Miss Manners' Lesson For Anna WintourThe rich and famous old ladies of the website WowOWow were talking about privacy and stalkers, and the book The Devil Wears Prada came up as a cautionary tale: Beware your office servants! Devil, of course, was written by a former assistant to Vogue editor Anna Wintour and was believed to be a lightly fictionalized portrayal of Wintour. WowOWow's Judith Martin, aka Miss Maners, described the book as "a huge argument for separating your business life from your personal life. Your personal assistant - so-called personal - should not be doing things in your private life and therefore she wouldn't be privy, or he wouldn't be privy to it." Oh, excellent: This is exactly the sort of catty backbiting we had hoped for from WowOWow. A lengthier exchange:

JULIA REED [Newsweek writer]: And the books! Nowadays magazine editors are famous people. Think of The Devil Wears Prada. If you take on a job like Anna's, you know well what goes with it.



JOAN JULIET BUCK [Vogue writer]: It's the relationship with assistants. If you think that the assistant may turn on you, how embarrassed would you be about asking her to change your gynecologist appointment?



JUDITH MARTIN [Miss Manners]: Well, it's a huge argument for separating your business life from your personal life. Your personal assistant - so-called personal - should not be doing things in your private life and therefore she wouldn't be privy, or he wouldn't be privy to it. I think one of the greatest invasions of privacy now is the idea that people have that your colleagues are automatically your friends. And you have to celebrate with them and party with them and chat with them and exchange information with them...





I remember when I was head copy girl at The Washington Post. I had a fierce boss who was a genius, but very fierce. We were all scared to death of her. But she never once asked us to do anything in connection with her personal life. And so we knew nothing about it, except what we would giggle and guess. None of us could have turned on her in that way, even if we'd wanted to.

(The WowOWow story was posted today but was dated January 28, which is possibly when the conversation occurred for later transcribing to the Web.)

[WowOWow]