The fashion blogosphere blew up yesterday after an article that Jason Sheeler wrote about Sea of Shoes blogger Jane Aldridge for Texas Monthly started getting circulated online. The piece was a lenghty profile, published after Sheeler spent four weeks with Jane and her family, in which he doubtless amassed a lot of quotes and anecdotes. Well, some of Jane's quotes, most notably this one:
“Why should I go to college? I’m already doing what I want.
prompted a lot of online discussion, much of it not so nice. Jane fired off a rebuttal yesterday, alleging that the college quote was "blatantly made up" and the Texas Monthly article in general was "for the most part extremely flattering, but grossly exaggerated and highly stylized." She also blasted The Cut for taking quotes out of context and for writing about her little sister, Carol.
In a post on the Texas Monthly blog today, Sheeler weighs in to pretty eloquently defend both himself and his magazine, faulting the blogosphere for their part in creating what he's calling a "tragicomic tempest." He also sticks up for Jane and her family, revealing himself to be a thoroughly decent guy, in our opinion.
First and foremost, he is standing by the facts and quotes in the article. Regarding that college quote, he recounts in detail the circumstances of the party that he attended where she dropped the line on him. Then he said he asked her about it again when he was with her researching for his profile on Jane for Texas Monthly:
Jane told me that if she was in college she would rack up lots of debt. She continued, saying, “I couldn’t work on my blog. I’m already doing what I want. And I’m so happy. The traditional life is not for me. I want something different. I want to do what people aren’t doing, even it it’s a little bit risky. But I don’t know what the risk is.”
Sheeler also points out that neither mom Judy nor Jane disputed any of the facts until yesterday, and he stands behind the fact checkers at Texas Monthly, who went to Judy for final approval.
Even after essentially being called a liar, Sheeler sticks up for Jane, acknowledging that some of her behavior is "a side effect of her very fashionable (and profitable) myopia." He concludes:
The Aldridges are kooky, good-natured, forever squabbling—but always in on the joke. Yes, there are diva moments. Yes, they speak in scripted-for-television sentences. Yes, they seem always dressed up to go nowhere. I like them. Greatly. I had fun with them. I was, and continue to be, fascinated.
The bottom line is that Sheeler is a journalist who's expected to turn in copy that's compelling and factual--which he did. He writes of meeting with the family:
When we had lunch to discuss the possibility of a profile, I promised Jane she would not enjoy reading about herself. I also promised her that I would get on her nerves, that I would ask her lots of things she didn’t want to talk about, that the photography would be first-rate glamorous, and that people would find her story interesting. I believe I have made good on all of those promises.