From O Pioneer Woman by Amanda Fortini in the May 9, 2011 New Yorker.
The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond’s chronicle of daily life on an Oklahoma cattle ranch, receives approximately 23.3 million views per month and 4.4 million unique visitors.
The Pioneer Woman is a gallery of quotidian moments. Drummond blogs about cleaning out her closet, buying an organizer for her jewelry, getting a metal ice-cream scoop stuck to her lip. …What anyone else would call banality or drudgery is, for her, humorous, dramatic and valuable. Drummond makes an average life look heroic.
As a canny author of her own persona, Drummond surely realizes that she must encourage the fantasy she has created. To remain interesting, her life must be aspirational. She is who her readers would be if they had more time, more money, a quiet life in the country, a professional teeth-bleaching, or the support of a laconic cowboy husband.
I read this article soon after watching The Social Network. The issues it raises about the line between public and private personas and truth vs. reality are very similar to the issues the movie raises. I felt like it wasn’t always particularly kind or fair to Ree Drummond but it is an interesting look at what it is like to create a career and a life that is completely dependent on you as a “personality”. In our celebrity obsessed culture it seems to be something more and more people desire, yet I couldn’t help but feel like after reading it that it would be an exhausting burden. At least to me.