I began visiting Gawker.com regularly when it first launched. Like Sherlock Holmes and his passion for the “agony aunt” columns, I have had a gossip habit (deemed variously healthy and unhealthy by people who, you know, judge these things) practically all my life. I was a devotée of Spy Magazine (and even appeared in it once, anonymized). I had my brushes with fame over the years, and still do from time to time.
Its reputation was, by and large, tawdry. I didn’t care – the writers were fantastic. Richard Lawson, Choire Sicha, Alex Balk, Caity Weaver, Hamilton Nolan – I would read anything they wrote. ANYTHING. Even if the byline was “Balk’s Penis”.
I was a regular commenter under the old Banhammer regime – I traded a news tip with Balk in exchange for commenting privileges. I still comment from time to time, mostly on Jezebel, though it takes a little while sometimes to come out of the greys.
While I think my reputation is for being a genuinely nice person, with manners, who is fairly emotionally generous – I’m also a strong believer in afflicting the comfortable. And while my own approach in doing so is not as rapier-like as that of Nick Denton and his stable, I nonetheless appreciate it when it happens.
I don’t know if I would have made the decision to out Thiel in the way that Valleywag did, but clearly this is a comfortable man. He had some affliction coming his way, which proves itself in his vindictiveness. I’m not a fan of A.J. Daulerio (he always struck me as someone I would never want to hang out with, and I generally skipped past his posts in favor of my own mental health), but I’m not sure a lifetime of penury is a just punishment for his poor editorial judgment.
Back in the mid-2000s, I started a website/service called Bloggapedia. It categorized blogs according to topic. I licensed its data to Barnes & Noble for use on the Nook – but I had to get agreements from a number of the blogs to do so. Gawker was one who gave permission readily. Nick supported entrepreneurship in others. And I appreciated that, even when I had to shutter Bloggapedia later.
I’ll still visit Jezebel, Deadspin, i09. And I’m really proud to have supported the writing of so many amazing voices. But the absence of Gawker, with its NYC focus, with its media/publishing focus, will leave a hole in my heart.