Esquire writer Chris Jones has killed his blog. This was the last straw for him: a Tumblr post by Deadspin writer Jack Dickey, who put side-by-side excerpts of pieces on Robert Caro by Jones and by Charles McGrath — with the headline “Guess Which One Of These Guys Was Pissy About Not Winning A National Magazine Award?” Last straws are funny things.
“Of course, it’s a jab at the post I wrote here about my disappointment about not getting nominated for an Ellie for my Roger Ebert profile. Of everything I’ve written here, nothing has haunted me more. It’s been more than a year, and someone still makes a reference to it at least once a week,” Jones writes. “I was honest about my disappointment, because every writer I know suffers disappointments, and we’re supposed to be honest, and we’re all in this together.” This is true! He was honest about his disappointment. That honesty, and its expression, was off-putting. “I’ve always kept score,” he wrote back then. Does anyone like a person who’s told you that he’s keeping score?
The thing that’s frustrating about Jones is that he’s a universalizer; he doesn’t understand that some of us think it’s actually bad to keep score. (His recent terribly offputting thing about how women didn’t sex him right was another example of how the internal monologue sometimes doesn’t express well publicly. It was gross and crude and unlikeable. It was another way in which Chris Jones smells like a bully — even though he hasn’t even done any actual bullying! Except… when he has.)
So once you tell everyone that you’re keeping score, that you’re in this as a competition, well, then we all know that you’re on your own side, and many of us then have no interest in extending any camaraderie to you. You’re just another Tracy Flick, at best. You’re out for you.
That he wrote about taking “a rapid-fire bolt through the stages of grief” over not being nominated for an award is, in a way, an admirable thing to admit. It’s a good thing for us to know about you. It’s also an overt declaration that we’re not on the same team. Shutting down a blog is also another specific kind of personality expression. “It’s just not worth it” is the explanation of a child who feels he’s been misunderstood. That seems like the summation of a failure of the use of words.
Thousands of writers blog without feeling they had to take down everything they’ve written. But some do have to. So goodbye, Chris Jones’ blog. You were a venue that allowed Chris Jones to do a disservice to himself, and so it’s time for you to go.