Self-Promotion Guru David Seaman Totally Got Our Memo, Shat All Over It

I like to think I have decent judgement about guys, but this was my bad. A few months back I hired a nerdy little fuck named David Seaman for the preposterously well-remunerated position of Jezebel intern and no sooner did that happen was I forced to fire him. In her defense, Anna did not like him. But in my defense, David seemed to me ambitious in a familiar way, like most alumni of the college from which I dropped out, which also happens to be the alma mater of Donald Trump and Melissa Rivers, so there you fucking go. So like I sad, it was my bad. I was busy! Also in my defense, it's not like I would have slept with him. Especially when I bestowed upon him the nickname "D-Splooge" and he immediately commenced signing all his emails "D-Splooge," only to ask at our first-ever intern meeting, totally earnestly: "So, where did you get that nickname anyway?" (Hint: Seaman SOUNDS LIKE SEMEN).

We finally fired D-Splooge after he responded to a lengthy email we sent him reminding him that "this job is about hard work, not self-promotion, for all of us" by staging a Free Paris Hilton protest outside the company HQ. When we fired him, he asked for money.

Now, he's pitching a book about self-promotion. After the jump, the writing sample that prompted us to send him the world's nicest, most diplomatic email from a boss he ever did not deserve. In other words, this is a post on why we are way too nice to be effective bosses, probably because we have vaginas or something.

From: Seaman, David Mailed-By: gmail.com

To: Moe

Date: Apr 21, 2007 7:56 AM

Subject: Brainstorm!

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Hi Moe. Brainstormed a bit and here's what I've got... since you're

doing profiles on the big-name fashion editors, why not do a little

something self-involved about each of us? readers may be interested to

know about you and anna a bit; what got you guys interested in

covering fashion etc.

and potentially the same for us interns: why'd we pick a fashion blog

out of the myriad internship opportunities in nyc trying to lure us

in?

So maybe like a short response that begins with 'Why I Like

Fashion...' and draws on a few personal experiences. I'm attaching

mine as an example, would like to get some feedback/critique from you!

anyway, see you tonight.

David



Why I Like Fashion...

At large high school parties, I would find myself talking to an attractive girl, only to realize she is looking right through me to the charismatic lacrosse player taking a bong hit out back. She'd twirl her hair in a state of blatant boredom, or excuse herself altogether by becoming engrossed in a phantom text message! For a good looking girl in high school, there were few fates worse than unsolicited conversation with someone who owned Magic cards.

In class, I was often ridiculed for what I wore. Essentially my fault since I lacked any fashion sense whatsoever in those days (I literally thought clothes were just for covering your naked body, and for warmth on those cold Maryland winter days). Since I rarely went shopping, my wardrobe inevitably consisted of hideous wearable souvenirs I had dragged back from family vacations — I was known for going on vacations. Other kids were known for being National Merit finalists or brilliant actors; I was known for absurd vacation tees and little else.

"You're on island time!" one faded t-shirt from the Caribbean declared. I thought this one was especially comfortable, so I wore it often. It became a school saying. If someone was late to class, especially if that someone was me, the students would look at each other and say, "Dave must be on island time."

I wore crap Gap jeans and souvenir tees, years before this look became even remotely ironic or edgy. And way before you happily paid $65 for your intentionally nerdy Diesel vintage. One of my shirts actually had a space shuttle logo with the words "NASA Space Camp" proudly emblazoned above it in digital clock font. In painfully clear retrospect, it was the world's most effective contraceptive!

Toward the end of senior year, it occurred to me that I regularly looked like crap when I went to school: an unkempt Jewfro, non-designer glasses, a poorly fitting souvenir tee, and light blue jeans. And brown Airwalks, which even I was aware had gone permanently out of fashion somewhere around the end of middle school. Maybe people just found it difficult to take a total dork seriously!

When I moved to New York and entered college that fall, I was thrown into a weird new world. People dressed well. I mean, everybody dressed well — and even the people who looked unfashionable were meticulous about it. I still wasn't quite ready to admit that appearance mattered: I decided I would throw myself behind my "passions" and create a fulfilling routine. It's what you do that matters, right?

I started going to school newspaper meetings and actually got a few pieces published. I expected some kind of triumphant fanfare, or at least a growing legion of eager readers. Instead, after my second piece ran, a hobbit-like girl down the hall from me said, "I read your thing in the paper." I excitedly waited several beats for an opinion on my writing, but none came. My writing was as listlessly vanilla as my presence at high school parties had been — eliciting no response one way or the other.

That and, much like high school clubs, the college newspaper had a stiff barrier to entry — namely, some degree of talent or ambition. In lieu of any actual passions or semblance of a personality, it struck me one day that appearance could be crafted and exploited. I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment when this epiphany occurred. It may have been when riding the subway. You know the moment when a business guy walks onto the train and people make room for him in an instant? Not because he's a scary looking bag-lady, but because he conveys masculine power. The shoes, the coat, the dark pants all come together perfectly. Or when a woman gets on, her heels clicking from just beyond the turnstile, and you instinctively know she is an Important New Yorker, on the 6 train purely to keep her finger on the common man's pulse.

You can either delude yourself into believing that appearances don't matter, or you can gradually own up to the fact that your clothing communicates much of who you are before a single word is uttered. Other species have antlers and pheromones and colorful plumage; we have D&G.

Most of us won't have any lasting impact on the world. But with fashion, the moment you approach it as science and not just conspicuous consumption, you have the chance to create a new work of art each morning. Not all of these are masterpieces. But over time, with any luck, you create a base you can work from and build upon. If you live in a city like New York or Los Angeles, it is likely that thousands of eyes will see your work before you retire to your microscopic apartment at the end of the day.

Go ahead, make people jealous. Turn heads. For those of us who lack the words to express our personalities, and question whether we even have anything unique to contribute (other than blind self-interest!), fashion gives us that one tempting chance to stand out. Sure, onlookers may hate you a little bit, but underneath that jealousy is the desire to be you or get with you! And maybe a little of both.

From: Moe -By: gmail.com

To: "Seaman, David"

Date: Apr 21, 2007 2:09 PM

Subject: Re: Brainstorm!

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David,

I don't know what to say about this. No one is going to give a shit

about ANY of us until we start blogging a lot, and no one gives a shit

about what ANYONE wore in high school. Seriously. It's indulgent and

counterproductive to think otherwise. Even at that point, they really

shouldn't know that much. If, when the blog launches, Anna is

interviewed about her thoughts on fashion, she will think of something

to say. But seriousy, this job is about hard work, not self-promotion,

for all of us. Go and read all the Gawker sites. Writing them is hard

work.

As an intern, your job is not to write about yourself. You have to

understand this. Anna was a little taken aback by your aggressiveness

at lunch, turning questions she asked you around at her and shit. You

helped us a lot by going to the library and I think you have a good

work ethic, but you have to understand that there is a lot of

dues-paying involved in this position AND RIGHTLY SO. Eventually you

will "figure out" what it is that we do, but if you think this is the

kind of thing we would run, you have to read the Gawker Media sites a

lot more closely.

It is, for one, far too wordy, and far too earnest. The humor is kind

of college-y, and the whole point of it is not a point we would make.

When we write our manifesto — we haven't finished yet — you'll have

a much better idea how WE expect to cover fashion. But be patient. You

can learn a lot from us. Just nexis one of us — I'm easier since my

name is so weird — you'll find stories that date back TEN YEARS.

(Christ, I am old). I have been doing this shit for a long time. I

wasn't always great. I just found a 1998 story about a serial rapist

that I led with a description of the park in which the rapist took

victims.

"Few besides local fishermen and stealthy underage drinkers have

driven Burlington County's Rancocas Avenue all the way west, where it

becomes a rugged dirt trail, surrounded by the 120 acres of ancient

oak trees that comprise Rancocas State Park.

But a man in a car with Pennsylvania tags who introduces himself to

his victims as "Scott" knows the secluded area well enough to have

staged five of his seven known sexual assaults there, said New Jersey

State Police, who yesterday released a sketch of the rapist."

Honestly, this is an indulgent first graf. People care about the

people, not the place. People care about what happened, not the

acreage, or my shout-out to underage drinking in the woods, a part of

MY life experince at the time (I was still underage when I wrote this

story) that no one cared about.

That SAID, this is the shit I was doing when I was "paying my dues." I

was lucky: I was writing, not sending faxes, but I was out REPORTING,

and that's the most helpful thing interns can do. I was out taking

notes at neighborhood meetings, showing up at crime scenes, writing

about everything but myself. In order to get to the point where you

are even ALLOWED to write about yourself and not get generally mocked

for it, you need to write a LOT about others. You need to learn a lot

about how the world works.

If you nexis me you'll also find a story I wrote once on being a phone

sex operator. That was sort of about myself, and sort of about phone

sex. Some people like it; I didn't particularly, but it was the type

of story that was definitely informed by years of writing about

government, drug policy, crime, poverty, outsourcing, shareholder

value, corporate cultures, I could go on..

Anyway, that's all. Honestly, you are lucky you did not send this shit

to Anna, because she would have been completely appalled. It's good to

be aggressive, but it is very bad to be PRESUMPTUOUS, and this

DEFINITELY falls into the latter camp.

Got it? Still up for this?