So, we’ve spent the day trying to digest this story that Victoria Floethe, “Page Six” star and eventually marriage-ending mistress to writer Michael Wolff, wrote in London’s Spectator. It’s been a bit of a headache because, unlike Gawker, we don’t really feel like lecturing or moralizing about the issue. But Floethe is, nonetheless, a media personality now, and she’s written some things about New York that we’re not sure we agree with. Let’s walk through some of them, shall we?
[Ed: Full disclosure, Floethe once wrote for Slate that “Internet writers need trust funds.” This is patently untrue, as both of your Daily Intel editors demonstrably don’t have trust funds, and unless polo- and T-shirt enthusiast Dan Amira has gold jewelry hidden somewhere under his lustrous goatee, we’re thinking he doesn’t either. But we swear we don’t resent Floethe for that, even though it was in an article about how she had to go to Monte Carlo because her own trust fund lost 40 percent. Really, we swear.]
I’ve noticed this among my many friends who have moved to Park Slope in family-oriented Brooklyn — they’ve come to regard Manhattan as the borough of dubious characters. If you can afford to live in Manhattan you must be up to no good.
Moving past the idea that all of Brooklyn is “family-oriented,” the pat vernacular of the Downtown Manhattan/Brownstone Brooklyn axis disqualifies the argument. Are people going around really lumping all of Manhattan together as one idea? Particularly an economic idea? We sincerely doubt it.
The cruelties of the internet are due, surely, to its fishbowl properties — everybody who is writing gossip on the internet knows everybody whom they are writing about; indeed, everybody seems to be writing about each other. Or going out with someone who is doing the writing. In its article about me, Gawker referred to a former boyfriend of mine who went out with a former Gawker editor … New York, once a big and anonymous place, is — on the internet, and in the Murdoch press — reduced to a horrifyingly captious and moralising small town.
This strikes us as partially true — especially with regards to Gawker. But Gawker isn’t everything, you know. [Crickets] The New York Internet media, like Manhattan, is a big place, and there’s plenty of room to keep your personal life personal. Here at Daily Intel, you’ll note that our overshares only relate to Jessica’s husband’s burgeoning curiosity for Gossip Girl, Chris’s boyfriend’s opposition to adopting an adorable puppy, and Dan Amira’s abiding love for NBC News White House correspondent Chuck Todd. And we don’t know what those straights who write Vulture even look like.
New York, let’s face it, is going through a very tough time. Everybody, it seems, feels guilty about being part of the long New York bacchanal, so everybody must be guilty — all the more so if you’re not acting guilty. It was Sex in the City that connected sex to everything else in the city: careers, real estate, Wall Street, media. The less inhibited you were, the more successful you could be, was part of the impudent message received by financiers as well as adventurous girls. That New York, the boom town, is now a suspect place. We know [sic] believe that spirit of excess and devil-may-care is responsible for the present apocalyptic mess. Hence my undisciplined romantic life can be discussed pretty much in the same breath as Bernie Madoff — at least in adjacent newspaper pages.
Doesn’t this give Sex and the City a little too much credit? New York has been chronicling the connection between sex and power since the magazine first hit stands. And we’re far from the only ones. Plus, do we really think tawdry sex is lumped in with Bernie Madoff? We don’t think we’ve even once thought about Madoff while we were having tawdry sex! (Well, maybe once.)
Maybe we get to look forward (at least I look forward) to a new licentious underbelly of New York (where the gossips, always bribable, are paid to stay away).
Wait, this is the opposite of what she just said. But okay, here’s the distinction: New York may go through various periods of moralism. We may judge reckless sex one way or another, but we will never stop gossiping about it. That’s what makes us New York!