Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin posts a letter from dot-com-era entrepreneur Josh Harris in which he criticizes The New York Times for knowingly promoting his company Pseudo.com even though it was “a fake company.”
Actually, Media Mob isn’t clear on what Mr. Harris is charging—or why he’s bothering, since most of the references are to articles from 2001. But some of the articles were written by a pre-scandal Jayson Blair, which prompts Mr. Harris to ask:
Is it ethical for The New York Times to carry the banner of ‘the newspaper of record’ and claim journalistic integrity since it failed to thoroughly and completely follow up each and every article that Mr. Blair wrote? Is it ethical for the New York Times to assume (per Felix Unger) that all the subjects of Mr. Blair’s work would employ the ‘honor system?’
Was it fair and right (or ethical?) to sacrifice Mr. Blair’s editor’s [sic.] (Mr. Raines and Mr. Boyd who resigned) when the New York Times Corporation still has not met best of bread [sic
?] standards for vetting Jayson Blair’s reportage?
Confused? We are, too. But we’re still trying riddle something Mr. Harris told New York Magazine’s David Kirkpatrick in 1999 about his alternate persona, Luvvy:
‘Luvvy is based on Mrs. Howell, from Thurston and Luvvy,’ Harris says. ‘Do you know Gilligan?’ he asks, trying to explain. ‘Gilligan’s Island was the most influential show to me by far. One summer, Sherwood Schwartz wrote a season’s worth of Gilligan’s Island episodes, and when you write that much, your subconscious starts taking over. A lot of Sherwood Schwartz’s tendencies manifested themselves in the show, and his psyche was beamed into the consciousness of a generation.’
‘Luvvy is that unresolved orgasmic energy you get when you go on the Net, the rerouted sexual energy you can let out in the new identities you can assume online,’ he says. ‘I realized I am a gay man trapped in a heterosexual body. I have those sensibilities, but the funny thing is, I love women.’ Pseudo’s investors all know Luvvy and ‘gotta love the love,’ Harris insists. ‘They know I have my reasons and that it is actually positive for the company.’