Sunday, May 10, 2009

Leah McLaren Is Boring! There, I Said It.

Edward Greenspon, editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail and proud owner of a fun-to-say name, needs to do me a solid and ditch Leah McLaren. Nothing against McLaren directly; her weekly lifestyle column is readable, and while she's not out curing cancer, people like to read about bike-riding and speed dating. Her column is one of those forthy little reads that is supposed to be about young, urban, single life. I guess it's sort of like Sex and the City, but with less, um, sex.

So? A girl's gotta eat, right? While jaunty essays about the Kindle aren't precisely hard-hitting newsjournalism, my problem with Leah McL. is that her assignment was supposed to be writing about young, single, urban, and Canadian. She's now on an English farm with her live-in boyfriend. My question is: What the hell is that? That's 180 degrees away from what she should be doing. I am young, single, urban and Canadian. I am the things that L.M. claims to be. She may have, at one point, been those things, but honey, she ain't any more. Hence, my request for Greenspon to phase her out and you know, give me her job.

I would forgive her if her column displayed a shred of humour or self-awareness, but McLaren is notoriously self-involved. Her social commentary is passable, but she rarely thinks critically about why she's paying attention to the things she writes about; it's all "daffy observations!" and "kooky complaints!" Plus, her penchant for writing about herself makes me mental. Sorry Leah: you're just not that interesting.

I'm fully cognizant of the fact that I'm writing about her kind of makes her "that interesting," but she's really no great shakes, either as a cultural force or as a writer. Her Mother's Day column this year was all about how kids aren't fun. Not only in bad taste (a simple "I love my Mom" piece would have been passable; a tirade about how kids make every situation worse was lame on multiple levels), the article focused pretty much on her and her boyfriend, which made it a total snore. Not even a simple shout-out to her own momma. For shame, Leah.

Anyway, I'm done with Leah McLaren. I'm not mad at the Style section (I have a secret weakness for the Knockoff column), but I can't read her any more. It's boring, it's self-obsessed, it's fluffy without being fun, and if she's going to insist on injecting herself into her work, I'm going to insist on not liking either the column or its author. So. Greenspon. Sleep on it. You know where to find me if you want to make room on the masthead.

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