December 7, 2008

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Dear Vanity Fair,

Perhaps you commissioned Maureen Dowd to write about Tina Fey knowing only that she was a New York Times columnist, and never having read any of her columns. I’ve actually read those columns, though, and the profile she turned out was exactly what I would expect. You did a disservice to Tina Fey, and to your readers. We learn little about Tina Fey’s childhood, nothing about her philosophy of writing, nothing about her transition to acting – nothing about the substantive development of her personality and career. Instead, we hear endlessly about her German father and German work ethic, her Greek mother, her weight gain, weight loss, frumpy dresses, mousy appearance, thrift store sweaters, worries about her body. The weight and body image angles are particularly upsetting, since Dowd uncritically accepts the idea that thin equals beautiful, and thus that thin equals successful. But the cumulative effect really says it all: after reading that article, I was bored, offended, and self-conscious about my ass. Tina Fey’s talent deserves better. So does my reading time.

Better luck next time,


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