Oh Emily... What Hath You Not Wrought?

Like, gee. Emily Gould's much-maligned cover story in this week's Sunday Times Magazine may not win the Gray Lady awards but it did garner what any self-respecting newspaper wants in the age of severely diverted eyeballs. Attention. Lots of attention. The article became a sensation and it--

Wait! What do you mean? No, trust me, it was a big deal. Hold on, I'll prove it. Let's just click over to the Times site.... www.nytimes.com/gst/mostemailed.html

See, look. Most e-mailed stories of the past week. And that "Exposed" piece is right... gee. No, it's here somewhere. Has to be. Where is it?

Well holy smokes. Huh. I guess Times readers really didn't think Emily Gould was such an important person. Instead they bit on the typical lineup of politics, faux trends, and self-help that pretends it isn't. That's what they e-mailed to their unenlightened, Post-reading family, at least.

But, wait, there's "Exposed" -- gosh, yay! I found it! Heading the week's list of "Most Blogged" articles! See: it is relevant! Told you. A blogger's bloggy confessional about blogging and its bloggy complications turned out to be catnip for other bloggers who like blogging about blogs! Let's see here, who blogged about this bloggy article . . . why, Romenesko! And MediaBistro! Jezebel and Jossip! And the granddaddy of 'em all: Gawker! Which used to employ Gould! Just like MediaBistro does now! And so on. And so forth.

Let me take a look at that Gawker post... that's eleven thousand views! Wow, like, um, not very many. A lot for Gawker, I am sure. But compare that number to the number who read, for instance, whatever watered-down nonsense was on the cover of the Parade Sunday insert this week.

Hint: it's not even close. Like, at all.

So what does that say, kids? Maybe that the same few thousand people who read the same incestuous pack of media blogs were inordinately interested in La Gould, even while deriding her piece, and, more tellingly, even as most of The New York Times readership shrugged and went on with the crossword. And these are Times readers! The elite of elites, who love nothing more than to gaze at New York-y media-y fluff with hearts a-flutter. And they kinda didn't care. Even with "come hither" cover photography and the author's appetite-whetting persona: equal parts narcissist and train wreck.

The blogosphere is vibrant and vital, despite what the many detractors say out loud. That said, when it is its own subject one notices just how insular a community it is. Emily Gould is a very big name to only very few. And those people debated her article back and forth. And knew about it days before the Times published. And felt impugned and delighted and irritated and important because it was about them as much as it was about Emily. And then... what? It exploded like a neutron bomb in its little corner of our culture and, thanks to the electronic version going up early, was yesterday's news three days before yesterday.


This was the year Gossip Girl caught fire in New York and among its chattering bloggy/media classes. To read about the show in this sleep-filled city is to think you've witnessed the birth of a kind of phenomenon. Except that the two thousand people whispering breathlessly about each episode on blogs are also the only two thousand people watching it on their hi-defs. The show gets absolutely no ratings (it's "OMFG, not that great," said EW this week). And yep, no one in Topeka gives a dink. This isn't Seinfeld or Sex and the City or some other quote unquote New York show that appeals to our coastal vanity while generating a huge audience. It's not even Mad Men, for Chrissakes. It's big-B Buzz doing little-b business. The lesson (this is a blog, so a lesson is forthcoming) is not so different from the Sunday magazine's. Self absorption, no matter the medium, is only as magnetic as self.

I feel like I have not quite made my point. Wait...for...it...

Damn it, Emily! You loser.

Oh and gee, for more like this, only not half as bloggy, see www.Laermer.com or the new book 2011 found on Amazon via yeahwhatever.com. For sure.