One of the things that’s always mystified me about bloggers is that sometimes they are writing as a persona and not as themselves. It’s something I never expect, and when I realize such a thing is happening, I’m always shocked, and even feel betrayed. I suppose it seems natural; people amplify a part of themselves, and disguise other parts, and use “techniques” to emphasize attention on what they are “supposed” to be covering. Many bloggers that you probably know and like have, you may be surprised to learn, been “acting” as if they were someone they only sort of are! One of them, as it turns out, was Moe Tkacik, late of Jezebel, then late of Gawker.
Moe has this piece in CJR now that seems to me to somewhat be two pieces (or two of what should be five!) but that very well conveys the cannibalizing of personhood in the Age of The Brand and the self-destroying economic model of The Way We Print Words (And/Or Money) Now. All excellent points. And, in relation to those two things, or because of them, she says that much of her blogging work was a performance.
Of all the resentments I had accumulated before coming to Jezebel, I had never much dwelled on the misfortune of being born a woman. But women, who so disproportionately bear the nothing-based economy’s unrelenting fusillade of invented insecurities and predatory sales pitches, were ideally positioned to share my list of grievances. It makes sense, in retrospect, that a readership so universally practiced in the faking of things-orgasms, hair color, age, disinterest in men one was actually interested in, etc.-would humor the intolerance for fakery that helped define the “Moe Tkacik brand,” which was basically an angrier, more recklessly confessional, and more contemptuous version of myself.
This is odd for me because I never thought she was “performing” a “persona,” and why would I? I suppose I thought she was sort of a freewheeling lady about town who also thought oversharing was a tactic to get at writing about what she cared about, for sure. But I did not ever think that she might have made a decision that “contempt would just have to be part of the ‘Moe Tkacik brand.'” And now, in light of this piece, thinking back on all of her work that I’ve read before, I’m actually not even sure I know which is the persona: is it the outlandish and contemptuous one or the one that now defines that behavior as a brand strategy?