The old maxim holds: if you want a friend in the blogosphere, get a dog. No one ever said posting your half-cocked opinions on matters great and small for the sixteen people who read blogs would win me any popularity contests. But I must respond to Elizabeth Spiers’ counter-attack on my ever so polite suggestion that her New York Magazine colleague David Amsden’s pants are on fire.
I’m not gonna get into the whole “they work together” argument because, firstly, Spiers deftly danced around her own conflict of interest, and secondly, it’s not important. What is important is that Spiers lets us know that as his deskmate, she could overhear his interviews with those aforementioned attractive Ivy-educated “I-porn” (to use Amsden’s phrase) lovers. I don’t doubt that Amsden did his due dilligence flipping through his Rolodex and interviewing friends and friends-of-friends: what I take exception to is the perfectly crafted (and in the case of the floppy disc thing, perfectly implausible) quotes seemly made in the mind of a writer groping (porn again!) for his thesis. Since Spiers was only privy to Amsden’s side of the conversation (“…uh-huh… broadband… thehun.net… uh-huh?…”), how can she know that the subjects said exactly what they said? And unless Primedia is hooked up with awesome video phones, how can she know if 24 year-old “Rick” really has “shaggy blond hair and a body sculpted from three days a week at New York Sports Club”? More to the point, how can we? I’m not doubting that these people exist (in whole or in part), but I do wonder if they said what they said or if the invisible hand of an editor (in the writer’s mind or in the Quark lay-out) had a little too much power in shaping their words.
As the Whit Stillman quote demonstrates, people have been saying this sort of thing about New York for years. Spiers makes a tactical blunder by invoking the “House of Felker” since it was under the legendary founding editor’s watch that writer Nik Cohn fabricated the story that became the hit movie Saturday Night Fever. Is it such a longshot to assume that the House of Felker is built on foundation of Clay?
Maybe Amsden does know all those I-porn lovers and maybe they’re all media savvy enough fellas to intuit the reporter’s thesis and speak at length in complete sentences, and maybe, just maybe, one of them figured out a way to fit a bunch of porn movies onto a 1.5 meg floppy. Could happen.
Probably, I shouldn’t underestimate these guys: they all did go to Ivies and they all have great hair.