5.10.2005

Don't Go! We Barely Got to Not Know You

As more GM bloggers take holidays to write books or vacationate, or as certain GM blogs are still in search of a more permanent subcommandante, GM is fast exhausting its reserve lineup of name-checkable guest editors. This week at Gawker though, it's Alex Balk, and-do-we-really-have-to-include-this-"aka" The Minor Fall, The Major Lift aka TMFTML. Balk was joined Monday in temp-co-guesting by his frequent blog-canoodler Lindsay Robertson, an arrangement which is the blog equivalent of second base (blogrolling being first; third and home are oral and coitus, just like in the real world, or so we and most bloggers like to imagine).

Balk is a good catch as a guest editor, considering his signature style of arch yet self-deprecating indignation (plus alcohol/narcotic/or hangover-from-same reference) versus various Times columnists or similar targets. That style, with slight variations, is widely echoed in blogs the world over, in GM and elsewhere, so he's a natural GM fit. Even better is his generalized discomfort with blogging and maybe even his own style, as exemplified by a brief hiatus and a dismissive quote in the New Yorker about cashing in with his own book deal (since reconsidered, in the post-D-nasty-$650K world perhaps). This ambivalence is a perfect match for Nick Denton, known for his surgical buzzkilling of blogging evangelists of any stripe. The only surprising thing is that it took this long for Denton to press Balk into service. March!

Today, Balk is joined by an anonymous "recovering lifestyle journalist" using the pseudonym "Myles na Gopaleen," which we won't bother to google-splain for you. We'll let this person -- referred to by both genders of pronouns, curiously -- have her/his hermaphroditic day in court, but let us rush to judgment just a little bit. "Name" guest bloggers are good, anonymous or not; named unknowns are good too, because that's how you run into new talent. But temporary and anonymous? Gopaleen's first post does dare to use the word "mimesis," which we both admire and despise. Still, unless Gopaleen sticks with the cover name or dramatically unveils later, there'll be no way to follow him/her after the GM tour of duty expires. We guess this move is designed to insulate from industry reprisals, but is that ever a factor anymore? Hasn't Gopaleen heard of Toby Young? There really is no such thing as bad attention.

Regardless, if it's a labor to love any guest blogger, how are we supposed to form an emotional bond with one who's both transient and faceless? Sure, we might have preferred transient and faceless in college, but we're all adults now, and such things are reserved for nostalgia or the Hamptons. And how can we know that Denton isn't beta-testing his ultimate creation, the blogger bot (not a new idea as some will certainly attest). We hope that the GM guest bloggers, good though they may be, remain maneuvers of convenience rather than a new business model. Even though running herd on the guests might represent a logistical headache for GM, they might also bring in curious traffic, sort of like viewers who never watch Saturday Night Live unless their favorite celebs are hosting. For our part, we prefer a little continuity, even if it's only temporary.