Katie Roiphe has made a career out of provocation (here and elsewhere). She's good at it! Take today, for instance, when Slate published an essay of hers entitled "Gawker Is Big Immature Baby" (typo on snark-filled purpose), positing that the blog has every right to be snarky, it's just that they don't do honor to the form.
It’s not that one wants one’s gossips to be nice, exactly, but one wants them nuanced, substantive. One wants to remember an amazing line, and not have a vague impression of cloudy nastiness. Think of great or colorful or stylish pieces of nastiness that stay in your head. ... Humor, and even name-calling, is more effective when it’s less generic, less anonymous, less generally applicable to anyone who has done anything. I can speak to this as a target: More effective than “Katie Roiphe Is Big Immature Baby” or even Gawker’s poem “Shut up Katie Roiphe” is when, in The New Yorker, someone once called me a “self proclaimed bad girl and sexual rebel.”
She's right, of course, that simple bile is fairly uninteresting. The problem is that Roiphe seems to be writing about a now-ancient iteration of the website, which has evolved a great deal (and gotten noticeably less snarky and insider New York-y) since Emily Gould — the writer whose mildly nasty 2007 post about Roiphe, and subsequent request for a book blurb, seem to have inspired the essay — was on staff. The Internet moves awfully quickly, and that's part of the reason bloggers' wit isn't always rapier sharp: No doubt we'd all be smarter and funnier if we could take four years to formulate a response.
Gawker Is Big Immature Baby [Slate]