The media both print and on line recently have been full of discussion of one of the most famous of all bloggers, an even bigger star than our own sainted leader Mick: Belle de Jour. She has been the author of a blog about herself, the most popular part of which concerned her time as a high class prostitute in London. Her blog and books have earned her a great deal of money and genuine literary acclaim; to the extent that some suggested she must be a professional writer and a few even rather sexistly suggested that she must be a man writing a fictional autobiographical blog. Ms. De Jour, however, has now outed herself in the Sunday Times and turns out to be medical researcher; Dr Brooke Magnanti. She explains her motivations and attacks as simplistic the notion that prostitution is a straightforward issue. However, many have been damning in their criticism of her apparently glamourised view of prostitution; none more so than the Daily Mail (unsurprisingly) who appear to have been preparing to out her themselves via an ex boyfriend before she gave an interview to the Sunday Times. Tanya Gold in the Guardian’s Comment is free has a less judgemental analysis of the dangers associated with prostitution whilst Robert McCrum (also in the Guardian) celebrates her writing style and success. Clive James (another excellent writer) has a nuanced view with an historical perspective.
Meanwhile Dr. Magnanti has apparently also written a novel and intends to continue with the blog though whether it will remain as popular as the life of a medical academic researcher rather than an anonymous sex worker; no matter how good the writing, remains to be seen. I wonder if writing the PhD helped or hindered her literary style?