Skip to main content

Swine Flu, Layoffs and Much Much More!

Dear Kate,

What-to-do-with-yourself-itis is plaguing me as well over on this side of the world. Although I am trying to fill it with random tasks.

By now Swine Flu fears have swarmed North America. I don't know if real cases have hit Dubai. The U.S. is definitely on alert. Our local CVS is out of surgical masks. Even the neighbor wonders if she should be nervous with her two young children.

I went out an bought a few extra cans of soup, some Mucinex and tissues. Today I'm going to buy some antibacterial stuff as well, but I'm trying not to think too much on it. Still, it's a diversion from the economy — and hey, it's getting me to buy stuff.

However my sense is that even with worries of a pandemic, the recession is still playing front and center. Sure most of the media outlets— as well as the government — are trying to make it seem as if the downturn, while not exactly over, is not in free fall anymore. But my own profession continues to be decimated, practically daily.

Yesterday a site I have written for in the past,, was shuttered along with its print magazine. And so more fellow reporters, editors, Web producers and so on now are on the street looking for work. My husband, who covers the media as a reporter, IM'd me and said one bright spot is that one less magazine means less competition for dwindling advertising dollars. True. Which could mean some jobs at other magazines may now be safer. But I feel pretty sad for the layoffs.

For one, I know many of them are scared of being out of a job in the middle of this environment. But most of all, it's truly upsetting to watch my profession be beat up like this. I know I'm witnessing the ending of this phase of journalism. And I know the next phase will come. People need — and most importantly want — news, stories, entertainment. People crave information. But to make money at creating that?

Our mentor Clay Felker launched one of the great glossy magazine in New York called, New York. The Prince and I were talking last night about what he'd focus his editorial eye and energy on today. Would it be a paper product? A newspaper or magazine? We don't know.

The Rabbit is starting to write stories of her own. And while I can't help but feel so proud when one of her twisted fairy tales (!) was singled out in the class and passed among other teachers, I also think — hmmm, how are her math skills? Maybe a doctor might be a better line of work to pursue.

I know many parents look at their own paths and think, 'Oh, this is not what I wish for my child.' And then of course I know that to steer a child away from what they are hearing inside themselves is not just foolish, but dangerous. So I think to myself, if The Rabbit is to become a writer like her mother, and her father, then maybe it's up to me to help push my field into what will be the next road for future writers to travel.

No, I have no idea what that will be. But when I head outside today (in 90 degree heat!!! ugh) and buy some cleaning products maybe the idea will finally hit me. Or maybe I'll buy a magazine, and at least try to keep one person employed for one more day.

Love, Lauren


YLM said…
Hi Lauren, Alpha got me to buy in stocks of Tamiflu today (available over the counter here, at least for now). Don't we live in an odd world? K xxx

Popular posts from this blog

Apologies for being incommunicado this week and hope none of you out there are too distraught not to be receiving the usual almost-daily MotV missives. The reason for the silence is that I'm up to my neck, metaphorically-speaking, in research papers for my first grad course assessment. This experience has made me realise how rigorously un-academic I am in my thinking. It has also illuminated how reliant I am on red wine in order to get through endless evenings typing furiously on my laptop, not to mention the fueling of increasingly colorful curses that I feel obliged to aim at the University's online library system which consistently refuses to spit out any of the journals I'm desperate for (I refuse to believe this is 100% due to my technical incompetence...)Oh well, if this is the price one has to pay in order to realize a long-cherished dream then it's not all that bad... No one ever said a mid-life career change would be easy. Wish me luck!

Recommended & the Mahiki dance-off

My GFs and I went to Mahiki last night, great fun as usual but made me feel a bit old; it seems that Thursday night is the playground of the just-past-pubescent. Oh well. Good tunes though, so whatever.In between taking over the dancefloor - the youngsters may have youth on their side but frankly that shrinks to insignificance in the face of two decades of clubbing experience - one of my GFs and I got into a conversation about why so many people are full of bull.It appears that many people we come across are content to live their lives in a superficial way, skimming the surface of what life has to offer and equating the ownership of stuff (cars, houses, boats, jewelry, designer clothes) with happiness. They converse in terms of status, strut their possessions as a measure of their own self-worth, take themselves far too seriously, are quick to judge others, easily annoyed, complain a lot about very little and their worries seem to far outweigh their joys. Personally, I think all that…


Following on from the realisation that my lungs are filthy and if I don't give up the smokes soon I face a life of wheezing at best, off I trotted to see the charming Dr T.

Dr T, who's charming by virtue of the fact that he's less jaded than the other doctors in the surgery (in other words, he treats patients as if they're human beings with a right to NHS services rather than annoying fraudsters trying to gain sympathy for imaginary illnesses) promptly put me on potentially habit-forming drugs to get me off the evil weed. Something doesn't feel quite right about this but since I'm so pathetically grateful to have a doctor who's willing to give me more than two seconds of his precious time, I have acquiesced to his demands.

Anyway, this wonder drug is called Champix and promises to have me merrily chucking my smokes in the bin in no time. Or it will if I can get past the possible side effects, the highlights being abnormal dreams, nausea, flatulence, snoring, …