According to the Columbia School of Journalism, and they should know, first-person essays are out on the internet. Abandon hope, all ye bloggers who enter here, you’re so five minutes ago. The genre is passé.
This is good news for readers who want something to read, for few people are Oliver Wendell Holmes or Samuel Johnson.
Credited to essayist Michel de Montaigne in the 1500s, an essay is writing that gives the author’s own argument, either formally, which includes serious purpose, dignity and logical organization, or informally, characterized by personality, humor, style and novelty. It’s just that when the internet came to be, it needed content really quickly and all those rules went in the ditch. In other words, forget Montaigne.
First-person point of view uses the pronouns I and me to relate the thoughts, experiences and observations of the writer's persona. The trouble comes when you have no persona or anything larger to say about life. Typing alone doesn’t fill the bill.
But the pendulum always swings back, and it seems the online audience doesn’t care as much about the written angst of people they’ve never heard of. That’s the good news.
The bad news is, first-person essays have been reinvented as podcasts. These are audio stories in first person, no longer delivered in print but live by microphone and tape recorder. It’s like getting to listen through the wall with a martini glass as someone eats their cornflakes and talks to their mom. Podcasts reportedly add a layer of intimacy lacking in print, even for the internet.
Or you could just get in line behind someone talking on their cellphone.
Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at Fete@theadvocate.com.
Lafayette’s only nonprofit hospice marked its 35th anniversary at Le Pavilion with a who’s who soiree. Anybody who was anyone was there, and the social swans were too numerous to count, for the cause was just. “We’re excited about celebrating this anniversary but reaffirm our commitment to the community, especially to those who need us,” said Kacee Thompson, foundation director of Hospice of Acadiana. A string quartet played, everyone stayed and among the many enjoying pre-dinner cocktails were artist Francis Pavy, Randy Haynie, Richard Zuschlag, Veronica Rodrigue, Judy Kennedy and Fête favorites Ed and Elaine Abell. What we loved: Gov. John Bel Edwards, always an officer and a gentleman.
Burning Down the House
The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum assembled alfresco to torch their mortgage and honor the patron who made it possible, but the moment was so much more. Heaters on the terrazza took the edge off the cold January air, while Bons Temps Grill took the edge off appetites with corn salsa and homemade chips. Not the only hot stuff in the place, however. Rare female fire eater Mary Blood heated things up with her fire dance, and mesmerized were The Advocate, Paul Hilliard, Colleen McDaniel, Becky and Wyatt Collins, concert pianist Chan Kiat Lim, Robbie Mahtook and daughter Linda Hilliard. Should you wish to fire up your own party, Ms. Mary is the one to call.
Triton Queen’s Luncheon
Her Most Gracious Majesty Lesley Anne Maxwell invited her ladies to lunch at the Oakbourne Country Club, and a lovely affair it was. Triton’s World Tour theme was reflected in the menu of Oriental squash soup, African petite spinach salad and Indian chicken, while elaborately-decorated cookies served as both place cards and sweets. Madame and her maids presided in style, the gifts were glorious and The Advocate was honored to be asked to stay.
Society hostess Laura Meyers worked her magic for Troubadours Queen Alexa Catherine Gray and Lady Edith, Selia Grace Abshire, at an English tea in her Settlement home. True English weather prevailed, and the garden party took place indoors, but with all the accoutrements intact. Petit fours, lemon curd and cupcakes graced the formal tea table with a centerpiece of roses and an heirloom silver tea urn, and guests enjoyed Champagne and shrimp salad sandwiches in the salon. What we loved: Meyers carried on despite considerable travails after the ice storm. The British aren’t the only ones with a stiff upper lip.
The Krewe of Karencro held their royal brunch at the Petroleum Club, the better to crown incoming royalty Lawrence Carriere and McKenzie Richard. “We’re ready to give it up, but we enjoyed it,” said outgoing King Louis XXXVI Tommy Angelle. “We made history as the first two attendants to be king and queen together.” Gathering for the coronation were Dorothy Angelle, beautiful Annemarie Vanmeter, ball Captain Charlotte Clavier and the queen’s parents Francis and Melanie Richard. This is an elegant little krewe and one to watch.