May 23, 2008

Feed the beast

It's a little annoying that the cover story of this week's Sunday New York Times Magazine is this 7,900-word first-person account of a blogger's highly-self-analytical (or, as Loree likes to call it, navel-gazing) and not-that-interesting life while she was blogging on her own and as an editor at Gawker.

Annoying because -- although I admit I read the whole thing -- it is, as I've already mentioned, not that interesting. It's just a really self-indulgent story about how and why this woman blogged so much about her personal life in the midst of breaking up with two boyfriends. BFD.

But what's even more aggravating than the article itself is the righteous indignation with which readers are responding. As of this morning, there were already 837 comments ... now 840 ... now 843 ... on the Times site (and who knows how many others about the story on Gawker and other independent blogs). By comparison, a cover story two weeks ago on opportunities for girls in competitive sports had prompted 289 reader responses.

I didn't read each of the comments about the blogger article, but from a quick scan, about 98.5 percent of them were highly critical of the writer (for being so caught up in her relatively unimportant existence), the Times (for having the audacity to give major treatment to something so insignificant), or both. Many of the complaints included some thread about how much time and thought was being wasted on this.

Apparently none of them really picked up on the irony (and not the fake Alanis Morissette fly-in-chardonnay kind) that this story that they deemed absolutely irrelevant had prompted them to take the time to write long -- and sometimes eloquent -- posts of their own, sharing their own self-important thoughts. All of their ranting and raving sure sure seems to give more credence -- not less -- to the Times' decision to put the dumb thing on the cover.

Oh, and the comment count is now up to 854.

Nice going, blowhards.


Loree said...

Yep, I definitely read this one, although I can't say I contributed to one of the 800-plus comments.

I don't know... I did find it somewhat interesting, just in the (navel-gazing) sense that I wonder if I could be this person if I just totally lost the nature I have to edit myself. And to not throw people I know and care about under the bus.

I enjoyed her at Gawker, which I still read daily, and I think--while it's not probably the most highbrow NYT Magazine material--they've probably gotten exactly what they wanted out of publishing it.

JBhumitra said...

love the alanis reference. the irony, which you pointed out, is indeed interesting. but i do also agree with loree that the NYT probably got what they wanted. clever newspaper!

JBhumitra said...

i should say got what IT wanted. apparently i dont edit myself!

Your escalator operator said...

Yeah, I think they/it had that pretty well figured out. Clever bastards.

bugs said...

i have nothing so thoughtful to add to above comments, but i thought your blog post was very well written and thought out. it took me a minute to catch on to what BFD was, but i got it! (i didn't read the nyt article, nor do i intend to, nor would anyone else's blog interest me...only yours!)xoxoxo

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