Emily Brill's ContentS

When Gawker nastily republished swimsuit shots of Emily Brill, daughter of the publishing magnate, several readers objected. Just because she's a spoiled rich girl, she's not a target, you said. Emily Brill (right) had done nothing, beyond displaying a newly svelte figure on her Facebook profile, to call media attention to herself. But think of that introductory post as a self-fulfilling prophecy that Steven Brill's ambitious daughter would become a public figure.

Brill's website, Essentially Emily, is still a little thin. But the budding media entrepreneur promises, in her third and latest post: "Ultimately, you're going to see a LOT more content." In any case, Emily, who recently returned from an adorable holiday in St. Barth's, has been busy meeting Kristian Laliberte and other figures of New York society, at fashion industry parties. More importantly, she's been barraged by interview requests from, among others, the New York Observer.

So, what does this say? First of all, yes, it is indeed enough to be a rich man's daughter to gain public attention. Emily's father, Steven Brill, is a recognizable name because of his notorious management style, his success with American Lawyer magazine, and his failure with Brill's Content, a project which gained much media attention because it was about the media. The idea of his daughter as a media mogul, however embryonic or deluded, is too delicious to resist.

Second, the competition for fresh content, and characters, is so intense that journalists cannot wait for an individual to show any real achievement. The requirements: a pedigreed name, a sex tape, embarrassing before-and-after photos, or three posts on an embryonic web site, or some combination of the above. Here's the editorial process. "You're sick of Julia Allison? Here's someone new. Okay, so she hasn't done anything. But, then, neither has Star Magazine's talking bosom. Next!"

Finally, an individual's privacy or inherent celebrity can, in this highly mediated world, only be determined by something like Schroedinger's thought experiment in quantum mechanics. Schroedinger's cat is neither alive nor dead until observed-until that time, the cat is both alive and dead. Similarly, an Emily Brill may be a shy once-fat girl, or a shallow attention-seeking mogulette: only observation by blog can determine the truth.