Thursday, June 12, 2008

There is No Such Thing as Parodic Narcissism

For the past eight months or so I've been struggling to figure out how to feel about Keith Gessen.

It was around then that I first saw the man in person as part of the (kind of useless) intro to the workplace class at Pratt. I was regrettably hungover and that's a bad thing for everyone involved, since everyone in the writing program hadn't heard of n+1. I managed to grumble something about James Wood and rant about the New Yorker but I was too tired to make any points. A female classmate tried to hit on him. He talked about hockey so that bumped him slightly respect-wise. I felt bad for some of the bad questions (what do you think of the internet (since I've never read your many internet rants in your magazine)?)

Basically he seemed nice and earnest but probably too earnest for someone in the lit world. A little self-important but you need that to even consider playing the public intellectual card.

A little while after that his name started popping up on Gawker a lot. I told Sharon Emily Gould was probably banging him and she didn't believe me. Ha! Anyway he did a lot of stupid things like that got taken out of context probably.

I haven't read his book (just like everyone that hates on him probably!) and now I probably never will because of his fucking Tumblr. Interviewing himself, getting into petty arguments, taking Gawker too seriously - Sharon's got a post coming about this, but he's pretty much become exactly who he despises: Tao Lin. That might be a little unfair, but there's still a lot of truth to it.

What's really infuriating about this whole Gawker v. Gessen thing is that I even give a shit about him. It's proof that not only Gessen needs to get out of New York but myself as well. On a trip to Connecticut this past weekend it was nice to not have the urge to discuss the death of print of n+1 or anything similar. Gessen needs a vacation, we all do. On his blog he says that we all went to the same six schools and fucked the same people. Obviously not true, but the media world is essentially that: middle school feuds played out on a public stage while everyone outside of this city ignores them. The dinosaurs of print like Graydon Carter and Kurt Andersen are nearly gone, and now they're getting replaced with somehow more boring monopolies that make you wish Gore Vidal was capable of getting his aging fat ass out of a chair.

So please Keith, please listen to that one "pedantic" reader of your blog. Leave the city for a while, stop caring so much about the petty stuff. Hole up in New Hampshire and write about something that matters like politics. Lead the way if bloggers are turning the world into a turd. Honestly, I should be the type that's sympathetic to you: as a straight bookish male, I know it's impossible to say anything in New York without getting called a douchebag by someone. Hell, you're probably still on the shortlist of people that I might tolerate watching sports with in this city. So please, get out of here, write something that matters, and throw the ego out the window for just a little while. Maybe I'll buy you a beer when you come back.

Wilco - How to Fight Loneliness


zer0esandones said...

For the record: I told you I didn't believe the Emily Gould/Keith Gessen rumor (fact -- whatever) because when Monica overheard Katie and I talking about it, she said "Nobody sleeps with Keith Gessen."

Also, I don't think he should go to New Hampshire. He might run into J.D. Salinger's underground lair. Maybe he should go to Canada. That's a welcoming place. If not, perhaps the no-man's land of northeastern Maine.