We generally try to avoid writing about people like Emily Gould and Julia Allison, because to document their burps and blow jobs is to participate in the wacky media experiment which they control. But this weekend we are all going to be subjected to the inner workings of Emily Gould's mind. And not just "we all" in blogland, or even New York media land. "We all" in America, or at least those of us who skim through the Times on Sundays. The Times Magazine will give over its cover to the former Gawker editor, who wrote for the popular Website from November 2006 until the end of 2007. If you don't know anything about her, the story is sure to tell you more than you ever wanted to. If you do know a thing or two about her (and were among the gaggle of writers contacted by the NYT fact-checking team in the last week), you might be looking forward to the story with a little bit of trepidation.
In brief: Gould has made somewhat of a living out of talking about herself. While at Gawker she made the site all self-referential, to the detriment of page views. She's also written about herself in Page Six the Magazine, the Times itself, the blog Emily Magazine, and the blog Heartbreak Soup. She's basically a hit with a certain class of Internet-savvy New York youngster, like Allison but without the sense of humor or self-awareness. The Times story promises plenty of angst about why she shouldn't have revealed so much about herself, and her relationships, on the Internet.
What troubles us about Gould's oncoming article is not that it will be a rehash of everything we've seen before. It's that people will mistake her perspective on the Internet, writing, and fame as the perspective of an entire generation of bloggers. (Much the way, as the Observer noted, Joyce Maynard's essay in the Times Magazine in 1972 seemed to speak for a generation of young women.) In our experience reading her work, she rarely ventures outside of her own head. Hence, not the best representative of a social subclass. Millions of people blog, many of them about themselves. But if past work is anything to judge by, we're not going to be reading about them this weekend. Except for the ones Gould slept with. Take this week, for example, when she took a couple of days to watch every single episode of Sex and the City and write about it for Jezebel.com, in anticipation of the movie's release.
Carrie's column is the elephant in the room for a reason — what if Big and Carrie had ever argued over how he was portrayed in her column? It's like wondering what Friends would have been like if Rachel had married that dentist — which is to say, probably nonexistent. And of all the credulity-straining things about SATC — you know, the 'how can she afford those shoes/that apartment?' factors — this is, to me, the most egregious. As I watched my 17th episode of the day, I HAD TO WONDER: How does Carrie constantly, publicly pontificate about her personal life and still manage to, you know, have one?
For those of you readers who are new to the whole Web 2.0 concept of self-driven content, we promise you: Some bloggers are able to write about things other than themselves. Seriously.