jul 9

The Jezebel Incident

This response to the Jezebel Incident is getting passed around a lot right now in Tumble-land. I think there's something smart to this reaction... but I also think there's the voice of dad saying "You kids should learn your place." (I shouldn't be trying to unpack this on a link blog!)


Also, trying to bury some of this NYC stuff in the comments: here's something perhaps smart about Julia.

posted by Rex at 12:50 PM on July 9, 2008

You male piece of shit! Couldn't you at least say "voice of mom"?? Karion is FEMALE after all. Christ, no wonder you think the way you do.

But who are you to say that the majority of "the kids" don't agree with Karion?

(Hey dude, awesome weekend in the Hamptons, huh?)

posted by krucoff at 1:43 PM on July 9, 2008

Dad is the new mom.

Listen, I think they clearly made a mistake. It's just that the conservative reactions this whole thing has created bother me more than the initial incident! I'm not including Karion in that -- just look around and you'll see all kinds of creepy backlash.

posted by Rex at 1:48 PM on July 9, 2008

The backlash would not have been so bad if she said she was screwing through a hole in a sheet. "Quaker Style"

posted by taulpaul at 1:58 PM on July 9, 2008

Well then please point out the conservative creepy backlash. I'm not saying it's not out there but I haven't seen it. If that's the stance you're gonna take, it's your move to prove it.

posted by krucoff at 2:46 PM on July 9, 2008

Krucoff krucoff krucoff. Krucoff? KRUCOFF krucoff krucoff krucoff—krucoff, krucoff krucoff. Krucoff!

posted by Choire at 3:17 PM on July 9, 2008

I tried to catch up with this thing but it seemed way to earnest. It's like the Keith Gessen thing 2.0.

I'm bored with earnestness. Like every other habitual affectation, other than coquettishness, it's terribly dull.

posted by John Carney at 5:28 PM on July 9, 2008


And when you do find them, be careful what you call them.

posted by krucoff at 5:53 PM on July 9, 2008

Oh god.

I just got home. I'm going to mull over whether I really want to get involved with any of this.

posted by Rex at 6:04 PM on July 9, 2008

Don't let it bother you... look at the Metafilter thread:


That's got all sorts of reactionary stuff in it. It's also got some good points, but it's also occasionally hate-filled. And that's METAFILTER, which is better than most.

posted by Mark at 6:14 PM on July 9, 2008

Thank you. I think I'll let that be my comment.

Like I was necessarily talking about other women? Or other kids? Or YOU WHOEVER YOU ARE?

Beyond its abysmal grammar, this statement sounds bold?:

The conservative reactions this whole thing has created bother me more than the initial incident!

Like, you can't imagine a place on the internet where that's true? And you think it means that I'm talking about EACH AND EVERY RESPONSE on the entire internet?

(Christ, this is wearying. Whah-whah, heat/kitchen, Gessen-Lodwick, I KNOW. But still...)

posted by Rex at 6:17 PM on July 9, 2008

Who said "EACH AND EVERY RESPONSE"? I'm just asking you to name ONE! You said there were "creepy conservative backlash" and I want to know what you meant by that exactly. Is it too much to ask for you to back that up?

posted by krucoff at 6:43 PM on July 9, 2008

Read the Metafilter thread.

Two scrolls in you'll get people saying "st00pid" and "tripe" and "tards."

A few more in, the invective goes over-the-top.

(Again: occasionally.)

posted by Rex at 6:52 PM on July 9, 2008

How are those reactions "creepy" or "conservative" in the scope of things? Are you honestly suggesting that you're shocked, dismayed or confused that an Internet debate dissolved into stupid name-calling? EVEN ON METAFILTER?? Jesus Rex, that's every online conversation.

So forget all that and please stick to the SUBSTANCE. They found the Jezebel girls completely outrageous and they are responding in kind. Newsflash: some people don't take rape lightly. Moe and Tracie weren't in a format to suggest they were doing a performance like Sarah Silverman, who isn't really all that funny when she does it anyway. So yeah, I still don't see your point.

posted by krucoff at 7:06 PM on July 9, 2008


I take it all back: every single response on the internet has been served up with the perfect amount of scorn, disgust, and outrage. There has not been one single incident of conservative backlash.

Please accept my apologies.

posted by Rex at 7:14 PM on July 9, 2008

Apology accepted. I know you mean well and I hope you learned a few lessons to prevent a repeat of this.

AND YOU'RE WELCOME. It's not easy making the Internet a better place but I try.

posted by krucoff at 7:16 PM on July 9, 2008

Man, krucoff was all over the internet with his "tough love" schtick today. You should see my inbox!

posted by katiebakes at 7:42 PM on July 9, 2008

When I moved here, Krucoff asked me why.

"To fix New York," I joked.

Now, I'd be happy with fixing Krucoff.

posted by Rex at 7:46 PM on July 9, 2008

Choire! Krucoff! Carney! It's so 2004 in here.

Well, Rex was seemingly disappointed with my reaction, which in part accused the girls of being childish, and also put some of the blame on Denton (briefly, for sloppily encouraging this as an editor).

I won't rehash that but I do have an update. Moe seems to have responded here. (Tracie's response was to get drunk, blog about the incident, and then blog about getting drunk.) Her reaction is deeply sincere, but so weird that I'm still only 80% sure that she's responding to her stage incident and not to something else.

I understand that it's perhaps bothersome (and hypocritical?) for one blogger to call another "childish" and I'm sorry if that rubs anyone the wrong way. I am not dismissive of her overall. I think that Moe's reaction post contains better clues that illuminate the issue.

She is obviously very smart, so she makes good points frequently. She has impressively developed ideas. Her words should not be dismissed out of hand for any reason.

Still, if the link above is indeed a reaction to the "Shoot the Messenger" debacle, it's not as much contrite as it is insistently self-deprecating. She's using the Popeye defense. "I yam what I yam." That serves to close the door on discussion, understanding and change, which is a very bad thing for people who aspire to be learned and conversational. Like, um, a pro columnist! It's also ego-centrism, in which might compete but she'll never beat my high score.

Besides, what is she self-excusing anyway? Her real opinions, her manner of expressing them, an evening of ill-timed jokes? "I'm sorry for... doing... stuff." (That's the Giambi Defense)

I've realized in life that it is difficult to interact with people who use self-deprecation and sloppy excuses to justify any behavior. That's actually a huge interpersonal frustration of mine in the year 2008, so to recognize it strikes a chord in me. It is, in a word, immaturity.

It's also worth noting that it's the second time in a month that she's done a public appearance while drinking. I won't judge her drinking habits, but I find this concerning. What, she's borrowing Dean Martin's act? If she wants to be more Gloria Steinem than Krusty the Clown, she should aim for her best composure when on-stage. It shows respect for the audience.

Which brings us to this: she has an audience that deserves respect. No amount of Charles Barkley-like "I ain't your hero, kid" grumbling or Popeye regrets is going to change the fact that her audience exists and can either be fed or abused. I sincerely hope she makes considerate decisions in this regard. There's a lot of pressure that comes with a large audience, but she certainly has the potential to deliver for them.

This comment is too long. I should have wrote it while drunk.

I'm somewhat horrified by the idea of "fixing" Krucoff. Fix like a pet? Let's strap him down, chop off his nuts, and he won't be so ornery anymore. Krucoff the Gelding. He can join the choristers. Okay, this isn't funny.

posted by Brian Van at 11:29 PM on July 9, 2008

(This comment is neither reactionary nor conservative.)

Kruc and I shared a bedroom in the Hamptons last weekend. I should have slit them off when I had the chance.

See ya next weekend, time-share buddy!

posted by Rex at 12:09 AM on July 10, 2008

Also, can I confess something, to the five people who are reading this thread but might actually laugh:

I had no idea who the fuck Clay Felker was until this week.

And I get home to see all of NY Media lionize him as, I guess, the most important media person of the last half-century.

Truly, not ironically, I am a phoney.

posted by Rex at 12:23 AM on July 10, 2008

Felker was news to me, too, but I also assumed NY Mag was trying to make its creation story as dynamic and mythic as possible, so there's that..

And also:

The Salon article in response to the L'affair Jezebel had a quote that pretty much sums up all the obstacles (reality, other people, etc) the blogging elite are running full force into lately, and sadly it's in the form of a Madonna quote about her earlier years:

"I had everyone's attention. Now, what was I going to do with it?"

posted by boredwithit at 12:37 AM on July 10, 2008


(I'm tired of commenting on shit, so I'm just going back to linking.)

posted by Rex at 1:03 AM on July 10, 2008

Kruc and I shared a bedroom in the Hamptons last weekend.

Wow. This thread just went from zero to gay in one sentence. Good thing you boys got lobsters, not crabs. ;)

I though the best comment on the Jezebel tamponery was this one from someone named The Straightener in the Metafilter roundup:

These women are shining a light for thousands of Midwestern teenagers who aspire to someday also move to Williamsburg and catch Chlamydia from an art fraud with an ironic mullet and big, plastic clown glasses.

posted by Hez at 4:09 AM on July 10, 2008

Alright, fuckit. I wanna talk about something from that bothers me about that Salon thing. This line:

Like many in the Denton empire, these women were hired not because they are writers or thinkers or political intellects. They were hired because they are fame-seeking entertainers and characters.

First of all, the tone couldn't be more insulting to all the talented women writers in that "empire."

Secondly, it's true in a way it doesn't even realize! The line is clearly clueless to the revolution that blogging has been. I say this all the time, but here goes again: blogging too often gets innaccurately tagged onto the end of "the history of journalism," when it actually has at least one foot in the history of theater, of performance.

This simple fact may be what confuses so many people outside of the blog world: that there are different rules, that a good blogger is involved in "play," that character and performance are part of the act.

This also may be what got the Jezebel girls in trouble.

posted by Rex at 8:43 AM on July 10, 2008

I'll give this a shot. The worst you can throw at them is "irresponsible." But doesn't that imply that there's someone sitting in front of a laptop somewhere watching them thinking, "you know, maybe it IS sort of cool to be date raped."

Does anyone actually think there's a possibility of that?

posted by alesh at 9:25 AM on July 10, 2008

Rex, you are so wrong wrong wrong with almost everything you said in your last comment but we'll take this up in person. For crissakes, I can't keep this act up forever online.

posted by krucoff at 9:52 AM on July 10, 2008

I'm starting to think we occasionally get this the wrong way round - that we're constantly searching for the cultural effects of web stuff rather than thinking about the web as a response to other cultural shifts.

Case in point: would the performative aspects of the blogger, the characterisation etc., make sense before the mainstream engagement with performativity? i.e. the breakdown of the idea that identity is this 'thing inside you' rather than a projection and organisation of signs/markers etc.? I guess what I'm asking is what mental change is necessary to become okay with the idea of a blogger being both 'real' and 'a character' at the same time?

But the big question is about the 'real' is whether it's good because it's 'raw and true' or is it simply the fetishisation of the real i.e. the question that already gives the answer.

posted by Nav at 11:01 AM on July 10, 2008

I first saw all the crap about the Jezebel fiasco via a link to the Huffington Post article that Lizz Winstead wrote.

I did some searching after that, and what I most commonly found was that those who were seriously pissed off with the Jezzies often omitted the fact that the Jezebel gals were under the impression that this was a comedy show they were going to participate in. It doesn't excuse them, but I think it definitely sheds some light on the WTF?!-factor.

(Then again, I've never thought of the Jezebel staffers as my personal "feminist s/heros" so I chalked the whole thing up to "Oops! Fucked that up!")

posted by Ms. Pants at 12:04 PM on July 10, 2008

I love how this site has become the analyst's couch for blog culture.

@ Ms. Pants, the comedy show dodge really doesn't shed that much light, any more than it excused Michael Richards (not that this on that level) or any random idiot on Politically Incorrect who spouts offensive things. Outside of Mo's po' man's Sarah Silverman act, it was clear they were stating their real opinions on rape, etc. Those opinions happened to be offensively dismissive, so they should grow up and take the heat.

But instead, Tracie reacted like a Columbia freshman and got plastered (er, more so) and made out with a boy people warned her about, and Moe followed a circuitous and cowardly path of blame back to her father somehow. Same hole, only deeper dug.

@ Rex, blogging is a medium, not a genre. The performance side is only one branch of the tree, and one that it's becoming clear a lot of people are getting bored with. You're not one of them, obviously, but don't act like people who hate this tabloidy, live-action American Apparel ad side of blogging hate or don't "get" the internet. Y'all just disagree about what's interesting. Cool. Talk it out.


There's this recent phenomenon (separate from the internet) in American popular culture to hyperbolically misrepresent/overstate even the mildest criticism. People aren't mocked or critiqued, they're "crucified" or "thrown under the bus" by "hatas" who are only jealous of their success. OR - maybe you just fucked up and looked like an idiot in front of everyone b/c of deep character issues that you need to take a look at. Maybe?

posted by boredwithit at 4:57 PM on July 10, 2008

@boredwithit Alright, that's almost fair. You're right, it is a matter of taste -- let's say, like hip-hop or jazz or country music. And to me, they sound like '80s critics who talked about those crazy kids with their beats. (Ugh, I made it generational again. You know what I mean.)

And if you don't look around the internet and see conversation getting more corrosive, then I guess we're just in different worlds on this hatah culture thing....

posted by Rex at 5:31 PM on July 10, 2008

I'm too tired to care about this issue or the buzz around it, but I am interested in it as an example of a phenomenon. Some people say some stupid stuff on an otherwise almost invisible show and it spreads like fire and becomes a huge issue that people get really involved in, spend lots of time on, fight about, write articles about, etc. I know that it doesn't matter, because I can turn off the computer and it evaporates as though it never happened. It has no effect on anything and will be forgotten. It exists only as its echoes.

But I'm interested in why and how it becomes something that people feel the need to get invested in, even passionately. I'm not saying they shouldn't, I'm just trying to figure out why they do. It's something new. There's something about this here internet.

It's like the internet is the inside of someone's mind. All the shit you think about but never say is said here. All the thoughts that are too little to be converted into words in normal life come out on the internet. Why? The nasty stuff too. You wouldn't call someone piece of shit to their face if you thought they were one, but you'd do it on the internet. It's like the keyboard removes a filter that otherwise governs objectionable or microscopically uninportant things.

I'm very interested in how this will change us as a species because I don't think it's something that will just pass and fade. It will only increase, this connectedness and always-on-ness and everybody being aware of everybody else's everything and responding to it as though it's part of the thoughts that run around in your own head all the time. Over enough time it will redefine conscious life as a collective experience, albeit electronically induced. I thought Cory Doctorow's book Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom was gut-churning with all the Disneyland crap, but the internet brains thing seems like where we're headed. That points system they had, where you immediately check someone's status and get their details when you encounter them is pretty much what the google-somebody reflex is already, and now possible via wireless mobiles, expanded further by blogs and twitter.

It's all very interesting. We're defining a new state of being but it's so early that we don't know it.

posted by Eric at 5:41 PM on July 10, 2008

Yeah, the whole dividing life and history into neat little 10-year blocks we call "generations" has always had more utility as a way to sell Woodstock box sets than as a explanatory tool, probably. And in this hyper-niche culture, who can say what the hell's on the mind of the "youth"? It's more of the"what group am I going to sit with in the lunchroom" kind of a deal, which, as we know, is THE definitive question.

As for the second point, I don't think they're mutually exclusive - in fact, they may complementary. The same people that are getting more and more vitriolic and ugly are the same who can't take criticism of any kind. Do I resemble that remark? Uh....

posted by boredwithit at 6:00 PM on July 10, 2008

@Eric: So we're all going to be Paris Hilton in the future?

posted by Kev at 9:42 PM on July 10, 2008

Btw there's no new state of being. That's allll bullshit. Unless you believe autism is the new state of being, in which case you have to be born with it. Damn that pesky Darwin!

posted by Kev at 9:54 PM on July 10, 2008

@eric - The flipside of this coin is that what you see being written about this isn't really obsessed over - these opinions are spot opinions written by proficient typists. Sure, people talk a good game, and it can be pretty easy to be insulting if you don't have to do it to the victim's face. But really, no one's doing much critical analysis. If anything, people who have developed opinions and observations on similar topics are more than happy to share them again and again, at length. (If you saw a brief, well-edited and brilliantly composed comment about a topic, THEN you know it was obsessed over.)

One thing that's happening on this particular topic is that people are unleashing developed criticisms of Jezebel and blogs that previously had little context in active conversations.

Personally, I have much to say about it because I am an enthusiast for Moe's ideas and writings (which means I'm disappointed in her for being irresponsible here), and I'm someone who has dealt with dreadful interpersonal situations with irresponsible people (which means I'm quick to see it coming). My agenda is that I want to continue to enjoy Moe's writing without losing personal respect for her. I can't speak for the rest of the Internet, but I know there are some loons out there hungry for a hangin'.

posted by Brian Van at 12:07 AM on July 11, 2008

I wonder if anyone is reading this.

Anyway, good responses all around. I'm busy today, but might try to jump in later.

posted by Rex at 11:30 AM on July 11, 2008

I know this topic is probably Already Over and all, but this was pretty tasty.

In one HuffPost we have 1) someone personally spurned by Denton in his Dear Maggie way (1a: I get why he was negged, but of course he's got the voice I'd personally eat up on Gawker) 2) a pretty comprehensive if overly hateful soup-to-nuts account of All Things Emily ("Emily Gould's neck-breaking, yet strangely dull, confessional introspection -- her lamentation of "I've Never Been to Me" -- seemed to confirm everyone's worst fears about young bloggers") 3) the conventional wisdom that Moe - whom I saw on the street yesterday to my immediate shame, as Those Who Recognized Jakob Lodwick and Emily Gould must have felt upon realizing that their sightings had ruined lives - is "too smart to be this dumb" and 4) a refreshingly feminism-free conclusion.

Anyway, worth the long read if you enjoy insidery Gawker stuff, which I would assume would be anyone who is still hanging around this thread.

posted by katiebakes at 10:24 PM on July 11, 2008

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