Some people have asked me to weigh in on this one, to take a side — and I take Abbe’s side. I know she is volatile and sometimes rude, but I feel she has the right to her opinion, and it’s my pleasure to let her tell it like she sees it. I get attacked a lot, especially when I stray off the reservation and comment on other blogs, but I think that’s part of this game. So if you’re going to put it up and out there, others have a right and even an obligation to put their two cents in, even if they’re overcharging at that rate. So here’s part two of Abbe’s story, and there would be a part three if not for the most wonderful people in the world: editors.
So what’s the deal with Josh Stein now? Okay, so now Josh Stein no longer works for Gawker full-time, but he blogs for them now and again and obviously still has friends there. One of his shticks is to “re-blog” Top Chef. With your homegirls, Nikki Cascone and Camille Becerra.
They’re both friends of mine … and yes, they’re hot. I agree! Okay so, here’s Stein, Top Chef … blah blah … I’m reading … and suddenly I’m seeing red.
Everybody duck! No shit. Here he is blabbering about some chef on the TV show, how she’s an awful human being, she’s mean and caustic etc. etc. etc. Okay, rewind … I wrote an entire book on this very same subject about people in the real restaurant world (not some made-up “reality” TV show) but that makes me “batshit,” “vitriolic,” and filled with “petty anger”? Wooo child, let me tell you, I showed him what “vitriolic” means. I tore him a new one in the comment section of Gawker, so they “banned” me!
Maybe it’s the swear words. I thought of that. Except Gawker is hardly filled with Quakers. And at the time, in a way, I thought I was kind of doing Stein a favor. See, I figured that Emily Gould chick was whispering in his ear, plying him with kisses while arming him with daggers. You know the type? Like Anne Boleyn in The Tudors or some shit. And I didn’t really have that big of a beef with him. I had fun with it in a way, but Gawker, they speak a different language. If you get all dejected and earnest with them, they’ll never take you seriously. But if you play their game, you have a far greater chance of being heard. And honestly, I thought I was giving Josh Stein the opening to come out and play. To get a little frisky maybe, get jiggy with it — I swear I thought he’d just fight back, and then maybe after a few heated words, we’d smooth it all over and laugh about it.
But they banned you instead … Yeah. Weak. Needless to say, I went right back in.
You’re hard to stop. Okay, fast forward. All that was months and months ago, practically water under the bridge. I even started to like Gawker. I commented there all the time. You know, like the way we both do at Down by the Hipster. Just messing around.
Okay. So what’s the problem? Josh Stein went back to Gawker to blog about Top Chef all over again, for the new season. Unfortunately, it turns out that I know a chef on the show again, Leah Cohen. She’s the executive chef at Centro Vinoteca, and she does a fantastic job. I’m convinced the show actually taught her a lot about being a great leader, because she’s young, you know? She’s only 26. She has a huge responsibility, and I’m super impressed about how well she handles everything. She’s going to go really far.
Where is this going? So, the Internet hates love, it hates achievement, ambition, and it hates integrity most of all. I can roll with the punches like anybody — it’s all good when it’s funny, but when people in glass houses start to throw rocks, it really makes the hair on my skin stand on end. So I commented on the Top Chef Gawker-recaps. But I swear, I never ever dish it worse than it’s being served. You can read them all, it’s in black and white. And if they try to do something really asinine like surreptitiously edit me — oh that’s been done to me on other sites too, believe me — I have copies.
Abbe, you don’t mind if I move my chair just a few more feet away from you, right? Trolls. Of course, trolls everywhere. It’s the Internet, after all. Okay so, a few trolls start to emerge, and they sling all the same baseless crap. At this point, I’m pretty used to it. But that still doesn’t make it right, or something I have to tolerate. So we decided to beat them at their own game. One of my forum members took on the role of “watchdog.” He’s smart, witty, funny, and he knows how to spell. What more can one ask for in a webdog? And what he does is fight back at the trolls, in their own language, in their own style. He’s like a little e-mirror doggy dog. He barks and he bites. So, the other day, I defended Leah Cohen on Gawker, and not for the first time, either. Last time, there was one particular troll, by the name of “Karion.” She called me a drunk, she called me “batshit crazy,” she accused me of wanting to “fellate” Josh Stein, and she told me to “find a new neighborhood.” Got that? I am defending the chef of a restaurant that is very near and dear to me, and she is calling me all these awful names, to defend a blogger she has never met, and whose sole purpose is to denigrate the hardworking contestants on a television show. And she says all these terrible things mind you, without knowing anything of the story I just told here.
So it’s all just crazy? Ha! that’s what they call me.
So they banned you for that? Pretty much. What happened is the “watchdog” came to defend me. Stellar job, too. He totally reigns in the profanities. You know … good cop, bad cop. In this case, clean cop, dirty cop. I play the bumbling comic, and he plays the earnest role.
Maybe it was a little too much? I honestly don’t think so. They had another commenter there last week, named Rachel Marsden. Apparently, she’s some type of media journalist or whatever. Well, Gawker made fun of her friend last week, and oh boy — she spit out venom. She called them all “retards,” I’m not even kidding, she called them “lying, fucking pricks.” She spit out every profanity in the book. And you know how Gawker responded? They called her “shrill, but fun.”
I saw that thread where you were banned. You didn’t go nearly as far as that. Thank you. That’s my point. Why am I being discriminated against? Or my friend for that matter? For defending ourselves? Our friends? For being right? But the troll who called me a drunk and crazy and accused me of wanting to “fellate” Josh Stein — she gets to stay? Did you see at the bottom of that thread, where Josh Stein says “hello” to her? Unbelievable. He has never had the guts to address me directly, but he certainly feels all right about deriding me on a journalistic platform. He doesn’t dare show himself in that thread until I’ve been locked out, and he appears, not to discount anything I or my friend has stated, but only to massage the ego of the troll who — I’ll be blunt — figuratively “fellated” him. But evidently, I’m the “petty” one. Commenters can criticize Leah’s looks, her hair, her work ethic, and call her a “ho” as much as they please, but when I, the only person there who knows her personally, comments in her defense, I am censored.
So why do you think Gawker did it? Nepotism, of course. For their weak, feeble friend, Joshua David Stein. They have the gall to use the First Amendment to protect every bitter nasty thing they say about anyone they choose, but they have neither the strength nor the character to extend that very same privilege democracy has afforded them to those they so gleefully denigrate. They actually had the nerve to send me an e-mail and call me a “troll.” Me — one of the small handful of people who comments under their real name. They banned me on the grounds of “high-jacking the thread.” Seriously? People attack me without cause, provocation, or pertinence to the discussion at hand, but I am not allowed to respond in kind? I should just slink away and let them say whatever ignorant, untrue things they want, without repercussion or consequence?
No one would ever expect you to slink away, Abbe. Would you ever do that, Steve Lewis? Write terrible things about someone on your platform, but refuse them the right of defense? Would you want that done to you?
I don’t do that. I respond to criticisms on my blog, and to date I don’t think we have edited out any comments. That’s all I’m trying to say. I’m sorry it took all this time and space to say it.