27 October 2010

Maura Kelly is a very provocative 
blogger. She was an anorexic herself 
and this is a subject she feels very 
strongly about.
   - Joanna Coles, marie claire Editor-In-Chief

Plenty of people are up in arms across the Internet today over the blog posting Maura Kelly wrote for her editor Kate Schweitzer at MarieClaire.com. Tempers are frayed, hot accusations are being hurled, and howls are reaching the heavens of cyberspace.

I'm repulsed by the content and intent of Kelly's post, and by her editors' audacity in permitting the post, titled Should Fatties Get a Room (Even On TV)?, to remain live for more than two full days in the face of copious and condemning comments--more than 950 as of this morning. For this reason, I have no intention of encouraging anyone to go to the marie claire website to read the offending material, or of providing you with any links to the article. Every time anyone lands on the page, a counter gets bumped, and it makes advertisers believe that the magazine's readership is increasing. If you're so inclined, you can read excerpts of the article on plenty of other websites and still get the gist of Kelly's puerile, cruel assessment of people who are obese--she finds them disgusting.

Kelly's irresponsible editors, from Schweitzer all the way up to Editor-In-Chief Joanna Coles, seem to think that anything that draws attention and links can't be a bad thing. I'm of a different opinion. I believe that writers have a responsibility to their readers, editors have a responsibility to their writers, and publishers have a responsibility to not inflict damage on the societies they serve. Having written such an ill-conceived, ill-bred essay, Maura Kelly has revealed herself as lacking manners, good judgment, and compassion toward her employer's readership. Having permitted this atrocious post to appear on the website and then remain there, Kate Schweitzer has revealed her indifference toward journalistic integrity and good writing. Having now publicly expressed her support of Maura Kelly's blog, Joanna Coles has revealed herself as irresponsible toward her employer's best interests.

Personally, I think the lot of them should be fired. However, in the likelihood that firing isn't going to happen, I'd like to suggest something else: express your disapproval through shunning. Ignore them completely. Behave as if they don't exist.

How, you ask? Simple. Stop reading Maura Kelly's writing, wherever and whenever you find it. Stop visiting Kate Schweitzer's marie claire website. Stop watching Project Runway, which marie claire sponsors. Don't invest your time and money in the products promoted by marie claire, and cancel your subscription to the magazine with a nice letter explaining why you are taking the action. Stop linking to their articles, and starve them of the attention they desire.

If you do this, you'll be making a clear statement to the parent organization, Hearst Magazines, that you're not going to tolerate bullying and bigotry. Not now, not ever.

Believe me, there are better things we can be reading than mocking, self-serving sneers about any segment of our society.

Excuse me. I'm off to visit the library, where none of the books are bullies.


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