5.23.2008

Not Quite the Real Thing

Emily Gould has written an unfortunate piece in the NYTimes. Unfortunate because it's something like what a teenager would write; very self-obsessed and often wrong. Unfortunate because on top of that, it's about blogging. The pictures that accompany the story are almost embarrassing to look at; I winced to see pictures after picture of her lying on a bed, carefully displaying any tattoos the reader might accidentally miss.

I used to read Gould in Gawker, and I remember her pretty self-righteous post about her reasons for leaving Gawker. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, both then and now, frankly, because she's a young woman who is writing, and I want to support that. I also want to make sure I'm not tearing her down as imaginary competition---not supporting her simply because it wasn't my name on the byline. But the Times piece is bad. Really, really bad. I couldn't read all of it yet, but the first half features her grasping at justification for blogging about her then-boyfriend even when he didn't want her to, "explaining" how she could write things about him that he specifically asked her not to. Uh, what?? Why on earth would you post something about your partner when he did not want you to?? I can't even envision a sound defense for that strategy. Those priorities are WACK.

Anyway, she goes on like that. And on.

The Times turned off the comments section at one point. It's back on now, which is interesting. In case you're wondering, the comments largely condemn the Times for providing Gould with a platform to write about herself, and for featuring such terrible pictures, and condemn Gould for bad writing and bad thinking, especially at a time when we need good writing and good thinking on so many things.

Why would they ever disable comments on this piece? I thought that was a mystery. Very un-bloggy and certainly un-Times, if you ask me.

In other news, I, too, did something kind of embarrassing this week. Peaches expressed a desire for cupcakes, and I thought, as a surprise for the sweetie, I shall bake him cupcakes! I picked the day, set aside the time, and tromped off to the store that afternoon for wrappers and butter. The thing is, in the baking aisle, right next to the cupcake wrappers, are boxes of mix. Cake mix.

And suddenly, being queasy and tired and not wanting to really bake, that cake mix looked really good. A great alternative to using tons of butter, too. So I did it. I made 24 cupcakes out of mix. And I made my own frosting, which was damn good. As a whole, fake cake, real frosting, the product is mixed. The texture is so spongy and strange. It's definitely inferior to real cake. But it did the job in a pinch. And the thing is, I haven't really mastered cupcakes on my own. My 1-2-3-4 Yellow Cake standby always burns a little on the edges in cupcake form. I thought I could try it with a Texas sheet cake recipe, but it seemed dicey.

I hope Emily Gould's next piece is like a really good cupcake--tasty at the beginning, but doesn't leave you feeling guilty and oversugared at the end. As it is, my fake cupcakes were better than her real article.