Drama rocked the tabloid news website Gawker last week when half the editorial staff abruptly resigned. The news came to readers through an initially unassuming post on the website by editor Emily Gould, who addressed at length an essay about Gawker in the new issue of literary magazine n + 1 before divulging news of her departure, along with managing editor Choire Sicha. (It was later learned that a third editor, Joshua Stein, had also resigned.) This is Sicha’s second time quitting Gawker, having returned to the site in February after a hiatus at The New York Observer. Speaking to the Times, Nick Denton, publisher of Gawker Media, acknowledged that “Choire’s departure as managing editor, and that of his blogger protégés, will obviously be a complete pain.” So folks, mystery solved on that inhuman screeching you may have heard echoing up from Spring Street; that's just the sound of Denton's complete pain.
Emily Gould’s resignation post on Gawker quoted your friend's email impressions of Keith Gessen's new book, which your friend described as “SUCH a cautionary tale.... To me it's screaming *Get out of NY before it's too late*!!” What on earth is this cultural decline of which your friend speaks? [Laughs] It’s a good question. The decline of New York is seen in careerist social climbing. It’s seen in people who call or email us to ask, “Can you give me advice about my career?” And my advice is: “Maybe you should go write something exciting!”
But hasn’t that always been New York - Sure, people move to New York and scheme but it’s weird if you think back to the era of Tama Janovitz and Bret Easton Ellis coming to New York and thinking, “I’m going to write a novel that knocks socks off!” At the time people probably thought they were transparent social climbers but they were actually sitting in their apartments trying to come up with a book that would knock people’s socks off! I don’t know. Maybe the Dana Vachons and whoever are the same way.
In the New York Magazine cover story, you’re quoted as saying: “Not a week goes by I don't want to quit this job, because staring at New York this way makes me sick.” How did Nick Denton react to that? He’s sort of promulgating that more and more right now. I know he sees my quitting as like my own “existential crisis” in his words, when really, I just don’t like being management. I’ve always been a whiny little girl.
But because Emily and Josh resigned simultaneously it seems there’s more to the story than just your dissatisfaction with being a manager. Wasn’t there some big final confrontation with smashed laptops and bloggers tossed through Balthazar's windows? Oh my God, that would be so awesome, I wish it had been that dramatic. No, I mean, we’ve both been doing this for a good while. No one’s had the strength of a Jessica Coen who lasted two years, I think. I only lasted exactly one year the first time around and that was pretty low-impact back them. I’ve always said it’s not a job people should do for very long.