Thursday, March 10
For this Writers Week event it was a mismatched session with Jamie Curry and Mallory Ortberg discussing life online. Mismatched, because Curry – star of her own YouTube videos, Jamie’s World –seemed to have nothing to say, beyond being presumably sponsored by the world ‘like’ (I mean, “literally”) and her 10 million followers have enabled her to travel to meet and greets where requests include being asked if fans can smell her. She is living the dream, if the dream is to be on the washed-up sci-fi convention circuit without appearing in the shitty TV shows 30 years earlier in the first place. She’s written a book – though ghosted – so that, presumably, was what got her to the dance.
Her non-sequitur answers provided a series of own-
goals where Ortberg, writer for and creator of the website, The Toast and current contributor to Slate (having also contributed to Gawker and The Hairpin) and written the book Texts from Jane Eyre (with a second book in the works) was fascinating to listen to, a real achiever, and based around actual talent. Sure, Ortberg has 10 years on Curry, but chair Lizzie Marvelly, altogether too pleased with her position on the dais and clearly backing herself in what she deemed a three-horse-race, positioned vague questions at both, equal-opportunity style. We didn’t really get towards the grind of living a life online, issues of safety and mental health were not addressed, instead it was glowing advertorial. Now this might be inspiring for kids, sure, but Curry’s success seems more like a Fairplay Award in overdrive.
She just had nothing to bring to a serious discussion. She didn’t even mention her own book – it hints at how little she really had to do with it. And if she even considers it any sort of achievement. You wonder if she’s now written as many books as she’s read.
Ortberg was funny and able to discuss humour and feminism and literature and pop-culture, as well as hitting down hard on self-set deadlines. She was inspiring. Curry seemed bewildered, but grateful for one more version of a photo-op.
I know I’m not the target-market but fuck!