Monday, July 12, 2004

The Gossip Wars

Vanessa Grigoriadis and Jacob Bernstein's New York Magazine article on The Gossip Wars goes a bit too far in echoing Adam Moss' Party Line on gossip (2nd item), with a mild aftertaste of Puritanical Old Gray Lady in the cut:

"One way of thinking about gossip is as the most primitive form of journalism -- nasty and brutish and short. The rules of sourcing, and even of truthfulness, are not fully developed. Vengeance and anger and ulterior motives all have a place in the process. The denizens of the gossip world, while sometimes not suited for the refinements of the rest of the journalism world, are superbly adapted to their environment. There's a dark glamour and camaraderie to the business, a certain piratical, swashbuckling aura, amplified by plenty of cocktails."

Leaving aside for a moment the dodgy "piratical." "swashbuckling" references and to whom they might or might not be referring ("Hey, Mozart's Don Giovanni was all about ME, too"), there is alot of darkness going on in this piece -- alot -- even going beyond the rather clumsy "short and brutish" reference to Hobbes' theory of the condition of mankind.

In fact, in some of her purplest prose passages, Vanessa Grigoriadis appears to have channeled her inner Edgar Allan Poe, throwing light on "the denizens of the gossip world," with just the right touch of the old Gray Lady's Puritanical prudishness thrown in for effect, giving the whole thing a colonial, turgid Nathaniel Hawthorne New England freakshow vibe (Is gossip the House of the Seven Gables?).

The Corsairshivereded into the chill night breeze, as Grigoriadis' tale of supernatural and psychological horror unfolds, issuing forth from her fertile imagination, with lines such as:

"His background suited him to knowing what evil lurked in the hearts of men ..."

And, of course: "... The denizens of the gossip world ..."

"Vona has a deep voice and a mane of dirty-blonde hair ..."

"... But Spiegelman also saw himself as one of the good guys, arrayed against the abusers and predators and vampires in the world."

"He is adamant: 'There was no defenestration.'"

"... a taste for the darker things in life."

"The cockatoo shrieks."

Indeed (Averted gaze), The cockatoo shrieks, Ms. Grigoriadis, (The Corsair shivers at the bone white moon in the hour of the wolf); and quoth the raven nevermore. Finally, Dark Vanessa tosses off vaguely supernatural references to, the "black art of press-baiting," "Cassandras," "poison pill," and, of course, "a steady inflow of dirt."

The Corsair wonders if Vanessa Grigoriadis' feverish and occultish philosophy of gossip (so strikingly similar to her boss, Adam Moss') might have been better scheduled as a piece for Halloween?

I know I won't be able to sleep soundly tonight.

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