I was hoping to find something defensible in Emily Gould's New York Times Magazine cover story, which hit the stands this past Sunday. Why was this my hope? Because -- as I noted in an update to a December 07 Brainiac post about Gould's decision to quit her job as poster girl for Gawker, the snarky Manhattan publishing/celebrity gossip blog -- she's dating novelist and n+1 editor Keith Gessen, whom I consider a friend. And whenever possible, you ought to defend a friend's significant other. Right? I think so, anyway.
Alas, the blogosphere is correct when, in its collective (mean-spirited) wisdom, it condemns Gould's article as narcissistic, cringe-worthy, and -- what's worse -- tedious. I certainly found it tedious, but perhaps that's because I've lived through the "perzine" (personal zine) moment in the Eighties (1984-93), and Gould brings nothing new or exciting to the remorseful-but-still-confessional genre. Like the judges on "American Idol" keep telling the contestants, when covering an old chestnut you've got to make it fresh, "own it."
Speaking of which, did the art director responsible for illustrating Gould's essay cop to its unoriginality? If so, that would explain the strangely derivative portrait photos contributed by Elinor Carucci.
As photo editor and photographer Rachel Hulin notes at her blog, Photoshelter, Carucci's lovely photos of Gould, who in them appears both shy and hungry for attention, bear a striking resemblance to Carucci's shy/attention-seeking self-portraits, taken in 2000 and 2001.
Here's an example. (NB: I've cropped the Carucci self-portrait, because this is a family newspaper. We don't even run photos of nude mannequins in the Globe!)
All the best to Emily Gould, is what I say. She doesn't seem like a bad person, perhaps just a bit sophomoric. I'm guessing that this Times Magazine essay marks her graduation from that particular stage of her professional life. I look forward to seeing what she does next.
PS: If Gessen and Gould are no longer dating, I apologize for spreading misinformation.
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