Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Nanny Gets Dooced

There's been a mini-blogstorm already over this essay in the New York Times by a writer/hausfrau in Brooklyn who fired her nanny after reading the nanny's blog, which revealed, shockingly, that a bisexual 20-something aspiring grad student has a more interesting life than she did.

The nanny has an extended rebuttal as a final post on the offending blog. Bitch PhD has a perceptive analysis and a response from the nanny in her comments. Amanda Marcotte weighs in as well.

Normally I don't get all exercised about conflicts between jobs and blogs. I'll shut this blog down at the drop of a hat if my judge so requests, but until such time I, like Ann Althouse, consider it a useful filter; if you don't like the person you find on this blog, you probably won't like me once you get to know me, either. It looks like the formerly hip lady journalist didn't like her nanny once she got to know her.

But for Olen to fire Tessy essentially because she was unsettled by the honesty of her writing and then use her life as fodder for personal advancement is pretty low, potentially hypocritical, and pretty much guarantees that Olen's not going to get a new nanny anytime soon. This was worse than the average doocing. There's losing a job, and then there's also getting kicked in the teeth by being borderline slandered libeled in a national newspaper by a vengeful old broad who resents you for popping her bubble of superiority.

So, Helaine Olen: "Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boo. Boo. Boo."

UPDATE: Majikthise also has some good commentary on the dustup. It's been MeFi'ed. And Mike at Crime & Federalism points out that Olen's essay marks a return to the NY Times after a nine year absence. Rarely does one get to see such a blatant example of the pursuit of lost glory accomplished at the expense of others.

UPDATE II: Apparently Olen's husband is Matt Roshkow, some schmuck who writes scripts for ABC/Disney TV movies. No wonder he found the nanny so scandalizing! (h/t 15 Min. Hipster) It should be pointed out that Roshkow was the one who actually fired Tessy (and gave her a deceptive justification for doing so) and who was agitating for firing her as soon as he read personal sexual content on the blog. Olen seems to have been less troubled by the sex than by the fact that Tessy was not A) her inferior, B) of the opinion that her job was not real work, and C) always happy to be a nanny.

UPDATE III: Blachman thinks Olen's article is "cool." Sure, if by "cool," you mean "an appalling manifestation of double standards, jealousy, dishonesty, and narcissism." But on the particular excerpt he posts:
I would log on upstairs to see if she was simultaneously posting entries below me on her laptop while the baby was napping. Too often she was.
Too often? I was a nanny one summer. Sometimes the kids are sleeping, sometimes they are in the yard playing, sometimes they are watching TV. When there's no need for direct supervision of them, what did Olen expect a nanny to do? Stare at the wallpaper and trace the patterns? Hover over the sleeping child like a vulture? Would reading a book be permissible (that was the summer I read Gone With the Wind, among others)? Or would knitting or embroidery be more appealing to Olen's sensibilities? Good grief, what an awful woman.

UPDATE IV: I promise this is the last update. Over at Making Light, the commenters have read through the entire nanny blog and documented each mention of work or the Olen family during the relevant period. There's next to nothing about them: no personal revelations or information, and with the exception of two cracks about birth control methods, it's pretty innocuous.
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