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Max Gogarty Hits the Road
February 15, 2008 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Guardian travel writer's teenage son given travel blog, gets savaged. Highlights here.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 (104 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The travel editor's response. In part: "Paul Gogarty may be thrilled (or he may not) to hear that he is now the travel editor of the Guardian website. He is, in fact, a freelance writer who has had the odd piece published in the Guardian, but he also writes for The Telegraph, Sunday Times, Times and Daily Express among others." And this lovely bit: "You had a go at Max for the clichés in his writing. I encouraged him to write in his own voice - he's 19 years old, and I didn't expect his writing or his worldview to be polished. And it was written with his tongue firmly in his cheek."
posted by rtha at 8:35 AM on February 15, 2008


This just in, Internet users are assholes. Please tune in for the inevitable Penny Arcade link at 11.
posted by Plutor at 8:39 AM on February 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


Oh, this is utterly brilliant.

Imagine the spasm of pain flitting across the Guardian Moderator's liberal face each time an over-the-top comment about nepotism has to be censored!

(I have great affection for The Guardian - when it's not driving me mental).

Fab post, thanks!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:39 AM on February 15, 2008


Looks like the upper middle class British version of YouTube comments.
posted by psmealey at 8:39 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


He is, in fact, a freelance writer who has had the odd piece published in the Guardian, but he also writes for The Telegraph, Sunday Times, Times and Daily Express among others.

That's their defense? Is the implication supposed to be that these other publications just found his stuff on the slush pile, were blown away by his talent and hired him without having any idea about daddy's connections?
posted by transona5 at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2008


Sorry, I seem to have confused Paul and Max.
posted by transona5 at 8:42 AM on February 15, 2008


Everybody hates a tourist.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:44 AM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


The same thing happened when Maureen Dowd's Welsh Corgi got a column and made fun of the Clinton's cats.
posted by munchingzombie at 8:45 AM on February 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


This brings back memories: back in the day Observer columnist "the Barefoot Doctor" got a savaging from the Guardian Unlimited Talk section, although much of it was deleted the main thread remains
posted by criticalbill at 8:45 AM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


I can't quite figure out why they're all so upset..

Is it a bad blog? Would the world be better off without the content?

Or just that it's his kid?
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:45 AM on February 15, 2008


And it was written with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

Irony or post-irony are not excuses for using clichés as a crutch in one's writing.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 8:47 AM on February 15, 2008


Unknown son of yet another journalist uses outrage by proxy, scandal , envy to obtain some publicity. Boooooooooooooooooooooring !

BUT there is something interesting ! His mother is a much younger Dita Von Teaese (SFW, mildly) !
posted by elpapacito at 8:49 AM on February 15, 2008


On the other hand, this has given me a great example of what not to become, being a 19-year-old aspiring journalist/travel writer myself.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 8:49 AM on February 15, 2008


Looks like the upper middle class British version of YouTube comments.

If our upper middle classes really had that kind of attitude towards nepotism, we wouldn't have half the problems we currently have. That'll actually be your nouveux-lumpen-white-collar proletariat.

(Americans just don't get the extraordinarily fine granularity of our class system, do they?)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:49 AM on February 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


Gawker must be pretty bad if these comments are supposed to give them an inferiority complex.
posted by DU at 8:50 AM on February 15, 2008


transona5's point is still valid--the real travel editor's response talks about what a great writer the kid is, blithely ignoring the evidence to the contrary, which is the only writing example of Max's that the rest of the world can see.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:50 AM on February 15, 2008


Max and Paddy's road to nowhere...
posted by tawny at 8:53 AM on February 15, 2008


"Meet Max Gogarty - 19, from north London, spends his money on food, booze and skinny jeans, "

lost me right there... what about that sentence was supposed to make me interested in this guy's trip???
posted by HuronBob at 8:56 AM on February 15, 2008


This is good so far, but I'm Holden out for Max's defense in his own words.
posted by googly at 8:59 AM on February 15, 2008


Come one lads, let's show them how we snark in the colonies!
posted by blue_beetle at 8:59 AM on February 15, 2008 [10 favorites]


Actually, some of the comments really are funny. But "digital-lifestyles" (speaking of hackneyed) didn't find them.
posted by DU at 9:03 AM on February 15, 2008


Wow, it's like Metafilter, but with bad teeth and shitty food!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:03 AM on February 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


I was watching this in real time yesterday. Too bad some of the funnier lines were deleted. There was one that started with "what really napalms my village..." I wish I had saved it. I think it was from the same guy who says "I read what he had to say. Only then did my bile duct twitch like a 6am erection" and In the words of Mohandas Gandhi, 'Stop deleting my posts".

I do feel a bit bad for the boy; it's the travel editor who should be publicly humiliated.
posted by taz at 9:06 AM on February 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


"Is it a bad blog? Would the world be better off without the content?"

Lord_Pall,
I think one can afford to raise the bar just a little higher, no?

Adding to the outrage (over the obvious nepotism) is the intense rivalry - among certain British classes - about how splendidly you fill the year between school and university.

Getting published in a national newspaper just for farting about is pretty hard to top.

(I remember being tediously boastful that I'd worked for minimum wage as an editorial assistant on a shitty local weekly paper- and working this into the conversation with another girl during my first day at college. Then I asked her what she'd done - "Nothing useful, actually -I was just a foot model in New York" she said, crushingly.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:16 AM on February 15, 2008


"Meet Max Gogarty - 19, from north London, spends his money on food, booze and skinny jeans, "

lost me right there... what about that sentence was supposed to make me interested in this guy's trip???


Well, I share two of his three main interests.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:17 AM on February 15, 2008


Wow, it's like Metafilter, but with bad teeth and shitty food!

And slimmer. Much, much, slimmer.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:17 AM on February 15, 2008 [7 favorites]


I dislike CiF. The comments have become worse then many of the hectoring, patronising and sanctimonious editorials. Even so, CiF has really got on my tits of late criticising ‘wiki-politics’ citing (albeit not in those terms) the greater internet fuckwad theory. Despite holding ‘leftie’ views, I prefer the Spectator’s view on politics 2.0.

Notwithstanding, CiF regulars such as MrPikeBishop exist, it seems, solely to damn CiF’s contributors. Particularly where Polly Toynbee is concerned, much criticism of her output way oversteps the mark. There should be a huge [ad hominem] tag hovering over that nigh on unreadable site.

As for the post in question; coming what, two weeks, after Derek Conway took a bullet for treating the Commons as a family business come piggy bank, this is just idiotic. I have some sympathy for Max Gogarty. I have no doubt that anything that I wrote at that age (and perhaps even now) would have been similarly prone to criticism. This reflects very poorly however on Andy Pietrasik's judgment.

Journalism has always been a viciously competitive trade to get into, perhaps more so now than ever. I’d have loved to given it a go but I was realistic enough to know that I’d, more likely than not, not find a job. The consequences of such failure would have been enduring and, on the balance of probabilities, I chose a career elsewhere.

I adore good writing and revere the role of the free press in democratic societies; Ed Murrow is a personal hero. To then see access to this profession handed, out via nepotism, to the Primrose Hill progeny of an existing Guardian freelancer, sticks in the craw. No doubt it was ever thus. Indeed the Street of Shame column in Private Eye suggests it is. Even editor Alan Rusbridger is at it, it seems.

Nevertheless it is good, in this instance, to see the internet allowing the lumpen proletariat to talk back to the Islington commentariat and calling it to task for its hypocrisies.


on preview: Please tune in for the inevitable Penny Arcade link at 11. Right here!!
posted by dmt at 9:27 AM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Would the world be better off without the content?"
Of course not, but it should be on whatever website out there trades in mediocre travel reports. The idea of newspapers (and by extension their websites) is to provide both...filtering... and some form of ranking. Kind of subverted by doing things like this.
posted by muteh at 9:28 AM on February 15, 2008


Y'know, the "highlights here" link really don't do the comments justice.

My favorite thus far is this:
Dear Max,

If you do get “washing machine” tummy, be sure to let the resulting excreta write that weeks blog as its journey around your inner workings couldn’t possible be more stilted and banal than your journey into frontiers unknown.
Ectomo has a post on this, and the comments John Brownlee points out are ace.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:39 AM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I really wasn't expecting people in this thread to side with the 19 year old job inheritor getting a cushy travel writing gig and an effective year long paid vacation simply for being the travel editor's son and conincidentally a poor writer.
posted by shmegegge at 9:41 AM on February 15, 2008


Not to derail this love-in, but I always thought that "skinny jeans" were an article of clothing that you kept in your closet to inspire you to lose weight, in the hope that one day you'd fit into them again. Does this expression mean something else to 19 year old Brits on holiday in Thailand?
posted by psmealey at 9:43 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


seems he only just joined facebook today. and i thought he was meant to be a cliched student?
posted by muthecow at 9:46 AM on February 15, 2008


shmegegge, I'm not siding with him but not really seeing the point of all the outrage. Some kid gets a job at his dad's company to write for a section of the newspaper that no one ever reads. Travel articles are usually just syndicated fluff about "the friendly people of xxxx country" meant to be filler around the resort ads.
posted by octothorpe at 9:48 AM on February 15, 2008


Let the savaging of East Manitoba begin, for) a picking an overly self indulgent name, and b) for posting a story that is doubly insulting in that it is British and not remotely funny.
posted by ewkpates at 9:52 AM on February 15, 2008


Psmealey: Skinny Jeans.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:55 AM on February 15, 2008


I_hate_people_who_have_better_opportunities_than_me_filter
posted by tkchrist at 9:57 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


In truth, children who pursue fields of business in which their family or friends of the family partake have and always will get leg ups and opportunities easier than those entering from the outside. Welcome to the real world.

Rather than spit on the kid, let him hang himself with his own work or, perhaps by a more remote possibility, prove that he's got the skill to handle the assignment. Regardless, standing on the side line throwing out envy laden insults is pathetic in its own right.
posted by Atreides at 9:58 AM on February 15, 2008


I can't believe he writes for Skins.
Only joking I can.
posted by fire&wings at 10:02 AM on February 15, 2008


standing on the side line throwing out envy laden insults is pathetic in its own right.

The travel editor, however lame his excuse was, didn't seem to think that there was anything pathetic about his readers' concerns. In fact, he promised to start publishing more unknowns. Allowing someone to "hang himself with his own work" only works if there is some kind of process by which bad writers stop getting promoted. Taking reader complaints seriously is an excellent way to initiate such a process.
posted by transona5 at 10:08 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


let him hang himself with his own work

Isn't that what happened?
posted by smackfu at 10:11 AM on February 15, 2008


LOL old media can't deal with the two-way internet
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:11 AM on February 15, 2008


He's a dire writer. He utterly deserves all the snark directed his way. There's nothing especially mean or pathetic about slating him. It's not like somebody linked to some kid's private travel blog and the whole world started tearing strips off them. He's a moron being dull and self-obsessed in a national newspaper.

When I did an opinion for the Guardian a couple of years back, I got bombarded with outraged emails calling me an overprivileged idiot, a smug twat, a turncoat, even a racist. I also got some hearty slaps on the back and reports of a standing ovation. The truth for me was, I suspect, the same as the truth for this kid - at the end of the day, I was getting attention, and good or bad, I loved it. This controversy has driven a ton of traffic to a shitty blog. He's done his job by the simple dint of being spectacularly cackhanded. He still gets his money. What's the problem?
posted by RokkitNite at 10:12 AM on February 15, 2008


If English-folk are upset at nepotism they might want to have a look at this Windsor family. Quite shocking I assure you.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:14 AM on February 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


He's a dire writer.

That's not the right word. I believe ghastly better summarizes his writing.
I xxxxx xxx x xxxxxx xxx xxx xxxxx xxx
xxxxxx xx xxxxxxx xxx x x xxx x xx xxx.

Anyway, xxx xx xxx xxx x xxxxx xx x xxx
xxxxx xxx x xxxxxx x xx xx xxx x xxxxx.

I'm xxxx xxxxx xx x x x xxxxx x x xxxxx 
xxxx x xx xxxx xx x xxx x xxx x xxxxx x.

Anyway, xxx xxx xx xxx x xxx xx x xxxxxx
xxxx xx x xxxxx xxx xxxx xx x xxxxxx xxx.

Anyway, I xxx xxxx xx xx x xxx xxx xx xxx.

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:22 AM on February 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


Sorry, it wasn't as spaced-out in the preview. Damn you, MetaPreview!

Anyway...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:23 AM on February 15, 2008


Well, you see, fleetmouse, the Guardian ostensibly challenges that whole monarchy thing, saying:
[T]he beached whale of monarchy [is] the only remaining part of our unwritten constitution dependent on the accident of birth.
So it's unsurprising that their readers should react when the Guardian makes its travel writing dependent on the accident of birth. I'm not sure one would get the same reaction from readers of the Times.
posted by grouse at 10:24 AM on February 15, 2008


"Slimmer", PeterMcDermott? Really?

Old Blighty's still working on catching up to us in cosmetic surgery, though, so all hope's not lost!

...

The space filled by that kid's article should be dedicated to other aspiring travel writers for the next month. Then the Senior Grogarty will be able to make an impartial comparison between real talent and fatherly indulgence.
posted by batmonkey at 10:38 AM on February 15, 2008


From the Ectomo link posted by CitrusFreak12 (good catch, btw) above:

Max had edited his comprehensive secondary school’s Wikipedia entry to make note of himself, under alumni, as a “Top Guardian Travel Columnist.”

Now, that’s dumb. Worse however is daddy’s intervention in Andy Pietrasik’s response:

…You may like or dislike the blog but the cruelty is shocking if quintessentially British. Obviously everyone in his family is very hurt for Max so that's a bonus. I won't be reading any more smug clever dick comments but feel free to kick me around the field a bit now - just please leave Max alone. He hasn't actually done anything wrong and you have your wish - he won't be writing any further blogs.

The Guardian's line on discourse with its readers is curious: example one, example two. I'll let others take the high ground on the desirability (or otherwise) of anonymous comments but I will say this: the CiF is now basically unreadable. CiF is crying out for threaded comments and a rating system.
posted by dmt at 10:40 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Y'know... I really drew the short straw in the parents raffle. Mine NEVER encouraged me when I was majoring in Journalism, nor did they help me to fund even ONE of my post-teenage/college overseas drinking excursions.

See if I take care of THEM anymore. Bloody Hell I'm all bitter now.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:46 AM on February 15, 2008


Maximilian Gogarty (Super Genius Top Guardian Travel Columnist)
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:48 AM on February 15, 2008


I'd be reacting with less derision if the kid they had chosen, nepotism or not, could actually write. The fact that he can't just makes it that much worse.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:51 AM on February 15, 2008


Are all Brits that mean?

I mean, I really do not see what the big deal is at all.
posted by konolia at 10:52 AM on February 15, 2008


Let this be a lesson to bloggers everywhere!
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:54 AM on February 15, 2008


CiF is crying out for threaded comments and a rating system.

MetaSterical
posted by DU at 10:57 AM on February 15, 2008


I mean, I really do not see what the big deal is at all.
posted by konolia

And you say you support Bush? Curious.
posted by DU at 10:58 AM on February 15, 2008


konolia, I think grouse and Civil_Disobedient have pretty good reasons for the savaging. Also, Max comes across as what we on this side of the pond call a "douchebag."
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:59 AM on February 15, 2008


At least they're not getting outraged over something trivial.
posted by hjo3 at 11:09 AM on February 15, 2008


And slimmer. Much, much, slimmer.

Someone's telling eating porky pies!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:11 AM on February 15, 2008


As we are increasingly having to take down vicious personal abuse directed against the writer, in open contravention of the community standards, this discussion will shortly close.

"Community standards." That's the funniest thing about this.
posted by enn at 11:12 AM on February 15, 2008


At least they're not getting outraged over something trivial.

Class, please open your Internet textbooks to page 1.

"INTERNET. SERIOUS BUSINESS."

Class dismissed.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:16 AM on February 15, 2008


Our foreign cousins probably don't appreciate just how huge a cliché the middle-class-kid-spends-gap-year-in-India-to-find-self is; cos it's, like, really amazing over there, yeah?

India is so stuffed with swaggering bell-ends like this that it's basically the international posh boys' 6th form common room. There's no easier way to advertise your position as a product of class and privilege than to incessantly bang on about your year doing fuck-all on a beach in Goa.

It also doesn't help that this kid both looks and sounds like such a dick. Did you not notice his sunglasses?
posted by influx at 11:19 AM on February 15, 2008 [4 favorites]



An editorial quote from dmt's links (where the Guardian lectures its usual adult commenters about the need for standards of internet decorum:)

"At the risk of encouraging more childish responses, I have to confess that they can depress us columnists (yes, we are human)."

Vintage Guardian, that.

Slightly hurt. Addressing-the-teenagers tone. Us and themism. Stating the bleeding obvious "yes, we are human" as an awkwardly chummy joke.

(Oddly, the Guardian is generally a decent and enthusiastic promoter of genuine student journalism. And I very much doubt this lad's writing would have seen the light of day in a student writing shortlist).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:39 AM on February 15, 2008


Across the pond they have a Guardian freelance writer's son who blogs on travel.

Over here we get the daughter (aka a certified 'blogette') of the leading Republican Presidential candidate blogging about her lil' bro' -- Jack (who doesn't "have a permanent seat on the Straight Talk Express"); being 'sick at home' and her 'Blogette Playlist Volume 6: Viewer Suggestions.'
posted by ericb at 11:50 AM on February 15, 2008


And wouldn't you just know it? The Guardian has an article on Meghan McCain's blog:

'Hi Dad. Can't Talk Right Now. I'm Blogging About You'
.
"The site has proved something of a hit with voters. Although it carries a lengthy disclaimer emphasising that the content is not affiliated to John McCain's official campaign, it has injected his political persona with some much-needed street cred (at 71, he is the oldest candidate).

Meghan, one of four children from McCain's second marriage (to the heiress and philanthropist Cindy Lou Hensley), is rapidly proving to be her father's secret weapon. With her peroxide-blond hair and leopard-print jackets, she has been courted by the US media and last month appeared on MTV, where she memorably admitted that she thought Obama was 'cute'. When the heel snapped off her boots on South Carolina primary night, Meghan ordered a replacement pair of Givenchy suede wedge boots online, and had them delivered directly to her hotel."
Excuse me...I just threw-up a little bit in my mouth.
posted by ericb at 11:55 AM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


As an American, I'm offended by the Guardian's comment that the abuse is "quintessentially British." We Yanks hate it when our friends become succcessful with the best of 'em, damn it!

I love this comment: "I once went to my Dad's place of work, and he let me do some of it for a few weeks. Unfortunately, my Dad was a Doctor, and a few people died, but aaaaanyway. Good luck Max, you're quite cute, and I'd do you."
posted by GaelFC at 11:56 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


The comment about already having Nathan Barley on DVD really is all that need be said. Say what you will about the US, but our sheer size makes it difficult for Americans like this to get any exposure outside of Williamsburg.
posted by aaronetc at 12:04 PM on February 15, 2008


god, this reminds me of my own inspid musings on travel at the lovely age of 19, (recorded in an old-fashioned journal, mind you) just prior to setting off for third-world countries unknown.

the "big deal" is that this belongs at best on his personal blog, and probably more rightly in a little book that only max can read, not in a national newspaper. See influx's comment above for why this kid's perspective is so far from "unique" that it was bound inevitably to inspire the vitriol it has rightly received.
posted by whahappen?! at 12:06 PM on February 15, 2008


And the British still suck at everything. In America the benefactors of this sort of blatant nepotism in the media are using their column to try to start wars, not blathering on about Thai peasants. USA 1, UK 0. Maybe next time, eh?
posted by nixerman at 12:32 PM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, family businesses and nepotism.

What do the Brits have to say about Sam Branson working for his Dad's (i.e. Sir Richard Branson's) company (-ies)? How about Aussie Rupert Murdoch and his son James at News Corporation?
posted by ericb at 12:45 PM on February 15, 2008


Er...I think y'all will find the truth behind this could be somewhat different than you imagine. Max's father is in fact in PR, which as any self-respecting journalist knows is *the enemy*. :-) Thus, this is far from nepotism no matter how you slice it, in fact it's just a symbol of how the newspaper business works nowadays.

Let me suggest one possible explanation. It may be that dad approached the Guardian travel section with a pitch for a good idea. To whit, his son going on travels would write a 'street level' blog to appeal to the yoof market (because yoof is where it's all at, see?) while he was there. It would be a win-win. The section gets a cheap amount of column inches - freelance travel writing is generally rather badly paid by the way - appealing to the youthful hordes about to leave uni this summer to go on travels, and the boy Max gets some experience in case he wanted to become a journalist or PR like his dad.

There was no question of nepotism, no favours given, it's literally just a case of the little black contact book at work. This is how it is, and whether Guardian readers like it or not, it's how the papers work. Without PR there would be no newspapers.

I'm not making excuses for it, because there's no excuse to be made really. It's got nothing to do with good or bad writing (the subs usually sort that out in any case, except of course in the case of blogs) it's just the way things work.
posted by Duug at 12:46 PM on February 15, 2008


Dear god, they've finally found worse writer than Peaches Geldof... they should be congratulated!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:50 PM on February 15, 2008


Let this be a lesson to world travelers everywhere! Don't fuck with unemployed Brits!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:22 PM on February 15, 2008


An interesting comment on the difference between blogs and columns. I presume this was not given the benefit of editing or oversight - one will rarely finds writing that bad in the main sections of the Grauniad, but blogs are obviously held to lower standards.
posted by QuietDesperation at 2:04 PM on February 15, 2008


And by the way, who in God's name would bother to do a Wikipedia entry on skinny jeans, and why?
posted by QuietDesperation at 2:05 PM on February 15, 2008


I hope they persevere with the blog. Not for the comments, though. I just wanna see India & Thailand through the eyes of a gormless 19yo git.

The fact that he's heading straight to Goa to party on the beach, and looks forward to Thailand as being "wicked hedonistic" or something gives me a pretty good idea of the kind of traveller he is, and I don't have much respect for his type, to put it politely.

His first bout of dysentery from imitation western food at an empty touristic restaurant will be a particular highlight. "But the place looked clean!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:09 PM on February 15, 2008


QuietDesperation: "And by the way, who in God's name would bother to do a Wikipedia entry on skinny jeans, and why?"

I'd never heard of them before so for as much as I cared, it was useful.
posted by octothorpe at 2:29 PM on February 15, 2008


Someone's telling eating porky pies!

Yeah, yeah. I've been watching Ramsay's American Kitchen Nightmares. It comes to something when an English chef has to tour the US, teaching your people how to clean up their kitchens.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:32 PM on February 15, 2008


I do some youth work with teenagers in Muswell Hill (probably with friends of Max, must ask them). Great kids, skinny jeans and all, but boy do they know how to work their 'contacts'.
posted by Helga-woo at 4:22 PM on February 15, 2008


I love how, despite the fact the comments have been heavily, heavily moderated, there is still hardly a voice saying "lay off," or "you were young once" or offering any type of repreive, as one would expect on a similar thread on Metafilter (to be found in this very thread.) Unrelenting hatred and bile.
posted by fire&wings at 4:53 PM on February 15, 2008


For his next column, he should interview Adam Shepard.
posted by grounded at 5:34 PM on February 15, 2008


who the hell needs to be given a blog?
posted by jonmc at 6:24 PM on February 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


I finally got my visa at four in the afternoon - tired, dazed and convinced that one or two very simple but effective changes - such as computerised ticket dispensers - would've made the whole thing much more bearable.

Oh boy, India is so going to eat him alive!
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:13 PM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


And jonmc nails it perfectly.

The best thing about this is that now everyone knows what he looks like so it should be a simple case of planting something on him when he gets his stupid little carcass to Had Rin and let the BKK police take it from there. Assuming he doesn't pebble dash his fizog coming off a moped before then...
posted by i_cola at 12:19 AM on February 16, 2008


As someone born in Britain, living in Britain, and yet simultaneously a foreigner in Britain, I am, perhaps, uniquely placed to comment on this kerfuffle. But I won't, because I'm just a huge tease.

I will, say, however, that Skins makes me want to shoot people.
posted by Sparx at 3:02 AM on February 16, 2008


he's 19 years old, and I didn't expect his writing or his worldview to be polished. And it was written with his tongue firmly in his cheek

Oh, so it's ironic. That's okay then.

Although I missed when "ironic" became a synonym for "deliberately crap".
posted by outlier at 3:03 AM on February 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Amusingly, the wikipedia entry for his school currently reads:

Former students/pupils: ... Maximilian Gogarty (Massively Derided Guardian Travel Columnist)
posted by outlier at 3:08 AM on February 16, 2008


I was following this live too, and I found some of the comments really funny. Vicious too. Besides the interesting insights into how ingrained the class system seems to be in the UK, the one thing that struck me was that despite having set up blogs, the Guardian really doesn't seem to have much of a clue about blogs in general. The editors probably don't read many, or even any. If they did, they'd know that there are pretty talented teenagers out there who can write several levels better than poor Max. His first (and apparently only) blog entry would be mediocre even as a 'blog' or 'diary' entry (whatever they call it) on MySpace. It's the sheer mediocrity and banality of the post that made the dogs sit up and start attacking. If the post had had any kind of wittiness or insight, they probably would have forgiven the nepotism.

I'm not sure if all newspapers regard their blogs at a far lower level than they do their main content, but at least the travel section of the Guardian seems to. This is such a shortsighted way to see it since the same readers read both, presumably.

I also agree with some of the commenters there who think it's the editor approved the whole thing should be pilloried more than poor Max. (as a fellow Max, I do feel some sympathy, though my dad was a carpenter and couldn't help me in my chosen career...)
posted by derMax at 3:32 AM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tremendous. I've committed some of those comments to memory.
On a related note, searching 'Max Gogarty' on Wikipedia just gave me Nepotism as the top search result.
posted by 999 at 5:35 AM on February 16, 2008


ericb: Ah, family businesses and nepotism.

As other people have already pointed out, nepotism is not the problem here. Of course parents will try to use their influence to promote their children's careers, it happens all the time and I don't particularly blame them for it. But I do blame the Guardian's travel editor for not having the independence to say no, even when it must have been obvious that the article was a steaming pile of shit.

Duug: There was no question of nepotism, no favours given, it's literally just a case of the little black contacts book at work. This is how it is, and whether Guardian readers like it or not, it's how the papers work. Without PR there would be no newspapers.

Yes, well, coincidentally, this is the theme of Nick Davies's new book, Flat Earth News, which argues that journalists have turned into 'churnalists', 'mere passive processors of unchecked, secondhand material, much of it contrived by PR to serve some political or commercial interest'. An argument which was brushed aside by the Guardian's editor Peter Preston, who loftily explained that Davies just didn't understand 'what makes journalism tick'.
posted by verstegan at 7:24 AM on February 16, 2008


The Guardian's former editor Peter Preston.
posted by Mocata at 7:35 AM on February 16, 2008


There's an interview with Nick Davis in the latest Guardian Media podcast... and a bit of discussion afterwards, apparently it's all right because all us web2.0ites are putting the news to task or something.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:32 AM on February 16, 2008


The Guardian are in a hole over this and continuing to dig. There are now two more pieces from their stable trying to defend this: one in their sister paper The Observer and the other in their own blog section Comment is Free.

Instead of apologising for the poor judgement of The Guardian in commissioning and publishing such an offensive low-quality piece, both attack the readers for protesting about it and its perceived nepotism. Clearly someone at the Grauniad has decided to circle the wagons, which rather re-inforces the impression that our young Nathan Barley-alike must be very well connected there. I wonder if there's more to this than just daddy writing the occasional travel piece for them.
posted by Flitcraft at 3:01 PM on February 17, 2008


someone at the Grauniad has decided to circle the wagons

Yeah, it's kinda weird. And disappointing really, as a longtime Guardian reader.
posted by grouse at 3:54 PM on February 17, 2008


Can somebody explain "Grauniad" to me, or is it just an acronym?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:01 PM on February 17, 2008


Are all Brits that mean?

I'd like to think so. We try.
posted by Artw at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2008


It's a relic of the Empire, as I understand it. Only now they only have each other to divide & conquer.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:11 PM on February 17, 2008


Yeah, yeah. I've been watching Ramsay's American Kitchen Nightmares. It comes to something when an English chef has to tour the US, teaching your people how to clean up their kitchens.

"When the shit hits the fan, what do you want? You want tea."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:33 PM on February 17, 2008


Can somebody explain "Grauniad" to me, or is it just an acronym?

In the days of hot metal setting, The Guardian were (justly, if memory serves) reknowned for the poor quality of their copy-editing, resulting in many literals and other bloopers.

Thus, Private Eye's name for the paper was The Grauniad

(Aside - I wrote the Guardian as a plural without thinking about it - I'm leaving it like that because I don't know whether it should be "they", "its" or even "her". I don't especially want advice on this, it's just a curious glitch in my linguistic mind.)
posted by Grangousier at 11:57 PM on February 17, 2008


In British English, collective nouns are often treated as plural.
posted by grouse at 1:09 AM on February 18, 2008


"Hate Mail Hell of a Gap Year Blogger" from today's Guardian.
posted by rongorongo at 4:07 AM on February 18, 2008


From the about link:
"He has seen some of the blog. He has said to me that he doesn't like the media world now. He doesn't want to go into it any more."


And the media world wept.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:04 PM on February 19, 2008


The Comment is Free thread I linked to above, Backpackers, bullies and internet myths (which attacked the site's own clientele) has apparently been the most posted to thread on that site for two days and has reached over a thousand posts.

Only when it had already reached about comment 1000, did someone spot what appears to be the blog of the journalist who wrote the piece, Rafael Behr, where he let it be known that he was making a wee point of his own at the expense of the readers there, who he knew were going to go apeshit. So CiF have not only served up an atrociously bad blog entry smacking of the kind of nepotism The Guardian normally chastises, but they've also successfully trolled their own readership. The Grauniad - doing it for the lulz!
posted by Flitcraft at 7:18 PM on February 19, 2008


cor that Rafael Behr's a prick isnt he? whoda thought the observer would have a prick as a writer?
posted by criticalbill at 6:30 AM on February 21, 2008


Nepotism runs riot, even in the Gruaniad.
posted by doutzen at 5:12 AM on February 27, 2008


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