The travails of plutocrats, the use of often expertly modulated acerbic prose to overcome reporting holes, and my own online reading idiosyncrasies prevented me from (fully) embracing Gawker. I’m learning today the extent to which it formed a considerable part of my friends’ sociopolitical selves as much as it fed the usual consumptive instincts. Some of these friends even work for Gawker.
But about those consumptive instincts. To assert that I didn’t visit Gawker’s home page is no kind of boast. No one visits home pages in 2016: we get referred to home pages through social media, Tumblr, and, quaintly, RSS feeds. And Gawker hastened this trend. My wondering why I didn’t read Gawker enough misses the point that, like Babyface and Balzac, its influence has been permeant enough to ignore. Along the way it published many things of note. I can read Rich Juzwiak’s adventures finding decent steak and blow jobs at Walt Disney World anytime, for example. Showing contempt for the way in which conventional journalism covered the mighty as if holding them with tongs, Gawker refused to consider discrete spheres for private and public life; because so much of what the mighty do affects the body politic, Gawker treated gossip and sexual banalities like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did bank deposit records. Of course there was danger, and in its lifespan it published appalling shit too. But our social media feeds look like Gawker’s home page, and maybe soon we won’t pay much attention to them either.