The headline is glowing with goodwill. "Jobless and homeless, bloggers scores Elle job," it reads. The first paragraphs are heavy with the conscious potential: could this be the next ripped-from-the-headlines romantic comedy? "Six months ago, Brianna Karp found herself living in an old truck and camper she inherited after the suicide of a father she barely knew. On Monday, her life became a 21st century fairytale when she turned her blog about homelessness into a plum internship for the fashion bible Elle magazine."
It's great, really, that Brianna turned hard work, a talent for writing, plenty of Twittering and a lucky email to Elle columnist E. Jean Carroll into an internship. Carroll answered her letter in the mag and, wonder of wonders!, offered her the most "hideously humdrum internship in America," helping with her upcoming book, "transcribing interviews, and analyzing data from 1,800,000 pages (not a misprint) of a college sex survey I did on Facebook" for six hours a week.
It's not so great that she'll be paid $150 a month. Which according to my calculations is $5.77 per hour, almost a dollar and a half under federal minimum wage. Uh-oh. Umm, E. Jean, how exactly is this a fairy tale again? Oh yes, I remember, the folkloric oeuvre is packed with stories of magically lovely and good girls who are treated awfully by their wealthy, snooty, and generally unattractive elders. I'm not saying you're unattractive. But you're surely not hanging with a great literary archetype. And the suggestion that "At the end of the four months, if you don't have a job and an awesome place to live, I will become your intern" now has an echo of mwa-ha-ha to me.
If you're going to give a homeless girl an internship, at least make it enough so you're not violating federal wage laws. And please don't peddle your fairy tale unless your precious jewels and swirly skirts will last beyond the stroke of midnight.
Homeless bloggers scores 'fairy tale' job for Elle; I say 'scullery wages'