Spying into other people’s lives on reality television shows has almost replaced soap operas, but “self-exposing bloggers striving to be heard” may become the more lucrative way to use daily personal problems to make money. This Sunday’s New York Times magazine ironically announces Randy Cohen’s last column in Goodbye – The Ethicist, while promoting Heather Armstrong’s success at using her break-downs, both personally and with her washing machine, in her blog.
The article Queen of the Mommy Bloggers describes how Armstrong manipulated hateful comments to her posts to garner more “hits” on her blog; since her income is based on advertising on the site – more (hate)hits equals more money. With success comes jealousy, but it seems even hate mail has its worth.
Why the obsession with others’ problems? Heather rakes in the millions and ranks as number 26 on the Forbes list of Most Influential Women in Media “which is twenty-five slots behind Oprah, but just one slot behind Tina Brown.” And the Ethicist? The moral compass may be endangered – with fewer readers and practitioners; nevertheless, it continues for Times readers with a new columnist.
But neither offers the sane advice or amazing adventures of the source I find impossible to do without…
Miss Manners, of course.
- Ariel Kaminer Is the New Ethicist (observer.com)