Confessional Chips ‘n Chutney: Wurtzel’s One Night Stand of a Life

Well, hmph. The recent kerfluffle over Elizabeth Wurtzel’s “Elizabeth Wurtzel Confronts Her One Night Stand of a Life” in New York Magazine, and the constellation of links and reactions and conclusions reacting to it–is confusing. And as bloggers, and people who read and comment on blogs, where do we enter the confessionalism conversation? Are we made of the stuff, making it so that we would just fade into the tapestries if we attended a Confessionalism Conference?

Are people more angry about Wurtzel’s piece because they actually think J-students will mimic her, or because she can fuck up and not have a savings account and still get paid to write a feature on herself for New York Magazine?

Unclear. And so I will make an appetizer out of it, and leave it to you to sort out.

Confessional Chips ‘n Chutney

1 bag, Nacho Cheese Doritos

Wurtzel as cautionary tale

By plundering your own life for material, you are not investing in yourself as a writer; you’re spending the principal.

               -Hamilton Nolan, “Journalism Is Not Narcissism” 

1/2 jar, fancy preserved lemons in brine–I used Belazu

Wurtzel as example, not model, of anti-shame work in society

…confessional journalism can serve as a means to reveal that experiences people once thought were singular are actually common, and not a cause for fear or shame…Making people realize that problems they thought were personal are actually political and cultural is powerful work. 

               -Alyssa Rosenberg at ThinkProgress

1 handful, fresh mint

Wurtzel as excess; her critics miss the point that…

Having a direct, dedicated following—a readership invested in you, not just the publication you’re primarily associated with—is like a career insurance policy….

This doesn’t mean we should be training all aspiring journalists to churn out click-baity personal essays. There’s a middle ground.

There is an art to getting personal without obscuring the real story. Just as there’s an art to infusing your tweets and your commentary with a tinge of your nonprofessional life without going the full confessional. 

Ann Friedman, “Journalism is Personal”

Chop 4 preserved lemons, removing seeds. Blend with mint in a Baby Bullet or other food processer.


Dip Doritos in chutney. Yowzah!


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