Maybe it's not intentional. Maybe the hardworking men and women at the NYT actually love books. And, maybe, like a small child who nearly suffocates his/her new pet kitten out of love, they just don't know how to express that love.
Or, maybe they're just raving idiots.
Today, I'm going with the idiots theory because that's the only explanation for Let’s Face It, This Isn’t a Job for Supernanny. This is an intentionally hilarious story on multiple levels. For one thing it's yet another in a long line of instances where the Times brings us the news straight from the Internet. Because why go out and do some actually reporting when you can just sit at your desk and click? (Will Columbia's School of Journalism start offering courses in how to dramatically quote from someone's MySpace page. Based the emergence of this "technique" as the very bedrock of NYT's reporting it might be a wise move.) Courtesy of Craigslist the NYT brings us the story of woman who has bratty kids, aspires to be a writer and is insane enough to advertise for a nanny on the Internet. This woman treated potential applicants to veritable heart of darkness - her kids are "a pain", she doesn't want to feel guilty about shopping at Bergdorf - and her aspirations to be a painter and a writer.
That's what stopped me cold. The line about the woman "acknowledging her hopes, as she had in the posting, that perhaps she deserves a book deal."
This cretin deserves many things but a book deal isn't among them. This is a woman who is fortunate enough not to need to work outside the home who is totally willing to leave her young children all under the age of twelve and all in school in the care of a near stranger. She can live her life as she chooses and make life hell for as many nannies as she can get her hands on but A BOOK?
What on earth would the book be about? The tribulations of living on the Upper East Side and having a country house in Connecticut? How hard it is to have children that are in school all day and report to the nanny as soon as they hit their own front door? The difficulty of finding good help these days - there's a fresh idea! Some equally clueless editor at a publishing house saw this article and thought something along the lines of "how brave" and "won't this really resonate with women today" and is already prepping a book deal.
No, it's not brave and it doesn't resonate with 99% of the population. I say this as someone fortunate enough to be able to afford to shop at Bergdorf - this woman doesn't need a book deal, she needs a clue and a dose of reality. The publishing world needs to spend less time and money on stunts like this and more on nurturing real talent so that readers like me have a reason to buy.