In Which We Get Closure With Self-Promotional Whore David Seaman

"I thought this would be much more vitriolic than it actually is," wrote ousted Jezebel intern David Seaman, to my Facebook account. "I guess I'm not mad, just a little confused. And about to go out and get hammered." Wait a second, me too! I texted the ex-intern I once dubbed D-Splooge. We agreed to meet for a drink.

The saga of me and David Seaman started in April, when I hired David, a young Hunter College student and the compiler of a book on the, ahem, "meaning of life," as a Jezebel intern. I sensed in him a slightly uncomfortable amount of ambition, and wrote him at one point explaining in idiotically earnest detail that there was more to "this business" than self-promotion. Unbeknownst to me, however, David had a few side gigs, namely, the authorship of whole book on self-promotion, along with the liberation of Paris Hilton and more to the point, that brand of pointless, vacuous fame the internet people exist to self-loathingly perpetuate. Angry at the idea that I had been somehow used or punked, I posted a pre-emptive strike on this blog. And maybe went a leeeed-le bit too far...

"I get it," he said when we arrived. "I mean, I can't work for a media organization." I had never really thought of Jezebel as "media organization" before, but okay. David's eyes were dark and bright and earnest; eyes that could make you feel as though everyone was on the same page when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. But I wanted to trust him again. I drank until I trusted him again.

"I mean, I don't think there's anything wrong with asking for a plug when you have something you're trying to promote," he continued. To which I pointed out that we were not in the business so much of trying to build hype at Gawker Media, more in the business of trying to build hype couched deeply in the context of "puncturing" hype, which was more confusing and anyway I couldn't have him planning fake Paris Hilton protests and writing books about how to be a self-promotional whore while his name and bank account were attached to Jezebel. He understood.

"I guess," he said, "It just felt abrupt."

"I'm sorry about that," I said. "I'm not exactly the best with the bedside manner in this job."

We discussed his book. As it turned out, quite a few publishers who'd passed on his proposal had requested to take a second look after I wrote my little missive. "Glad to be of help," I said.

"What is that you're drinking?" he asked.

"Jim Beam and soda," I said. Did I offer him a sip? I was feeling avuncular again. "It was only three bucks. That's crazy. You picked a really good choice of venue. I realize it's happy hour and everything, but.." Was I proud of him? Anyway.

"And I'm sorry, it must have really startled you. I just got this overwhelming feeling of panic when I saw you'd been writing this book. But I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't thought you'd benefit from the notoriety despite me. I'm not malevolent."

Young Seaman had aged ever so slightly since I'd seen him last. Shopping around a book proposal had taken its toll. "My book proposal is, like 50 pages," he said. "With my first book, I didn't have any of this. No agent. No proposal. I thought a proposal would be, like, six pages."

"No one reports the civilian casualties in Iraq," he mused. "Why don't they do that? Why is it always about how many Americans who got killed?" Civilian casualties, he explained: that was the type of issue he wanted to use his self-promotional instincts to spotlight. "Like one of my chapters is on Cindy Sheehan. She's the type of self-promotional whore who really came from nowhere, she was nobody special, but she became this powerful person." Free Paris, he explained, wasn't an endgame; it was more like an experiment. His next stunt would be more sophisticated, and multilayered, and he gave me the date on the condition I didn't reveal it. I suggested he read Bill Wasik's Harper's story about how he invented the flash mob, and why. "It's right up your alley," I said. "I don't really remember his reasoning, but it's very well-written."

"Pretty much every one of my girl friends sent me a text that day, just like, 'OMG,'" David said, briefly returning to the topic that had brought us here to begin with. "It went around fast. You're doing a good job I guess. I mean, I know I said in that email that I'd be sticking to TMZ and Jossip from now on, but who really reads Jossip? I just needed to say some other website."

Earlier:
Self-Promotion Guru David Seaman Totally Got Our Memo; Shat All Over It