Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On the Monster . . . Maura Kelly

Rupert Murdoch’s new iPad news application – The Daily – is but a week old and is already proving to be a complete and absolute waste of time, edited by children, supervised by the unhappy, influenced by the resentful, and inspired by a million monkeys.  Good pictures and multimedia, though.  Anyway, Exhibit A in the Opinion section: a column by one Maura Kelly entitled No Childless Left Behind; All workers deserve the type of leave that new parents get.”  There’s no link because it’s a goddamned iPad app, but you can probably find it indexed under Google, if you really must have proof of its provenance.  Ms. Kelly, last heard from calling for the sequestration of “fatties” away from any broadcast, print media or sidewalk lest she be offended by their obese attempts to convince the fit and fiddled that they are equal in the areas of human wants, concerns and appetites, has returned with another selfish plea.  But first, let’s revisit Ms. Kelly in her lair, the highly esteemed and relevant Marie Claire Magazine, although not really, just her bog, er blog at that esteemed and relevant publication’s website.  Referring to a network television show featuring an obese couple, Ms. Kelly declaimed:

“I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.”
Indeed.  I often equate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie with a vomitous orange hued guido being tossed into the street by The Doorman or slumped in his chair with a bloody needle dangling from his left arm while in the other hand he clutches a double-dipped iced bear claw special ordered from the Cake Boss.  The human vehicle can turn the nose or the eye as would a wood-grained Chrysler Caravan in relation to a Ferrari 250 GTO.  Still, both offer utility and pleasure in their own way, which are really the essential good things we would hope to experience in our dealings with each other.  Even the Ferrari owner has to lug mulch now and then.  The Ferrari driver may fantasize about a fleet of Mack trucks driving several miles ahead of him at top speed, wiping the highway clean of any lesser vehicles lest his progress down life’s highway be disturbed by unclunked Detroit steel or rice mobiles.  He may think it, but he doesn’t write it.  We don’t give voice to our petty, selfish, genocidal desires. We learn to suppress that, usually before we graduate from high school and then take it up again as an anonymous blogger.

Our monster, Ms. Kelley, has a simple request of society.  After all the fatties are removed from her purview, she would like more time off from her employer because:

“I needed to make a living, but I wanted to do more serious stuff – longer narratives, personal essays, a novel! – except I never had the extra hours necessary to write anything meaningful.”
Well, now.  First, the esteemed and relevant Marie Claire Magazine may find it interesting that they do not constitute “serious stuff” or “anything meaningful.”  Second, family leave or no, an unknown smithy of words such as myself certainly could find an extra five minutes in my day to clutch a thesaurus and find a word more descriptive than “stuff” to describe my most prized career goals or at least find an opinion in Strunk and White or some blue bound authority as to appropriate placement of the exclamation point within a sentence, at least if I was crafting a sentence wherein I bitch and moan (excuse the vulgarity, but a thesaurus is too far out of reach) about not having enough time to become an important and clever writer because I have to spend so much time being a great and insightful, yet unmeanngful, writer for the esteemed and relevant Marie Claire Magazine! (And that, bitch, is how you use an exclamation point).

Ms. Kelley looks around at her colleagues who have taken advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, having chosen to have children and stay home on unpaid leave, and she wants some of that stuff, too, if only so she can give birth to some Rosemary baby of a novel or “personal essay” that’s being otherwise aborted by the cruel necessity of having to work.  In the dim toxic CFL bulb that is Ms. Kelly’s head, there is absolute and indisputable equivalence between the promotion of the species and the promotion of her feces in written word.  How do we know there is absolute and indisputable equivalence?  Because Ms. Kelly quotes a Harvard Law grad, that’s why.  One Piper Hoffman, an employment lawyer and 1999 graduate of Harvard Law School, who while at Harvard bravely confronted the American Demon during a classroom discussion:

“I argued that privileging breeding over all other activities was unfair.  The rejoinder was that reproducing should be uniquely privileged above other activities, because without it, society would not continue.  I pointed out that reproducing is not clearly beneficial, especially in the case of Americans – the worst consumers and polluters on the planet.”
So said the lady quoted by a blogger for Marie Claire, the magazine devoted to providing women with information on Fashion, Hair and Beauty, Health and Fitness, Lifestyle and Celebrity, Career and Money, Sex and Relationships (Ms. Kelly’s niche), World Reports, and Games and Giveaways.  There would appear to be quite a bit of consuming and polluting behind those drop down menus.  Because Ms. Kelly is a lazy writer and because we are lazy readers, we will attribute to Ms. Kelly an acceptance of Ms. Hoffman’s description of those who produce children as “breeders” whose breeding is clearly not beneficial because they will be Americans continuing genocidal consumption and pollution of the Earth’s vital resources and juices, which if not being consumed and excreted by fatties, is somehow impacting the ability of Mesdames Kelly and Hoffman to do [thesaurus please] something more ... dreamy ... with their lives, other than being a hack blogger and ambulance chaser, respectively.

Ms. Kelly cautions that she does not “begrudge” her friends or any of her colleagues their time off.  Saint, the woman is, although they most certainly will have some kind of grudge when they read this sludge.  Here we must allow Ms. Kelly her classic American excuse:

“I became convinced that I never wanted to have a child, mainly because I feared I wouldn’t be able to keep my clinical depression in control if I did.”
The reader waits for a Harvard Medical School graduate to weigh in and substantiate Ms. Kelly’s concerns that she will shake her baby to death or drive her into a lake, but no such science is presented.  (Not even a quote from a Harvard Theology PhD about the illusion of evil.) The reader wonders if Ms. Kelly’s clinical depression is in any way associated with her decision to not have children.  (Where’s Dr. Bliss when we need her?)  She continues, although instead of just telling us what she thinks, she actually quotes herself thinking this:

“Nonetheless I couldn’t help thinking, “My life goal is not having kids but becoming [thesaurus please] a better [thesaurus please] writer – and I wish [thesaurus please] that I, too, could get [thesaurus please] 90 days off to begin realizing [thesaurus please] my dreams.”

Honey, you need more than 90 days.

From her bilge, Ms. Kelly pumps out this hard-thought public policy position, perhaps vetted with another Marie Claire colleague while sampling the anatomically correct collection of designer cupcakes that Marie Claire will feature in its Valentine’s Day spread:

“But what parameters [thesaurus please] should employers use [thesaurus please] to determine which employees get [thesaurus please] such leaves [spell check please]?  Perhaps anyone childless by choice who’s been working at a company for at least 12 months and has a meaningful [thesaurus please] plan (like spending a season volunteering with a political campaign, for instance) could qualify.  Companies could put some kind of [thesaurus please] cap on how often employees can take sabbaticals, perhaps one every five years, with a lifetime limit of three or four.”

I would wager that three or four actual children produced in the space of three or four sabbaticals can be expected to add a bit more worth and hope and actual economy to humanity’s future than three or four more “personal essays” from Ms. Kelly.

It is the point in our analysis where we turn to personally attacking Ms. Kelly, an exercise accomplished by simply quoting her biography, helpfully posted without shame or embarrassment on the esteemed and relevant Marie Claire website:

Maura Kelly is a freelance writer who is working on a novel. Some of the things she loves: indie rock, peanut butter, Fellini films, the Brooklyn Bridge, running (slowly) in Prospect Park (always wearing New Balance sneakers) and The Brothers Karamazov. And definitely her friends, too; her tight circle includes a fashion designer, a hard news journalist, a couple magazine editors, a bike messenger-turned-lawyer, a professor of philosophy and an aspiring screenwriter. On her dating resume, there's an unusual number of visual artists, a couple of jazz musicians, and one guy named Thor. Though she's in her thirties, she's never been in love before - and has started to wonder if she ever will be. She's decided she has to start making dating her job if it's ever going to happen. Hence, this blog.  Her personal essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Times, The New York Observer, The Washington Post, New York Press, Glamour, Salon, "Before and After: Stories from New York," and "Going Hungry: Writers on Desire, Denial and Overcoming Anorexia," to name a few.

Gosh, one wonders if Ms. Kelly wrote that herself?  How cute!  A red pen, my kingdom for a red pen!  But the important part of the biography is that we find that Ms. Kelly is a fattie herself.  As in, Ms. Kelley is a fathead.  There is not one educational credential mentioned in that sophomoric bilge (and I know from sophomoric bilge).  This is the writing of an adolescent.  This is not an adult.  These are the thoughts of someone who cannot fathom demographics, national cohesion, societal compromise, free enterprise,  personal liberty, or even the goddamned [thesaurus please] future.  Well, perhaps today she grew up?  Ms. Kelly’s latest blog post on the esteemed and relevant Marie Claire is entitled: "Do Overachievers Lack the “Skill Set” for Relationships."  As I do not expect the post to be about how big one’s “skill set” needs to be these days to score with another overachiever, I shan’t read the post.  Besides, I learned all I need to know about overachievers from Amy Chua.  And it's quite apparent that Ms. Kelly is not an overachiever and thus lacks the skill set to opine on it. 

Essentially, Ms. Kelly posits that because she does not have time to produce twaddle beyond the twaddle she produces for the esteemed and relevant Marie Claire magazine, the world is not fair and must change.
What’s most amusing about Ms. Kelly’s piece is that she did not need Congressional action to set time aside for her to write what a million monkey’s would not admit to writing after 90 days.  

“Until personal-development [thesaurus please] sabbaticals become more [thesaurus please] common, workers who want time off should consider simply [thesaurus please] approaching [thesaurus please] their bosses [thesaurus please] with a formidable [thesaurus please] plan.

That’s exactly how I got [thesaurus please] two months off to do [thesaurus please] a journalism fellowship in Berlin.  “Just keep this quiet,” my former boss cautioned me.  “We can’t have everyone doing what you’re doing.”

In short:  nevermind.  It may be Ms. Kelly’s opinion that her journalism fellowship in the beer halls of Berlin, a society under apparently significant demographic deficit such that they have to offer journalism fellowships to fatheaded self centered Americans, has allowed her to write this longer narrative (or is it a personal essay), but even more revealing is the postscript at the end of the column:

“Maura Kelly is writing a book about love and literature, to be published by Free Press in early 2012.”

So, she appears to be able to hold a day job and write a book, albeit not a novel, at the same time.  Again, in early 2012 my money would be on the monkeys producing something more penetrating about love.  I wonder what she has to say about the women who have a day job, have kids at home, have no more “formidable” “personal-development sabbatical” plans to "approach" their bosses with and yet who are writing the novel of their dreams or perhaps blogging on the side?  And just who the hell are you writing for if not tomorrow’s generation, the consuming, polluting, but hopefully reading, offspring of selfish breeders?

Ms. Kelly ended up apologizing to fatties and they were returned to their majority stance on the cosmic scale.  And so we still have fatties to laugh at, thank god.  And now we can laugh at this fatheaded, idiotic [thesaurus please] thirty-something hack who desires for society’s entrepreneurs and businesses to pay for her personal sabbaticals so she can realize her dreams of becoming intimate with a thesaurus.  It’s only a matter of time before she informs us that she didn’t mean to quote someone who called her child-bearing colleagues “breeders” or “the worst consumers and polluters on the planet" and offers a half-assed [theasaurus please] apology.  At the end of the day, though, Ms. Kelly reminds us that there are already a million monkeys typing away and they have yet to produce anything of note.