Why does this guy still stick in my craw? After a flurry of news--both in mainstream media and on blogs--interest seems to have subsided. Why do I check the reviews of his book on Amazon every day? I think I figured out the source of my extreme irritation with him. Read on, if you are interested.
First, in case you don't know who this fellow is: Andrews had a piece in the New York Times with a neat twist: he was an informed economics writer for the paper of record and in dire financial straits owing to a mortgage that ate up most of his take-home pay. He presented himself as responsible for his folly--and then excused himself because he did it for "the love of [his] life." Somewhat contradictorily, he also presented himself as a victim of lenders gone wild. No links to Andrews: he's gotten enough publicity.
Then, Megan McArdle of the Atlantic, busted him in her blog. It turned out that his new wife had declared bankruptcy twice, the second time after they were married. Most unsavory was the revelation that her second bankruptcy involved wiping out a $29,000 loan from her sister.
So at first I thought my irritation with this guy came from his omission of relevant information that pretty much ruined his narrative. Then, when the responses from the mainstream media started coming out, my irritation increased.The New York Times presented Andrews as a victim of a scary blogger; NPR presented him as a nice guy with an oopsie. Now I know the blogosphere can be a nasty place, but all this reminded me of the vain efforts of the power structure to control new media back in the sixteenth century. Ye olde (then the relatively new) printing press was making it difficult for the power structure to control information. Flash forward to the English Revolution! I was really put off by the circling of the wagons around Andrews; cronyism ("I'll promote your book if you promote mine") trumped ethics, in my opinion. (No links to all this either; you're probably sick of all this too, if you were ever interested.)
And now for my finale: the source of my irritation. I figured it out! The book just came out. In it, Andrews presents himself as now having not paid his mortgage for 8 months. He claims he is waiting to hear from the lender about terms.
Uhhhh. Didn't he get his book contract a few years ago? Presumably. That would mean that his desire to present a narrative of victimhood shaped his behavior. This makes me question the choices he chronicles in the book, since he was writing about them as he made them!
I also find it interesting that his advance (he mentioned $30,000, not sure if that is the whole thing or just a portion) is about the amount he owes on his mortgage AND is almost the exact amount that his wife borrowed from her sister (which has been excused by the bankruptcy filing). So he has two good places to put that advance.
Thanks for reading, folks. Does anyone have anything to add or should I just give it a rest?