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December 2, 2011 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Gawker: How the NYT Style section trolls their readers.
posted by The Whelk (69 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
It seems like websites who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:50 AM on December 2, 2011 [34 favorites]


QUIS BLOGET IPSOS BLOGGES?
posted by The White Hat at 9:51 AM on December 2, 2011 [20 favorites]


The narcissism of small differences. This applies too, of course, to the endless metafilter "LOL NYT Style section" posts.
posted by yoink at 9:54 AM on December 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm sure no one on MeFi will have any kind of problem with this post.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:54 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


With the exception of national and international news, most of the paper of record is by and for a vanishingly small and largely culturally homogenous tribe of coastal 'elites'. In a way the New York Times is the biggest little cultish regional newspaper in the world. The reoccurring Gawker piece that gets that best is their Fake Trend Alert, followed closely by Scoring Sunday's Nuptials.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:59 AM on December 2, 2011


Game recognize game.

Actually, there's a third audience - those who are convinced the NYT Style Section is really that hopelessly uncool and elitist and very little of this (especially the breathless mention of Ivy degrees and clothes) is meant to be ironic.
posted by naju at 10:00 AM on December 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


It seems like websites who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

On the other hand, "it takes one to know one" is another worn out platitude that might be trotted out in this context.
posted by The World Famous at 10:03 AM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I see that breathless and endless discussion of appearance and clothes in most terrible science stories too. I think it's just bad writing.
posted by DU at 10:03 AM on December 2, 2011


(I mean we're not saying "what the fuck is wrong with rich people," we're saying "what the fuck is wrong with the New York Times.")
posted by naju at 10:04 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't work out whether the correct clique to be part of is: a) the group of mefites who will use this post to make snarky comments about the NYT, b) the group who will use this post to make snarky comments about Gawker, c) the group who will use this post to make snarky comments about The New Inquiry or d) the group who will use this post to make snarky comments about other mefites. Its like the perfect meta-troll...

Oh wait....
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 10:05 AM on December 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


We knew this from when they profiled a metafilter meetup.
posted by piratebowling at 10:09 AM on December 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's not limited to the Style Section at all. Today we have: "Some affluent residents of a gentrified section of Harlem would prefer a trendy shop that offers high-priced wines." in the Local/NY section. Yesterday there was a quote that I can't find, something like "It's impossible to buy a present for anyone who lives in NYC because we have and have seen everything"
posted by Blake at 10:11 AM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


During a particularly low moment when I was renting a room from a hirsute and under-groomed schizotypal, sleeping on a borrowed futon and eating beans from a can, I had three (three!) ex-girlfriends announce their weddings in the Times over the course of a semester. I stumbled across the third (with a photo!) as I sat, pants around my ankles, on a fetid commode literally begging my angry colon to unburden itself.

I actually don't think I've read the Sunday Styles section since that day. And frankly, I feel pretty okay about that.
posted by R. Schlock at 10:11 AM on December 2, 2011 [40 favorites]


I read the NYT every day for many years. I've been on strike for a couple of months now though.

The last straw was an article on a new breed of private schools that bus their students from their parents' condos in Manhattan to Westchester. It went along the lines of "Finally, kids in Manhattan can get a quality education." The cheapest school cost $25,000 a year, and that was considered cheap.

That was a strong indication that the paper is intended for a completely different social class than I am in (or will ever be a part of).

I suppose the ironic part is that the people writing and editing the paper don't make enough to send their kids to $25,000 private schools, but they're clearly writing for an audience that can.
posted by miyabo at 10:11 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


the writer of the [put down is more pretentious, arrogant, and [pretend hip than any of the kids trying to do that which the trained for at college and love. Don't like Style Section? Don't read it.
posted by Postroad at 10:11 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the writers like to think they are being ironic, but they are actually the same types of people that style peices are written about and they are just kidding themselves.

But even that is hopelessly uncool, since it is cool to be earnest and into causes and stuff now.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:13 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Yesterday there was a quote that I can't find, something like "It's impossible to buy a present for anyone who lives in NYC because we have and have seen everything""

Buy 'em a ticket to Terre Haute. Most of them have not seen The Interior. There be dragons here.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:14 AM on December 2, 2011 [16 favorites]


] ]
posted by Wolfdog at 10:15 AM on December 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


I don't usually gape in horror at rich people unless I'm reading the travel section. WHO SPENDS THAT MUCH MONEY IN ALBANIA, FOR GOD'S SAKE?
posted by chaiminda at 10:16 AM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


"It's impossible to buy a present for anyone who lives in NYC because we have and have seen everything"

[X] Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.

[X] C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.

[  ] More life, fucker!
posted by griphus at 10:16 AM on December 2, 2011 [37 favorites]


You know...pot, kettle, and all, but Gawker are right on the money here.

About 85% of the time, the NYT is really fantastic. There's a damn good reason why it's widely considered the American newspaper of record, and they employ some of the nation's most brilliant writers and editors.

The other 15% of the time (almost always in the arts/style sections), the articles come from a seemingly different universe. Written by and for a select group of people who seem to be perpetually stuck in the 1920s, for whom the gilded age never really passed, waiting for 10 years in the future, when art deco and skyscrapers are totally going to be the Next Big Things.

Who the hell is supposed to read these things? I grew up in a depressingly wealthy suburb just outside of New York City, and can't even think of anybody there who could even remotely relate to what was written in the Style section. Granted, the New York City socialites do somehow still seem to exist, perpetually locked in 1920, completely unaware of themselves or how the rest of us live, existing in a stratosphere that the much-derided "Wall Street 1%" can't even dream of, and for reasons that nobody can really quite understand. That said, there aren't very many of them left.

However, for some reason, the NYT loves to pander to this audience. Do they write these articles so that the masses can feel cultured and sophisticated? Do people get a thrill out of reading about the (incredibly dull) lives of the inexplicably-rich-and-famous? Are the owners of the paper simply engaging in an elitist wankfest? Does anybody even read this crap?

Look, Newspaper Owners: I may be speaking a bit much from my own experience here, but nobody reads your arts section. About a third of the content reads like a syndicated press release, another third pertains to culturally-irrelevant topics, while the remaining third is so brief and vacuous that the proceeding Classified section seems verbose and insightful by comparison (and the days when movie schedules and such belong in the Newspaper have long since passed). As a whole, none of it is relevant to anybody below the age of 60, which is only going to further contribute to the downfall of print media. Take your arts and style sections seriously. Try new things. Figure out who you want your audience to be. Don't strive to look like every other arts/style section in the world.

Perhaps with a touch of irony, The Onion's arts section is Serious Business. Furthermore, it's actually pretty relevant to a wide range of audiences, and talks about the kinds of media that people in 2011 actually consume. Not many people care about the opera, though many do wonder whether or not last week's Family Guy was worth watching. If you're looking for something a bit more highbrow, they address those topics too. Though I often disagree with their ratings, their movie and music reviews are refreshingly down-to-earth, and not obviously beholden to the movie studios and record labels. Sure, they talk about celebrities, but seem to manage to avoid the weird stalkerish behavior and following of irrelevant-but-somehow-famous celebrities that everybody else seem to be so happy to engage in.

Basically, since real news has been following this trajectory anyway, your media sections should strive to look a bit more like The Onion, and less like something sitting on the desk of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. (Though I expect that's a reference that you won't get)
posted by schmod at 10:16 AM on December 2, 2011 [19 favorites]


It went along the lines of "Finally, kids in Manhattan can get a quality education."

They were just trolling all their Trinity and St. Ann's alum co-workers.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:18 AM on December 2, 2011


I've known writers who have written for the Styles section. They were remarkably able to transpose exactly who they were in person into the 'pieces' they wrote. Not that they weren't nice people. Well, actually, that one guy was kind of a dick...
posted by From Bklyn at 10:18 AM on December 2, 2011


Actually, speaking of this alternate universe, somebody in a thread a few days ago linked to the blog, The Daily Prep, which also seems entirely inhabited by the people from this strange and bizarre universe.
posted by schmod at 10:20 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oy vey, I was totally exploited by this strategy just recently for an electronic dance music online thingy. I wrote a post that was supposed to cover a particular city. The editor cut out the paragraphs where I name-check all the important local promoters and artists (in a city where that sort of shit is unfortunately very important). I get an inbox of angry emails and look like a careless/uninformed writer, but the editor and his site gets TONS of pageviews as the locals get their rage on. A rather unpleasant lesson learned.
posted by LMGM at 10:20 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus it's like a god damn Jenga tower of meta. I can't even figure out where the meta pinnacle is.
posted by spicynuts at 10:23 AM on December 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


We knew this from when they profiled a metafilter meetup.
posted by piratebowling


Oh my God, I haven't read that thing since it first ran. It sounds like the NYT writer is trying to explain the designated hitter rule to an alien race.
posted by marxchivist at 10:23 AM on December 2, 2011 [15 favorites]


a fetid commode literally begging my angry colon to unburden itself.

Next on my list of things to be thankful for:
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:31 AM on December 2, 2011


The Times Travel Section will occasionally write a story about Pittsburgh and their arch condescending attitude drives me nuts. "Look, they have buildings and running water and electricity out here too, amazing" This one should be titled "Stalking the wild rust-belt hipster".

I'm sure that they write similar nonsense about other non-NYC places but I just happen to notice the ones about here.
posted by octothorpe at 10:33 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Look, they have buildings and running water and electricity out here too, amazing"

Admittedly, this is how I feel when I visit Queens, as well.
posted by griphus at 10:34 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


How the NYT Style section trolls their readers :

EVERYBODY NOW DOING CONTROVERSIAL THING THAT YOU'RE BOUND TO HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT

(where 'everybody' is defined as a few people the writer knows personally)
posted by Afroblanco at 10:35 AM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]




Jesus it's like a god damn Jenga tower of meta. I can't even figure out where the meta pinnacle is.


The piece just on the edge of collapse.
posted by Mblue at 10:35 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


> It seems like websites who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

> On the other hand, "it takes one to know one" is another worn out platitude that might be trotted out in this context.


Or, "It's trolls all the way down!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:44 AM on December 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anybody still believing the New York Times has serious credibility in ANY section should spend a week reading NYTXaminer.com. It's about time we realize that Judith Miller's Iran Invasion Cheerleading was NOT an aberration, it is the New Standard.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:46 AM on December 2, 2011


However, for some reason, the NYT loves to pander to this audience. Do they write these articles so that the masses can feel cultured and sophisticated? Do people get a thrill out of reading about the (incredibly dull) lives of the inexplicably-rich-and-famous? Are the owners of the paper simply engaging in an elitist wankfest? Does anybody even read this crap?

Part of the function of the press, especially in our current times, is the creation of celebrity. There's a lot of money in the celebrity game, but people don't spontaneously become celebrities. It's a sort of perverse collusion between the media and publicists, and it's done the same way everything else is done. 90 percent of the news comes from press releases, 90 percent of Style sections come from PR people pestering editors to write about their subjects.

Of course the NY Times is going to do a piece on these kids, who, they presume, may one day be the future of literature. And of course they are going to do it well -- it takes a lot of time to get to know a subject well enough to really do a good story on them, and these kids haven't really earned that yet; it's not worth the paper's resources to treat this like investigative journalism. And so a piece is dashed off, focusing on the superficial, and what can be gleaned from a short interview. Clothes. College pedigree. A single set piece of the group interacting.

It's not very good journalism, no, and tends to irritate a certain sort of reader who doesn't like fluff. But it's good for the kids, as they now have their names in the NY Times -- and, presuming they were the ones seeking the story, it's the start of a portfolio of newspaper mentions that may lead up to name recognition they can use to pursue a book contract, or a column, or something similar. The editors get to feel like they covered up-and-coming young people. Readers who don't mind fluff will take this on face value. And a few, who have actually made a career of doing exactly the same thing BUT THEN DESTROYING THEIR SUBJECTS, like Gawker, will feel trolled. In the end, it doesn't matter that Gawker is irritated, that there is a small cadre of hipper-than-thou writers with so intense a jealousy of anybody else who gets attention that they will complain if it is not them, and that there are some people who care about good journalism, and this ain't it.

It's the machine. And if you want to build a career, you feed the machine. When the NY Times style section comes calling, you say yes, knowing its limitations, knowing Gawker will be irritated and may turn on you, because, in the end, the blip may be useful for you. Celebrity comes from exposure, and, nowadays, celebrity is very useful.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:50 AM on December 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


God I'm glad I'm old! I was forced, yesterday, to drop my wife's 21 year old Volvo Wagon at the shop for the pre-winter check. Note, said shop (which services only Asian and European cars) is in Ann Arbor, mid-west home of hipsterdom, needless to say it's a pretty specific crowd in that shop. As I was picking it up, this guy, maybe 40, 45 came in to get his car. Skinny guy, balding head carefully messed up on the top (gel maybe?). Faded sport coat, skinny jeans, loafers....

I felt bad for him, it really looked like he worked pretty hard to maintain that appearance, and, sadly, it didn't work for him.

Yeah, I know, when I was 40 I worked just as hard to look like I was 20, hung out at the college bars, sincerely believed that 20 year olds would be interested in me, and drank way too much, talked too much, listened too little. God I'm glad I'm old and know better than to care what people think about how I look.

Last week me and the dog were sitting on a bench in front of the food co-op in AA, waiting for the wife. There was a homeless guy sitting across the sidewalk asking for change, and, between pedestrians, talked to me about the dog. People would come by, give him some change when he asked, then look at me. I sincerely believe that, with my jeans with the hole in the knee, my old Tilly hat, and my weekend sweatshirt, it was hard to determine just what my housing status was. However, the dog looked well enough fed that most of them decided they didn't need to hand me a buck.
posted by tomswift at 10:50 AM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


And of course they are NOT going to do it well, rather.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:52 AM on December 2, 2011


Reading the actual NYT piece, I'm not at all sure what we're supposed to find so egregious about it. Not even Gawker seem to think that the people themselves don't deserve to be profiled, their beef has to do with the way in which they're being profiled. Supposedly the mention of their degrees is 'breathless'--but if you're writing about young people who had hoped to break into literature-related careers it seems self-evidently relevant to mention that they have very good degrees from very good institutions: it's the central burden of every other OWS protest--I got a good degree, I did everything 'right,' and the best I can do is get a job sweeping out a movie theater. The other complaints have to do with mentioning how they dress and what they drink--both utterly standard components of every journalistic profile in the entire history of journalistic profiles. You want to conjure up a mental picture of the subjects for your readers.

I think the real point of embarrassment here is the problem of conflicting kinds of cultural capital. It's young earnest intellectuals--whose cultural capital is predicated on the esoteric nature of their knowledge and interests--parading themselves for the NYT Style section--which serves a far more exoteric audience. It's the highbrow/middlebrow tension which Gawker is getting its kicks from here.
posted by yoink at 10:54 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I clicked the link for The Daily Prep. I wish I hadn't.

"One of the most comforting things to read in a store is the phrase "Wear and tear repaired at a reasonable cost." This tells you that the company is selling things that they know well and that they expect to be of service for a while. This is the case at J. Press on New Haven, Connecticut's famous York Street."

The only way I can continue to live in this universe is by pretending that blog is run by Professor McGonagall.
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:05 AM on December 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


With the exception of national and international news, most of the paper of record is by and for a vanishingly small and largely culturally homogenous tribe of coastal 'elites'. In a way the New York Times is the biggest little cultish regional newspaper in the world. The reoccurring Gawker piece that gets that best is their Fake Trend Alert, followed closely by Scoring Sunday's Nuptials.

I think my favorite NYT pieces are the "Life Among The Poors" travel safaris where they go out into the suburbs and discover that people somehow live there! And rents are so affordable! And all these proles don't seem at all concerned with what's going on in Manhattan! My stars, Marjorie, they don't even know what's in!
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:05 AM on December 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


The Most Emailed 'New York Times' Article Ever
posted by brundlefly at 11:05 AM on December 2, 2011 [25 favorites]


Not many people care about the opera, though many do wonder whether or not last week's Family Guy was worth watching.

For future reference, it wasn't.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:09 AM on December 2, 2011


WidgetAlley, damned if my father didn't buy a windbreaker at J. Press one morning long before I woke up. It doesn't get much use in the tropical climes back home, but I sure am glad to hear about their repair policy. Thanks!
posted by skbw at 11:13 AM on December 2, 2011


I remember a little passage in one of the Bridget Jones books in which Bridget comments that two London papers came out with style section articles on the same day entitled respectively, "Whatever happened to the dining room?" and "Suddenly there are more dining rooms everywhere."

I wouldn't be at all surprised if that actually happened. Artificially manufactured style articles seem to afflict newspapers everywhere.
posted by orange swan at 11:14 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Every time I go to the Met HD broadcasts here in town, the place is jam-packed. True, I'm one of the youngest people there by about fifteen years, but it's still a sold-out performance. Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate!
posted by winna at 11:14 AM on December 2, 2011


Schmod,

Is that Daily Prep a parody site?
.
.
.
.
No, really, please tell me "Muffy Aldrich" isn't real.
posted by the sobsister at 11:17 AM on December 2, 2011


That was the worst, scummiest Style-section piece in at least a year (since the Style section's jaw-droppingly contemptuous treatment of the Brecht Forum), but not for the reason Gawker thinks. The Gawker people misread the Ivy name-dropping as "elitism" (because, as someone here's already said, they get their jollies playing the middlebrow against any brow higher) — but the Times reporter is being anti-intellectual, not "elitist." The piece shows nothing but contempt and condescension for the effete bookishness and idealist politics of the New Inquiry crowd (who, by the way, are awesome; check out the TNI website, if you haven't). The piece is horrible because it's meant to allow its audience to self-congratulate on having outgrown its youthful radicalism and its college intellectualism, not because it should've sneered more than it did at the name brands on the diplomas.

Having said that, the general rule of "don't talk to Style section reporters" isn't really a good one, because often you do want the media exposure. It's more a matter of trying as hard as you can, when you talk to them, to tell what kind of piece they mean to write and steer them toward a serious treatment by getting them on your side. Not possible in every case, obviously, but sometimes you can tell if a hit piece is in the offing and then stop talking to them.
posted by RogerB at 11:18 AM on December 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


How Gawker trolls their readers.
posted by V4V at 11:24 AM on December 2, 2011


the sobsister: "Is that Daily Prep a parody site?"

I hope, but kind of doubt it. Unlike the NYT socialites, I can regrettably confirm that the people who would read The Daily Prep, and not find it insulting or ironic do exist.

For now, at least we have peanutfreemom.
posted by schmod at 11:27 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bunny Ultramod: "When the NY Times style section comes calling, you say yes, knowing its limitations, knowing Gawker will be irritated and may turn on you"

And, if you're Tao Lin, that somehow makes you even more popular. Heck, I wouldn't even know who the guy is, had Cortex not banned the guy with impunity, or been so insufferable that Nick Denton actually found him irritating.
posted by schmod at 11:31 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heck, I'm at the point where if Gawker doesn't like something, I'll give it a second chance.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:34 AM on December 2, 2011


>The Most Emailed 'New York Times' Article Ever

That should be the primary FPP link as it explains with The Onion satirical wit what the issue is. Reminded of Alain de Botton's book/film Status Anxiety.
posted by stbalbach at 11:53 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


That should be the primary FPP link as it explains with The Onion satirical wit what the issue is.

It was, once upon a time.
posted by Copronymus at 11:58 AM on December 2, 2011


Metafilter: a universe where some of the most horrible and insufferable people on the planet are treated as visionaries and geniuses.
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:11 PM on December 2, 2011


It seems like websites who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

I could write a solid multi-page essay on my problems with Gawker, starting with its writing style, taking a tour through its trollish hate, dwelling for way too long on the site design that carries so much clear contempt for actual real-world website-reading humans. But one thing it has never done is claim to be the Paper of Record, one of - perhaps the only - remaining true bastions of journalistic integrity and serious coverage in the United States.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:29 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


waiting for 10 years in the future, when art deco and skyscrapers are totally going to be the Next Big Things.

NY Times Style Section last week:
Why Deco Now?
By RUTH LA FERLA

Every fashion designer, they say, is an architect manque, intent on imposing a structure on the wayward human form. That observation seemed especially apt in a season of spring runway shows filled with dresses constructed to glide over the body and embellished to echo the linear symmetry of Art Deco design.

Frida Giannini of Gucci was but one in a handful of influential fashion makers to embrace the hedonistic spirit of the Jazz Age, releasing on her catwalk in Milan a succession of free-spirited flapper dresses emblazoned with the outlines of the Chrysler Building and other Deco monuments. “I like the architectural shapes,” Ms. Giannini said, “especially the New York skyscrapers of the period.”

The Chrysler Building was a touchstone at Etro as well, where Veronica Etro showed block-print geometric designs inspired by that silver-tipped landmark, as well as black-and-white graphics on a kimono coat, and a sinuous charmeuse evening column paired with a fringed bed jacket.

Louche references to the speakeasy age resonated in the New York collections, too, as designers as disparate as Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch and Ralph Lauren offered drop-waist looks trimmed with bows and siren-y sequined Deco motifs.
...
posted by Jahaza at 12:46 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I always wonder if I totally imagined the NYTs' 4 part series on how difficult it was for upper middle class children to get into good colleges, because poor people had totally cooler stories and were thus favoured by elite institutions. I suspect I didn't.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:55 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the NYT also ran that piece by the law professor who was lamenting that people that make over $100,000 a year don't have it easy, why, he had to choose between his vacation and his maid and his kids all had to go to private schools and that all adds up you know.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:34 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


What bugs me about the Style articles is that they continue a trend wherein I can't tell whether the people being written about are intelligent, passionate people doing an interesting thing, or whether they're just putting up an excellent front. Over the summer I read n+1's What Was The Hipster?, which talks about how the Internet democratized fashion and celebrity and trends, and created a huge obsession with image and reputation and appearance among those riffraff youth sorts. Not that young people weren't always image-obsessed, but this was an especially insidious sort of image-consciousness, because the people writing for the trendy blogs were young people themselves, and so it seemed like a thing among peers rather than a corporate-sponsored trend.

It's funny that Gawker's calling out the New York Times on this, of course, because Gawker was one of the hugest drivers of this behavior. Their Julia Allison obsession was the first time I encountered this trend of image-obsessed microcelebrities, and while Gawker made sure to constantly remind readers that Julia was a perfect model of what not to be, what they were really doing was teaching readers that if they wanted to be a character in Gawker, it was their responsibility to go out and give them stories to write about. It's a symbiotic relationship: Gawker and similar sites feed off the people who they claim to despise; those people in turn become famous for being Gawker-scorned.

The Style section is not nearly smart enough to play that kind of game, but their sincerity almost makes them worse, because they make it impossible to tell whether or not they're idiots getting suckered by clever idiots, or whether they're just doing an awful hack job on something legitimately worth learning about. It encourages looking at everybody cynically, like they're all trying to con you into respecting them – which of course Gawker's taking advantage of here, to denounce cynicism by promoting more cynicism.

It's not helped by the fact that these twentysomething sorts gladly feed this system, hoping for some kind of a response. That prep blog is no joke; an acquaintance of mine is a young girl who runs a "style blog" that consists of her taking pictures of herself and posting them to Tumblr, hoping other style blogs will reblog her, and of her talking shit about people she knows who don't dress as well as she does. There's a whole scene of kids in middle school and high school who are determined to market their way into miniature celebrity, by worrying meticulously about their image and then promoting it to anybody who'll listen. They'll probably grow out of it, but it's depressing to witness.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:52 PM on December 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


The Style section specializes in BRUTAL takedowns that play it just straight enough to be deniable. Gawker piece is smart in its headline if nothing else -- slam the phone down if Sunday Styles calls to profile you because there's a fair chance the goal is to make look like a contemptible pretentious idiot, at best, or a degenerate immoral hypocrite at worst. (Thinking of the notorious remarriage piece from last December.). Giving up a shot at straight PR is totally worth dodging that bullet.
posted by MattD at 2:07 PM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't stop reading that Daily Prep blog. These are people so far removed from everything I know that I might as well be watching a National Geographic documentary on some newly discovered tribe of blind albinos who live deep inside undersea caverns. I mean, Muffy Aldrich? Seriously? You can almost smell the tweed.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:40 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


the sobsister: "No, really, please tell me "Muffy Aldrich" isn't real."

MetaFilter: Perusing the new tweeds.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:38 PM on December 2, 2011


I just received a lovely handwritten note from Muffy (on embossed stationery, natch). She's delighted we've discovered her blog, and she'll be having us all over to watch her favorite British comedies just as soon as she's completed the renovations to her mud room to allow it to accommodate 49,000 pairs of Wellies.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:53 PM on December 2, 2011


In all seriousness, it's really not a bad blog. Sure there's a lot of stuff about clothes (Why J Crew Is Not Preppy has like, zero resonance with me) and home living, but she also has a lot of pretty economical tips and some stuff is downright contemplative. Reading the blog is a bit like walking around with your aunt in Connecticut as she visits rug-making stores and wrangles free-range turkeys. Like I said, I have nothing in common with these people, but that might be part of the appeal for me, from an anthropological point of view.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:11 PM on December 2, 2011


My " hey this is like xenobiology " tweets may have come off as mean, I am actually totally fascinated by the clothing choices and why and with links! You can't beat that kind of voluntary cultural antrpology ( and I uh, crave some of the jackets, like a lot).
posted by The Whelk at 11:33 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am actually totally fascinated by how well she can pull of horizontal stripes in every concievable form, including jammies.
And I have no idea who Hanna Andersson is but she makes one hell of an awesome yellow anorak.
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:06 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


@schmod

art deco is still cool :|
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:54 PM on December 3, 2011


This applies too, of course, to the endless metafilter "LOL NYT Style section" posts.

Huh. In 11 years as a member of this site, I can't recall ever seeing one before. Not so sure they've been 'endless', exactly.

But then, style isn't really one of my things.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:41 AM on December 4, 2011


It really is astounding how terrible the cultural coverage is at the paper of record; I mean, the Wall Street Journal probably has a style section, too, right? Couldn't they take on these sorts of "the wacky world of the 99%" trend pieces? (Not that Gawker's weird injection of celebrity dialectics into the world of publishing is any more palatable, but still...)

I was really rolling my eyes at this story, but I was interested to note that the New Inquiry's gatherings seem to take place in the "secret bookstore" (previously).
posted by whir at 11:54 AM on December 4, 2011


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