jerks who want badly to be jerks

What Percentage of People With Job Descriptions Including the Word Social Are Not Well-Liked?

Justin Ross Lee at Mohammed Al Turki's Hamptons Birthday Celebration at Paige Estate, Southampton, NY July 03, 2011.

When we checked in with Justin Ross Lee early last fall, he was embroiled in a very public bankruptcy. Now the 29-year-old has been given the New York Times Thursday “Styles” treatment for his success as a “social media monger.”* (The failed business, a pocket-square operation called the Pretentious Pocket, is “back on its feet,” or at least that’s what Lee told a reporter.)

Like a shockingly high percentage of people who make their living at jobs containing the word “social” in them, Lee doesn’t really seem to be a person whom people like, but he has made himself nearly impossible to look away from — far more important in his line of work. He is fully aware of this, and uses it to gin up publicity: like, say, the blog post he wrote about the “10 Most Hated People in New York Nightlife, ” featuring himself at No. 3. Or, you know, profiles in the New York Times that gleefully revel in details like these:

He has been banned from a dozen venues around town for harassing doormen, teasing guests and acting out in other ways too. The restaurant Pastis even banned him several years ago for taking a table reserved for someone else.

I snuck a peek at the reservation book and used a name that wasn’t mine,” Mr. Lee said.

His antics are not confined to New York or to land, for that matter. On a US Airways flight to Germany a few years ago, he neared arrest when he took a champagne bottle from his first-class cabin and went around serving it to coach passengers in his pajamas.

Lee gives good quote, too, making him all the more enticing of a subject for reporters interested in teasing out the current state of fameball-ism in America today.  “It helps in my drive to become a household name,” he told the Times, which notes that Lee has acquired some 100,000 Facebook followers. “Recognition is the greatest thing in the world. I find it disgusting when people don’t know who I am.”

We almost don’t need to type this, you surely already have guessed it: A production company is shopping around a reality-show reel on Lee’s behalf.

Update: Lee called us up to thank us effusively for the post (“The only bad press in this world is if you hate Jews or love little children, and I love Jews and hate little children!”), and also to clarify the age disparities we originally noted between a New York Post story last fall (which pegged him at 30) and today’s Times report. He was born on 4/7/83, he noted, making him just barely 29, and offered to send over his intern with copies of his birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, and flowers to prove it. We opted for e-mailed scans. Lee wouldn’t care, he said — “Only a woman should care this much about their age!” — except that in order to get a production deal “you kinda have to be under 31.” “I don’t want this to be a Devorah Rose situation where everyone thinks you’re like actually 35.”

Previously: Justin Ross Lee: Almost an Absolutely Alliterative Asshole

Justin Ross Lee, ‘Social Media Monger’