Friday, December 07, 2007

Required Reading: New York's Gawker Article

Sherman Oaks, California

Turn off your cell phone, close the e–mail and don’t open another web window for the 15 minutes it will take you to savor all of Vanessa Grigoriadis’s New York magazine profile of Gawker Media Group.


That was good, wasn’t it? Magazine writing at its best. It’s a snapshot of a place and a time, and the grasping, terrified people who live there. You can mock the bloggers and blogwhores and dark lords, but you acted like that once, and you would do it all over if you ever again found something you wanted as badly as these young New Yorkers want to be professional writers.

And as much as I love a great piece of magazine journalism on its own merits, there’s another reason why I’m blogging about the article, and that’s because it was published on October 14th, almost two months ago, an epoch in internet time.

One of the destructive aspects of the blog culture is the acceleration of the Feiler Faster Thesis to the point where news is ingested within minutes.

As a consequence, I’ve become hesitant to blog about anything that wasn’t immediate. I have at times decided not to write about a story that broke in the morning because it was now late afternoon, and who wants to read about something five hours later?

The Blog Laws, as laid down by Gawker, were clear. Short posts. Added throughout the day. Stay on topic. Cleavage doesn’t hurt. And snark, lots of catty snark. The rules weren’t a secret, and anybody could play.

But I began to resent them. Why does every post have to be a punchy joke about a self-referential universe? How about 2,000 words on the King of Thailand instead? What if there’s three lengthy posts' worth of something to say about the Hong Kong legal system?

I think those topics are interesting, and it’s my effing blog, and that should be enough.

Now I have cultural permission to take my time. The permission was granted by Gawker.

Choire Sicha quit as the managing editor of Gawker on Friday – ages ago; is anybody still talking about that? – and he had his reasons.

“I just feel like, now that everyone sort of operates at the speed we do, who's actually going to do the stuff that takes some time or some reading?” he asked. “Everything has become knee-jerk like we are.”

What a wonderful phrase.

“The stuff that takes some time or some reading.”

Like Vanessa Grigoriadis' piece about Gawker.

Maybe the online culture is turning toward reporting and substance.

And maybe, one can hope, reflection and contemplation.

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Anonymous Glenn C. said...

Thanks Paul, for the referral--very interesting read. More reasons why I don't hold out much hope for our society at this point. Bust out your fiddle 'cause the Visogoths are right around the corner.

6:21 AM  

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