Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

So You Made the Top of Gawkerati. What Next?

On Gawker.com's final day, I was surprised to be name-checked twice in one of the last posts: my handle, GregSamsa, was listed amongst the top commenters of the site, and one of my comments was noted as being one of the top ten comments of its 13 year history.

My last hurrah. See me there, just under the wonderful GREGORYABUTLER10031? GregSamsa. I beat!
None of these accomplishments are, in fact, accomplishments. They are hollow victories. They are 'ThatChampionship Season' which was a play written by the young priest from The Exorcist. They are pats on the head. They are the result of distraction winning out over ambition.

And that's as one Gawker writer would say, 'Okay.'

There's a lot of virtual ink-spillage over the end of Gawker.com (which is to say there is not much being written about Gawker Media, the site's parent company, being absorbed by Univision; Gawker.com is dead; its sister sites--Gizmodo.com, Deadspin.com, Jezebel.com and others—live on. But the hub site, the main site, the namesake site of Gawker Media, is now over for a variety of reasons I—twist--won't comment upon. Gawker.com is dead.

What I will comment upon is, first: it's okay to end a sentence with a preposition. Language is what we do, not what others rule we should do. In this piece I will actively try to split infinitives and dangle participles, and will most definitely attempt to end sentences in either prepositions or in the actual word 'preposition'. Which, oddly, is not a preposition.

Secondly: I will explain how I became a name-checked commenter of Gawker. This explanation will seem boring because it is, and it will seem awkward because it is. Life is boring and awkward. Life isn't what happens when you're making other plans, as John Lennon once said; life is what happens when you have no plans and still expect to wake up the next morning. Life is habit, and I habitually commented on Gawker.

I was born in the salt-mines one dreary day in Nixon's America.

No, that's not true. Preposition.

Supposition: it is true I was born in Nixon's America. It is also true I grew up with a reverence for journalism preposition preposition. I liked honest people, and never trusted anyone mostly because I knew I could lie quite well, and didn't like being a liar. Lying is a talent only an honest person has. If you, too, are a liar, you know full well how much honesty you need to pull off a lie, and you know when to use your lying superpower, when to lie after speaking the truth. Preposition.

Being a skilled liar does not, oddly, make one an actual liar. It makes one a dealer in truths, and one can store up truth like a camel stores up water. It's true! Lying is not something one should do often, but in a selective and artful way... the way one learns how to use language, and knows when it is okay to end a sentence in a preposition. Lying is the absence of skill, you see. A straight-up liar will be so obvious everyone assumes a tall tale is coming. Nothing is to be trusted.

As a child of Nixon, I know better. You take Emily Dickson to heart and tell the truth, but when you want to lie, tell it slant.

I understood Gawker (Dot Com!).

I was a kid who grew up with certain lies, and knew those lies had truths within them. I loved comedians who hit on political themes—Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Paul Mooney Elaine Boosler, Paula Poundstone—and understood they were lying while telling a truth.

Which is what Gawker.com did. Once upon a time.

So my comments—and they were a small contribution—where an attempt to bring liar's poker to a lion's den. And to remind everyone that language is not a shameful thing: If you need to communicate, do it. And do it in a grand way. If someone corrects your grammar, remind them that the President of the United States once inspired this column.

Gawker. [clutch to breast] I will miss you. When I moved to NYC, you were one of the only places to get my wit, my honesty, and my obsession. So many stories made sense, and so many stories kept me up at night. Preposition.

It is easy to lie and say you deserved your end. But there's a truth we all know: You did good work.


I'm honored to be included in the top commenter bullshit, even though there were many more worthy. And I'm glad to know one of my comments was in the final 10 of all comments here. But I know it was a lie. That kid never had a visionquest. She was just being true to herself.

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