The Stranger Gives Tao Lin The Franzen Treatment; Did Gawker Miss the Joke?

On the latest cover of The Stranger, profile subject Richard Yates author Tao Lin mocks Jonathan Franzen’s appearance on the cover of Time last month by adopting the same self-serious pose assumed by the man who penned Freedom. To complete the parody, The Stranger used the same tagline as the Time cover: “Great American Novelist.”

Gawker posted about the profile — notable in and of itself, seeing as that site’s tao of Tao saw them first promising to never mention him again, then pardoning him, then posting a long narrative he wrote about getting arrested at Think Coffee. They said The Stranger had the “dumb audacity” to give the “stunt novelist” such an overblown cover.

Perhaps, The Stranger suggests, they didn’t completely understand the joke at hand? Tao Lin forwarded The Observer an email he got from Christopher Frizzelle, editor of the Seattle alt weekly, in which he suggests that Gawker totally missed the point.

“I think they really think that we think you are the greatest of american novelists,” Frizzelle wrote to Lin. “Remember when Gawker was usually funny and ahead of the jokes? So slow on the uptake now.”

There’s another profile of Tao Lin out today, this one in BlackBook. It proceeds in a manner somewhat similar to that of his profile in The Observer. The BlackBook profile, however, has more drug use.

Early in the piece, Rozalia Jovanovic follows Tao from Union Square, to a rooftop, to a couple of swank parties — “at times both of us under the influence of a controlled substance.” At BEast, for Ryan McGinley’s Main Man party, the two of them split an Adderall — the reporter encourages the usage after Tao says the drug makes him talk more — and, feeling indebted, Jovanovic offers a Valium in return. He also talks about his experiences with other drugs, and how he uses them to help write his form-heavy novels. 

My ex-girlfriend had a friend who broke a hip and got a lot of methadone. I probably took that like ten times and I liked it a lot. Surprisingly, it lasted like 24 hours. I would go to sleep and wake up and still feel it. And then for a while I liked things like Klonopin, Xanax, and Valium. I’ve taken acid a few times. I don’t get any hallucinations. Actually, it just feels like Adderall. But it’s stronger and lasts longer. 

Before they leave, Tao spots Ryan McGinley, and instead of wearing the jean jacket we saw him in multiple times during Fashion Week, McGinley is wearing a red hat. “Is that red hat his signature hat?” Tao Lin asks. 

From there they go to Le Bain for the ‘SUP magazine party. Tao noticies that ‘SUP magazine only has 2,100 followers on Twitter. Once there, they venture over to the hot tub. There’s a topless girl in the hot tub. On the ledge of the hot tub, Tao Lin talks about how he didn’t have many friends in school. The Stranger Gives Tao Lin The Franzen Treatment; Did Gawker Miss the Joke?