On the Cusp of Enlightenment: An Advice Column

Looking for answers? In need of advice from a Taurus-sun, Virgo-moon, Gemini-rising? Think you can stump me? Email Simone at simone.a.levy@lawrence.edu with your own questions and you just might be featured in next week’s column.

Dear Simone, 

I am pretty well-versed in this Caroline Calloway versus Natalie Beach ghostwriter fiasco, but I have not quite made up my mind on whether I support Caroline’s response to it. I think she kind of went full crazy and should have just logged off! Should I even be paying attention to any of this in the first place? 

Signed, Nobody 

Dear Nobody, 

I want to preface this by saying that if you are not tuned-in to the drama, do stop reading this column and educate yourself on the wild reality that is Caroline Calloway. Begin by reading the Natalie Beach essay found on “The Cut,” and then I suggest binging Caroline’s Instagram from her time at Cambridge to get the full picture of her life. Then, go back to the Beach essay and read it with your image of Caroline in mind, and then go back to the Instagram and read further into the past of Caroline Calloway. Then come back and read this.

The dirty lowdown is no, you do not need to pay attention to her. You will continue to live your life and nothing will change as a result of your not paying attention to her. It is that simple. 

But I am a dumb person, plain and simple! I am that person who falls into black holes on the internet and proceeds to obsess over the most irrelevant and inconsequential garbage. 

So, when the Caroline Calloway dumpster fire hit the scene, I did my research! Oh boy, did I do my research! After reading the Natalie Beach article a few times, I scrolled back into the depths of Caroline Calloway’s Instagram to the very beginning of her life. I was practically seeing the in-utero Caroline Calloway. I read every single Instagram post that Caroline Calloway ever made in her life. Mind you, this is someone who posts multiple times a day and has curated and maintained an active Instagram for upwards of five years. So yes, this took me hours. I read every post, and I do consider myself an expert in the discourse. And here is what I have to say. 

Let me begin by announcing I do in fact believe that Caroline Calloway is a good person and that she has no ill will towards Natalie or anyone else for that matter. In addition, I am sad to see her entire life crumbling around her. But I have no doubt that she will make a turnaround and really explore this newfound attention and use it for art and for good. Caroline is literally telling publishers to give Natalie — the person responsible for busting her life open — a book deal because she truly believes her to be the best writer she knows. Despite their relationship being in a weird place at the moment, she still wants what is best for Natalie and that is an admirable thing. I do know that I personally would have handled things differently in terms of Caroline reposting everything she has ever posted on Instagram and delineating what is written in collaboration with Natalie and what was written by her and her alone. But maybe that is just something that she needed to do for herself right now, even if it is something that I would not have done. But I do think she is taking the right steps toward recovery, whatever that looks like for her. She has lived her entire life on social media, and to be honest, for better or for worse, it is what she feels most comfortable with in terms of expressing herself and her art. Which, again, that is not my lane nor is it my comfort zone, but I am glad she knows herself enough to know what she is doing and why she is doing it. She seems — dare I say — levelheaded at the moment? Obviously, I would have made myself take a break from social media at this point, but it is the lens through which her entire life has been “performed” and viewed, and because of that, change is not going to come immediately. In times of grief, of which she is experiencing a lot of right now with the loss of a friendship and the loss of her father just days after the Beach story went viral, I do think it is proper for her to stay within the medium in which she feels most comfortable, which happens to be social media.

I think what Natalie did was valid and I think Caroline’s reaction was valid! There! I said it! And I am quite sure that she and Natalie will not make up, per se, but rekindle a different kind of relationship — a more mature, self-aware and balanced relationship than before. For now, I only want her to find the help that she needs and truly experience happiness. 

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk on the current blogger discourse that you did not want to go to but that I dragged you to anyways.