Sunday, January 13, 2008

NY Times on Gawker

I found this article interesting in a very small way, partly because it does reflect my experiences, in a very small way. I used to read Gawker occasionally, never obsessively, but I haven't looked at in months. I'm one of those people who switched to Jezebel, but I also got bored with the obsession with minor NY celebritrons I'd never heard of. Tina Brown gossip? I can raise some interest. Julia Allison? None at all (and I had to go to the New York Gawker article, which I read when it came out, to even remember her name).

Shifting from content to form, the other thing that interested me in this article was* the gratuitious high life references, including the fact that the most recent Gawker editor decided to quit "during a vacation at a house on Fire Island in November," and Tina Brown was interviewed "by telephone from her apartment before leaving for a cocktail party." Clearly the Style section has long aspired to be Tatler, but if the goal of mainstream paper media is to garner readers and revenue, I'm not quite sure what these kinds of references accomplish. They don't make us want to be or have, like fashion articles, wedding announcements, and ads for fancy apartments. Nor do they offer any insight into the people or topics at hand, except to let us know that these are high end people. Do we feel ourselves high end because we are reading about people who vacation on Fire Island and go to cocktail parties? Maybe that's it. But I'm thinking that Tina Brown is high end enough, and we already know she goes to cocktail parties, at least if we're the kind of people who read articles about Gawker in the Style section which, alas, we seem to be. I suppose it comes down to where I started: the gratuitous, which is, I suppose, the definition of the Style section, so maybe I shouldn't even be noticing these references.

You could call this a post in which criticial consciousness accomplishes nothing.

*I am agonizing about this "was." The subject of the sentence seems to be "the other thing that interested me," i.e. singular, hence "was," but it just doesn't sound right. I could change it to "I was also interested in," or "the gratuitous high life references were the other thing that interested me," but I like the rest of the sentence as it is, so I will just have to continue in what appears to be grammatical purgatory.

1 comment:

jackie said...

See, I am interested in Julia Allison, mostly because she dovetails with my own research interests now, namely how people make the decision to live so much of their lives on the Internet and in public, and boundary-crossing in personal relationships that is enabled by the Internet.

But as a media figure? Not so much.