Simon Doonan: The Daily Beast’s Commenters Are Way Bitchier Than Slate’s


Simon Doonan jumped from The New York Observer to Slate last year, so last night at the Diet Pepsi Style Studio launch, we asked how he’s enjoying the new job. “I thought, ‘I’m such a geriatric old coot, I need to get more webby.’ I didn’t want to get left behind,” he explained, of his decision to leave the Observer. “So Slate is like God to me, because it’s one of the first. There’s something very liberating about being online. You can be more irreverent, and it’s more ephemeral.”

There is one thing he doesn’t like about the Internet though. “Slate is fantastic because when you get comments they’re actually about your writing and not assaults on you as a person, which is a big change,” he explained. “I wrote for the Daily Beast for the year. I did a column for them called ‘Dead Cool.’ It was about people who are dead and cool. And then I stopped doing it, and now the Times does one on their website called ‘Fabulous and Dead.’ And they completely knocked off the idea.” But the comments at the Daily Beast were bitchy? “They’re, like, personal attacks. The ones in Slate are actually interesting. They join in with what you’re writing about, which is nice.” Of course, he added: “It’s good not to read comments at all.”