What Gawker did well

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com, or follow me on Twitter.


What Gawker did at its best was stand up and say, “No, you’re right, these are lies, you are correct to think that you are being lied to” and for however long that assertion hung there in the air you were able remind yourself that you weren’t wrong to feel discomfort with what whatever narrative they were pushing at you. You weren’t alone. It did not make the world better but at least it pressed pause on the world’s becoming worse. Gawker was not always, or even often, at its best. (See — or actually, please don’t — everything I wrote during my tenure there.) Gawker published a lot of garbage, and the strident defense of that garbage by the people who worked at Gawker was all the proof you need that everyone is captured in their own web of dishonesty eventually; Gawker’s biggest lies were the ones it told about itself. But these errors were small in scale when measured up against the pervasive duplicity offered by the other publications Gawker was established to counter. (It is no accident that many of the most heartfelt cheers for Gawker’s demise came from those in the press who had been stung by its appraisals; there is nothing more wounding to someone who has surrendered his critical faculties in exchange for admission to the system than to be reminded of his complicity in its fraudulence.) Gawker was stupid, loud, bullying and ill-informed, and most days it was the only honest thing you could read.
Now those days are over. We live in a world where we are lied to every day. The only rational response is outrage, but outrage is an emotion whose energy is impossible to sustain. Even the strongest among us eventually submit, and most of us are not strong. We have allowed people who don’t want to hear the truth — people who don’t want the truth to be told even when they know that it is rarely an impediment to their success — to silence those annoying, inconvenient voices that say “No, what you are telling us is not true.” Fewer questions will be asked, more falsehoods will pass unchecked, and we will wake up each morning to a new set of lies with a diminished capacity for remembering that we don’t have to accept them unconditionally or make peace with living in a world where they are the norm. Will the circumstances ever arise again where a site such as Gawker can come forward to challenge the dominant discourse of mendacity? Only a fool would venture to predict it. But we are each a little worse off without someone else to keep track of all the dishonesty and remind us that we are not crazy in those moments where we look around and rub our eyes and stare in shock at all the lies. Whether we know it or not, we are each a little worse off without Gawker in the world.