We are, to be honest, almost starting to feel bad for THE MOST IMPORTANT LATTE DRINKER OF OUR TIME. After all, if you were going to learn one thing—anything—in the Gawker comments section, it would be how to be funny (spoiler: mostly through liberal use of substance-abuse and sex jokes, with a smattering of truly awful puns). Instead, he comes up with this, a dialogue in which the conceit, apparently, is that someone wants very badly to not talk to him. Funny, as U.S. Acres creator Jim Davis once put it, because it’s true?
No. Funny, then, in a subtle, arty way, like in that movie Dancer in the Dark? Maybe. But probably not. Truly, as we noted in conversation the other evening, Keith Gessen has begun to remind us of a certain former Democratic presidential candidate—not because of his onetime relationship with Emily Gould (the so-called “Bill Clinton of the New York literary set,” except that she totally did inhale), and not because of his feminist appeals and commitment to improving the lives of white working-class people, but because every goddamn time we think he can’t possibly live up to our (admittedly mean-spirited) cartoonish expectations, he exceeds them. To wit, this bit about his own novel, from the aforementioned dialogue:
You wrote your book out of pain, and that’s why your book doesn’t suck. I don’t care what these people say.
We understand that he may be joking. We hope he’s joking. He’s got to be joking, right? And yet, it comes from the same dude who inspired this post three days earlier. One is reminded of a passage in which Neil Postman describes Eric Segal, author of Love Story, on a television talk-show set, sinking in his chair and muttering lamely, “My book was important. People felt something.” Of course, Love Story actually was kind of important—notable, anyway. Of course, that doesn’t make Segal, or anyone who sounds like him, sound any less pompous.
(Keith, when we wanted you to leave the comments the other day, it wasn’t because we were talking about “Keith Gessen,” rather than “the real you.” It was because we found what you had to say neither amusing nor enlightening. We can’t keep out everyone whose work fails to meet those criteria, but we think it’s fair to expect more from a purported member of the intelligentsia. Also: ANSWER OUR GODDAMN QUESTIONS.)