The oblivious, self-involved awfulness of this post by Kate Ahlborn at Vanity Fair’s culture and celebrity blog is almost impressive. Alhorn, you see, is a VF staffer who, until recently, had never ever been to Brooklyn before, but decided to venture out into the wilds of Williamsburg hipsterdom in order to check out one of those freaky-deaky performance art shows all the kids in skinny jeans are always talking about. What does she discover? It’s creepy! And uncomfortable! And oh-so-much-more dangerous than her beloved Upper East Side. This “edgy” art stuff — rough looking buildings at the Bedford L train stop (shudder), artists who touch your face — sure isn’t for everyone! It’s a miracle she was able to make a safe return at all.
As Josh Stein says, “the entire tone of the piece … boils down to, ‘I went to an art performance. It made me uncomfortable. It was weird. I didn’t like it.’ People like this should not write things down and certainly not anywhere where anyone must read it.” Aren’t writers supposed to be interested in the world around them, curious about and open to new experiences, and perhaps even knowledgeable about their subjects? Ahlborn, the proudly sheltered Upper East Sider, seems pretty clearly to be none of the above. What’s even more shocking is just how poorly written it is. The whole thing reads like a wrote-it-the-night-before personal essay from a freshman comp. class. Vanity Fair regularly publishes pieces that I don’t agree with, pieces that are snooty, pieces that prize attitude and style over substance*, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve read something in their pages that was this shoddy, this vapid, this badly conceived.
*I should make clear that I think the magazine also publishes quite a bit of simply fantastic reporting and commentary.