Do you know who Cat Marnell is? You should because you’re either going to hate or love her. Cat Marnell is a writer and a drug addict but that’s an oversimplification. She recently snagged a $500, 000 book deal for a memoir called “How To Murder Your Life,” about her fast life of drugs, rich girl privilege and meaningless sex. Cat had to leave her jobs as beauty editor at Lucky Mag and xoJane because she would rather just do drugs. We found her old Myspace which was last active in 2008 when Cat was 25 years old and yes, still a drug addict.
Cat told Vice about her time at xoJane, “I’ll just put it out there. I am fucked up. I have been fucking up. They don’t trust me. I have two months of amazing, then I have two months of terrible. I get sober, off pills, then I get depressed because I don’t feel hot and I can’t feel good about myself.”
When Cat was a teenager she didn’t do very well in school, so her dad just gave her Adderral which she became addicted to for 13 years, then replaced that with speed..
She gets a lot of bad press because many feel as though she is a part of this terrible machine. She severely does drugs. She writes about doing drugs. People pay her money for her writing. She uses that money to pay for drugs. She writes about drugs.
She writes in her leaked book proposal:
“I started visiting plastic surgeons to book fake nose jobs and things, because when you book a surgery you get your painkiller scripts written in advance to fill pre-surgery. Then I would cancel the nose jobs. Easy!”
She says in the same Vice interview, “I got more attention than other people. It’s like the same term they use to describe narcissistic people, which is ‘conspicuous existence’ and it’s the same thing on speed. You have a conspicuous existence. I have never not been on speed since. If anything, that’s what you are addicted to: you become a little more special than other people. I’ve always been an enhanced version of a human being. Of myself. I’m addicted to that. When I went off of it, you know what happened? I became normal. I looked normal. My ideas were normal.”
Cat Marnell has no interest in being a good person so much as she wants to be “Cocaine Barbie.” She says, “Listen, fat acceptance is not something I am interested in . . . It’s not an option for me . . . I have never been remotely interested in looking like or being in any way a real girl. I don’t like the real girl thing. I believe in idealization for publications. People want to see aspirational images, read about aspirational lives. I don’t care about acceptance. I don’t want to project anything real. I want people to look at my beauty section and want to look like me, to buy the things I like. I want them to want to smell like me even though they can’t smell me through the computer. That’s the point. It’s beauty, babe! But always remember—I’m a total sicko.”
On the one hand many writers, many of the greatest writers who have ever lived were alcoholics and drug abusers, so they benefited from and exploited their own addictions. Some people think Cat gets a lot of flack for it because she is a woman. However I would argue that many of those great, drug-abusing writers chose to write about things other than their own drug use. Although, writers like Henry Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hunter S. Thompson and plenty more have been championed for their brutal honesty and drug induced writing. Nevertheless, people who only write about themselves will seem self-indulgent and narcissistic, especially when there isn’t much to be learned from their personal essays – either you relate to the person or you don’t.
Some people think the places she has written for like xoJane and Vice were taking advantage of her addiction. That’s a tough call. The thing is, I think these people are writers by nature and they’d be writing anyway, in some cases it would seem as though writing was the only thing that kept these people from killing themselves. I don’t know how an employer reconciles being the source of income for a drug addict? But, here’s another obvious truth that people don’t seem to acknowledge, drug addicts and functioning alcoholics are working everywhere, in big businesses, as lawyers, politicians, serving you coffee, entertaining you as actors and athletes. It’s terrible that some people are addicts and that’s all there is to say.
Still, at the end of the day, we have to ask, is Cat Marnell even a good writer? I think that’s subjective. Personally, she is not my thing, yet a lot of people can’t seem to get enough of her. She is manipulative, dishonest, she uses people to get what she wants, she loves being skinny, she loves herself way too much – but these are all symptoms of a drug addict. Why should the experience of a drug addict, especially one who seems to be self-aware and thinking critically about her surroundings be less valid than someone else’s perpective. I am not going to lie: I feel a bit icky about the situation too but I think we have to question the impulsiveness of feeling icky about it.