You probably heard, but the NY Times' 'Sunday Styles' section was chock-full of goodies this weekend. There was that surprisingly-unannoying 'Modern Love' column (gem of a passage: "As we ate, we theorized about the effects of pornography on romantic relationships. Dinner ended; he had to go pack for his trip. I asked casually when I was going to see him again. He sighed. "That's a loaded question." I asked what he meant, because I thought the question was fairly straightforward"); a story about the "branding" of Burma/Myanmar; and dozens of weddings. (So many weddings. Including one starring a Rockefeller!)
Oh, and then there was that story about Jezebel.
Obviously, the nonchalant tone of that last sentence is total bullshit: I — and most of the other staffers, I believe — spent the majority of the weekend reading the Times piece, then reading it again, and again, and again, all in an effort to process how we felt about it. (And, of course, our appearances. I was horrified by vast amount of forehead on display; Tracie thought she looked like a drunk; Dodai marveled at her abundant cleavage; Jessica disdained her lack of it.) My reaction to the story was one of amusement and disappointment, feelings that did not change even on my fifth or sixth reading, although I admit they were much-amplified after I got a look at the crazy-ass commenting thread about the story that sprung up on Gawker on Saturday; all I have to say about that right now is Jesus Christ.
There were some amusing moments in the story, like writer Lauren Lipton's acknowledgment of the alcohol-soaked truce between Moe Tkacik and her sometime-critic, SinisterRouge, and the confirmation of a rumor I'd heard regarding a group of disparate, far-flung, longtime commenters and a pilgrimage they took to Dollywood earlier this year. (Also: Redbook editor Stacy Morrison's defensive-sounding intimation that only the impressionable, "fun"-loving youngsters on the lowest rungs of her magazine's editorial masthead deign to visit Jezebel. Guess she's still mad about that Faith Hill Photoshop controversy.) And despite my disagreement that a Jezebel name-check on the website for Gossip Girl has suddenly led to an influx of younger, more (ahem) immature readers — and my disbelief that the Times compared our traffic to that of iVillage, of all things — on the whole, I felt the piece was fun and more than fair to us. (One quibble: We post from 9am to 7pm, not 10am to 7pm.)
But it wasn't fair to the readers. Why? Because: Problems between editors and commenters and between commenters themselves are not specific to this blog — or any Gawker Media site for that matter — and the tensions in the comment threads are a natural side-effect of our surprisingly speedy growth. Because: At least from my somewhat ignorant vantage point, there is simply no evidence of any group of commenters referring to themselves as "cool kids" in any thing but a joking manner. And most importantly, because: Jezebel readers are funnier, more vibrant, opinionated, impassioned, whip-smart — and yes, infuriating —than the Times made them out to be. (Why the paper chose to showcase an unremarkable, mildly-tense exchange within the thread of an Angelina Jolie "Snap Judgment" instead of contributions from readers on, say, "Crappy Hour" or something equally-loaded, such as this post, is beyond me.) Basically I just wish that the commenters had taken center stage a bit more. They — you — deserved it. Because despite all the thoughtful, opinionated, unique work done by Dodai, Moe, Tracie, Jessica, Jennifer and Maria, in the comment threads on our blog you can find sidesplitting humor, impassioned disagreement, emotion-laden provocations, expert anecdotes, and a variety of voices that inspire as much, if not more, than they annoy.
In fact, I can guarantee that you will.
Not On Our Blog You Won't [NY Times]