The Corner

On the Worst Thing You’ll Read (or Won’t Read) All Day

If you’re sitting at your computer, vaguely consternated and on edge, filled with creeping anxiety and subtle dread, I’m here with good news: You don’t have to worry anymore about what will be The Worst Thing You Read All Day. In fact, you probably don’t even have to worry about finding the nadir of writing in English for the next fortnight or so. That’s because Carrie Seim wrote a profile of Girls’s Allison Williams in Page Six Magazine called “Girl de Jour,” and it’s almost reason enough, in and of itself, to give up reading altogether.

So let’s plug our noses and dive in! But first, a few words on Allison Williams: She is a gorgeous, talented actress currently starring in Lena Dunham’s hit HBO show, Girls. She’s also the daughter of Brian Williams, host of NBC Nightly News. I liked the first season of Girls a lot, but I have mixed feelings about Lena Dunham, which I vented about two weeks back. My feelings about Seim’s piece, on the other hand, are decidedly unmixed. Its most emetic aspect is its constant alliteration. That wouldn’t seem too horrifying, but try reading it, in sentence after sentence after sultrily stated sibilant sentence. For instance, Williams wears “a silk robe that’s slipped ever so slightly from her shoulders.” The show is “featuring four female friends” and their “excruciating encounters.” Williams doesn’t say things; she “admits [them] briskly, arching her brows.” The YouTube videos she starred in are “regal rather than raunchy” and she has only one “possible paramour.” She has “plenty of projects” that interest her, but would be happy to “follow in the footsteps” of Dunham and write a book, though she is “finding her way just fine.”

If you liked that lovely alliteration, you’ll adore this ardent article. It’s basically an excuse for Seim to gush about how flawless Williams is. We learn that the actress is “bewitching the fashion industry with her striking looks, refined grace, and ability to rock a frock.” Her good fortune leaves her “breathless” and “lip-trembling.” She has “delicate fingers” which she “anxiously strums” when she’s not “pausing to tousle her hair as a fond memory dances across her eyes.”

Buried in this breathless mess of lurid questioning and finger-describing are a few especially inscrutable gems. For instance, Seim writes that “Williams plays Marnie, an uptight gallery assistant dangling on the precipice between intimate ingénue and sexual sage.” I went to college and got an English degree and everything, but I seriously have no idea what that sentence means. What is an “intimate ingenue”? Is that a thing? How can a person or character be intimate? What does it mean to become a sexual sage? Is that supposed to suggest that Marnie gets better at sex over the course of the show (because she doesn’t)? And how do you dangle on a precipice between two things? Does that mean this is more of a two-cliff crevasse, and one cliff is being an “intimate ingenue” and the other is being a “sexual sage,” and she’s going to fall horizontally? I get suspended disbelief and everything, but don’t the laws of physics at least kind of apply to figurative language?

Seim also describes New York as a “post-glamorous city.” Does she even live here?

Anyway, the whole thing reads like Seim is trying to fake a British accent and not doing so good a job at it. If I were you, I’d maybe give it a pass. “Girl de Jour” could have been titled “Gross de Jour.”

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