There are a bunch of stories going around about Marina Keegan, a Yale graduate who died five days after graduation. She died two years ago, but a book of her essays comes out this month.
Sure, she was talented. But there are lots of talented writers out there. It helps that she was pretty. And thin. And white. And came from a well-heeled, well-connected family. That's why it's OK to lift her to sainthood, as Hitt did, describing her as one of the rare reporters who can see deeply into a story.
Would we be celebrating her life if she'd been black and fat and poor? Chances are we wouldn't know she existed. Would she have had a chance of getting a New Yorker editorial position if she'd gone to CUNY instead of Yale?
Would Hitt have even been willing to meet with her if she'd been 35 with a kid and a double chin? Let alone offer her a spot on a "This American Life" story? Come on now.
Yes, it is sad that she died.
What is also sad is how many people have just as much talent and deserve as much attention and adoration. But they will never get Keegan's chances. They will never be raised on high by old white men at Old Gray Lady publications.
I'm sorry she's dead. Can we please pay attention to the living?
Edited: Some people felt that adding the details from the articles about party she was going to and the food there were insensitive, so I removed them.