Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Gawker

Been There, Done That

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I recently went with Danny and his wife, Kendall, to a Academy screening of Bob Fosse’s “Cabaret.”  It is a great film and would have won the Oscar in the 1972 if a little film titled “The Godfather” didn’t win instead.

My favorite scene takes place in a German beer garden.  An Aryan boy in his Hitler Youth outfit stands up and sings “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” a beautiful nationalistic song about the Fatherland. One by one, all of the customers get up and chant along, mesmerized by the boy’s voice and the Nazi vision.  The only one who remains sitting is an old man.  He is shaking his head.  He’s old enough to have seen this shit before.  He knows better. 

Do people really get wiser with age?  Who knows.  I have some really dumb older relatives.  But I think you do gain experience as you age.  I’m surprised that our culture doesn’t draw more on the experience of those who have “been there, done that.”  We might think that an older person — someone over 65 — is “out of it” because they don’t use a Tivo.  But the last generation has adapted to changes in society and technology that are more dramatic than anything we have seen.   We’ve watched a 56k modem evolve into an iPod.  But they’ve seen a 56′ Ford become a space shuttle.  And isn’t the latest rock star really a different packaging of the last rock star who was a different packaging of Elvis, who was a different packaging of Frank Sinatra?

Lately, I’ve been feeling “older.”  When I say that, I don’t necessarily mean in body or spirit, but more in my interests in life.  When I started this blog, I was going to write about “pop culture.”  I still love movies, TV, and music, but recently, less so.  Lindsay Lohan — should I really care about her life?   After all, I’m not a 15 year old girl.   I’m not even a gay editor of a gossip blog that caters to 15 year old girls.   I skipped the Emmys this year.  And the MTV Video Music Awards.  And you certainly didn’t see me waiting in line for the first night’s showing of “Snakes on a Plane.” 

I know for many of you, admitting this lack of interest of popular culture is the greatest sin possible.  I know how essential it is to be on top of everything.   To be a hipster.  To be in the know.   To be seen at the right places.  To know the cool bands.   I’ve been there.   And now Neilochka is saying he doesn’t even care about “Snakes on a Plane” — a movie with Samuel L. Jackson of all people!  How DORKY is this guy?  Does all he do is IM single women and read blogs?

Which brings me to my next topic of conversation — the website Gawker, the hip New York media blog.

If I don’t stand in line for the opening of a movie, or a nightclub, I’m certainly not going to stand in line to write a comment on a website.  Did you see the rigmarole you have to go through to comment there?  My friend told me about an interesting article today on Gawker.  But when I went to comment, I saw this:

If you’d like an invitation to become a Gawker commenter, you can apply by leaving a comment. Try to make your first one particularly witty. The comment will only appear once (or if) you’re put on the list.

1. Who can leave comments on Gawker?

Anyone who has been invited, either by us or by a friend. The invite system works like Gmail’s invite system. We’ve invited a bunch of our favorite media mavens, bloggers, and frequent tipsters to comment, then given them invitations to share with their friends and colleagues. That way, the burden of inclusion, and exclusion, is shared.

2. Why are comments by invitation only?

Most online communities, like hip bars, are quickly overrun. Not that we’ll be any exception. But we’re going to try to put off that moment for as long as possible.

3. How can I become a commenter?

A) Find a friend with an invitation to share. Many of the people who we’ve invited to comment have also received invitations to share with friends. We’ll continue to seed selected inboxes with invitations to share so the supply doesn’t die out.

B) Tip us. We’ve invited some of our most frequent tipsters to comment, as a thanks for all the help they’ve given us. If you’re looking to comment, raise your chances by sending useful tips to us.

C) Convince us. If you’re lurking inside a major media company, with dirt to dish, we might be interested in having you as a commenter. For instance, we’ll send an invite to anyone with a condenast.com or nytimes.com email address who asks for one.

D) Blog. If you’re a blogger, you’ve got a stake in what you’re saying. Many Gawker comments invitations have gone out to fellow bloggers whose work we admire.

Jesus.  It’s like I have to learn to juggle just to write some dumb comment.  I’m surprised that they didn’t want me to bring them the head of Medusa.

Now in the past, this type of thing would make me upset.  I would be desperate to be included with the cool folk or bitter that I was such a loser.  I would feel insecure that I am not good enough (which is the point) and probably one of the reasons thousands of need-to-be-connected bloggers link to this commercial site.  

But, instead, I just shrugged.  I was too lazy to write a witty comment.   I had a good comment, but I wasn’t sure how witty it really was.  Besides, from my own experiences in real life — the people at these type of parties are never too exciting.  So, that’s it.  No huffing and puffing.  If Gawker wants my comment, they know where to find me.  I can always get my gossip at Entertainment Tonight.

I had a similar “shrug it off” experience at Saturday’s Los Angeles Blogger’s Garage Sale.  I stopped by and it was great seeing Carly and Communicatrix.  And the rumor was true.  Half of the participants were drag queens.  As I was leaving, I encountered two guys who were friends of friends.  One guy had on heels and the other was carrying colored wigs. I made some passing comment about the cool wigs, but they ignored me and started acting very “draq queenish.”   I figured they were trying to shock me.  I was wearing khaki pants and a button down Oxford shirt, despite the 100 degree weather (I need to do a laundry again!), so I must have looked like John Cheever walking into the wrong suburban cocktail party.  These guys perceived me as the white-bread Redondo Beach guy and they were going to do a little extra prancing to shock me and make me feel as uncomfortable as they would be in a redneck bar.   

Now, in the past, this might have bothered me.  What if these with-it guys actually thought I am a  — my god — a Republican — in this preppy Ivy League dress shirt?  I would have desperately felt the urge to tell these guys that I am as “hip” as they are.  That I’m OK with their outlandish lifestyle.  That it isn’t shocking to me to see men wearing women’s clothes.  In fact, I would have told them to run home and do a search on Google for the #1 link to “Husbands who wear women’s panties” — Yes, I’ve seen it all, done it all. 

But, it wasn’t worth my time.  I didn’t need to prove to them that I am a hipster or trendy — or anything.  I really didn’t care what they thought.  And that was a good feeling. 

And that made me feel “older.”  Or maybe, more “mature” is a better way of saying that.

Before I headed off, one of the drag queens dropped a wig, and bent down to pick it up.  I caught a glimpse of the back of his underwear.  They were Fruit of the Loom tighty-whiteys.

“Faker,” I mumbled to myself, as I headed down Melrose Blvd.

 

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:   When I Grow Up to Be a Man

 

Neilochka Stalker

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Last week, the Gawker website launched a new Gawker Stalker feature that can immediately post celebrity sightings on the internet, complete with a map.   According to the Daily News:

"We’ll be using the Google Maps program," the snarky Web site’s editor, Jessica Coen, told [Lloyd Grove of the Daily News], "and people can look at them as soon as they come in — as close to a live sighting as possible."

This stalker feature was big news in the New York internet world.  Gothamist weighed in:

It’s a pretty simple concept: each day they’ll have an intern manning an email address, and as "Gawker Stalker" missives come in, the intern will plot them on a map. This way, you can stalk your favorite celebrities in real time. Why you would want to stalk Lindsay Lohan is beyond us– but that’s an entirely different story.

Some, like New York journalist Felix Salmon, thought that Nick Denton, the publisher of popular websites such as Gawker and Wonkette, had produced something quite scary.

Part of what makes cities work is the anonymity conferred by large crowds. One of the reasons why people move to New York from Smalltown is that in Smalltown, everybody knew where they were and what they were doing at all times. Here, you can walk down the streets wearing nothing but an inflatable crocodile, and no one will care. Gawker Stalker Maps is an exercise in taking those comfortingly anonymous crowds and turning them into a million-eyed intelligent beast, collating and organising information on hundreds of individuals unlucky enough to be recognisable in public.

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Frankly, I’ve never understood why so many people have Gawker on their blogroll.  They’re never going to link to you.   All you’re doing is helping this money-making entity increase their ad sales.  It’s like you’re wearing a Nike cap or Coke t-shirt, giving a company free publicity without getting anything in return.

Maybe I’m being hard on Gawker, but I am angry at their lack of concern for privacy.   I’m especially bitter over their latest internet entity, Neilochka Stalker.   I really don’t appreciate my friends and acquaintances (that includes you, Sophia!) sending in tips to their special email address telling the world where I am 24/7. Just look at this morning’s postings on the Neilochka Stalker site:

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one.png  March 19, 2006 @ 9am  Neil spotted in bed, annoyed at being woken up by the stupid birds outside, just when the dream about the two hot female bloggers washing his back in the shower was getting good.   Neil scratches his balls and heads for bathroom. 

two.png March 19, 2006 @ 9:20am  Neil spotted peeing in bathroom, than taking shower.  He mumbles something to himself about the "dream" shower being "a hundred fucking times better" than the real shower.  The next door neighbor turns on her shower.  Neil is scalded with hot water.

three.png March 19, 2006 @ 9:40am  Neil is spotted wearing his new light blue boxer briefs.  He spends a few minutes posing in the mirror in various muscle man positions.  Neil sees female neighbor in adjacent apartment window.  Neil smiles at her.   Her boyfriend suddenly appears at window.  Boyfriend puts up middle finger at Neil and they both laugh at Neil.  Neil closes shades.

four.png March 19, 2006 @ 10am  Neil spotted in kitchen, grabbing orange juice and bagel from the refrigerator.  He is seen opening his front door and picking up his Los Angeles Times from the hallway.  He looks down the hall, pissed, when he discovers that someone already stole the "magazine section" and the classifieds.

five.png March 19, 2006 @ 10:40am  Neil is spotted sitting on couch, reading article in "Calendar section" about successful screenwriter/director complaining about the hardships of his tremendous success.  Neil dozes off again.   He dreams that he is back in the shower with two hot female bloggers.  

six.png March 19, 2006 @ 10:50am  Neil is spotted on the couch getting woken up by ringing of the telephone.  It is Sophia.  She reminds him of some chore he is supposed to do for her parents.  Neil says he will do it "right away."

seven.png March 19, 2006 @ 11:15am  Neil is spotted sitting at the computer rather than doing "chore for Sophia’s parents."  He is writing an amusing comment on the site of one of the hot female bloggers, hoping he will impress her with his wit.

eight.png March 19, 2006 @ 12:01pm  Neil is spotted sleeping at his desk.  The phone rings.  Neil doesn’t answer it.

nine.png March 19, 2006 @ 1:00pm   Neil is spotted watching "Escape from Planet of the Apes" on DVD while eating Cheerios from the box.  This is the 124th time he’s seen this movie.  Neil finds himself becoming strangely aroused by Zira, the kind-hearted chimpanzee female scientist.

ten.png March 19, 2006 @ 1:50pm  Neil is spotted lying on the floor, still watching the movie.  His cell phone rings over and over again.  Neil answers it.  It is Sophia, angry.  Neil says he is on his way to her parents.  His excuse:  he was delayed because they were running "The LA Marathon" right in front of his apartment and he couldn’t leave just yet.   Sophia apologizes for getting upset.  After he hangs up, Neil laughs.  He mumbles something about loving the LA Marathon!  He returns to watching the movie.

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