Why I made a blog about Ellen


Ellen's Role in the Order of the Universe

In which I explain the connection between my two oddest forms of diversion: Tarot and the troll.

The only activity in my life that might be called a "hobby" is reading Tarot. For me, a hobby is something in which my skills can actually improve--and thus exercise, hanging out with my friends, shopping, and reading are all disqualified, important as they are to my extracurricular life. People are often very surprised to hear that I do Tarot, as I come across as anything but New Age. They would be even more surprised if they met my mother, knowing that she was the reason I ever started. My mom is a medical professional and extremely left-brained. Like me, she sees Tarot not as a mystical means of divining the future, or any other hocus-pocus, but as a deck of cards with ancient origins (hence "New Age" really doesn't apply anyway) that facilitates an intuition you already have. It also serves as an alternative way of at least thinking about, if not answering, questions. I'm about as Type-A as they come, seemingly born to over-analyze everything, and so in this function it's become important to me...for some of the same reasons Ellen Barshevsky has.

As I began to acknowledge how keenly interested I was to read Ellen's comments whenever I found one, I naturally applied Tarot to this topic as I do to most anything else that holds my attention. Which card, I asked myself, is the card of Ellen? The answer came immediately, but I rejected it just as quickly because it seemed far too grandiose. Surely, I told myself, Ellen is NOT The Fool.

But, she IS after all!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Fool is the zero card in Tarot's Major Arcana, which represents the journey of the self. Any summary I could give would be inadequate, but put crudely, the Fool represents innocence, novelty, vulnerability, experimentation, new-ness. The "Fools" of medieval kingdoms often combined the role of jester/entertainer with that of monarchs' advisor, and per King Lear and other classic tales of palace life, Fools could be "wise" in the sense that they knew court politics well, had access to important people, and were often able to get away with telling unwelcome truths--even straight to the royals--that nobody else could.

Ellen is The Fool in the court of Corporette, or more broadly, the court of online discussions about living and working as a young, single, professional woman. She is often criticized for not being funny, and indeed most of the time she is not. What fascinates me about her is the absurdity of the life that she reports, and the asinine quality of the account itself. The issue domain that she covers--work, relationships, family, fashion, money--is fairly comprehensive, covering neither more nor less than what occupies most of our minds most of the time. Yet the funhouse mirror through which she types simultaneously makes fun of our concerns and, in a way, highlights them with the honesty of satire. We wouldn't be able to laugh at or ignore, for example, Ellen's constant vocalization of worry about becoming an old maid at 35, or needing a man to do one's taxes, or ordering pants that cannot accommodate one's Tuchas, if we didn't recognize it as part of the category of things we are supposed to care about. It's sexist, outdated, and ultimately insulting as the kind of material presumed interesting to female blog readers. But familiar.

Furthermore, Ellen purports to be entirely in earnest. The problems she reports are ridiculous, but she presents this as the only life she has. For example, while her complaints about the manageing partner and Alan are consistent enough to grate, what I read between the lines is fairly real: you usually have to put up with a crappy boss, for lack of other options. Sometimes even a breakup that was 112% The Right Thing to Do can take so long to get over that your friends get tired of hearing about it.

Ellen is also The Fool for her no-holds-barred voice. Because, alas, we cannot see or hear her, it has to come across entirely in writing, but she does manage. The kind of effusiveness that leads to putting ever more misspelled words in all caps is a perfect symbol here. Her punctuation is also misapplied and overdone. She ends paragraphs after only a sentence or two, as if to place special emphasis...on everything.

In sum: she doesn't know what she's talking about, and even her delivery is wrong, but she writes with such vitality that I can't look away. This naivete, plus knowing-ness, makes her The Fool to my intuition.

I also take a strange comfort in Ellen. The life she describes is coherent enough to follow and even compare with one's own reality, like a TV show, but it is also silly and cartoonish enough to offer a means of escape.

One final note about Ellen and authenticity: I have no idea who posts as Ellen, and I think it's entirely likely that we've already seen a succession and/or that there are several contemporaneous Ellens today. I would prefer that the story of her life and times be generally consistent. I'm also always up for a laugh. Beyond that, however, I'm not terribly focused on rooting out the genuine vs. the impostor. I'd love to know the identity and motives of self-appointed Ellen(s), but I don't expect to accomplish that. I'm gathering this material because I've been oddly inspired.

Note about the SPIRIT of this Sight:

I will never post negative comments about, or even laugh at, anyone other than obvious trolls. Do not feel the need to search the blog for your handle, for example, to see if I've written anything snarky about you. I have not. Your comments might be transcribed somewhere, but if so they either get no editorial from me, or a thumbs up. I'm just not into putting anyone down, no matter how anonymously. I also delete any reader comments showing rudeness or meanness in any direction. As I said in "About Me," anyone who doesn't like Ellen or wants to be negative should please go elsewhere. 


  1. This sight is FINTASTIC! I love Ellen too.

  2. I don't even read Corporette, but a really good friend does and occasionally sends me links "just for the comments." I read ONE Ellen post and I was hooked, then she sent me to your blog. AH-MAZ-ING. Thank you.

    1. Thanks to you and your friend!

      I am VERY happey it worked out for you!!!!

  3. This is fascinating. You have the critical eye and voice of a social scientist. Amazing!

    1. Oh, I've undertaken long and rigorous multidisciplinary training for this work, both academic and experiential. Ehrm!

  4. Thought I'd mention a very interesting Ellen exchange on Bitter Lawyer, on the "Should I Go to Law School: An Infographic" post on February 28. She FOOEYs there from time to time.

  5. So, I'm assuming you follow Ellen very closely. I'm wondering about something: what do you think it takes for her to become interested in a human interest story?
    My grandson has an extremely rare terminal disease called Chediak Higashi. He's eight and without a bone marrow transplant is expected to live until age 11
    He has 367,000 fans on his Facebook page. ( he's trying to get one million)
    Anyway his mom is divorced
    Raising three boys on her own
    No support from the dad
    No vehicle
    Lives below poverty line as she has struggled to get help for Xan
    Many many fans have written to Ellen about him; I've written three times and my other daughter has written
    Not one person has even received a reply. Plus, the child is from Louisiana, her home state.
    I don't watch her show much anymore but I just wondered if this makes sense to you
    Thank you
    God bless
    Sally Dubroc

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. It sounds like you're talking about Ellen DeGeneres, and this blog is about a different Ellen. I don't know anything about DeGeneres, but I'm sorry to hear about your grandson and wish you luck getting the support you need.