Part of the problem

It seems obvious to me now that anytime you write about a person online they are likely to read what you’ve written, so you should keep that in mind while writing. It’s odd to think that there was a time — relatively recently! — when I didn’t know this. It’s even odder to read things that are written by people who still haven’t realized this. I mean, either people haven’t realized this or they have zero ethical qualms about hurting other people. Sometimes it’s the latter. That’s a boring line of inquiry, right? Still, people have written entire books about: ‘Whoa, the Internet is such a mean, mean place,’ and my feeling is always, well, duh. Some people are mean. Some people have always been mean, and when you overstimulate mean people and reward them with attention and also vouchsafe quasi-anonymity to them, they’ll get meaner by orders of magnitude. As Lamar Van Dyke might say, “well, yeah. That’d be yeah.”

The interesting thing, to me, is when people write online in a way that belies their belief that they’re passing some kind of secret private note that the person they’re eviscerating — or, more accurately, the received-idea-of-person they’re eviscerating — will never see. I understand this mentality because I used to embody it, uh, approximately 12 times a day. When I thought of the audience for my Gawker posts, I thought about how many people would agree with me, how we’d all bond over my witty observation about how thing/person X sucked in this particular way or had said some impolitic or dumb thing. I really did not ever think of the person I was writing about sitting there and reading what I’d written. I sincerely thought that the kind of people who got written about were somehow different from me.

Well, maybe some people don’t, but I read every single god damn thing that people write about me. All of it. If it is possible to find via a Google Blog or a Technorati search, I have read it. I’m not so obsessive that I will read all the comments on a blog post, and I definitely haven’t read all the comments on the Times magazine story (I made Choire skim them to find “questions” that I could “answer” when I had to do that for the Times’ website), but I am fairly thorough with my online self-flagellation/self-gratification. Probably this admission will not change the mind of anyone who thinks I’m a narcissist. But honestly, guys, can you sit there and tell me you don’t do the same thing? If you don’t, it might just be because there’s only so obsessed you can get when the third result after your LinkedIn profile is a track meet score from high school. But if you are a writer or performer or artist or have any kind of online presence beyond social networking sites, you engage in what Joanne McNeil has dubbed “narci-searching.” (Guess how I found that blog post!) Don’t tell me that you don’t. Actually, do tell me that you don’t! Write me an email and tell me how you avoid doing this. I would love to know your secret. Because even when I have taken breaks from the Internet, I’ve always had well-meaning friends who’ve been like “Oooh, saw the thing about you … sucks, right? Haha, weird.” Far from avoidable, knowledge of every dumb (or occasionally nice!) thing anyone writes about the cloud of concepts they perceive to represent “Emily Gould” is, for me, inevitable.

I am trying to get to a point here and the point had to do with, I was sitting on the subway today reading last week’s New Yorker, which was the best New Yorker of all time, pretty much. Ryan Lizza’s Rahm Emanuel profile. Ariel Levy on Van Lesbians. Rebecca Mead making some opera lady interesting. And then this week there was that D. T. Max David Foster Wallace piece, which I read online in its 13-page entirety, sometimes through tears. Basically the New Yorker is so good lately that whenever there’s a particularly Dad-funny Shouts and Murmurs or, say, an annoying Adam Gopnik thing about Damon Runyon and Guys and Dolls, it really clunks loudly. So I was thinking about this and suddenly my mind started to whirr with ideas for an old-school blog post about all the mockery-ripe Gopniky moments (“And then, just as it takes a naïf to find Paris cafés adorable—the natives find them about as interesting as diners—it took another kind of naïf to think that the lowlifes of Broadway were charming”) in that piece and how I’d dissect them (I know, ha ha.) Then I thought about how long it had been since I’d written something like that and I started to think about why, exactly, that was.

Here is an example of someone who wrote about me who, it seems clear, didn’t think I would ever read what she’d written.

This is someone I met when my ex-boyfriend was in a band with her husband. She wrote this post on a blog that seems to be otherwise comprised of sweet observations about her infant daughter and wry observations about her job teaching in a NYC public school. Based on that stuff, I’d assume that she is a person who has ethical qualms about hurting others. She really did not think I’d ever read this. Right?

Oh hmm. Wait. “I remember that my husband hung out at their apartment once, bringing home to Manhattan the opinion that they were a really nice couple as well as a copy of a fun novelty book from Emily’s publishing company. Emily, if you read this, I think we still have that book – do you want it back?

Okay, so. She does assume I’ll read her blog post. Except, maybe this is a rhetorical device? You know, “An Open Letter to [X].” Because what kind of person would want someone they’d met a couple times and been friendly with in real life to read something like this:

I find Emily’s career arc to be slightly distasteful – the lack of general seriousness, the rise to public prominence for no meaningful reason, the dependence on celebrity/gossip culture, the exhibitionism, etc.

Or, well, this:

THE TATTOOS. Emily, if you read this, I am so, so sorry, I truly am, but HOLY GOD THE TATTOOS. Yes, I know I have a tattoo also, BUT IT IS NOT OF THE SEQUINNED FLOWERS ON GRAM PARSON’S NUDIE SUIT. IT JUST ISN’T, OK? Emily, if you read this, you totally know that there is a difference between just getting a tattoo and getting THAT TATTOO. I know you know there’s a difference, because that’s why you got that tattoo, but you think it’s a GOOD DIFFERENCE and I think it’s a BAD DIFFERENCE. AND KNOWING ABOUT IT MAKES IT REALLY HARD FOR ME TO TAKE YOUR WORK SERIOUSLY. I’M SORRY. There. I said it. (But not really. I typed it. Your article is sort of about the difference between those two things. Maybe it would have been a better article if it had been more specifically, thoughtfully about the difference between those two things. I don’t know. I’m just glad I didn’t have to write it.)

Wow. Um. I wish I remembered what tattoo this woman has, that is so much better than my tattoo. Ostensibly it is a kind of tattoo that would lead you to take someone’s work more, not less, seriously — assuming, of course, that you were the kind of person who judges the seriousness of someone’s work based on her tattoos.

And then then there is this paragraph, which is where I begin to feel physically sick.

“The worst thing I have to say about the article (and also Emily Magazine) is that it’s often not particularly compelling writing. (Emily, if you read this, I am really sorry. I have no wish to cause you personal pain, even though that is of course what I might be doing. Really, I should just shut up and go back to staring moodily at my sleeping babymy perineum or my new sandals or my recent trip to Ikea. Because who elected me Ms. Critic of the Universe and gave me the right to talk trash about other people’s creative productions? Nobody, that’s who. But I’m going to keep writing this anyway, and then I’m going to post it online where everyone can see it forever. Because, just like you did, I feel driven to do it, and I feel like it’s some sort of innate right. I feel you, girlfriend. I really feel you. Though, Emily, if you read this, you probably hate the fact that I just called you “girlfriend.” Sorry for that, too.) She is not an especially bad writer, and I guess I ought to salute her for that, as there are lots of especially bad writers out there, but she is not amazing either. For the most part (and there are exceptions), I cannot hear a strong, lively voice behind her words; I cannot pick out the clear, individual consciousness that makes any piece of writing more than just the story that it tells, thus lifting it out of tedium [...]“

“I am really sorry.” That’s what gets me.

Right now, I am writing in a medium that can deceive its participants into thinking that real people — people who’ve invited us into their thought processes, or even people who have invited us into their literal homes — should be written about the same way we’d write about a character on a tv show that we hate-watch.

I am aware of this now and I will try not to be deceived.

95 comments to Part of the problem

  • churlish

    Oh Emily! You have quite obviously learned so much these last months.

  • Evelyn

    Why bother apologizing if you’re still going to click “publish” at the end of the day? My mom used to say to me “you’re not sorry you did it, you’re just sorry you got caught.” The self-awareness of an apology

    Saying (emphatically) that someone has a shitty tattoo pretty much evaporates any chance you have at making a criticism of them/their job that ISN’T ad hominem.

  • rach

    yuck, that girl was so smug and self satisfied. i dont know how you could read that without throwing up your red popsicle. i can tell just by reading that post that she has the kind of self-serious personality I can’t stand; if this post were written about me i don’t think I would care because her judgments and opinions on people are probably the exact opposite of mine. In fact, I would almost be worried if she praised me. do you feel that way at all, emily?

  • I think it’s a blessing that people write about you – in a sort of twisted way.

    What I would say about the “really sorry” girl – just by reading this excerpt – is that she probably looks at your posts, which are longer than the tumblr-era-style-blogging she’s probably used to, and her head hurts. I’d say you are an exceptionally good writer for people who read.

    And the way I keep from Googling myself is that I never find anything good or bad, so there’s that. :) But maybe I’ll give it a go right now and see what comes up (aside from a mention from my HS German by Satellite class and a Christian Scientologist who shares my maiden name).

  • jack

    One of the things I like about skilled writers is that their material pulls you in before you know what has happened. As Rebecca A. stated so well” You have such a pleasing way of inviting your readers inside your head.”

    I was happy to see this new post.

    A quick overview revealed a longer than average post with lots of links. This should have been a clue; but, without giving it any more thought, I jumped in.

    As my reading progressed, I started getting all wound up to react to the subject, when I realized, your writing had pulled me in so fast, that I almost forgot that’s there’s no way you’d have spent the time on this piece primarily to comment on aspects of the technology interface experience and to complain about the drunk ramblings of some pathetic, obsessive creature. Smooth!

    Another excellent piece of writing, thanks!

  • I found your writing through gawker, and I enjoy it. Thus, am happily subscribed to your blog.

    I’m a little bit older and geekier than you, so I first had my overshare-y bloggy ex-boyfriend experience back in 2001, and since then have been more cautious about my blogging. I’ve still had minor drama flare ups, and after a few years of quiet, recently found a blog post written about me (specifically, about realizing he doesn’t love me).

    My favourite (ex) writers for the Gawker empire probably got the most abuse. It’s too late for me to say anything intelligent about that, except that there are quiet fans out there, like myself.

  • I’m sorry you feel that you have to feel this way!

  • emily

    @bennett. Ha. Accompanied with sympathetic look and hand on shoulder

  • Aero

    Loved this post. Loved. It.

    I’ve never understood the ire towards you. You’re funny, self-aware and you always, always, admit your mistakes. You’re human and your writing cracks me up. In other words, you always “write the hell out of it”.

    Also, Emily if you’re reading this, I am so sorry, but COOL INK, GIRLFRIEND!!!

  • Really though, by posting these odious excerpts aren’t you just inviting us to do the dirty work–that of giving back to her as good as she gave–for you?

    I’ll limit my scorn to one point: How is it possible for a person (this witch) to write a generalized condemnation of a writer’s (your) supposedly mediocre writing abilities by employing her own patently inferior writing abilities…without noticing the absurdity? The combination of her diction and her syntax and her tone evokes some godawful combination of an 18 year old airhead and a prudish, self-consciously “helpful” and “thoughtful” letter-to-the-editor writer circa 1958. And that’s not a function of her–still undoubtedly wretched–personality, but a testament to HOW BAD AND MALADROIT A WRITER SHE IS.

    Too mean?

  • Rebecca A


  • St. Elizabeth

    I enjoyed reading what you wrote but to your point: People have been backstabbing people whose homes they were in forever, in fact it’s an official Manhattan sport I think?

    But setting catty social cultures aside — you can ask Liz Smith about their local history, after all — this woman was on the ex-boyfriend’s side of the friend network chart. Trash-talking along the lines of “I could never stand that b#%$!@/d#$%” have probably been around as long as breakups and spoken language.

    I guess what “the medium” enables that’s new and oh-so-special is that it made it really easy for this woman to have a, what, 4,000 word(?) bitchfest (which has been happening for eons verbally) and publish it to the world (new!).

  • Oh, Emily, I need to print out this post and put it on my wall just to remember that I’m not the only one who’s struggled with these feelings. There’s a tipping point after which you’re perceived by the blog community as a celebrity and, to them, you become a caricature of yourself, or, as you put it, a “cloud of concepts.” Then they can treat us the way they treat more traditional celebs, because we’re not real anymore. It was so jarring for me when it started that I almost quit. I kept reading this stuff thinking to myself, “This isn’t true! I never said that! How could they be saying these things about me? THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW ME.” And then I realized that that’s exactly how Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears feel every time they see one of my posts.

    I’ve pretty much made my peace with it, but it still hurts to read it every. Single. Time. That piece you linked to was especially evil. What a douche. (And you are, for the record, a better writer than she is, by powers of 10.)

    I hope you feel better, sweetie.

  • I love your blog and read it regularly—this is the first time I’ve responded and I’m just here to say, Don’t Google Yourself. It’s a kind of restraint that is necessary to have a good life and to grow as a writer. The way I stopped was to just dig in about why I was looking in the first place, was it boredom, curiosity, loneliness, habit, etc, and then think about the consequences of doing it, the wasted time, the anger, the jitteriness, the intrusion on my writing, etc, and then think about my goals and how self googling just didn’t get me any closer to them. You’re talented—maybe think of not googling yourself like an athlete not smoking. You asked for advice–I think sincerely–there’s mine. What other people think of you is none of your business. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. How people respond to you only reveals them, not you. Good luck!

  • emily

    Ha, ok, I will give it a shot. Starting now. I wish they made a “Freedom” for this but I guess the whole point is self-control …
    ( (yay Freedom!)

  • Emily, I have to admit: I saw you, Doree, and Maud Newton Twittering about Freedom so I assumed it was some cool new band. So I went to my trusty source for illegal downloading and well, let’s just say I quickly realized y’all probably weren’t talking about an album by Akon or a song by Ashanti as something that helped you to write. Maybe the Jimi Hendrix, but anyway.

  • julia schmidt

    emily, i love your blog, i really do. obviously that is why i’m here reading it. but this woman’s post was written in june. why are you still thinking about it? move on! we all realize that you have to somehow maintain the public’s interest in your whole “i was mean on the internet and wrote about my ex boyfriend’s penis and now everyone hates me” shtick because of your book, but honestly, that story is old and boring now.

  • So this person remembers your exact outfit on a certain day but can’t remember whether or not she came down with the flu that day? I know memory is selective, but wow, interesting choice of details.

  • sarah

    The funniest part of the offensive post in question was that she kept repeating variations of the phrase “Emily if you read this” because clearly that demonstrates that she was really, really hoping you would.

    What did passive aggressive people do before the internet made it so easy to talk about people behind their backs?

    Also, how hilarious that she’s judging your tattoos. I mean, if you think about it, that kind of defines a generation, doesn’t it?

  • Michael R. Jackson

    Thankfully my name is Michael Jackson and I am thus, unable to google myself and get very far. Change your name to Madonna!

  • Tim

    “But it’s not really Emily’s fault that the New York Times Magazine offered her a cover article despite the fact that her story is essentially free of interest to the general public.”

    I stopped reading after that.

    Emily, I don’t know you but I would say you are a different person since your Gawker days. It’s a good thing you don’t have friends like that person anymore. I would like to know which public school she teaches at. I don’t want my children being influenced by such a vapid, delusional hag.

  • gb

    Hi Emily

    With great courage and honesty, you’ve allowed your readers to witness your awakening from operating while asleep to being awake. I appreciate that. This woman (and anyone who gets gratification or ego reinforcement from attacking others) is still asleep. Hopefully she wakes up, too. You can’t hate her because you’ve been her. Your hurt is a great indicator of your awareness in this area.

    You’re a writer, and a big part of the deal is putting yourself out there. Recognize the criticism is coming from a stranger who needs to reinforce their ego; it’s NOT the voice of the world or the truth. Her opinion about your writing is just some person’s opinion. Everyone in the world isn’t going to love it, accept that and keep moving. Plenty of people love your writing – and more intensely than people who don’t (though I always think it’s a good sign when any creation inspires hate – apathy is what you want to look out for).

    Also, don’t confuse your written expressions with your SELF, as much as they feel like a piece of yourself.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. I love watching you go, girlfriend! hehehe

  • [...] Emily, don’t worry. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I like what you write. Your [...]

  • all of us here shrouded by the internet thinking we’re being secret. it’s like when your 12 and smoke a virginia slim luxury light on your walk home from the bus stop and think love’s baby soft will cover it up. no matter how long we’ve been internetting you still forget we can all smell the jealousy or whatever the heck. this is all convoluted i am on major cold drugs. i’ll stop now.

    my point is i think your writing is compelling. it’s why i keep coming back here.

  • Rebecca A.

    Your whole googling yourself deal reminds me of looking at the comments on “Rate My Professors.” Many of them are not fair. You don’t get to defend yourself. You can’t appreciate the nice comments because then you have to pay attention to the bad ones too. You are better off just never looking at them at all, but then you can’t help yourself.

  • S

    “I am fairly thorough with my online self-flagellation/self-gratification. … But honestly, guys, can you sit there and tell me you don’t do the same thing?”

    Uh. No. I don’t. Most of us don’t.

    But hey, we’re not you so… if it feels good, do it!

  • Rebecca A

    @S: God, you are so (hopefully I suppose deliberately) obtuse. I don’t personally google my name because there is not anything there to see (actually, I have a very common name, so there is a whole bunch of boring stuff about other people there, I just tried it). You can’t say whether you would do this or not, S, because you have nothing on which to base a comparison unless by googling “S” you would have the opportunity to look at a whole bunch of nasty things (and some positive things too) people were writing about your life online. But then, maybe this is all just a little too complicated and over your head, S.

  • I didn’t come here for the snarky, gossipy stuff. I never read gawker. I came here as a result of my interest in cyber affairs. The New York Times piece brought me, but the writing and insights kept me. I very much enjoyed your rain-drenched oatmeal story and the posts from Russia. A friend of mine, impressed by her friend’s father, said (of him), “he holds himself to the highest standard.” I never forgot that–try to remind myself of it when I’m feeling disappointed that people don’t behave as I thight they ought.

  • Maude & Harold

    “man did i write a crazy post”

    outside looking in/inside looking out!

  • The beets were good, though.

    The woman’s blog post you linked to and heavily quoted from was written nine months ago! I wonder how many children in New York City alone have been conceived and born since she hit “post” early last summer. How many people have died simply of old age in that span of time. This blog-to-blog circular narci-obsession seems so trivial. Is that a judgement? I mean it more as an observation.

  • Chad

    Everyone should have some number of free narci-searches every year. It’s like checking your credit report – once or twice a year is okay, but too many requests actually hurts your score.

    If the first thing someone with your job application does is Google the name on it you might want to know what they turn up. But if you are a public figure, even a marginal one like a local politician or writer, then I don’t know where the line gets drawn because part of the job entails getting dumped on by gleeful philistines.

  • Anonymous

    Ms. Gould:


    These snipes at you are like BB’s being hurled at the Empire State Building.

    BTW, why’s my pal Hal being so uncharacteristicly mum during this fracas in a blog-pot?

  • S

    @ Rebecca A: Yes, it was deliberate. Occasionally my comments get deleted and I’m usually at a loss as to why because they’re never obtuse. I then try to overcompensate, and it inevitably delves into sycophancy (see pretty much all the comments above mine), and she’ll delete those too. Not often, but sometimes: I guess whenever I’ve crossed some invisible line of hers, whenever the attention feels less like a warm bath and more like a cold shower. As for myself, the S is my middle initial (as well as a cheap toss to Superman), and I’ve nothing to hide. I googled myself once a few years ago and not much came up. (well, a lot did, but apparently there are 30,000 people sharing my name; it was a humbling experience — touché) It hadn’t occurred to me to try again until this post. Still turns up nothing unless you add “screenplay”, which would then reveal the myriad contests I’ve only come close to winning (and not a single hit on the one contest I actually did win, of course), so it’ll probably be another few years until I get the urge Granted, I suppose when one makes their nut on the web – like Emily – you’d be inclined to check a little more often, and I imagine there would exist a vague, if not perpetual sense of image/damage control, and I wouldn’t envy that feeling. That said, looking at my comment again, yeah, it was a little salty, and I apologize if it came across as a disservice, but with all those gushing comments, someone had to play the Fox News role, keep her head from getting too big. Nothing she can’t handle. I read Emily because she’s exceedingly bright, a wickedly talented wordsmith, and because, well, to be honest, because she’s smoking hot. And now I sound like everybody else. Which seems like a disservice, no?

  • dan

    Yeah, fuck her.

    I think that you are one of the bestest writers on all of the internets! You have a voice that speaks to a generation, and keeps a proverbial fingertip on the pulse of our cultural, flickering screens. And when you do get around to putting out a book, good, because I still read them.

    and my current favorite song: the loving sounds of static/mobius band (either/or the junior boys remix)

  • BTW, why’s my pal Hal being so uncharacteristicly mum during this fracas in a blog-pot?

    Well…I was gonna toss in (up?) my nickel and proffer a pithy, withering evisceration (alliteration AND assonance!) of GFT’s goofy post re: her relationship and criticism of/opinion about Ms. G.

    I mean, I liked Em’s (notice how cozy we are now?) piece; it was nicely put together albeit somewhat tepid (hasn’t the whole self-googling meme been played out by now?)

    But one senses (monacle please) the tension Emily must feel, having established herself as the princess of oversharing (too young the queen), now having to strike a balance between becoming culturally superfluous (the Brenda Plotnick, as they say, of the blogosphere)–a caricature of her former Gawker persona, and something fresh, exciting and new; not an easy task for anyone, let alone a 27-year old NYT poster child. With a book coming out no less!

    And GFT’s piece really IS pretty silly. It meanders in and out of recursive half-thoughts about Emily’s crimes against literature and the author’s own complicity in and perpetuation of same, before getting down to business:

    1. Blog pieces should be well-written.
    2. Bloggers are spoiled, navel-gazing NYC elitists who God forbid should only have some REAL problems.
    3. Emily is the worst kind of opportunistic cultural vampire but she’s hotter than the author who is a saint because she is a public school teacher in a high-needs urban area.
    4. Sometimes people make foolish choices they have to live with.

    Trenchant references to the greatest jazz-funk-rock band in history aside (Fracture!) GFT’s post is full of I’m-too-stoned-to-care logic that might be construed as mildly witty if one could read it as tongue-in-cheek, but unfortunately the mean-spirited comments about Emily’s appearance (wha?) preclude that. And she confuses criticizing with opining. It’s just plain old ugly.

    But then I realized it was nine-months old (I’m slow that way, okay?)

    And I felt a little…manipulated.

    Call me cynical (or a cab!) but I had to read Emily’s post in a new light after that. I saw publicity and cross-linking to blog posts that feature her name and search-engine-optimization and thou doest protest too much! and I kinda had to agree with GFT a little bit, to wit: It’s not that I think Emily’s writing isn’t good or that she’s skimming the surface. Her writing is strong and clear and she has a subject (and no, it’s NOT herself).

    But at the risk of cliché: there’s no blood on the page.

    Responding to a nine-month-old post? Eh…soft target.

    I still feel Emily is holding back. She hasn’t found her voice yet.

    But it’s coming, which is why I keep reading.

  • emily

    Geez, so I spent nine months figuring out how to respond to something. Uh. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. And it is so weird when people think I am calculating, if I were calculating I would do/would have done things VERY differently, believe me.

  • “Calculating” is way too harsh a word. I don’t think you are cynical or disingenuous or manipulative or any of that stuff. I think you are honest and sincere and in a very difficult place professionally (Whom the Gods would destroy, first they lift up.)

    I just feel (opinion alert!) that you’re hitting softballs, when you clearly have the chops to knock it out of the park.

    Last I looked, there was a lot of news in the news. Unless you are truly self-absorbed (and I don’t think so), I would hope that what’s going on in the world affects you far more deeply than some snarky, trashy bit of nonsense written when the stock market was still five digits.

    The Times piece has given you what George Clooney calls the Celebrity Credit Card. Don’t buy Ikea with it.

  • Rebecca A

    Seems to me the whole thing just came up in your mind while you were thinking of all the witty but mean things you might write about ole’ Gopnik, if not for the fact that you did not want to be like that beeatch from nine months ago…..

    Anyway, OBVIOUSLY there is no statue of limitations on thinking and writing about things from our past!!

  • By the way, just for the record, I like Ikea.

  • jack

    Is not it possible to be both genuine in your art and astute in your career strategy without invoking the negative connotations of the term “calculating”?

    Or am I just being naïve?

  • Hi, first time reader, first time commenter. I know what you’re saying, though I’ve never found anything personally offensive about me on the Internet because I only ever write under pseudonym and my real name is just about the most common name on the planet. Those two facts are related, by the way.

    I totally agree that there’s some kind of weird thing that makes people believe their blog (no matter how (un)popular) is like a diary they can hide under their bed when their friends come round. I once found the blog of my girlfriend’s best friend, full of bitchiness and spite towards her. Like, seriously, if you didn’t want anyone to know how you felt, why did you post it in a public place?

  • goodge

    Eh, I see your point, but essentially you’re still whining about people being mean to you on the internet. You are an artist, creative, etc. like you mentioned. People are going to criticize you, your appearance, your work, on and on and on. Deal with it. It’s a fact of life and whining about it just makes you seem immature. It is an unbeatable force. If you’re happy with your work, you’re happy with it, fuck some other guy. Honestly though, i don’t even remember Rushdie whining this much, and people wanted to kill him for his art.

  • I just feel like this groups you (us) somehow with John Mayer. And I’m not entirely mad about that.

  • pens and needles

    you made a career about tearing people down and now you’re crying over a blog post? get over yourself.

  • sarah

    Wow — I stopped reading her post after she said she didn’t know what to wear, wore some kind of crocheted thing and felt really insecure next to you. I think that about said it all.

  • karion

    I think the googling thing is endemic to a certain small fishbowl in which you necessarily swim. I hate high school comparisons, but here, it fits. If my high school had had an anonymous or even quasi-anonymous board where people could leave criticisms, I would have camped out there and read it all the time, only not just for mentions of my name.

    That said, there would only be a few people whose opinions would really matter to me, and from the sounds of it, this girl wouldn’t be one of them. I think that is really the difference your fishbowl makes – it is hard to distinguish the fish from the gawkers. No pun intended.

  • Now this is what I call oversharing in a good way.

    I always take into account the fact that whoever I’m writing about will probably read what I’ve written (just as, like you, I’ve usually read what they wrote about me), which means I sometimes hold back on “what I really think” more than I would in person – or at least make sure I’m playing the ball and not the man.

    Well done Emily, well done.

  • wtf

    not seeing the unfairness or the conflict or the issue here

    one person talks shit about people in her life because “i am a blogger” and therefore it is necessary

    someone talks shit about someone and it’s mean

    sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander

    live by the blog die by the blog

    people talk shit in blogs to hurt other people, yes they do …

  • JMc

    There’s something to be said about not answering your critics, especially this one, I mean, c’mon.
    I think there is a certain amount of jealousy disguised as looking down on “blogging” as if that’s not writing.
    High brow/low brow, so are Shakespeare and Dosgeeefsky better writers than Toole and Fante? Or whoever writes 30 Rock?
    Not that I’m putting you in that company, yet, and possibly never, but I think you are a wonderful writer and I will gladly read whatever you write, which I personally can’t say about too many of your contemporaries.
    A few though. I liked that “All the Sad Russian Literary Guys,” not bad at all.
    I also like Adam Gopnik. Shouts and Murmers, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed once.

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