Our best work here at Gawker is not always our most popular. Sometimes those two indicia—popularity and quality—are negatively correlated, and sometimes they're aligned. It's a crapshoot. Below, you will find the a list of the best stuff we came up with over the past 12 months. It's a grab-bag of searing criticism, straight dirt, personal assaults, intense narrative journalism, dark essays, a dead dog, jokes we couldn't get out of our heads until we put them on the site, gag headlines, and screaming goats. We hate to disappoint the loyal readers who expect, as one wag recently put it, "the short newsy posts typical of Gawker." But this is the stuff the staff was really into.
The first full conversation I had with Gawker's features editor Tom Scocca included a 20-minute detour into something he called smarm. He sort of dropped the word in front of me and waited, with a tight grin on his face, to see what I'd do with it. I pretended that I understood what he was talking about. And then I waited nearly a year for this machine-tooled, righteous assault on false goodwill to show up on our web site. Now everyone knows exactly what he was talking about.
Kiese Laymon is an English professor at Vassar College. He also commissions and edits the personal essays we publish each Saturday, many of which appear on this list. This one was brutal, enraging, and lovely.
To avoid the impression that I am using this forum to promote my own work, I should point out that this one was a staff favorite. I flew to Toronto, had a lovely time, met a crack dealer, watched an iPhone video of the city's mayor high as fuck and smoking crack, and wrote about it. Then a bunch of stuff happened and some really great charities in Canada got about $200,000 of your money. Rob Ford is still mayor of Toronto, thank God.
"'Dennis, We've Been Crying Too Much': Dr. Hook and the Untold Story of the Best Rock Movie Ever Made," by Will Sheff
A long, long time ago, a washed-up rock band appeared on German television in the middle of the night. Three decades later, someone slipped Okkervil River's Will Sheff a DVD of the performance, and he recognized it for what it is: The best rock film ever made. This is his close reading. It is the longest work Gawker has ever published.
Valleywag's Nitasha Tiku deserved combat pay for this hilarious and deeply reported first-person account of One Taste, a cult-like group that promotes "orgasmic meditation," for which she got half-naked with hundreds of strangers. Repeatedly. (Also, the GIF from Jim Cooke is, as usual, spot-on.)
On a summer night in 1992, Maccabee Montandon's brother was murdered during a robbery attempt in Los Angeles. Two decades later, Montandon assessed the ongoing damage.
"The Princess and the Trolls: The Heartrending Legend of Adalia Rose, the Most Reviled Six-Year-Old Girl on the Internet," by Camille Dodero
Adalia Rose is six years old. She suffers from progeria, a condition that gives her an unusual appearance for a child. Trolls at 4Chan found her on Facebook and turned her into a loved and hated internet icon. Camille Dodero went to Texas to find her.
It was, wasn't it?
All year, Gawker's national correspondent Ken Layne has been writing posts for each major holiday under the rubric "Ken Layne's American Almanac." They have all been beautiful, but I can't fit them all here, so I chose his July 4th dispatch, an exquisitely wrought geyser of bile accompanied by a ghastly GIF from Jim Cooke.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, the New York Post repeatedly shit the bed, claiming falsely that 12 people had died (it was 3), that feds had identified a Saudi "suspect" (false), and, most glaringly, publishing a Page One photo of two men allegedly being sought by the authorities under the blaring headline, "BAG MEN." The "bag men" were Salaheddin Barhoum, 16, and Yassine Zaimi, 24, and they were there to watch the marathon. (They are suing the Post for libel.) On the morning that cover appeared, Tom Scocca addressed widespread concerns that Post editor Col Allan is a bigot, a drunk, and a pigfucker.
The silence that greeted these on-the-record claims from a former co-worker of TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington that he abused an ex-girlfriend is all you really need to know about the Silicon Valley press.
This began as a response to a job ad. It was Jimmy Anderson's cover letter. It told the story of the day he and his family were driving to a Mexican restaurant in Patterson, Calif., to celebrate his birthday when an impaired driver careened into their car, killing his mother, father, and brother and leaving him paralyzed.
In January, a common dolphin made its way from New York harbor into the fetid waters of the Gowanus canal, where it died alone. Max Read traced the pitiful devolution of Long Island from Walt Whitman's "Fish-shape Paumanok" to the moment of that dolphin's final, acrid breath.
Number 24! OMG Number 24. (That is indeed, by the way, a silhouette of Tom Scocca.)
We use a group chat system here at Gawker to communicate. On the morning after the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series at home in Fenway Park, Hamilton Nolan wrote "great day for a fuck boston post." Seventeen minutes later, he filed it.
In the wake of Miley Cyrus' MTV Video Awards performance, I asked Caity Weaver for a usage guide for "twerking," "ratchet," and various other terms that had been moving, as much of our pop culture terminology does, from black vernacular to cable-news anchor vernacular. She didn't really want to.
Sammie Eaglebear Chavez, 19, was born poor, to a prostitute mother and a disappeared father, and shuffled from house to house as a kid. But his greatest misfortune was getting arrested for threatening to harm his fellow high school students four hours before, halfway across the country, Adam Lanza started shooting.
As the trial in the murder of Trayvon Martin came to an end, Cord Jefferson told me he'd have something to say in anticipation of an acquittal. I thought there was no way George Zimmerman could actually get off, but I told him he might as well write it. Because we hadn't anticipated that the jury would deliberate over the weekend, he hurriedly drafted part of it on a ferry to Catalina Island off the coast of California. When he sent it in, I thought it was perfect, but I was sure the jury would do the right thing.
After Jamie Dimon's daughter wrote a hard-hitting cultural analysis of female office pooping behavior for the Daily Beast, in which an unnamed morning-show anchor revealed her fear of the dreaded Office Poop, Caity Weaver started digging. (It was Hoda.)
The Black Party is an annual leather bacchanal in New York City, where gay men gather for a day and night of anonymous sex and drugs. Which is the perfect place to send a reporter. Not to mention photographer Victor Jefferey II, who came back with creepy and delirious images.
In the midst of an epic, and epically boring, budget battle, Max Read cracked the code on how to address serious public policy issues in a way that can engage the Gawker audience on native terms. Some people were kind of upset.
I laughed for days at the headline.
Shepard Smith, an anchor for Fox News, is dating a Fox News staffer more than 20 years his junior who was working directly under Smith's supervision when their romance began. This is a run-of-the-mill media gossip scoop about a personality of some interest. For some reason, some people didn't like it.
"You get used to death by having everyone around you die. With all of two living relatives remaining and a long list of friends gone, I am familiar enough with the process. It is absurd to grieve for a dog the way I never grieved for all of those people, but that's how it is." RIP Hunter.
Harvard Law School graduate Josie Duffy's Dear John letter to a city she never quite learned to live in.
It was a real thrill to see Kanye West's byline on Gawker this year.
Before Edward Snowden was born, there was a National Security Agency insider who, at great personal risk, went public with astonishing stories about the breadth and depth of the agency's illegal surveillance. Now he runs an antique shop out on Long Island. Adrian Chen tracked him down.
Pathos, humor, a glimpse of the absurd, sounds of terror, goats, and 1.4 million pageviews. "Two Minutes of Nothing But Goats Yelling Like Humans" is the perfect viral post.
There's an uncomfortable truth behind the argument for gay marriage: For many gay men in relationships, fidelity isn't even an aspirational goal. Steven Thrasher explored the reality of gay married life.
With a simple reversal of rhetorical polarity, Cord Jefferson managed to throw in sharp relief the ludicrous racialism of your average cable-news crime story. He extended the gag that night to MSNBC's "All in With Chris Hayes," with a discussion of how endemic violence is to white culture in America.
This is going to happen for real one day.
Camille Dodero, a former staffer at the Boston Phoenix, wrote a moving remembrance on the occasion of the alt-weekly's death, and a belated obituary for one of its great editors, Clif Garboden.
Point of personal privilege: In June, federal prosecutors went after one of the perpetrators of the galactic fraud on the American public that was the 2008 financial crisis. His name was James Wazlawik, of Prescott, Wisc. His crime: Misstating his income on his mortgage application and costing Citibank $146,829.
such pheonmenal. wow. much popular. very analsys. OMG. internet lovbleness. valedictry adrien doge
We've also put all the stories together on a "readlist," so you can send them directly to your Kindle or epub reader.