As a publicist, I'm not part of this scene (although, we all do occasionally overlap. new york is strangely small in that way), but it sums up what I've heard a lot of people say about the industry as a whole. A number of people I've worked with have confessed that they rarely befriend people at their jobs because said co-workers are too pretentious. And it can be true. There are those people that don't have TVs and only listen to NPR and read the Times, and scoff at people like me for watching the Hills. There is a bit of aura of superiority - we publish books after all. We educate people. We produce a product that is meant to make a difference.
Which, if you think about, is kind of ridiculous. Can we really feel superior to the people over at Glamour or Maxim when we're publishing books like "Stuff White People Like" or "lolCats"? It's not as though we're in search of the next great American writer. We're in search of the next great bestseller. And I'm sure Leon or Keith can feel superior to us because, well, Leon covers the industry rather than taking part in it, and Keith runs a "high brow" lit magazine. Oh, and they're writers and highly educated.
The whole thing is just silly. And it's even more silly that we all write about it. That I'm writing about it. That people in New York have become so self-involved with ourselves that we think such things are news-worthy. Emily Gould is not famous. Nor is Keith Gessen. They are famous in a select circle of people, but because of sites like Gawker, the New York media has somehow become convinced that they are. No better than a Julia Allison type fameball, but they can feel superior to her because they've gained their fame for "deep insights" and books, rather than dating columns or talking about celebrities on national TV shows.
I don't really know my whole point with this, except that it sits badly with me. It bothers me that a 20 year-old girl was holding these people up as role-models and for what she wanted to be. Look, I read Jezebel and Gawker as much as the next girl - probaby more. And I find it hilarious. But, I would never wake up in the morning and say that my goal is to be Moe or Tracie. Or Sheila or Choire or Nick Denton. Well, maybe Nick Denton. He does have a really sweet apartment.
It just saddens me that these are the people that college students are looking up to. That these are our mentors. And that, as the book industry, we encourage it by continually publishing their work. People who tumblr and post rants and write pieces about themselves...aren't there better, more-talented, and less self-involved writers out there? Or is that just a contradiction in itself?