I know I said I would drop the story, but just came across a tidbit of information that explains EVERYTHING in this throwaway line in a CNN story:
[Neal Pollack] wanted to move up to the more lucrative field of magazine free-lancing, but despite his Northwestern degree and a facility with the English language, he was having a hard time breaking in.
Pollack went to Northwestern. Of course he did. Jesus, it all makes sense. He was like this itch that I couldn't quite scratch. Now I see why his obnoxious posing, his self-obsession, his execrable personality all seemed so damn grating and familiar: it's all a flashback to my horrid freshman year at that school. I used to explain my decision to leave Northwestern thusly: "Imagine the worst of the Plan II kids, and make an entire school of them." Now I just have to say: "Neal Pollack." Says it all, no?