While it is our journalistic duty to bring you all the news that is fit to link, we do not always do so without discomfort, and our unease over the general reaction to A.J. has been growing for the past few days.
For example, when we receive an email that opens with "Well I created this email account solely for the purpose of this email", and then offers unsubstantiated and potentially libelous claims about our hero, we cannot help but almost feel sympathy. And it does not help that the anonymous emailer follows up the original email with "IMPORTANT: DO NOT DISPLAY MY EMAIL ADDRESS TO ANYONE. DO NOT PUT MY EMAIL ADDRESS ON YOUR WEBSITE. KEEP ME TOTALLY ANONYMOUS" - if he is not willing to stand by his claims and hide behind the anonymity of the internet instead, then what reason do we have to expose our relatively less anonymous selves? That was not the only email we will not reprint - there's a point where schadenfreude turns into pure meanness.
And many readers aren't really getting it when they focus on his poseur-ness.
True, if he did overstate his wealth and importance, then he does deserve our derision. But the story, from the very beginning, was about the nightlife culture that he celebrated, a point lost on many of our tipsters and commenters at DealBook. He has done nothing wrong, per se; it's just his lack of self-awareness and obsession with empty status symbols. If "models and bottles" is, as commenter "Goose" writes, a catchphrase that "summarizes all of NYC nightlife", then we are in more trouble than we thought and we would almost be tempted to write something awful and unforgivable like "Maybe Osama had the right idea".
Fortunately, A.J.'s Thursday night out is not "all of NYC nightlife". For people like us, who are neither as good looking nor wealthy as A.J., there is a night life that does not involve velvet ropes and we manage to spend a night out without thinking to ourselves, "Tonight would be a lot more fun if only there were prettier girls and more expensive drinks".
Dealbreaker is correct in distinguishing A.J. from the Douchebag Extraordinaire Aleksey Vayner - Vayner is a douche no doubt, but A.J. is more a tool, if you will. He's harmless, and for the most part, simply fun to laugh at.
Finally, someone other than A.J.'s "friends and supporters" sticks up for him.
I was the girl that the second comment was referring to (not the polyester girl but the one that got the Manolo Blahnik shoes and dress). I actually did not know who Manolo Blahnik was... I was there when he bought me the black dress - the shoes he got me as a gift while I was getting fitted. I'm his ex-girlfriend who no longer talks much to him.
Just to vouch for him, since everyone on Gawker bashes him...I've never witnessed him bragging about any Hilton - and I was on and off with him for over a year. Does he make millions? I don't think so, but he does well (enough) for himself and was never very dependent on anyone. And I never knew him to brag about money. He never came off as showy to me.
Another Day, Another Video: This Time It's Wall Street Gone Wild [DealBook]
Write-Offs: Not To Mince Words Or Anything [DealBreaker]
Earlier: A.J.: Point/Counterpoint, Thursday Still the Night That He Balls
Update: Code.tv was featured on MSNBC's The Most (hosted by MTV's Allison Stewart!) and the meat of the segment was naturally A.J.'s Thursday night out. You can watch the footage here on the MSNBC site. We feel like we made A.J. who he is today - "like a proud mother" is the phrase that comes to mind.