David Rees Is Treating True/Slant’s Abandoned Website Like an Empty Hotel

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Photo: Ivan Oliveira

True/Slant, Lew Dvorkin's website, which Forbes shuttered at the end of July, still has good-bye posts trickling in from bloggers. But we're more interested in what's been showing up on David Rees's contributors page in the past 24 hours. First Rees, creator of the comic Get Your War On, posted a cryptic missive at 11.08 p.m. last night: "Let’s party! Burn everything." Then there was the follow-up this afternoon called "Empty Hotel Party":


Everyone knows the best kind of party is an Empty Hotel Party, when you and your buddies (or bbud3z, as hackers type it) run wild in empty conference rooms and eat old pudding from walk-in refrigerators and call people and say, “Hello, this is the Holiday Inn. We have to cancel all your reservations forever because we are drunk.”

We got David Rees on the phone this afternoon to explain what this nonsense was all about, whether he had been hacked, and why he wanted us to meet in Matt Taibbi's comment section.

Did you write those posts?
I did. True/Slant got bought by Forbes, and then there were all these good-byes and I thought I should see if you can still get in the site, like "Oh, look, it’s like an abandoned building, you can do whatever you want." I thought it would be fun to run around on this abandoned website. I’m so self-defeating and idiotic, I’ll probably post fifteen times as much now that I’m not even getting paid.

Was there a going-away party? Were you invited?
If there were a party, I wouldn’t be invited.

Are you still doing the comic Get Your War On?
No, I stopped that when George Bush left office. Now I am an artisanal pencil-sharpener. My website is artisanalpencilsharpening.com.

Are you really sharpening pencils?
Uh, yeah.

Did you change your profile after the site was shut down, too?
I had that ever since I started contributing in February, 2009. I was rebranding myself as a fashion insider and wine consultant, but that didn’t work out.

What did you write about for True/Slant?
I was just making silly jokes and stuff, like I made up all these fake Hollywood rumors, just dumb, silly stuff, about Pixar adapting Wall-E for Broadway and filling a theater full of trash — with a Roomba going around and singing songs.

Are you bitter that True/Slant shut down?
No, they seem like nice people. I’m happy for them, that they have this success or whatever. I have my own website and I spend my time on that website. You should go to it, artisanalpencilsharpening.com.

Would they pay you to write?
Yeah, the way it worked was you would get a basic monthly payment — until I just completely stopped writing. If you got a bunch of page views, you got a bonus. When you’re a blogger for HuffPo, you don’t get paid, so I thought it was a good experiment.

What would you have changed about the site?
I always wished that it had been better designed, more attractive, I guess you could say I was more impressed with the philosophy behind it than reading it. But I don’t know how many people Arianna Huffington had. And True/Slant was like five people, literally. I looked at it. I mean, they had some good contributors.

So you’re going to keep posting, huh?
I’m going to start posting maniacally. I was thinking if there was a way to write posts in spray-paint font, so it looks like I’m graffiti-ing an abandoned hotel or something .... But I guess it’s more like an abandoned library. Let’s all go meet in Matt Taibbi's blog post from 2010 and we’ll all get drunk in the comments section!