Meet Marie Calloway: The New Model for Literary Seductress is Part Feminist, Part ‘Famewhore’ and All Pseudonymous

Soon after, Ms. Calloway began corresponding with Mr. Brody, 40, a writer and editor who was a scholar of Internet micro-celebrity.

If Mr. Lin was the predominant ego of the “Internet writing subculture,” as Ms. Calloway called it, Mr. Brody was its superego.

“I’m glad you liked my writing,” Ms. Calloway wrote to Mr. Brody early in their correspondence. “I wondered if you would hate it since it could be seen as the self-absorbed narcissism you write about a lot.”

“Read your pieces as critiques of narcissism and self-absorption,” he replied, “which are hard to make without embodying them to the nth degree.”

Gawker media owner Nick Denton once said the same thing about his former employee Emily Gould, after “Exposed,” her memoir of writing about her personal life online, was published in The New York Times Magazine.

Not suprisingly, Ms. Gould was also intrigued by “Adrien Brody.” She published an essay on her blog Emily Magazine that sought to locate writing like Ms. Calloway’s—explicitly personal, borderline self-destructive first-person relationship stories—in a literary tradition that included Chris Kraus, Katha Pollitt and, well, Ms. Gould.

The same day, Muumuu House, Mr. Lin’s publishing company, republished Ms. Calloway’s essay as fiction, removing the photos and dubbing the writer “Adrien Brody.”

Whether “Adrien Brody” represented a feminist sub-genre ignored by male critics and academics or just a writerly strain of retribution, Ms. Gould was onto something.

The next week, coincidentally, The New York Post wrote a series of items about an affair between Salman Rushdie and Devorah Rose, the self-made socialite editor of Social Life magazine. When Mr. Rushdie abruptly cut off contact and publicly denied their relationship, Ms. Rose forwarded their Facebook correspondence to Page Six, revealing a less eloquent side of Mr. Rushdie. (“You look so gorgeous & hottt,” he had told her.)

Eventually, Ms. Calloway wrote to Ms. Gould looking for advice. Ms. Gould advised her to find the balance between self-exploitation and self-censorship. “Whenever you write about yourself you hover between those poles,” she wrote.

Three days later, Ms. Calloway deleted her Tumblr. “Dislike being ‘watched,’” she wrote.

Although Ms. Gould told The Observer she was ethically and aesthetically “horrified” by elements of “Adrien Brody,” she thinks that horror is worth investigating. “Why do women who aren’t afraid to humiliate themselves appall us so much, and why do we rush to find superficial reasons to dismiss them (‘she’s crazy’ ‘she’s a narcissist’ ‘she’s young’ ‘she’s a famewhore’)?” Ms. Gould wrote The Observer in an e-mail.

“I think in part because they pose a threat to the social order, which relies on women’s embarrassment to keep them either silent or writing in socially accepted modes.”

Ms. Calloway agreed. She said that she writes to give meaning and permanence to female subjectivity.

“I feel sad about the idea of events happening and having a big emotional impact on me, and then just passing by and having no significance,” she told The Observer.

Before they stopped talking, Mr. Brody was Ms. Calloway’s most sensitive critic. He believed there was more to Ms. Calloway than an insecure young woman desperate for attention. He called her ambivalence “an elaborate strategy of purification, to blend honesty and revulsion until they are no longer separable.”

Comments

  1. This was an interesting article.  Felt weird to me that there exists a “scholar of micro-internet celebrity” but it makes sense I guess.  “I always had a PhD.: a Pretty Huge Dick / Ladies tired of getting ripped off by guys like this” – Kanye Wests

  2. Django says:


    We laid side by side”

    Awesome writing, dude.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Failed to mention Marie Calloway’s strong marxist bent. Much of her stories must be viewed with this in mind to understand her project as exploring human anomie vs. human connection more than simple power and exploitation.  Some of the responses to her work, even those of female readers, are compromised by capitalist value judgments regarding dominance/submissiveness and the value of sexual currency.

    This radical marxist viewpoint is actually the most exciting part of her writing. It sets her outside of capitalist norms and allows her to operate and report independent of cliched value judgements. Wrongheaded assumptions evidenced by a line like “it’s tempting to believe that there is some sort of feminist impulse at work, that she derives power from humiliating men with her sexuality, the same tool they used to objectify her” reveal an oppressive worldview that is taken for granted in most critiques. Even by feminist critiques. I think.

    1. Entertained says:

      Is this satire?

  4. Bailey Kennedy says:

    sofia coppola not sophia.

    1. Kat Stoeffel says:

      Thanks.

    2. Guess says:

      Who cares? Article isn’t about Ms. Coppola. This from someone who couldn’t distinguish between the usage of I and Me (see your dog’s tumblr for reference). At least she can write something, and not to pretending to write.

  5. guest says:

    how can this girl be a writer with ‘we laid side by side’?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely revolting all around.

  7. Jamie says:

    Famewhore or not, I really like this girl’s writing, so thanks for introducing it to me. I like the Marxist angle, and I think it’s very emotionally honest without being overwrought. It’s a rare writer who can study her own emotions like a scientist might study a bug under a microscope.

  8. Petra says:

    A woman lures a successful writer, dumps her emotional baggage on him and then publicly humiliates him as some kind of misguided revenge on men. Pathetic is the only way I can describe Calloway.

    1. Anonymous says:

      star f*ckers, is what we call them. Very boring. Wonder if she has a blue dress….

    2. Laura S. says:

      …and the most predictably boring response to it imaginable.

  9. James says:

    She’s confused attention with power and has let herself be used, sexually and now by other writers who are more savy than herself (who profits here?). Her sexual exploits seem to be traumatizing experieces that she orchestrates to tantalize people who get off on the degradation of women (including herself). She has written repeatedly about how she is frigid, how sex is painful to her and how violence turns her on because she was a victim of rape. Just gross… and sad.

  10. Forgive a 60yo man for horning in on a subject he knows little about, but I’m puzzled by what appears to a blackout by the media (Observer, Gawker, Emily Gould) of the writer’s real name.  Is that you don’t want to rob him of his dignity?  Is he akin to a victim of rape?

  11. Famejohn says:

    Famewhore or not, I’d tap it. Don’t mind being used and humiliated by her for her blog as long as I get a piece of that “weapon” of hers.

  12. Kat Meyer says:

    So, this is all about a
    short story – albeit, a supposedly true one – yes? So, why are you attacking the author, exactly?
    I mean – just trying to gather — are you critical that Miss Calloway got attention for the story, or are you critical of the story? And do you find it at all ironic that you’re getting attention for *your* story about seemingly unsavory artistic practices, all because Marie Calloway got attention based on unsavory artistic practices?
    Iread Miss Calloway’s story. I found it moving and sad and disturbing. And – I  really thought it was a good read.
    I think that’s what story writers are supposed to do.
    I think journalists have a mission as well. I’m pretty sure the good ones aren’t spending their time attacking the lifestyle choices of 21 year old fiction writers.

  13. This is exciting and compelling. I liked her story.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Is “Wall Street” a good movie b/c finance is interesting or b/c Stone’s a good director?  Is “Oliver Twist” interesting b/c any book about London street urchins would be a slam dunk or b/c Dickens knew how to write?

  14. Elle M. says:

    there is nothing interesting about any of this.

    1. Guess says:

      The article is very interesting, unlike your comment.

  15. Chris Hosea says:

    Can you remind me what this article was about?

  16. Guest says:

    “Ms. Calloway agreed. She said that she writes to give meaning and permanence to female subjectivity.” So, in other words, to herself. I think that is what the anti- commenters are picking up on here. Dressing narcissism up in lit crit vocab doesn’t make it any less narcissistic. The idea that something / anything that happens in her life – for example, sleeping with this guy — is made inherently interesting by the act of her narrating it is pretty bankrupt. And it repulses me that the outlets that have jumped on this story are the same ones that I already think of as being intellectually and aesthetically bankrupt in that same exact way. The Hairpin, for example. As far as I can tell their remit is to have an opinion about anything and everything about women that appears anywhere in the media. Whereby a dingbat magazine cover with the Kardashians on it is as interesting and as worth of discussion as the ongoing assault of womens’ reproductive rights. I don’t mean to imply that writing about lady-stuff ought to be dead serious at all times or that it should float above pop culture. What I mean is that I think it is bankrupt and vacuous to pretend that all lady-stuff written by and for ladies is inherently interesting due to its lady-nature. So bankrupt and so vacuous that I wonder whether the writers and editors of such nonsense actually believe the idea has merit, or whether — as I suspect — they are careerists who see a space they can easily and cheerfully fill without having to do the tiresome work of cultivating any sort of individual voice or identity. To return to the subject of Ms. Calloway specifically, it’s hard to see how deleting her blog fulfills her stated reason for writing. Considering the number of tiresome media parasites who would like to latch on to her, I can’t blame her for changing her mind, though. 

    1. sonia says:

      The way I read it, the Hairpin realized once their advice might have anything to do with this fiasco (and we don’t know if it did), they took it down immediately because they wanted nothing to do with something this morally bankrupt. Brava to them, I say. Wish more places saw this as the nothing story it is, or at least as the incredibly hurtful thing it is to people who had jack to do with it (i.e. the girlfriend).

  17. Fawntell says:

    I think it’s all just for fun.

  18. Lfelster says:

    The real reason her story was published by Lin ….”Soon after “Adrien Brody” was published, he emailed Ms. Calloway. If she
    could pay her way, she was welcome to stay with him in his hotel room
    in Paris from December 4 to December 6. She would cover the trip, and
    he’d reimburse her for half after the story was published. “I’ll help
    you find a venue,” he offered.”

  19. Hazel says:

    It’s sad that you equate a feminist impulse with a woman deriving a sense of power through humiliating men with sexuality.  Isn’t more accurate to call that a sadistic impulse?