So remember how, four days ago, everyone got upset because the Times magazine cover story was about some blogger, and there were more important things happening in the world? Well, now New York magazine has decided to take things a step further and publish a cover story about some blog commenter, because it's damned if it's going to be outflanked by the Times on cultural marginalia. And the magazine didn't trot out one of these fancy, gone-pro Manhattan media commenters, either: We're talking an anonymous, insult-spewing, death-wishing commenter on a blog about Brooklyn. Naturally, I read it to the end and loved every drop. The commenter in question is called The What and likes to post anti-gentrification messages on a site called Brownstoner. An excerpt!
He is prone to writing sentences like, "Look at M1, M2 and M3 FED money supply. They have gone parabolic for the last 6 years," as well as sentences like, "Y'all are fucking finished and the asshole Brokers who pumped this shit up will get ass-raped!" He went through a period in March 2008 during which he promised to "reframe from using profanity." (Short-lived.) He's posted comments such as "First order of Business: Citigroup is planing to sell 400 Billion dollars of their assets. I find this very scary. I think they need to raise their capital base.... The upcoming Depression will prove we overstepped out boundaries. And out children will pay for our folly."
And he's posted comments such as, "Real Estate is fucking over!!!!! Real Estate is fucking over!!!!! Real Estate is fucking over!!!!! Real Estate is fucking over!!!!!" His posting style is so schizophrenic that one might suspect he is either (a) several very different people posting under the same name or (b) schizophrenic. He sometimes sounds like he's locked in a basement somewhere, surrounded by newspaper clippings on all four walls.
He touches down in comment threads like a rhetorical Tasmanian devil, huffing and puffing in such a hysterical manner as to become, well, kind of hysterical-as when he wrote this (and I've made every effort to retain the integrity of the punctuation), in response to an item about Clinton Hill titled "Price Cuts at 936 Fulton Street":
WHAT?!!!!! Already?!!!! NO!!!!!!! Everyone wants to live on Fulton St. This can't be happening…… Please help me.… please.….
****Sobs into sleep*********
Chuckie getting ass-raped.
(Chuckie, for the record, appears to be The What's generic name for the average white Brooklynite. Either that, or it's a reference to Chuck Schumer. Or possibly Chuck E. Cheese, though it's not clear why anyone would want to ass-rape Chuck E. Cheese.)
The writer of the article tries, and fails, to figure out who The What is, and uses him a springboard from which to raise issues of anonymity, class anxiety, sublimated anger, fame in the modern era, etc. etc., much as Emily Gould did in her piece in the Times magazine on being a blogger. Which is all well and good, but all that hand-waving is just an excuse to reprint bitchy comments from the What and other Brooklynites, not that anyone should have a problem with that.
The only truly significant issue raised by the story is who will be first to write a big article about blog lurkers. Who are they, and WHY DON'T THEY SAY ANYTHING?