Gawker has ended things with me. Broken it off, as they say. I was not as devastated as I was the first time it happened. Back then, it was a very confusing time with a lot of changes going on in its life. It was during a midlife crisis of sorts with the changeover and so I chose to be forgiving in the end. I couldn't toss out the last few years of my life over a petty squabble that seemed mostly one-sided anyway. Besides, I was left with the eternal question: how to occupy the void?
We took a break for a few weeks and then I realized how much I missed it. I missed the way it posted things I liked to read and discuss first thing in the morning up until going to bed and beyond. I missed interacting with all the funny and interesting people I had met through my relationship with it. I longed for my days of starting a thread that would flourish and develop all night long, even while I slept so that I would wake up and, like Christmas morning, dozens of recommends and replies waited just for me.
Plus, that first breakup occurred during those endless days of summer where the air conditioner is a constant hum in your ear and all you have the energy to do is lounge in front of the computer and squawk about news items and celebrity nonsense. So I asked Gawker to take me back and through a steadfast determination to forget our past, I resolved to forge my way once again into a kinja-heavy future. And it did take me, as it does even today, but only as a fuck-buddy. Gray, but not entirely forgotten.
But it paid off; after a relatively short time of proving my devotion, I was rewarded with a promotion from the dreaded grays to coveted blacks. Gawker was following me again and it was just like it had been before. And I, for my part, did not let Gawker down. I am not usually one to adjust my own spotlight, but please forgive me here, since it has a purpose. I am a prolific commenter and consider myself to be a valuable one. I make people laugh with feeble attempts at humor, and sometimes make them angry when they do not understand my attempts at sarcasm or parody. I assumed that I was valued.
But then, one day, when I least expected it, Gawker broke up with me again providing nary an explanation or even a paltry excuse. I had committed, apparently, the mortal sin of critique. I wrote that comment and was grayed by the next morning. And this I find confusing; other people have been extremely critical of its ways and Gawker has accepted them for it. But my candid side-eye was deemed overly judgmental and it didn't make any sense.
Even 60 Minutes occasionally reads letters from irate viewers on their show—or at least they used to when they felt strong enough to take a hit. Provocative letters to the editor are regularly published in most major publications. This type of reception for a comment casting a critical viewpoint seems hypocritical, since Gawker thrives off of the harsh appraisal of others. But it's also inconsistently applied and therefore confusing. Which articles are we allowed to complain about? What content warrants the guillotine? Which writers are we permitted to crucify for their ignorance?
I have loved Gawker and its internet cousins for as long as I can remember. As soon as I discovered it, I knew it was different from the others. Unlike many of those who have been friendly with it for years, yet harbored resentments over its redecorating efforts, I was quick to adapt to the changes. I don't whine about the lost starring system or get upset about kinja's many growing pains, since I recognize that adapting is part of what keeps a business relevant.
But, the commentariat here is not a passive entity sitting on the couch absorbing images. Neither are they the proverbial Youtube commenter, despite the dilution of their strongest core of loyalists to the site during the changeover. The Gawker folk are active participants in an exchange just as much as the writers of the articles, so to demerit a strong contributor to the site seems not just capricious and juvenile, but downright unprofessional.