Goodbye Gawker, My Guilty Pleasure

I can’t help it. In spite of their flaws, the Gawker empire has long been a favored distraction.

I’ve felt hopelessly uncool while reading most of their channels. I know not from celebrity gossip, video games, things I might hack so my life will be better, what car I should want were I the kind of person who had auto-lust…

But I have loved, loved, loved their media criticism, their relentless takedowns of junketeers, even when the junketeers were coming from inside the house — Gawker itself.

Gawker’s shutting down, who knows what it will become. So while there’s still time, I dug up one of my favorite Gawker pieces, an essay by Hamilton Nolan — Among the Junketeers: 90 Hours in Vegas Selling Out Hard.

LAS VEGAS — It only took 24 hours for the Stockholm Syndrome to set in. It was after the huge, boomerang-sized crab legs had been cleared away and the Wagyu beef had been consumed and all the after-dinner whiskeys had been drained and they’d ushered us past the hundreds of ordinary suckers and through the VIP entrance of the Caesar’s Palace nightclub and set us up with a private table and bottle service so we could recline on a couch and watch all the drunk bachelorette party girls shake their asses at the bar in front of us, and the doorman smiled warmly at us and the attractive waitress smiled warmly at us and the PR people smiled warmly at us and we, the journalists, all smiled warmly at each other and took it all in, and I thought to myself, “Vegas, baby!” Vegas, baby. It likes me. And I like it.

Their brand of self-aware vitriol speaks to me, especially as I’m a writer who has done a modest but consistent sideline in travel writing, a landscape rife with junketeers. Nolan wrote another junketing piece that made me snicker (and wince) just as hard  — I Went to the Pre-Oscar Celebrity Gifting Suites and All I Got Was This Sense of Disgust.

In Beverly Hills, even the most militant socialist can start pining for the days of John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. At least old money was discreet. New money is middle-aged men in sport coats and jeans and no ties lunching at outdoor cafes in order to not be forced to remove their sunglasses.

Remove your sunglasses, rich assholes. They make you look like rich assholes.

I’m sure Gawker isn’t the only place to read these critical — yeah, okay, sometimes they’re mean, this is Gawker, after all —  takedowns, but it’s where *I* went to read them. Hell, I wanted to write them. And I’ve admired HamNo’s apparent fearlessness in biting that hand that fed him. Writers — and publishers — willing to do that are increasingly rare.

I’ll miss them.

And I hope someone snaps up Hamilton Nolan and promptly sends him junketing.

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Hi. I’m Pam Mandel. I’m a freelance writer. I blog about waffles, ukuleles, travel, and other stuff at nerdseyeview.com.