November 15, 2009

Belle de Jour ("Brooke Magnanti") - I still say HOAX

"Belle de Jour" an alleged anonymous prostitute blogger, is now allegedly outed as Brooke Magnanti, a scientist. I'd believe she's the writer, but I don't buy the story.

I'm going out on a limb here. All the initial punditry I see is of the type What Does This All Mean? I wish there was more Why Should We Believe This?


"I couldn't find a professional job in my chosen field because I didn't have my PhD yet. I didn't have a lot of spare time on my hands because I was still making corrections and preparing for the viva and I got through my savings a lot faster than I thought I would."

Unable to pay her rent, Magnanti's mind turned to other things. She told the Sunday Times she wanted to start doing something straight away, "that doesn't require a great deal of training or investment to get started, that's cash in hand and that leaves me spare time to do my work in". Her solution was prostitution.


To be specific - I have no trouble imagining someone turning to high-class prostitution to make ends meet. I have enormous trouble swallowing the idea that someone who finds herself doing it out of financial need immediately starts up a blog presenting it as a funny and amusing adventure. No way.

You can even see her covering what would be obvious the holes in the story:

"Some sex workers have terrible experiences. I didn't. I was unbelievably fortunate in every respect. The people at the agency looked after us appropriately and instructed us appropriately and weren't going to put us in harm's way if they could possibly avoid it."

It's not about "harm's way". What has thoroughly convinced me of the fakery is that just about every single blog I have ever seen which was written by someone in a service industry, whether a waiter, bouncer, comic-book store clerk, whatever - has had a strong component of hating moronic customers. In retrospect, "Belle de Jour" reeks of someone making it up.

And I'm not the only or the first person to think along those lines. See this old article "Belle doesn't ring true"

One of the things that makes me most suspicious about Belle de Jour is that I've never met a working girl who has kept a diary. The girls I knew were not proud of it. Most were unmarried young mums struggling through life, and they certainly didn't advertise what they did - it was their terrible secret. I think the only person who would write a diary like this about prostitution is somebody who intended to have it published, and in all likelihood somebody who had this published wouldn't be on the game. ...

A while back someone asked me why I was so critical of "Belle de Jour". I tried to convey how it was the worst sort of faked sincerity. Blogging was sold as authenticity, but fabrication was the reality (a different sort of high-class prostitution). C'mon folks, let's try to exercise a little critical thought, instead of being manipulated all over again.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in journo | on November 15, 2009 10:31 AM | (Infothought permalink) | Comments (11)