Let Me Sum Up
Profiling socialites who hate Internet commenters will not solve the problem. Plus: Go Mavs!
I’m fascinated by this story that ran Sunday in FD Luxe, the Dallas Morning News’ style magazine. Written by deputy editor Christopher Wynn, it’s an odd profile of a former Dallas socialite who details how she was run out of town by gossips and haters.
The story on its face seems interesting enough. It features Ana Pettus, a well-known fete set-er whom the Wall Street Journalmade temporarily famous for spending $74,000 on four runway-quality pieces of clothing. It says that the day the WSJ article ran, Pettus’ life began to “implode.” Ostensibly this is because FrontBurner ran a link to this story — hard to find it online otherwise, I suppose? — and the anonymous comments beneath the blog post were nasty toward Pettus.
Now, according to the story, she lives in Los Angeles, keeps an apartment in Dallas for visiting (like you do), and is working to establish herself in the reality TV production business.
I like Wynn’s stories, generally speaking. (Here’s a favorite.) But this profile is just so weird in its premise that I have to point out why it disturbs me.
One, it takes as its launching point the idea that the FrontBurner comments were the catalyst for Pettus’ exodus to LA, where presumably people are kinder to socialites. Such logic calls to mind the Simpsons episode where the Radioactive Man filmmakers are run out of callous Springfield and arrive by bus to a warm, welcoming Hollywood.
“We know you don't have any more money left, but that doesn't matter,” they are told. “Just take whatever you need from our boutiques until you can get back on your feet.”
Two, the story suggests said comments ruthlessly focused on the “alleged” financial woes of Pettus’ husband’s company. Except those woes aren’t so alleged. The company was going through bankruptcy during the days when the WSJ pointed out Pettus spent a year’s salary on four garments. I believe even Sheriff Branford would say that is germane to this situation.
Three, only after the story chastises Internet trolls for saying catty things about poor Ms. Pettus does it reveal that she divorced said husband after his company underwent said financial woes. Although it also suggests that she sold her University Park home because Dallas is so mean — not because, you know, of the previously detailed habits of often spending tens of thousands of dollars on clothing coupled with her divorce from a husband whose company went through bankruptcy while she was making these purchases that are so high-profile they made the front page in the Wall Street Freaking Journal.
Four, as if you couldn’t see this coming: Do you see the comments on the FD Luxe story? They are more personal and just as (more?) harsh than the ones on the benign Frontburner post. Yes, they have first and last names attached. So? This makes them more tolerable to someone who says her life came apart from such comments in the first place? Please.
The fact is, this person wants the spotlight for a life lived vacuously — and more power to her, by the way; wish I could afford to do just that — but none of the vitriol that always comes from such decisions. Yes, Internet commenters are by and large ridiculous. I stopped reading them on my stories about two years ago. Learn to do the same. And, if you don’t want the spotlight, don’t participate in stories where you’re buying $74K worth of clothing or pose with your cleavage filling the page.
Final pro tip: Don’t post pics of your two Sunday meals at Chateau Marmont on your Twitter feed the day the story runs. IJS.
On our second round at Chateau Marmont... instagr.am/p/VA2KTLSuoT/— Ana Pettus (@AnaPettus) January 28, 2013
If you were subjected to this Kathleen Parker column about women in combat, I’m sorry. To cleanse its silliness from your mind, read former Dallas writer Gretel C. Kovach, who reports regularly on the military, on why it's important and sensible for women to be allowed on the front lines.
Really good Associated Press piece detailing how Texas ISDs have done a wonderful job shooting themselves in the foot when they try to make the case for more funding.
Prep yourself for Rick Perry’s State of the State address. Do a shot every time he says “abortion.”
The Dallas Mavericks have won six of their past eight games. Of course I was at the most recent blowout loss. Because I’m a cooler in the game of life.
I like this sunglasses-wearing weatherman.
It was 67 in Dallas this morning -- 2nd warmest low ever recorded here in January, after 68 degrees in 2008. Just FYI. shar.es/CdT4u— Robert Wilonsky (@RobertWilonsky) January 28, 2013