Diss[ect]ing Leah McLaren

Photo: The Globe and Mail's standard photo of Leah McLaren that usually accompanies her columns.

Leah McLaren.

There’s a new blog in town, and it’s about Leah McLaren, the Globe and Mail’s terribly cute, terribly self-absorbed columnist. You might remember her from last year’s fuss over an article she wrote in The Spectator complaining about how British men were pretty useless at the art of seduction (You may also recall that another pretty North American woman, Gwyneth Paltrow, had the same complaint). Leah writes the what-it’s-like-to-be-young-blonde-and-beautiful-like-me-in-this-crazy-old-world column Generation Why, which I presume is the Globe and Mail’s bid to attract the twenty-something entry-level-at-the-firm crowd. Middle-level white collar worker bees make up the lion’s share of their readership, and they have to come from somewhere.

I have met Leah in passing at one cocktail party or another (hey, the accordion opens doors) but I what I know about her, I know through her columns. Let’s just say that I’ve seen better paper after wiping my ass. The self absorption is so great that not even light — and certainly not humility — can escape. There’s not much research or thought put into the writing; one can imagine that she bashes them out just before deadlines between venti macchiatos at ‘Bucks (and one can imagine she calls it “‘Bucks”, too) while multitasking between the Pottery Barn and Holt Renfrew catalogues. Her writing doesn’t contain so much personality as metropolitan hipster responses to urban stimuli.

Someone by the name of Coyle seems to agree with me. Coyle is the person behind Dissecting Leah McLaren, a new blog “dedicated to the examination, analysis and ridicule of Canada’s (and quite possibly the world’s) most inept “celebrity journalist”.

A snippet from the inaugural entry:

Now, if you don’t know who Leah McLaren is, you’re probably sitting there, wondering aloud “who the hell is this Leah person and what’s so wrong about her?”

The answer is that she is a 20-something columnist for the Globe and Mail (, which is the most respected of Canada’s newspapers. She writes a column entitled “Generation Why”, which is probably a not-too-clever reference to Douglas Coupland’s novel Generation X, but appropriately titled considering that she seems to have no idea what the hell is going on in the world. Her column is effectively a mosaic of ridiculous cultural and gender stereotypes, vacant explorations of pop culture and her own sense of self-importance. On the oft occasion, she’ll try to appear self-depreciating, but the veneer that Ms. McLaren believes that she is anything but the greatest human being in history the universe isn’t even worth laughing at.

With her model-like appearance and likewise proportioned ego, McLaren is the daughter of another writer and former editor of the same paper, and now a synonym for “nepotism” in Canada. Because god knows that there are thousands upon thousands of struggling young writers across the nation who are wittier, more incisive, more intelligent and much, much more interesting than Leah, but will never get the chance at having her job because they lack the requisite connections to be as successful as she is.

I’d call her the Vanilla Ice of journalism, but frankly, not even Vanilla deserves to be treated with such disdain.

Word to your editor.

Now you might wonder what all the vitriol’s about. After all, you might ask, is what I’m doing here in The Adventures of AccordionGuy in the 21st Century all that different from what she’s doing?

And I would reply — but not after first giving you a well-deserved and bracing pimp-slapping — that I do it better, smarter, with more interesting stories over a wider range of topics, with more thought, research, personality and integrity — and I do it for free. And many other bloggers out there do an even better job than I ever could. Therein lies the difference.

Recommended reading

Recent Leah McLaren articles for your perusal:

FYI: The term is self-deprecating, not self-depreciating.

2 replies on “Diss[ect]ing Leah McLaren”

C’mon guys. Born in ’77, Graduated in ’98 and went right to work at a paper? She is a KID. Of course she knows ZIP about the world.
Why did she enjoy a quick rise in this business, why do we care? The same reason she probably got great grades at university, and the same reason she was hired in her first writing job:
She is a hot little blonde.
The question really is, will she ever write anything worth reading before time changes the above and we stop caring…

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