Blogger with attitude; freestyle media attack-dog; Manhattan man of mystery
“I fear thee, ancient Editor! / I fear thee lots and lots!”
Birthday? We don’t even know who he is!
Gawker, written by Observer contributor Choire Sicha, may be the blog that forced the traditional media to take notice of the blogosphere–or to try to crib some of its mojo. But the anonymously written The Minor Fall, The Major Lift –sardonic, self-effacing and witty–is the blog of choice for Romanesko-refreshers craving an undiluted hit of piss and vinegar. Who is this guy? editors with “legitimate” media jobs have been asking that for months, as they email around the latest TMFTML round of invective. He’s clearly not an “insider,” and yet…he is conversant with the kind of details that only insiders should care about.
We can help ID him only partly: Although Mr. TMFTML was gallant enough to speak to The Observer by phone, he would not disclose his name. This much can be ascertained: His nom de guerre is taken from the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah.” He is 31. He lives in Manhattan. He is married. His occupation–which he refers to only as “corporate”–remains cloaked in mystery. He was born in New York City, and has lived here ever since. He does not travel in “media circles,” a phrase he would no doubt gag over, but he admits to having once met Dale Peck, who “made fun of” his clothing.
Why the anonymity? “I’m a big fan of both food and shelter,” Mr. TMFTML explained, “which I imagine my employers would withhold the means of obtaining were they to find out about the site. Also, I’d be pretty embarrassed if my parents found out.”
He is equally comfortable discussing the difference between an “artist” and an “entertainer,” blasting disgraced New York Times reporter Rick Bragg and adapting Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to lampoon the impending sale of New York magazine (“I fear thee, ancient Editor! / I fear thee lots and lots! / For thou art long, and lank, and brown, / Like Kurt Andersen’s liver spots! /He readeth best, who careth best / About things great and small; / But never wants to hear about / Who’s fucking Jerry Hall.”)
The aim of his blog is, he said, “to distract me from the soul-crushing boredom that is corporate American life. Also, to keep me from wandering up and down the neutral ground between 49th and 50th Streets ranting about the sorry state of arts coverage at The Times.”
Mr. TMFTML , an autodidact who never graduated from college, said that he works only five to ten hours a week on his blog, mostly at the office: “I’m actually curious as to what people did in offices before the Internet. My theory is that every job only requires about thirty minutes of hard work a day and the rest is bullshit. (This is, at least, what I’m looking for when I apply for employment.)”
As for future plans, he remains cagey. “I have no fucking idea; if I knew, I doubt I’d be doing this blog,” he wrote in an e-mail. “I tend to slide by on charm (although I’ve a fairly limited capacity, which may explain my somewhat reduced circumstances) and have never really given much thought to it. Ever since this thing has ‘taken off’ (and believe me, those quotes are laden with irony. Laden.) I’ve been asked this question more than any other (save the ‘gay or British’ query) and I still haven’t formulated an answer I’m happy with. I haven’t really published anything, and I’m not sure that I’d want to. Then again, if someone’s willing to pony up the dough, why not?”
We can only hope he’ll think twice about that and stick to his current course. It’s downright touching that someone so young and full of promise is out there every day, offering such intelligent, informed bile for free. -Matt Grace