After review of Grand Forks Olive Garden, Marilyn Hagerty, 85, is talk of social media

Marilyn Hagerty at Olive Garden Monday with NBC Today Show's Kevin Tibbles. .

From The Wall Street Journal:

Some people pursue celebrity. Others stumble into it as they are rushing off to bridge club.

My 85-year-old mom, Marilyn Hagerty, a newspaper columnist, is in the latter category. When she wrote a review of the new Olive Garden restaurant in Grand Forks, N.D., last week, she wasn’t expecting anyone other than her thousands of loyal readers in North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota to take note. She didn’t worry about how her story would play on Gawker, partly because she had never heard of Gawker.

She’s too busy to bother with blogs, Facebook or Twitter. She writes five articles a week for the Grand Forks Herald. Her specialties include local personalities, history and, yes, restaurants of high and low repute. Those whom she dubs in her column as “cheerful person of the week” consider it a high honor. She also cleans and maintains her house, cares for an unreliable dachshund, visits her eight grandchildren and volunteers at church.

On Thursday, bloggers happened on her review of the Olive Garden, where she found the portions generous and the décor “impressive.” Some wrote clever notes suggesting there might be some sort of irony in writing an unironic review about a chain restaurant like Olive Garden. Others, including media and news websites Gawker and Huffington Post, chimed in. Soon news hounds from Minneapolis, New York and even Fargo were calling Mom and demanding interviews. Basically, they wanted to know whether she was for real and how she felt about being mocked all over the Internet.

She felt fine about it. But she didn’t care to scroll through the thousands of Twitter and Facebook comments on her writing style. “I’m working on my Sunday column and I’m going to play bridge this afternoon,” she explained, “so I don’t have time to read all this crap.” She didn’t apologize for writing about a restaurant where many people like to eat. Her poise under fire endeared her to people who do read all that. Strangers started sending me emails about how much they loved my mom.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Wall Street Journal