Gawker Sucks

Speaking truth to cesspools
January 28, 2014

It's been a fun couple of days for Gawker haters.

First, on Sunday, HBO's Girls revealed that Lena Dunham's character Hannah—in the midst of a pseudo-sociopathic episode in which she couldn't muster up any feelings for a close acquaintance who died earlier in the episode, worrying only how his demise would impact her book and then faking an emotional response to please her boyfriend, Adam—revealed she is a commenter at Gawker and Jezebel.

Adam—who has evolved into the show's voice of reason—is appalled that she is getting updates about her friend's demise from the Internet's trash heap.

"You're getting your news from Gawker?" he asks, horrified. "Okay. When you die, how would you feel if a bunch of judgmental creeps—celibate against their will—snarkily reported on every-fucking-detail of your body decomposing?" Hannah interrupts, saying "that's not what's happening" and then unironically rattling off the horribly snarky things Gawker wrote about her dead friend as if they were a nice eulogy. "That's fucked, Hannah," Adam replies. "Those are a bunch of jealous people who make a living appealing to our basest desire to see each other kicked while we are down." Hannah then talks about Gawker's sister site, Jezebel, as a sort of safe place where women can get away from slut-shaming and the like—especially ironic given that site's recent breathless exposé of the photoshop touchups applied to Dunham's photo shoot for Vogue.

In a couple short minutes, Dunham (and episode co-writer Judd Apatow) both nailed and destroyed the ethos of Gawker Media. It was pretty fantastic to watch.

Then, yesterday, Quentin Tarantino announced that he was suing Gawker Media for disseminating copies of his unreleased screenplay, The Hateful Eight. I'm no fancy big city lawyer and Gawker is sure to hide behind the First Amendment—as if aiding in the illicit distribution of someone else's commercial works is a legitimate function of the press—so the case may amount to nothing. But it seems pretty clear cut to me: Gawker served as an intermediary for the distribution of someone else's copyrighted material, material that he had announced he planned to put on sale at some point in the relatively near future. It is unclear to me how Gawker Media's actions are materially different from, say, Napster circa 2000 when it was sued out of existence for facilitating the illicit downloads of copyright material.

Who knows. I'm kind of hoping Copyhype's Terry Hart weighs in; he's one of the smarter defenders of copyright out there.

Regardless, it's been a tough couple of days for dickheads on the Internet. And that's always something to celebrate.

(Tarantino Photo Credit: Potatojunkie via Compfight cc)