I had always imagined the commenters as a pack of wolves… and if they smelled blood, my blood, because there I was with them, they would pounce. And then we could have it out.

Instead, the commenters wanted me to leave. It was as if I'd misunderstood. Dude, said the commenters, in effect: We weren't talking about you. We were talking about "Keith Gessen." You're just a name to us. Kind of a funny name, actually. And an author photo. Kind of an obnoxious author photo. But we don't mean you, personally. We're bored at work. Come on.

And that was really strange. I have a friend who occasionally makes the argument: You've put yourself out there, now people can take their shots. I have another friend who puts it a little differently: You manifest yourself in public, and then people will make of it what they will. But this didn't feel like either of those things. It was more as if I'd given up my name and photograph as an offering, for people to take shots and interpret those things-not me. That was the deal.

And, if you look at it that way, it's kind of hard to argue. I have no interest in ruining other people's fun. I like fun.

So, it's cool.

... Enough! Ultimately the battle for the internet will have to take place somewhere OUTSIDE the internet, that is to say in the world of flesh and blood, and toward that end, readers of this Tumblr, I announce a TAKE BACK THE INTERNET PARTY.

This Friday night. 8 pm until midnight.

n+1 office in DUMBO

68 Jay St. #405

York St. F stop closest stop

Entrance on Jay St. a little past the intersection with Front

All Tumblr readers welcome! And others. Even if you've said terrible things about me on the internet, I forgive you. I know you didn't really mean me. Even if you did.

[Keith Gessen]

(Image via