Writer-turned-not-lawyer-turned-lawyer-turned-writer Elizabeth Wurtzel has been on something of a musical jag lately. Last month, she wrote in the Daily Beast about her fraught relationship with Paul Westerberg, and how he wrote a song about her. Today in Thought Catalog (which is just really, really odd placement), she writes about how she fucked a pseudonymous married musician, who likewise wrote a song about her. Next up: Dave Pirner in the BuzzFeed Community Forums!
Yesterday we noted that Prozac Nation author and now Yale Law School grad Elizabeth Wurtzel didn't pass the bar exam, which she took back in July. Some commenters were very mad! that we! would point this out! And others seemed a little more meh about it. Actually, maybe the most meh about it was Wurtzel herself who, when told about the post by the New York Observer, didn't really seem to give a shit:
Remember Elizabeth Wurtzel, the author of Prozac Nation who went back to law school, landed a job at David Boies' powerhouse firm, Boies, Schiller & Flexner, and soon found herself smack-dab in the middle of the messy sale of Wachovia to Wells Fargo? Well, it turns out Wurtzel didn't pass the bar exam last summer. (That might explain why she describes herself as a "part-time" employee at Boies' firm, and why it doesn't include her in its staff directory.) But Wurtzel appears pretty non-plussed about the fuss: "I guess when I should have been studying, I was kind of having a good time." [NYO]
The names of the most recent crop of people who passed the New York bar exam were made public today, and guess who's not on it? Prozac Nation author Elizabeth Wurtzel, who decided to enroll in law school after she felt powerless on 9/11 (and her subsequent books Bitch and Now, More Again: A Memoir of Addiction were literary duds). Wurtzel, who graduated last May at the age of 40, doesn't sound like she's the best test-taker.Wurtzel was seen taking the July exam at the Javits Center, a tipster tells us, but, as you can see below, the pass list is Wurtzel-less.
Elizabeth Wurtzel made a name for herself in the 1990s as the author of Prozac Nation and Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women, and resurfaced in the aftermath of the Sept. 11th for controversial comments she made about the attacks. ("It was a most amazing sight in terms of sheer elegance... It was just beautiful.") Wurtzel is back in the news: She graduated Yale Law School last year, took a job as an associate at David Boies' powerhouse law firm, Schiller & Flexner, and is now working on the sale of Wachovia to Wells Fargo. [WSJ/Law Blog]
The author David Foster Wallace has been memorialized by scores of people since he hanged himself two weeks ago. The vast majority of these people barely knew him at all, so the online trade fair of grief, initially dominated by the McSweeney's website until Elizabeth Wurtzel's silver lame leotard threw its own shadow shiva session over at New York, has struck more than a few saddish literary men as more than a little vulgar. Oh well. Today a few people who actually did know him, including his parents, share the details of his last miserable days with Salon's Robert Ito.He'd been clinically depressed for two decades, on "powerful" medication (and apparently also Skoal) that made it possible for him to write — this may be vulgar but I have been too thoroughly inculcated in our compulsive culture of psychopharmacological comparison shopping not to wonder why they never tell you which — but the meds had powerful side effects, so he went off them in the summer of 2007, to apparently disastrous consequences. He tried electric shock therapy and other unspecified meds; nothing worked. He couldn't write or eat, and dropped to 140 pounds. He took a medical leave from teaching. A student is quoted saying his great genius was unrelated to his great depression. That student is wrong.
That Elizabeth Wurtzel had some thing with David Foster Wallace in the nineties is the type of news flash I'd like to have failed detecting this week. Namely because to blog about Elizabeth Wurtzel is to tempt oneself to unwind the various tranches of disquietude summoned when someone like me conducts a Wurtzel Google Image Search. There's the first tranche of familiarity; I've conducted this search before; the second: I remember quickly that I will invariably, though tempted by the grainy topless shots from Bitch, like Radar before me quickly settle on the hottest color photo available, the one she used for the cover of her 2001 addiction memoir More, Now, Again, even though Wurtzel has graciously offered us photographic evidence that she has, in the intervening (ohgod) seven and a half years, aged. For this is not a new asset, this story; the underlying episode dates back to the nineties, when Wurtzel was still dressing up her faculties and skills with too much blue eyeliner and too many mood-altering substances in lieu of the appropriate degree of risk management and/or clothes.So let's examine that tranche for a second: here we have Wurtzel, drawn to David and his big, serious, ambitious, meaty, unfrivolous gold standard of a book; David, drawn to Wurtzel by her fucking leotard and perhaps her nebulous promise to impart upon his serious asset some sort of value-unlocking sense of "buzz"…signing onto one of those confusing, fuzzy subprime relationships that were all the rage, still are. The fine print is almost amusing to us now: the hazy fundamentals and wild histrionics and bombastic promises dependent on "trajectories" neither has any clue how — neither is socialized to have any clue how — to redirect toward a soft landing. Yes, you have done that sort of fucking. From a 1996 account of his reading at the KGB Bar:
The Prozac Nation and Bitch author has graduated from Yale Law at 40 years old. The Main Point blog, to which she occasionally contributes, wrote "Hats off to her and the friends, coaches, and teachers who helped drag her across the goal line." Apparently Ms. Wurtzel decided to go to law school after 9/11. According to a NYT profile last fall, Wurtzel "spent this summer working at the Manhattan firm WilmerHale, drafting legal memoranda about intellectual property and jurisdiction, and was offered a full-time position there upon graduation." But she's still feisty:
"Just because we can say anything, does that mean we must say everything?" That's legal scholar Elizabeth Wurtzel in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece this morning. We're not sure where to go with the irony of the author of Prozac Nation coming up with that line, but we'll give it the old college try. Liz is upset about something called AutoAdmit, "Web site of postings for law schools prestigious and otherwise, where students blab about whatever." Guess what? People say mean things on it.
Highlights and lowlights from the NY literary scene:
· Caleb Carr fired off a letter to Salon book critic Laura Miller calling her "Reason no. 8 why the soul of New York City is dying," and saying that she was a "bitchy wise ass," who's part of "the club that meets at [NYT book critic] Michiko's [Kakutani] to watch 'Sex in the City' and spout a lot of nonsense about things they don't know." He had gotten bad reviews.
· UES millionaire author Jonathan Franzen received a $20,000 NEA grant, which he claimed in September to have used to buy two expensive paintings. He then retracted the statement, saying he had actually used the money to buy "17 sculptures by struggling artists."
· Colson Whitehead, winner of the NY Public Library's $10,000 Young Lion Fiction Award, mentioned that he had never returned the books he used to research his novel. Library president Le Clerc replied that he had a "bright future," but would now have to pay his $10,000 in library fines.
· Prozac Nation author Elizabeth Wurtzel says that being near the World Trade Center during the September 11th attacks "really annoyed her."
2002 awards [MobyLives via Hands Free]