Nick Denton, our boss, recently issued yet another of his trademark bank-shot public memoranda, using a follow-up tweet to a Forbes.com outtake of his previously published interview with Playboy to announce what it is that he would like the staff of Gawker to do:
@JHWeissmann What bankers think of their critics. What women really want. Why black people like Instagram. Anything that liberals get wrong.
— Nick Denton (@nicknotned) February 28, 2014
Part of Denton's ambition for Kinja is to use it to light a fire under the staff, to make sure there is nothing we are afraid to write, because the commenters will carry us along in a collaboration to tell the truth. So we're going to step up right now and try to answer these questions. But we don't know everything! Therefore, after we supply our take on these subjects, we're calling on you, the readers, to advance the discussion in the comments below.
OK, let's go.
• What bankers think of their critics.
Have we not done this? It kind of feels like we've done this. Anyway, let's say: Bankers think their critics are envious losers, parasites, and ignoramuses who lack the willpower, intellect, and courage to succeed in an economy that runs on pure merit. Maybe we're wrong! But that's what we hear.
• What women really want.
Is this a question for Gawker, particularly? Not to mansplain or anything, but just between us guys: Women probably want not to have complex issues of identity, structural economic justice, power, and desire framed in the language of a cover line from the Atlantic. Probably.
• Why black people like Instagram.
Welp. You might say "Because it's a convenient way to exchange images," but that is staid, conventional thinking. Nick Denton's own theory is that it's because Instagram's filters can correct for the fact that black people don't show up in ordinary photographs.
Somewhere in there is maybe pretty good metaphor for why, say, Twitter is disproportionately popular with black users: the absence of institutional barriers to self-expression, etc. But this is not metaphor!
Here is an internal Gawker editorial chat from February 26, 2013, slightly edited:
JOHN C.: so i had dinner with nick and some other people last night
JOHN C.: here are some things i think you need to know
JOHN C.: 1. Nick described [REDACTED] as a "thick Polish ploughboy"
JOHN C.: 2. Nick laid out his theory about why black people use Instragram
CORD J.: why!
TOM S.: "To share pictures, on the Internet."
JOHN C.: His theory is this: with cheap phone cameras, dark-skinned people don't show up well in photos taken in a party environment
JOHN C.: in other words, you can't see black people in the dark
JOHN C.: but!
CAITY W.: OH MY GODDDDDDDD
JOHN C.: Instagram has filters that can make black people more visible
CAITY W.: OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
CORD J.: perfect
JOHN C.: hence its popularity among african american smart-phone users
JOHN C.: what follows is a direct quote from nick denton regarding instagram
JOHN C.: "So you've got your white people, and you've got your yellow-bones, but if you look at a party photo taken with a phone camera, you can't see black people"
Welcome to the conversation!
• Anything that liberals get wrong.
Again, we have occasionally touched on the subject. But for a full answer, we're going to go, sort of definitionally, with: Faith in progress through ameliorative reforms, thereby protecting the status quo from genuine revolutionary change.
Please supply your own answers to these and any other questions we may be overlooking in the Kinja comments below.
[Image by Jim Cooke]