I have lots of journalist friends who have been invited to stitch themselves up, expose themselves far beyond what they intended and make themselves look stupid in words and pictures all for a bit of book publicity and a few hundred quid. I am not denying that we do this to ourselves, but the process is designed to produce an article that we did not initially know we were writing. It is a very complex deception.
Tina, my onetime boss, from whom in the late 1990s I learned the dark arts of buzz production, loves to seduce and betray female writers. And she’s got skills. As she once proudly told the editorial team at her short-lived magazine Talk, she likes to ask lady writers to deliver humiliating “personal histories” that feature self-loathing and lurid intimate disclosures.