Tuesday, February 17, 2004

In Defense of Gawker and Wonkette

I'm sure you are all aware of John Lee's Blogging While Anti Black piece in which he says, among other things, that Gawker's Choire Sicha and Wonkette's Anna Marie Cox have a race problem. He writes:

"We don't expect media-centric blogs about people of power to read like an issue of Final Call, but we don't expect them to sound like National Vanguard either. Nick Denton and his employees have decided that a person's ideas, actions and deeds don't define them, the color of their skin does. Thanks for letting us know where we belong."

Leaving aside the overheated comparison of the ultra-racist National Vanguard to Wonkette and Gawker, I'd like to bring up a couple of stories that, I think, show a snarky disdain for the sometimes overly alabaster tone of the manhattan media business. One, dated Feb 5, 2004:

"We just didn't want to mention it (because we're SO nice). But it is really horrifying that, directly underneath the aforementioned pictures of black people at the University of the West Indies benefit on New York Social Diary, there's an ad for 'Hamptons Domestics' employment agency. The ad has little black Victorian silhouettes and a pineapple as its logo. Yikes. Context aside, Hamptons Domestics makes us vaguely ill anyway. (Though, East Village Domestics, hmm... maybe we could get a bunch of unemployed scenesters to use their parents' money to do our laundry.)"

Yikes, indeed. I remember clearly reading this that day a week or so ago, and being blown away at the boldness of the comment. The parties that NY Social Diary chronicles are indeed, very white and very brimming with New York power. David Patrick Columbia, who runs the site, is a good man, who is accurately rendering a world that exists, effectively, behind the scenes. I remember thinking that it was very balsy of Choire to comment so snarkily on that reality.

Similarly, Anna Marie Cox, Wonkette, gave me a link, excerpting a part of my Chattering Class Yearbook of the media. The link was pretty damned snarky and all about Martin Peretz and the alabaster quality of The New Republic. It read:

"The Chattering Class Virtual Yearbook: "Martin Peretz, Civics Chair ... Does not call on African American Students ... Secretly compares every student to his star pupil, Al Gore '00"

Not the type of thing one would expect a racist National Alliance member to be plugging. As a black man and a blogger I regard Gawker and Wonkette as something quite different than that which Mr. Lee portrayed in his piece.

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