BBC BLOGS - See Also
« Previous | Main | Next »

Daily View: Belle de Jour

Clare Spencer | 13:08 UK time, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Times Online Belle de Jour storyThe Sunday Times revealed the identity of previously anonymous call girl blogger Belle de Jour: She is Dr Brooke Magnanti, a research scientist. Newspaper columnists on the whole argue that her memoirs have glamourised a dangerous profession. Meanwhile bloggers are more interested in what this means for anonymity.

Bel Mooney in the Daily Mail is sceptical that nothing bad happened to Belle de Jour. She says any educated woman who has a choice should feel ashamed at defending prostitution. Tanya Gold at the Guardian agrees, saying that Magnanti was lucky and that prostitution is a profession which kills.

Tom Sutcliffe in the Independent wonders what made her stop in 2004 if the job was so enjoyable.

David Robson takes a sideways view in the Daily Express, suggesting that Magnanti's writing style could be used well in epidemiology - a subject so boring that Robson says you would only read it if you had to. Ex-editor of the Erotic Review Rowan Pelling met Dr Magnanti. Rowan says in the Telegraph that hers is not a shocking story, the only shocking aspect being that she wrote so well.

Giving the perspective of a pioneer blogger, Darren from Link Machine Go claims he had worked out who Belle De Jour was five years ago as he recognised her writing style from her other scientific blogs. He explains what he did to monitor if anyone else knew:

"During this time I published a googlewack hidden in my blog - the words 'Belle de Jour' 'Brooke Magnanti' and 'Methylsalicylate' were published and available in Google's index on a single page on the internet - my weblog. This 'coincidental' collection of links could in no way reveal Belle's identity. But I wondered if anybody else knew the secret and felt that analysing my web traffic might confirm my long-held belief. If someone googled 'Belle de Jour' 'Brooke Magnanti', I would see it in my referrers for LinkMachineGo.

I waited five years for somebody to hit that page (I'm patient). Two weeks ago I started getting a couple of search requests a day from an IP address at Associated Newspapers (who publish the Daily Mail) searching for 'brooke magnanti' and realised that Belle's pseudonymity might be coming to an end."

Meanwhile Foster Kamer says at Gawker [some offensive language in link] that, having worked at a literary agency, he finds it incredible that she was able to keep her identity even from her agent.

Bel Mooney | Daily Mail | How can such a clever woman be so stupidly naive...?
Tanya Gold | Guardian | Dr Brooke Magnanti says she enjoyed her life as Belle de Jour
Tom Sutcliffe | Independent | The over-complicated life of Belle de Jour
David Robson | Daily Express | The oldest solution to a scientific problem
Rowan Pelling | Telegraph | Shocking - but only because Belle de Jour wrote so well
Darren Shrubsole | Link Machine Go | Me and Belle de Jour - 'Could it be Brooke?'
Ephraim Hardcastle | Daily Mail | Might the taxman make an inquiry...?
Belle De Jour | Guardian | A dangerous precedent
Tracy Corrigan | Telegraph | Belle de Jour makes prostitution sound pretty
Foster Kamer | Gawker | Anonymous Call Girl Author Belle de Jour Outed

More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.