The Truth Shall Get You Fired

July 26, 2005

Check this: a former assistant beauty editor at Ladies Home Journal was fired for blogging! Nadine Haobsh lost two jobs -the LHJ and an offer from Seventeen Magazine --because her blogging was considered "unprofessional." I know this isn't "Asian American" per se, but it's rather chilling to us bloggers --and who isn't a blogger these days? (Note: if you knock the last three letters off her name she could sound Chinese. Be on the lookout for other references that make this blog entry uniquely Asian American!) If you check her blog, the shocking thing is that it's totally innocuous. Celebrity gossip, going to Sephora, "pink is the new black." Most of the entries are amusing little snippets of life as a beauty editor --the conundrum of having to use new beauty products when you like your old ones, the way women turn into snarling scrooges at a $1 beauty sale. Karl Rove exposing state secrets this is not. Nor is it Filipino veterans demanding benefits, or DJs making racist statements over the airwaves. Pretty mild stuff, from what i could see (with my uncorrected Asian American eyes). But it got her fired, just the same. She writes:

To all you would-be bloggers out there: even if you truly are "just being funny" or "don't really mean it", think before you write. And definitely don't write about your industry: things will absolutely be taken out of context or interpreted incorrectly, and that's just not fun for anybody.

How sad is that? I realize that Ladies Home Journal is not exactly cutting edge, but Seventeen magazine ought to be able to recognize that 1) Blogs are here to stay, 2) They're a natural forum for their target audience, and 3)It's just beauty tips! Learn to laugh at yourself, people! So as I, an Asian American professional, was swimming today, I wondered to myself, 'is this more of the polarization of American social and political thought?' Is this just another symptom of the increasingly bifurcated society -those who welcome blogs as the irreverent sources of commentary, analysis and sometimes news, and those who fear it? Those who believe authority and the status quo should be challenged, and those who say questions are akin to treason (but not leaking secrets, no, not that). Those who are technologically literate, and those who aren't? I don't know. But it definitely makes me think thrice about poking fun at my workplace (which is faaabulous! and full of only industrious, earnest, agreeable people! Which has kindly welcomed me, an Asian, into their otherwise lily-white fold!) which ultimately stifles the creativity and flow of ideas that help make blogs the unique outlet that they are. Read an interview with Hao(bsh) here.




Looks like she has a literary agent now and a book in the works. Maybe it's not such a bad idea to blog about work after all....
A guy I met recently got fired from his dream job at Apple for the same thing - he blogged totally pro-Apple, pro-Steve Jobs stuff, but I guess they thought he was a security risk and some middle manager canned him.What a message to send...