Russell Smith is Awesome, According Russell Smith

From the missing the point files, Russel Smith writes about what a swell guy he is to not sleep with the women who work for him (or rather, his publisher):
I need these people working at their best and most relaxed. They make me look good. If I made any of my colleagues nervous about talking to me or seeing me then I would only be damaging myself. They wouldn’t want to help me. So you could say it’s a selfish self-control. Hell, even a consensual relationship would be idiotic: I need my colleagues to be objective and unemotional. And I need my career more than I need the ego-boost of impressing a lady. Perhaps I’m getting old, but believe it or not, I actually value my colleagues’ professional abilities more than their beauty.

Which is tough to believe, given the space he devotes to telling all the LAYDEEZ in publishing how smokin' they are. By the way, if you're not 32, gorgeous, with a graduate degree* from one of the best universities in the country, you're invisible. Because according to Smith, publishing is absolutely filled with these women. That's the "truth." Except, it's not. At all. Publishing is filled with bookish girls, nerdy girls. As Stacey May Fowles pointed out, working in publishing is a "labour of love." It's not the pay and the glamour that attracts women (and men) to the industry, because there isn't a lot of either. It's the chance to work with the love of our lives: books.

If Smith is attracted to women because of their brains, that's one thing, but the article makes it sound like publishing is filled with Runway Model PhDs turned publicists. (Granted, publicists have more pressure on them to look good — way more). Then he wants to be a hero for managing to keep things professional. Hell, maybe he is, since so few manage to do so. I could do without the massive self-congratulations though.

Edit: Something just struck me: isn't it amazing that an industry so "dominated" by women (as Smith points out) is one of the lowest paid and hardest to get into? If we're so dominant, how come all these really educated women are making so little? Look, I know the margins on books are next to nothing, I know the industry as a whole makes next to nothing, but.. yes. Amazing.

*Actually, the graduate degree thing might be right. You need one to be an assistant these days, the field is that crowded


Anonymous said...

"...or, I think, been flirtatious to the point of making someone seriously worried about my attention. Even when I was single."

So it was ok to flirt a little when he was single? But only a little, and only to the point that HE determined to be ok?

My question to our esteemed authour, Mr. Russell Smith, who as you say is so awesome that he kept his hands to himself his whole career despite being "in love" with his current agent, PR gal and editor (a fact I'm sure they're happy to discover today) is this:

How do you know that your flirtations were taken so innocently? How could you possibly know you didn't make some poor young "hottie" completely uncomfortable with your acceptable cuz you were single, flirting??

You don't, because putting up with your flirting was her JOB.

Panic said...

Very astute, Anon. Thank you.

Megan said...


Chris said...

That article was a bit neighbour with binoculars creepy.

Astrocrabpuff said...

I thought he was creepy and self-consumed when "How Insensitive" came out. Good to know.