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The Fathomless Mediocrity of Caroline Calloway

By Chris Revelle | Celebrity | June 23, 2023 |

By Chris Revelle | Celebrity | June 23, 2023 |


Caroline Calloway is many things: a grifter, a Murano glass expert, a deluded loser, a case study in privilege-poisoning, a decorated white feminist. Whether you’ve read about her Creativity Workshop scam that promised orchid crowns and delivered a great big vat of nothing, or about her infamous falling out with her friend/ghost writer, or that time she showed up on Ziwe’s Baited to make an ass of herself, or when she had to return an advance on a book that never materialized, she’s got a ton of spectacular flops to choose from. It’s a good thing we live in the world’s most diamond-pure meritocracy, isn’t it? Where people like Calloway who consistently prove they’re worth neither the attention nor money they’re chasing don’t get our time of day? It’s really great that we, as a society, collectively stopped entertaining bullshit artists and definitely aren’t doing something stupid like giving money to the Fyre Fest guy again. I appreciate that before we plowed over the brink into a new American abyss together, we stopped ourselves as a culture, reordered our priorities, and decided to stop suffering under-talented fools who barrel forward on unearned confidence and white privilege.

Calloway is shilling a book “winkingly” titled Scammer and you can buy it on her website for $65. I’m not linking to it. You can Google that up for yourself if you insist on throwing your cash into an open flame. You’d think, you’d really think, after the wake of destruction she left and the ample, ample reasons to distrust her entirely, we might collectively as a people decide that the person who literally sold a product called Snake Oil probably shouldn’t be taken seriously. Like, sure, Logan Roy told his children they weren’t serious people, but he was talking to Calloway too. Her picture is next to “unserious” in the dictionary; I checked!

Oh wait, no, that’s right! We’re in a post-Elizabeth “it’s Liz now” Holmes New York Times puff piece world, where instead of recognizing the obviously bad actors twirling mustaches in front of us we embrace them and become their dedicated apologists. We’re living in a world where someone could scam cancer patients with their magic blood machine and the NYT will say you’re just so human.

In a situation with significantly lower stakes than Holmes’, we have Calloway and her sixty-five dollar book, and writers are getting weird. Whether it’s swooning over her humanity, waxing rhapsodic about her innocence, or watching Calloway dance in a thong with their kids, writers of multiple respected publications are up to some strange behavior to service the publicity machine of another blonde grifter famous for obvious and annoying affectations. So many backbends for a known scammer. Is Calloway’s mediocrity just so intense it shoots the moon and becomes so compelling that they’ll blow the trumpets of her return? I can’t imagine it. The Baited clip above should dispel any shred of that.

Is it access? Does a writer have access sold to them at the cost of becoming a spin artist? Is it a matter of being in a public figure’s good graces no matter how odious they are so you can have easy clicks? Who can say?

It’s entirely possible and valid if the writers covering her really like the book or enjoy her, as unrelatable as I find those notions to be. It’s just so strange and obnoxious to have this ghost of never-beens-past sold to us like some triumphant returning hero. In that way, I suppose my question isn’t only, “Why is the machinery getting this sweaty selling us Caroline Calloway?” but also, “Why do people work so hard to shove mediocre poster children for white privilege on the masses?” Is the allure of maintaining and defending the asinine mayonnaise presence of some hack really that strong?

Maybe it’s about trying to realize the actual American dream: to do very little and be lauded as a visionary anyway. Through that lens, this cringey, apologistic, yay-for-Calloway moment makes too much sense; when has America ever turned down the opportunity to hold a privileged white hack up for aspiration? Calloway, Holmes, Billy McFarland, Anna Sorokin, we just can’t help ourselves but to hold up these white people of no particular imagination, skill, or elan as figures worthy of our attention; maybe because if we tell everyone this fathomless mediocrity is compelling and cool, then we too can do very little and somehow have big name publications lavish us with laurels. In this way, it’s no mystery at all why Calloway is getting this hero’s reception: America’s favorite pastime is rewarding white people for their privilege.

Chris Revelle shouts into the media void with his pals on Why Did We Watch This?