Nick Denton tapped his microphone between five and eight times to get the attention of the crowd gathered on Gawker Media’s rooftop. “This is pretty good timing,” he said, alluding either to the just-passed rainstorm or the ongoing marriage-equality debate in Albany. Mr. Denton had volunteered use of the Gawker roof for a fundraiser for Empire State Pride Agenda, and referred, in his speech, to Gawker as “the queerest media company in New York.”
“We don’t have to be objective,” he said of the editorial company holding a political fundraiser, a step towards earnestness for a media company devoted to drive-by snarkings (Brian Moylan, a writer for the site, was overheard telling friends, “All I had to talk about in Fire Island was that ‘Gay people don’t get fat’ story!” The friends agreed with the story’s thesis). Benoit Denizet-Lewis, contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine recently responsible for the article on his “ex-gay friend,” agreed with Mr. Denton’s assessment, after first refusing to comment. “Why should it bother you?” he asked The Observer, of Gawker’s hosting the fundraiser. Mr. Denizet-Lewis wore an equally nonchalant t-shirt reading, in pink capital letters, “Some dudes marry dudes. Get over it.” He’d stolen it from an ex-boyfriend!
We ran into gay power-lister (and former Republican National Committee chair) Ken Mehlman, who’d come as a friend of Out editor Aaron Hicklin. Does he think of himself as a Power Gay? “I don’t know! That’s for you to decide. I defer to the editorial judgment of the experts.” He wouldn’t answer some of our questions on the record, so we asked if he read Gawker. “Occasionally!” We also asked what he liked about living in Chelsea. “It’s convenient, and it has great restaurants and bars!”
As Mr. Mehlman had been, in a time before last night’s party, Mr. Denton had once had some difficulty at first finding his place amid the gay community. “I didn’t much like other gay men—they didn’t like what I liked.” Such as? “Science fiction, chess, making money, success.” We mentioned that we could name, like, fifty gay people interested in making money. “They’re so self-sabotaging, though! Drinking too much, smoking too much, flitting from boyfriend to boyfriend.” Mr. Denton was in favor of gay marriage, because he said it would force gay couples to have “the same conversation straight couples do after two years.” He said he would have married his ex-boyfriend, had gay marriage then been legal. But Nick! The relationship is over! “Maybe it wouldn’t have been.”
We asked Mr. Hicklin, the Out editor, whether he thought Gawker was the right media outlet to host an earnest event. “I know the owner,” he said, “and I know that snark and insincerity is a guise for insecurity. It’s true of many people, including Nick.”
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