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NBC-U's Lauren Zalaznick is an ethnicity-crazed obsessive.

Written By mista sense on Sunday, January 2, 2011 | 3:53 PM

That's right, "obsessive"--that's Lauren Zalaznick's word, not mine.  In her piece for The Daily Beast, Zalaznick, a big shot at NBC-Universal* chronicles her obsession with race and gender.   And of course, she's also a snob.  Here's the way she describes herself, using the "o" word in the second sentence:

For almost 15 years, I've catalogued various things. Obsessively, some would say. Specifically, I spent three years, every day, sorting various articles in The New York Times by topic, correlated to the gender (and race, where possible) of the journalist. Three years of obituaries, Op-Ed columns, and the covers of the Sunday Magazine section. I guess I wanted to see how the ultimate arbiter of news and information filtered the voices chosen to represent the culture at large.

On the obits page, only 16 percent of the deaths reported on were women. The most common profession of the female dead, even filtered for women under 45 to take into account the changing social and professional status since 1960, was acting (which included "silent film star" and "burlesque dancer"). Writers/journalists was the second most common. And a combination of "socialite,” “philanthropist,” and wife-of-a-rich-or-famous man was third.


The horror!  More men than women mentioned the New York Times!  (How can anyone survive without being mentioned in the Times?)  But what's really horrible is that a powerful media figure would devote so much of her life to keeping track of such superficial things. Aren't we supposed to be judged by the "content of our character," as opposed to the color of our skin?   And doesn't Zalaznick have anything better to do?  Or, more to the point, I guess, she's doing exactly what liberals do these days: She is obsessing over gender and race.  

There's something deeply weird about this sort of obsession--and deeply snobbish and elitist, too, as now Zalaznick has turned her attention to chronicling who sits with her in first class on airplane flights.  Note how she mixes elitist city-dropping with her special brand of diversitarian outrage: 

Since July 2007, I've taken approximately 60 round trips from New York City to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, London, Atlanta, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Detroit, and many other cities. On these trips, I recorded the race/ethnicity and gender of the inhabitants of the first-class compartments in which I sat.

More informal and less statistically sound than the Menendez study, to be sure, I found the aggregate cabin population was an average of almost 92 percent Caucasian. Of these, almost 30 percent were white women. I'd say approximately half of these women were the non-working spouses of the working male half of the couple, along for the ride, so to speak. So call it 15 percent working white women.


Across these tens of thousands of miles and approximately 600 travelers, less than 4 percent  were African American, while just under 5 percent were Asian. In these categories as well, men outnumbered women significantly. All others, including Hispanics, totaled just about 2 percent. Again I will qualify all of this with the fact that I used only visible diversity as a guide. There is neither subtlety nor any science to my survey.


Once again, we have to marvel at Zalaznick's obsessiveness (her word).  How can she stand to be so much more sensitive and socially conscious than the rest of us?  Oh, I guess flying first class all the time helps. 

Is this really what Comcast wants?  

* Here's Zalaznick's full title, as painstakingly recounted on TDB's website:

President of NBC Universal Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, oversees Bravo Media, Oxygen Media, and iVillage. She also founded and oversees the NBCU portfolio's pro-social initiatives—Green is Universal and the newly established Healthy At NBCU, NBC Universal's health and wellness program. She was named President, NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks in May 2008, when she added iVillage to her portfolio and announced the launch of Women@NBCU.

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