Gawker is back
July 28, 2021 4:00 PM   Subscribe

The Gawker name was toxic, but also weirdly revered; an intractable combination. It could not be brought back because it could never be what it once was, and also because what it once was was sued out of existence by a professional wrestler. After a hiatus of five relatively uneventful years, Gawker is back.
posted by gottabefunky (47 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is something, but it’s not Gawker.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:09 PM on July 28


This is something, but it’s not Gawker.

Give ‘em a chance. They haven’t even gotten their hands on someone’s sex tape yet.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:13 PM on July 28 [14 favorites]


please no
posted by firstdaffodils at 4:20 PM on July 28


“It was a dark time. I was living off of Biden Bucks, watching a lot of ‘Love It or List It,’ and wondering what I would do with my life,” she wrote.

Biden Bucks? What a dumb phrase.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:23 PM on July 28 [11 favorites]


That's quite the website layout but I think I like the articles better when I don't click on them and read them
posted by one for the books at 4:30 PM on July 28 [10 favorites]


Rehire Ashley Feinberg, you cowards (NSFW images in link). A little Masturbating Shrek is good for anyone's existence.
posted by delfin at 4:31 PM on July 28 [13 favorites]


just don't click
posted by glonous keming at 4:33 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


The cover/header doesn't seem far from some pulp or eat pray love-ish titles.


Enjoy.
posted by firstdaffodils at 4:34 PM on July 28


This is called “Gawker,” but it’s not Gawker.
posted by chasing at 4:42 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


I thought Gawker had some good stuff
posted by schroedinger at 4:51 PM on July 28 [18 favorites]


There was a period of two or three years that Gawker used a picture of me and a couple of friends as their stock "hipster poseur" illustration. That was at least fifteen years ago. Gawker is ancient.

It's fine if this isn't Gawker as you remember it, because Gawker as you remember it was toxic and awful.

and look, if "Replace All Child Actors with Adults in Motion-Capture Suits" isn't a headline you can get behind, I'm not sure we have anything to talk about
posted by phooky at 4:55 PM on July 28 [12 favorites]


After a hiatus of five relatively uneventful years...

This has got to be about the only context that someone could even begin to describe the last five years as anything even remotely resembling "uneventful".
posted by Ufez Jones at 5:04 PM on July 28 [12 favorites]


Will they still be aiming to publish new content every 4 minutes? I don't know what this is going to be, they've got some good writers, I'm cool with it not being Gawker. Cooler still if they called it something else but, well, here we are, gawking.
posted by rodlymight at 5:07 PM on July 28


Weird, I was just rereading this 2005 review of Gang Of Four’s “Return The Gift”:

“ Return the Gift places in plain, unavoidable sight the redundancy and reconsumption involved in rock’s nostalgia market. When fans buy new albums by reformed favorites of their youth, at heart they’re hoping for a magical erasure of time itself. They’re not really interested in what the band might have to say now, or where the band members’ separate musical journeys have taken them in subsequent decades; they want the band to create “new” songs in their vintage style. Such consumer bad faith is precisely the kind of phenomenon that the old Gang of Four enjoyed skewering. Could it be that Return is saying, “You want a Gang of Four resurrection? Here you are, then, exactly what you secretly, deep-down crave: the old songs, again.””
posted by mhoye at 5:44 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


I would like to find a way of punishing Peter Thiel for his role in Gawker's demise.

Maybe perform a Heimlich maneuver on New Zealand and have Thiel land out in the Pacific near an H-bomb test site or something.
posted by jamjam at 5:59 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


Ok conclusion the Gawker media empire was a land of contrasts.
posted by interogative mood at 6:01 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


I dunno how fair it is, but I hold them responsible for the codification and templatization of a tone and style that just got tired in a way that makes me not want to be fair to them because it grates the same way a Gen X HR business partner piping "IT MEEEE" in a talent calibration meeting grates, and I hold them responsible for making that tone and style seem like a legitimate editorial choice.
posted by mph at 6:17 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


I would like to find a way of punishing Peter Thiel for his role in Gawker's demise.

Gawker brought about its own demise. It did have some good stuff, but it also did really, really shitty things to people. Thiel, for example, hated Gawker because they outed him. As odious as he is, that's a shitty thing to do to anyone. And he was able to bring down Gawker because they posted a leaked sex tape and refused to take it down when asked.

Hopefully the new version can have the interesting content without being awful scumbags.
posted by star gentle uterus at 7:14 PM on July 28 [8 favorites]


Gawker brought about its own demise. It did have some good stuff, but it also did really, really shitty things to people. Thiel, for example, hated Gawker because they outed him. As odious as he is, that's a shitty thing to do to anyone. And he was able to bring down Gawker because they posted a leaked sex tape and refused to take it down when asked.

Me, myself, personally, I actually think it's a bad thing that a reactionary billionaire with a grudge can kill a whole media outlet by shopping lawsuits around until he finds the right combination of useful shitbags as plaintiffs and an unaccountable asshole in a robe. But Gawker was sometimes mean, so it's probably fine that this happened, and I'm sure it didn't set any concerning precedents or have any effect on other outlets and writers.
posted by protocoach at 7:55 PM on July 28 [53 favorites]


My internal monologue: Wait, is this G/O Media or some other bottom feeder? Oh, Bustle. Wait, Bustle? This Bustle?
Elizabeth Spiers, a Gawker founder and former editor of the New York Observer, called Goldberg’s strategy “Lazy Entrepreneurial Solipsism” which she defined as: “I, entrepreneur, have never heard of a product like the one I am producing (largely because I did no research, which I don’t need to do, because if there were such a product, surely I would already know about it!), therefore said product must not exist. And I do not personally know anyone addressing this market, therefore this market must be new and fundamentally underserved!”
And that Ted Lasso article the other day was all about how irony is dead.
posted by fedward at 8:08 PM on July 28 [6 favorites]


I wrote a blog post on my personal blog maybe 14 years ago where I made fun of a guy’s haircut that I saw in Williamsburg, illustrated it with a dry-erase marker drawing. I’m not proud of myself, and I really regret doing it.

However, Gawker picked the post up somehow and made serious hay out of it, offering bounties to anyone who could send in real photos of the “Williamsburg Hair Guy,” and basically incentivizing strangers to completely harass a guy whose biggest crime was having a weird haircut. People would come up to him on the streets, in bars, all over the place and made life really difficult for him.

I wish I hadn’t started that. I was playing into a brand of “snarky” humor that I’d been marinating in online for some time - largely perpetuated by Gawker, though I’m responsible for my own role here. They really poured gas on that fire, though.

The ensuing regret changed the way I thought about writing and comedy/humor in general. It helped me realize that if you’re doing something “as a joke,” you’re still doing it. And it helped me realize that treating the world as a vending machine for internet content is a shitty, shitty way to live.

Now it’s very difficult to get anywhere as a writer online unless you take someone down in a public way. I see Gawker as a major contributor to this horrible trend. When they got sued into oblivion by Peter Thiel, my major thought was “I hope they both lose.”
posted by chinese_fashion at 8:20 PM on July 28 [45 favorites]


This video sums it up: https://vimeo.com/9816786
posted by chinese_fashion at 8:49 PM on July 28


Only if they bring back Valleywag.
posted by Toddles at 9:31 PM on July 28 [6 favorites]


I'm so confused. Is the Menu supposed to be full-screen? How do I know what articles are available? Do I have to brave the never-ending scroll to find something I like? What's with the weird purple font? The images are huge what the hell

I feel like I'm looking at a mobile site blown up to full size and I honestly cannot tell if this is intended.
posted by lesser weasel at 10:15 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Gawker Media - which included Kotaku, Jezebel, and Valleywag - pissed off a lot of right wing types. One of these right wing types was a man called Peter Thiel, who has a lot of money and not a lot of scruples. That's what brought about Gawker's demise.
posted by splitpeasoup at 10:26 PM on July 28 [6 favorites]


MetaFilter: interesting content without being awful scumbags.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:26 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Gawker Media - which included Kotaku, Jezebel, and Valleywag - pissed off a lot of right wing types. One of these right wing types was a man called Peter Thiel, who has a lot of money and not a lot of scruples. That's what brought about Gawker's demise.



I used to work for a German owned company, and I have totally reached my right wing asshole quota for today.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 12:32 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Gawker Media - which included Kotaku, Jezebel, and Valleywag - pissed off a lot of right wing types. One of these right wing types was a man called Peter Thiel, who has a lot of money and not a lot of scruples. That's what brought about Gawker's demise.

Nosferatu-American Thiel demonstrated why bans on champerty are necessary, especially in a system that relies on litigation as an enforcement mechanism.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:21 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


Gawker was often great, usually necessary, and sometimes awful.

Anyway, its worth re-reading the cringey details of the last time Bryan Goldberg and Bustle tried to restart Gawker, in 2019 - details the new editor skips over in her letter. Very quickly the company hired a complete ass of a person to lead the site, who loved making jokes and sharing reactionary opinions about black, nonbinary and poor people, causing the site's two main writers to discuss her with HR after just two weeks, and then to quickly quit when HR did nothing. The site folded after that. That's how stupidly the billionaire Goldberg handled this last time.

Best to have extremely low expectations for this venture.
posted by mediareport at 2:49 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


Thiel, for example, hated Gawker because they outed him. As odious as he is, that's a shitty thing to do to anyone.

Wow, are we really going to have the "Outing is bad!" conversation in 2021? No, it's not bad to out a closeted billionaire who uses his money to fund right-wing machines specifically aimed at queer people. Wow. This conversation was old in 2000.
posted by mediareport at 3:05 AM on July 29 [15 favorites]


I can’t tell if these quotes are real or parody...?
posted by bitteschoen at 3:06 AM on July 29


Anyone think the new Gawker page is astoundingly ugly? How many typefaces are they using?
posted by octothorpe at 4:39 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


It's ugly, but purposely ugly design in a late 1990s/early 2000s diy way is trendy right now.

I am hoping this rebirth is not like the old Gawker, which was petty and bullying and predictable. There are a lot of women on the masthead so maybe it will be different? I dunno. I'm too tired to be hopeful about anything.
posted by Stoof at 6:41 AM on July 29


We deserve better.
posted by tommasz at 7:32 AM on July 29


To be clear: this Gawker is not the same as the old Gawker, and is not under the same ownership, or even the same ownership as many of the other former Gawker properties, formerly known as Gizmodo Media Group and now operated as the problem-plagued, private-equity owned G/O Media (previously). The new site operating under the Gawker name seems to replace some of the faults of the old Gawker with its new owner's faults (cf. his union busting approach to Mic). This is his second attempt to relaunch the brand after the first one crashed and burned (as mediareport noted above).

In short: if you wanted to steer clear of any web site once part of Gawker you could find any number of reasons to back up that decision.
posted by fedward at 7:48 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


I’d forgotten about Goldberg buying the rights to the site. Gah, so much for high hopes.

Gawker was indeed a land of contrasts. There were several distinct eras, and my guess is the era most people remember or heard about was the Daulerio as EIC era which, yeah, was shitty, trashy, and mean. Things changed significantly after he was gone, and for a while, it was decidedly a good site. Then everything fell apart, and at least for a while, we got Splinter.

Goddammit.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:53 AM on July 29


Maybe somebody could bring back the AV Club next.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:25 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


Maybe somebody could bring back the AV Club next.

The current zombie AV Club is just insulting to its history. Weirdly there's not really a decent general popular culture site to replace it or at least none that I know of. Vox Media has similar sites to many of the old Gawker portfolio but except for a few movie reviews wedged into Polygon doesn't do anything similar.
posted by octothorpe at 8:37 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


So in the last few hours I think I've read everything they've published so far and it's... not good. I can't find one article that has enough total points across at least two of of the important categories* to make it something I'll return to regularly.

Also I know it's a thing now but I HATE when you get to the bottom of one piece and you scroll right into another one .

*categories include funny, affecting, hate read, prurient, shocking, and genuinely informative.
posted by cilantro at 12:04 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Also, the menu (which is a mobile-style menu even on desktop, and yes I know that's a cool design trend or whatever but I hate it) includes Chrissy Teigen as an entire menu category. News, Politics, Media, Money, Tech, and... Chrissy Teigen. That's not even not funny enough to circle back around to possibly funny, it just makes me feel a bit embarrassed for them.
posted by cilantro at 12:11 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


The current laws of civility mean that no, it can't be exactly what it once was, but we strive to honor the past and embrace the present.

Errrr....we have laws on civility....I must have missed them.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 2:09 PM on July 29


Waiting for The Awl to be reborn.
posted by youarenothere at 4:11 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Is this the Gossip Girl reboot or?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:28 PM on July 29


If you're a fan of sports a Defector subscription can be worth it because it lives up to original Deadspin.

I wish there was also a spiritual successor for the original Jezebel -> Hairpin -> The Toast blog lineage.
posted by zymil at 5:47 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Well Brandy Jensen wrote this there and i will not hear shit talked about her
posted by ominous_paws at 11:43 AM on August 2


I can't tell if she's serious or if that's a parody of "OMG, 35 is so old" musings.
posted by octothorpe at 1:48 PM on August 2


Oh well. I enjoyed it! Weird thread.
posted by ominous_paws at 3:36 PM on August 2


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