about this story gave me pause. One of them was the Yale plates. Natalie writes:
When Caroline unwrapped them, she broke into tears. Real tears. I paused. Was this really that excellent of a gift? Had she never received something stupid and personal before?
It surprised me that Natalie remembers this event as something possibly "excellent" but definitely "stupid and personal". I don't know how I would feel exactly if someone were to give me a set of Yale plates when they know my great disappointment in life is rejection by Yale. But the plates would probably remind me of a time I would like to move beyond and I guess I would try to get rid of them. Then if people ask where the plates went, of course I'll try not to hurt their feelings. In Natalie's telling that's a lie. I don't doubt that's true in the context of their relationship, but from my immediate perspective it's a bit surprising.

There's a few other places where it took some time for me to understand the expectations that drive the story.
Ten minutes later, I was deposited outside the apartment Caroline had rented. [...] I buzzed the door, but Caroline didn’t answer. I called her cell, which rang, and left Facebook messages that showed up as delivered but unread. It was two in the morning, but one of the worst nights of my life was just beginning
It took a while for me to grasp that, oh, you don't have a key to the apartment. That's absolutely a shitty bind, definitely happened to me. But when I recall those instances, those dreary moments in front of a door that doesn't open, then my memory is mainly: shit, forgot my keys again. In Natalie's telling it's almost like Caroline's failing. Again, just a bit surprising.

Anyway, looking at this story & also looking at Caroline's instagram, I can't help but feel sympathy for Caroline & for both of them really. It's a very personal story, but also illustrates a broader set of ambitions & expectations that shape & are shaped by the reputational economies that have arisen over the past five years or so. The need to entertain, a requirement to perform real-ness, to be seen in a certain way, but then also puncturing that performance, in a kind of meta-analysis of self-awareness that reflects back on itself, a hall of mirrors... All I'm saying is I think it's pretty hard for most people to have their reflection reflected back onto them.
posted by dmh at 2:55 AM on September 11 [9 favorites]


There's a lot to be said for making one's early-20s mistakes off the net, as complete nobodies.

Even if it was just the Instagram account, it would just be an eccentric, selfish but exciting friend. But throw the $500,000 book deal in, and the $165-a-ticket shenanigans, and it's not as benign.

If someone came to Ask Mefi saying their rich friend got a huge book deal, and wants to write the book together on vague verbal promises of future revenue sharing, the answers would be a big pile of RUN AWAY.
posted by zompist at 3:18 AM on September 11 [14 favorites]


My most charitable read is that it's a classic case of codependency between two deeply unlikeable people who still haven't broken out of the need of having to make everything about them.
posted by cendawanita at 4:09 AM on September 11 [12 favorites]


They were both using each other. One was trying to ride the coat tails of her soon to be successful friend, only to realise her friend was a narcissist and was taking advantage of her right back and is writing the article as a huge ‘poor me’. It’s hard to be too sympathetic to either of them.
posted by Jubey at 5:13 AM on September 11 [8 favorites]


That's a lot of train wreck. And everyone really is the hero of their own story.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:22 AM on September 11


Is there a name for the type of impostor syndrome where you read an article about someone like Caroline Calloway or Anna Delvey and think OH SHIT WHAT IF *I* AM THE GRIFTER
posted by divabat at 5:30 AM on September 11 [15 favorites]


Is there a name for the type of impostor syndrome where you read an article about someone like Caroline Calloway or Anna Delvey and think OH SHIT WHAT IF *I* AM THE GRIFTER

We all are. Our best hope is to minimize it. If you are looking back into your past and you don't share this feeling, you probably need to be more self aware.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:53 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


dmh: I read both of those instances quite differently than you.

First, the plates were not just Yale plates, but plates that teh author wrote "fuck them" or something else on the back of; they were an inside joke about Yale between two friends. I feel like Natalie would have been less upset if Caroline had smashed the plates, or just told her what happened instead of inventing a fictional burglary to get out of saying what she did with them!

Second, I got the impression that Natalie didn't have keys to the apartment. Caroline did, and Natalie was just expected to be everywhere Caroline was. I didn't see that as Natalie forgetting her keys at all.

I have been following the CC story via instagram for a few months (@sassyblackdiva on twitter is doing a great/hilarious job of curating some content if you want to check it out for an overview) and it is all just smoke with no fire. CC absolutely seems like a hustler, in a fascinating way. It absolutely seems, as is pointed out in the article and more explicitly in Kayleigh Donaldson's excellent article, that:

Calloway’s main problem is that she doesn’t want to be an artist or a storyteller or a writer: she wants to have made art, to have told stories, to have been a writer, to have taught, and so on. But that requires work, research, planning, sacrifice, and an acute understanding that not everything you do will be successful or worthy of celebration. She has nothing to offer but is selling everything.
posted by hepta at 6:10 AM on September 11 [24 favorites]


She has nothing to offer but is selling everything.

That's an excellent summary of influence culture.

I very much enjoyed this article, but I had the eerie sensation of having read it before. It's so much like the novel Social Creature that I had to verify that they weren't written by the same person.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:14 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]


My most charitable read is that it's a classic case of codependency between two deeply unlikeable people who still haven't broken out of the need of having to make everything about them.

That was my takeaway as well. It's an interesting-to-read piece, but it doesn't make me want to read the novel or memoir that is likely following (or the film, if it comes to that). Caroline must be one of those really charismatic and compelling people, at least in person -- the author keeps explaining her appeal through her beauty, but there are a lot of beautiful people who don't have that kind of magnetism.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:27 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


Just having read the Cut article, I didn't feel like she was necessarily a purposeful grifter but more of an oblivious rich girl who up until that point had no idea of the work that was required for the fantastical things that she wanted in life to come together. It didn't seem like she was actively trying to con anyone, she just got in over her head because she probably hadn't had to put in any real effort at any point in her life so far and was blindsided by how much was suddenly being asked of her. To that end this article was disappointing, because god damn, i love a good grift story.
posted by marshmallow peep at 6:31 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


My main takeaway from the article was that there are a lot of weird jobs in NYC that I had no idea existed.
posted by Grither at 6:35 AM on September 11 [10 favorites]


Notably, Natalie's experience of sexual violence and Caroline's apparently total lack of it - women aren't hurt because they're not pretty enough ...

This is true. But part of being socialized female under a patriarchy is that you are taught to believe that any sexual violence must, in some part if not entirely, have been your fault. Sudden violence during what had been a consensual sexual encounter? You were being bad, and something bad happened--that's what you get when things are bad. So she made it a joke so that no one else could make her a joke. It's also why she's angrier at Caroline than at her attackers: men are only men, they are simple animals (as so many like to believe and to say); but women have feelings; women are supposed to be the responsible ones.

I thought of posting this last night, but I had the vague idea that I had no idea of the depth of interest and gossip here and that learning it would take me far longer than I wanted to spend.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:36 AM on September 11 [9 favorites]


I was kind of struck by the adolescent homoeroticism of their relationship. Not that that's a bad thing per se, but the do-I-want-to-be-you-or-sleep-with-you vibe is pretty strong to me, and adds to the emotional stakes of their relationship.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:39 AM on September 11 [15 favorites]


I was kind of struck by the adolescent homoeroticism of their relationship. Not that that's a bad thing per se, but the do-I-want-to-be-you-or-sleep-with-you vibe is pretty strong to me, and adds to the emotional stakes of their relationship.

Oh thank god, it wasn't just me. It reminded me a lot of the intense weird-ass friendships around college that a lot of the wlw folks I know have or had--both "do I want to be you or sleep with you" vibes and like, "is this a 'regular' friendship or do we want to date or what flavor is this closeness or WHAT". "Do I want to be you, or be with you?"
posted by sciatrix at 6:45 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


I went in expecting to dislike Caroline the charlatan but finished it disliking the author just as much. They could both benefit from some perspective, therapy, life goals unrelated to fame, higher quality friends and partners, time offline, and ownership of their own poor choices. I didn’t find the quality of writing particularly high, even, not enough to justify the lack of meaning in the piece.

Something I read once that fits here: self-involvement is not about how highly you think of yourself, but how often you think of yourself.
posted by sallybrown at 6:50 AM on September 11 [7 favorites]


The experience of having a charismatic, flakey friend is quite universal in one's early twenties, but I think the author failed to universalise it, or illustrate anything especially insightful or original from it.

Personally disagree - have never been to NYU or on a drunken escapade around Amsterdam but I went in for a spite read and found it more illuminating than that. I have had friendships that weaved between the weird public/private places of email and social media, as well as intense all-night discussions on art and life and gender. I'm about 15 years older than our protagonists but frankly I'm not much savvier about relationships and art they they were at the height of this frenzy.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 7:12 AM on September 11 [5 favorites]


I thought it was really good. It reminded me of how crazy, tragic, frustrating, terrifying it is to be young. The casual abuse reminded me of the essay from the reporter that recently accused Trump of rape. I find it one of the more affecting stories in that vein where the assault and just ugliness of all it is simply there and accepted and life goes on, but things should really be different.
posted by xammerboy at 7:16 AM on September 11 [6 favorites]


An engrossing read, but everything I've thought to say about it is too mean to say in public. I'm surprised that Twitter -- one of the internet's most terrible places! -- is being so nice.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:24 AM on September 11


Can't wait for the inevitable The Devil Posts on Instagram movie adaptation, all said.
posted by cendawanita at 7:25 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


This reminded me a lot of Social Creature (Tara Isabella Burton), which has the same "do I want to be you/do I want to sleep with you" energy that sciatrix mentions.

If you're into this, that book is definitely for you. It is absolute bananapants - it's this essay, but turned up to all the 11s.

Re: Natalie not being able to get in to the place where they're staying, she mentions that Caroline took the key:
As the bartender counted the till, I told Caroline I was staying behind to have an adventure. “He’s so cute!” she whispered, and told me she would take the Airbnb key and get to work on a paper for class. We hugged good-bye, and she pulled on her fur, positioned herself on the back of a stranger’s bike, and was whisked away.
posted by minsies at 7:56 AM on September 11 [5 favorites]


the Yale plates just got a book deal
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:47 AM on September 11 [7 favorites]


It may be totally stupid but I want to roll up to people, look them in the eye, say, "I am the fox in the hen house of your life" and roll away, just randomly, see what happens
posted by angrycat at 12:16 PM on September 11 [8 favorites]


If you're familiar with Caroline from Blogsnark or GOMI or similar places the amount of benefit of the doubt that a bunch of people who aren't familiar with her are willing to extend based on this essay is pretty surprising.

Is it because communities based on hate aren't a great way to get a read on someone? Is it because the author does too good a job humanising her? Is it because something about her is genuinely appealing before it curdles on further exposure?

All I got is questions.


Blogsnark and GOMI are some of the very worst of the internet. If all you know about anyone is from one of those sites, you don't actually know anything about them and need to spend more time literally anywhere that isn't a fucking hate site.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:28 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


These women are relatable and aggravating in equal measure. I was more or less this same girl at age 20 and thank god that now I'm not.

It's weird to see real people making THEMSELVES into archetypes but these two are very good at it.
posted by rue72 at 12:49 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


I was struck by the juxtaposition of the absolute universality of this story (someone else wrote "...this is the movie Beaches, this is the novel A Separate Peace...") against the jarring specificity of "influencer culture" which (hopefully) will only exist in this relatively small moment.

Also, I spent an embarrassing amount a time reading Calloway's twitter and Instagram responses to this article, and I honestly can't decide if she genuinely wants her former friend to do well no matter how embarrassing it is to her personally, or if is she is just very savvy with modern 21st century PR/damage control. And that makes her an interesting person (to me, at least)-- I can usually tell one way or another.
posted by seasparrow at 1:03 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


You're exactly right, this story is A Separate Piece!

Which, btw, Very Bitter Article Writer, is something that we had to read in high school as an example of Great Literature. Fictionalize this a teeny weeny bit and you could have a masterpiece on your hands. Just saying.

Brideshead Revisted is another one, but those books lack AS MUCH of an undercurrent of rage as this article/series has, I think.

I mean ffs this is also the storyline of Othello, except less tawdry. "Do I want to be you or be with you? Who ARE you anyway? Never mind, whoever you are (whoever I am), I'll triumph by destroying YOU!" is a story for the ages, I suppose.

And as with all those great tragedies, every single character's tragic flaw is pride.
posted by rue72 at 1:31 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]




I'm loving the super NYC-yuppie-specific dunking on Twitter. Minetta Tavern doesn't serve lettuce wraps! Natalie never worked at CW Pencil*!

*Actually, someone later came in on that thread and worked out the timeline, pointing out that she would've been in LA at the time, and a LA pencil shop owner confirmed her employment there.
posted by airmail at 5:44 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


You're exactly right, this story is A Separate P(ea)ce!

Or the opening chapter of Humboldt's Gift.

I was coming in to talk about CW Pencil, but I see I've been preempted.

The thing that I think is good and distinctive about this essay is the capturing of the social awkwardness that can result when one friend is much hotter than the other in their 20s. I had a friend like that around that age. Fortunately, both of us were much better and stronger characters than the girls in this essay, even then, but whew that social dynamic can be brutal.
posted by praemunire at 5:51 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


Fictionalize this a teeny weeny bit and you could have a masterpiece on your hands. Just saying.

A Separate Peace has already been recycled as The Kite Runner.
posted by thelonius at 5:54 PM on September 11


Instead of that pencil shop, I’m just here to reminisce about the prop-recycling thrift store. I used to go there all the time and I miss it!
posted by moonmilk at 7:32 PM on September 11


I actually thought of A Separate Peace too but I thought I'd get yelled at it if I compared it *phew*

Metafilter's response to this thing was a lot more pleasant and empathetic (to both ladies) than many other areas of the internet. I'm glad I get to read this place.
posted by taterpie at 10:08 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


attended a Wet Hot American Summer–themed party at a secret society

I never thought I'd be jealous of anything in Caroline Calloway's life but damn
posted by taquito sunrise at 10:42 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]




There's a lot to unpack in this piece, from multiple angles - not least of which is the question of how reliable the author is as the narrator of her own life - but for me it definitely clarified a few things left vague in previous accounts. Namely, 1) how much money Calloway has or had or has access to (fur coats, $6000 worth of furniture bought in a night) - although exactly where that money comes from is still very unclear; and 2) how much this was all intentional on her part; quoting the article
"The real story, she told me, is she took a series of meetings with literary professionals who informed her that no one would buy a memoir from a girl with no claim to fame and no fan base. And so Caroline made one online, taking out ads designed to look like posts to promote her account and buying tens of thousands of followers."
posted by soundguy99 at 6:30 AM on September 12


A Separate Peace

Come to think of it, that whole semi-open semi-repressed homoeroticism thing is right out of those pages, too.

I hated that novel so much as a teenager, I couldn't figure out why Gene didn't just talk to Finny or maybe kiss him instead of pushing him out of a fucking tree, and seriously who dies of a broken leg
posted by sciatrix at 7:29 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


So where are the plates? Caroline says she'll only tell Taylor Lorenz, a journalist who covers the influencer phenomenon. But she never told Taylor she'll be telling Taylor.
posted by rewil at 8:57 AM on September 12


Ha, went in not thinking very highly of Calloway, ended up thinking much worse of her. By the time she admitted that she didn't get famous off an Insta photo of macarons that went viral but instead just bought a ton of followers, my heart just sank a little, because that one fabrication really seemed to cement the idea in Natalie's head that it might be possible to turn an Insta account into a real book somehow. If Caroline had been all "How'd I get so many Insta followers in the beginning? I bought them, of course- it's like a busker who puts some "starter cash" in their guitar case- you need to have followers to get followers. Now, want to write a book with me?", I don't think Natalie would have gotten as sucked in as she did
posted by 23skidoo at 12:24 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Off-topic, but thanks for the rec of Social Creatures-- I breathlessly and compulsively read it until it was finished..!
posted by devrim at 1:47 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Personally I found this latest tell-all full unlike the Anna Delvey tale which is fascinating. Or Christian Gerhartsreiter who impersonated a Rockefeller and is in prison for murder. Also, everyone should read or watch The Talented Mr Ripley.
posted by misterpatrick at 1:50 PM on September 12


The thing that I think is good and distinctive about this essay is the capturing of the social awkwardness that can result when one friend is much hotter than the other in their 20s. I had a friend like that around that age. Fortunately, both of us were much better and stronger characters than the girls in this essay, even then, but whew that social dynamic can be brutal.

The thing is, I wouldn't categorize Caroline Calloway as being "much hotter" than Natalie Beach. They look pretty much the same to me. But clearly Beach would disagree with my assessment, so... was the essay a good representation of a friendship with a legitimate mismatch in looks and wealth? Or was it unreliable narration from someone with low self-esteem and unexamined privilege?
posted by palomar at 2:21 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


I had the same thought, going by the Instagram shots; pleasant looking but not particularly beautiful. What I assume Caroline had was charisma and (at least the projection of) confidence.
posted by tavella at 2:43 PM on September 12


co
de
pen
den
cy

I honestly can't decide if she genuinely wants her former friend to do well no matter how embarrassing it is to her personally, or if is she is just very savvy with modern 21st century PR/damage control

That confusion you feel about that? That difficulty understanding what is the real story? That's how a person feels when being manipulated by a narcissist. Caroline is doing that to her friend and also to her followers and it also worked on you just now.

This is pretty classic, and those feelings as a result are pretty classic. Part of the magnetism of a narcissist is the desire in others to keep coming back to resolve their constant confusion and discomfort about how this person really feels.

In the end it's really neither of the things you posit, neither a clear simple and sincere feeling nor a fully-in-control strategic decision - it's a mental health issue.
posted by Miko at 6:02 AM on September 13 [9 favorites]


As for the pencil controversy, I worked at Shorthand, which is a letterpress/stationery store in Los Angeles. I love Shorthand and they were great for me. Everything with Caroline fell apart and I needed a job, and they hired me off the street.[Rosanna Kvernmo, the owner of Shorthand, confirmed that Ms. Beach had worked there in early 2017 and that the store sells pencils.]

I think that CWPencil, who I know through the pencil community, just misread the piece and thought that I worked at the pencil store in New York when actually I worked there in L.A. If I was trying to be more specific, I would have said “I got work at a letterpress card-making store slash high-class office supply distributor.” But I thought the sentence “I got work at a pencil store” had more of an immediate kick to it.
posted by Miko at 6:12 AM on September 13


Caroline's father died shortly after the article in the FPP was released. Based on context clues, it was a suicide.
posted by all about eevee at 11:14 AM on September 13


Caroline's father died shortly after the article in the FPP was released. Based on context clues, it was a suicide.

Wait, I'm sorry, but how are we to know this is true? I can't find a single source about it that isn't based on her own post.
posted by Miko at 4:36 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


I admit, I had the same question. Though Caroline doesn't seem to have a history of lying/making up major things, more scamming/slanting things for attention? Somewhat of a subtle distinction I guess.
posted by tavella at 4:51 PM on September 13


Listen, I don't know, but I would ask for receipts on everything. Honest, she's not - she calls herself an "art historian" (she only has a BA), her "workshop" was total BS.I can't find an obit for him, but it hasn't been that long. Here she is a few hours after this death announcement "stepping into her own power."
posted by Miko at 5:03 PM on September 13


TBH, I don't know that I'd judge her for taking the interview and running on autopilot. The first few hours after a sudden loss can be weird. It's like the space between seeing a flash and feeling the shockwave from the explosion. You don't know what to feel or to do yet.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:41 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Well you could post a nude photo of yourself on Instagram.
posted by Miko at 8:28 PM on September 13


So glad this is here because otherwise I was going to have to make a FPP about it. I've been reading it all in fascination this weekend.

People talk about codependence, and I see that, but I think it's also something that's not uncommon to intense friendships of that age. (maybe a little of both.) When you meet someone headed the exact same direction you are, who has a certain something, there's this rapturous illusion that being with this person contains everything you need for the future -- companionship, an identity you want to grow into, shared goals...

And I love first-person essays in which the character's flaws are clear. I think she's aware of most of them but maybe not all of them.

(Do you think she knows that Caroline is maybe not paying rent consistently? I think it complicates the class-envy framing.)

The take I find the most boring is that it shows the superficiality of influencers and social media. Did anyone not realize that yet?

The more interesting lens is one of friendship among young women. For example: she tells this as a story of betrayal, but arguably she is the one doing far more betraying.

Of course, everything has taken a hard turn now that her father has passed away. She makes a good point that maybe some of the sympathy she's getting now would've been nice to receive when she was losing him incrementally.
posted by salvia at 10:06 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


I think it's also something that's not uncommon to intense friendships of that age.

Yeah, but I would call those friendships dependent - one and the same. It’s the kind of thing that Pepe can be vulnerable to when they don’t yet have adult relationship skills and solid self-esteem.
posted by Miko at 2:11 PM on September 15


Heh. And by "Pepe" I mean people.
posted by Miko at 5:18 PM on September 15


Her Dad was a hoarder, it looks like. If you go on her Instagram and watch the stories under the "Dad" heading, there are photos of his home.
posted by all about eevee at 5:20 AM on September 16


In so many words, she called him a hoarder today in a post. The trainwreck continues on Instagram.
posted by Miko at 6:13 PM on September 16


CC in The Times: How My Best Friend Made Me An Internet Pariah

I can't read that headline with a straight face, I have to admit.
posted by cendawanita at 10:27 AM on September 17 [1 favorite]


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