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Wednesday, February 20, 2002
posted by Jen at 2/20/2002 08:26:00 PM

Oy. Again with the Elizabeth Wurtzel. No fewer than three of my friends sent me the Page Six recap of this article from the Toronto Globe and Mail, in which Wurtzel comes off as pathologically self-absorbed and possibly deranged. ("Why is she getting paid to be crazy," one of my friends wrote, "when I have to do it for free?")

September 11? Wasn't no thang for our girl Liz. "I had not the slightest emotional reaction," she's quoted as saying. "I thought: 'This is a really strange art project.' " She cried, says the article, for the abandoned pets, not the dead people, and felt the most slighted when none of the New York media bosses asked her to write about it.


The article was interesting -- well, horrifying, really -- for its depiction of an author mid-meltdown, babbling to a reporter she mistakenly assumes is safe because she's Canadian. (Note to Wurtzel -- there's this new thing called the internet, where every story is essentially published everywhere in the world. Which means that New Yorkers can easily access Canadian newspapers. Just FYI).

But it was interesting, too, to read between the lines and watch the reporter at work.

"A moment later, Wurtzel appears," the reporter, Jan Wong, writes. "She's in jeans that expose her pale, white midriff. Under a thin, blue turtleneck, she appears to be braless. Her famously generous breasts, bared for the cover of Bitch (and GQ magazine), look smaller, sadder and droopier."

Oh, boy. Granted, Elizabeth Wurtzel sounds like an unpleasant piece of work, a Courtney Love wannabe who does not treat other people nicely. This is a woman who, by her own admission, has missed deadlines, planes and photo shoots because she was strung out or hung over, a woman who moved into her publisher's office because she's dysfunctional, a woman who forced her editor to drive her to rehab because -- well, because she could, I guess.

And yes, I think that if you make a habit of posing topless on your book covers, your breasts are fair game for comment, evaluation, and criticism.

But I can't help but wonder whether this would go both ways. Would anyone take notice if Jonathan Franzen showed up for an interview with bags beneath his trendy glasses, or if Sebastian Junger's pecs looked droopy?

And how is it even possible for breasts to look sad? Did Wurtzel draw little frowny-faces on them before putting her shirt on? Smaller, okay. Droopy, fair enough. But sad?

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