Former Gawker editor Emily Gould has a new article in MIT's Technology Review asking everyone to try turning off the internet (basically) and maybe keep it off until their lives are profoundly altered. Her piece suggests, as an experiment, that the reader "cease to log in to your instant messenger for a week... Delete your profile from Facebook and stop blogging. Stop reading blogs. Stop attending social events you find out about online." (That would definitely alter my life in a profound way!)
Lee Siegel, who was suspended from the New Republic for posting anonymous Web comments to defend his own writing, has elaborated on why he has no shame about having pretended to be someone called "sprezzatura." Count the excuses! His cruel, greedy editors were at fault, because they would not delete offensive comments. The online commenters were at fault, because they did not understand how criticism worked, were conformists and needed to be challenged with a taste of their own medicine. He, Lee Siegel, was at fault because he kind of meant to get caught. And, finally, the Bush administration was at fault for undermining trust in authorities like Lee Siegel:
"My Blackberry is hooked up to my heart with wires, and to my testicles. I'm on Amazon all the time, and when my [book sale] numbers go down, I get palpitations. When they go up, I get an erection." So began a very therapeutic evening at the New York Public Library with cantankerous author and "cultural critic" Lee Siegel. These days, Lee is critiquing the Internet and its "thuggish anonymity" with his book Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob. In conversation with him was Heidi Julavits, a fun-looking intellectual blonde and editor of literary magazine The Believer, tweedy novelist and large-bearded writer Nicholson Baker, and the NYPL's Paul Holdengraber, who had the required German accent. They were very patient people, and by the end of the evening, all would appear thoroughly exasperated with him.
"They're toads," Tony Kornheiser recently said about bloggers on a radio show for which he is paid good money. "They're little toads. Actually, they're pimples on the behind of the greater body politic in this country and in this city. And because, because they have access to airwaves and three or four people read them, they think, 'Oh, I'm very important.'" Kind of like radio hosts! But enough of that goofball, there are nine bigger blogger-haters who deserve derision — not because bloggers don't deserve constant mockery, but because insulting an entire class of people always guarantees failure.
Writer and "cultural critic" Lee Siegel went on the Daily Show to promote his "I hates teh Internets" book, Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob. Lee is also known for the little anonymous-commenting stunt he pulled on his own essays for the New Republic. He thinks we are just spending way too much time on these infernal machines, and we don't really even know who we're "chatting with!"
Much like bloggers, Stalin "rewrote history, made anonymous accusations, hired and elevated hacks and phonies, ruined reputations at will, and airbrushed suddenly unwanted associates out of documents and photographs," explains New Republic editor Lee Siegel. And that's only one choice bit from the Times' review of his book, Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob. For his part, Siegel refers to his praiseful anono-commenting on his very own essays as "my rollicking misadventures in the online world." Now that's re-writing history! (Click for the work of Siegel's former anonymous avatar, "Sprezzatura.")
"There needs to be a [late, influential New Yorker film critic] Pauline Kael of the Internet. People need to write critically about this thing," says New Republic editor Lee Siegel. (As you might remember, he was once suspended for a little stunt where he commented anonymously on his own essays, via the Internet). He's basically unimpressed by the entire Web and wrote a book, Against the Machine, on this topic. "What the Internet's doing is professionalizing everyone's amateuristic impulses. Everybody wants to jump into the big time and be recognized ... they're not taking the time to just have fun." Is this true? Discuss! Also, if anybody would like to apply for the new position of "Pauline Kael of the Internet," please send your resume our way! [NY Mag]
New York Sun art critic Lee Siegel is also in love with the young art stars of Paper Monument, the most important art journal of our time! He likes them because they are unafraid of our horrible world, in which there are "new, and unanswerable, questions about the status of art at a time when the borders of truth seem to be blurring in art and life—from James Frey to Jayson Blair to lonelygirl15; when the mind-bogglingly accelerated technology of entertainment often leaves the imagination stunned and passive; when the passive imagination is giving way to the assertive ego, which has to get involved in every artistic occasion that comes its way—from popular to high—as voter, mash-up artist, or garrulously commenting blogger." (Yow, that's a sentence!) So! It's the pain and speed of this modern age (and its apparently "unanswerable" questions!) that drove him to become his own anonymous internet-commenting blog-fan sockpuppet. Now we get it!
Salon film critic Stephanie Zacharek is married to former Salon film critic Charles Taylor, who was fired by editor-in-chief and president-for-life Joan Walsh a week after she took the job in 2005. (Walsh insisted that Taylor had been "laid off" for budgetary reasons; he, somewhat famously, scoffed at those allegations a year later, and in doing so pretty much burned every barely standing bridge he had left.) So is it possible that he's now showing up in the letters section of one of his wife's reviews?
Disgraced Internet cowboy Lee Siegel, philosophizes on the motives of anonymous internet critics: "At least for those who practice incessant character assassination, which represents a good portion of the blogosphere, they vent out of the pain of being unacknowledged." It's a pain Siegel should know well, having himself toiled in the fields of obscurity. But it's a learning process: "Obscurity is the new poverty. People don't seem able to bear being unknown. But obscurity and struggle are the artists' Harvard and Yale."
• Blogs: worse than the sixties. [NYT]
• Walter Scott, Walt Whitman also guilty of "sock puppetry." [NYT]
• Joe Hagan throws pretty much everything but the revelation that Bill Keller loves "The Wire" into this profile. [NYM]
• New magazine to battle Portfolio for that all-important douchebag demographic. [NYT]
• Speaking of douchebags, it's hard to identify to twattiest statement in this profile of the Flavorpill folks, but we're going to settle on, "We've been called the Cond Nast of e-mail." [NYT]
• Apparently, people wanted to see pictures of Suri Cruise. [WWD]
• Bill Gates has no iPod. Thank you, Donny Deutsch! [copyranter]
You're a fraud, and a liar. And a wincingly pretentious writer. You couldn't tie Siegel's shoelaces.