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David Carr’s interview with Ruth Shalit (“Goodbye to All That,” 4/9) was quite good, but I hope writers learn the right lessons from Shalit’s rise and fall. I’ve never spoken to Shalit or ever been in the same room with her, but it’s clear that Shalit’s decline began when she let her celebrity get to her, when, as Carr puts it, she “became what she assailed.” To my mind, Shalit’s egotism was clearest in her George interview, when she condemned Reason, the first national magazine to publish her, as a fourth-rate publication.
Writers can learn three things from Shalit’s career. First, humility is a virtue. Second, most of the high-power trappings of celebritytalk-show gigs, fawning mentions in the Reliable Source and the Washingtoniandon’t matter. What matters is what you’ve written and whether your work will last. Third, the best reporters are self-effacing. They’re the writers who know that their subjects are more important than their egos.
Silver Spring, Md.