Brow Beat

Gawker Is Dead. These Posts Are Why We’ll Miss It.

Gawker, one of the defining magazines of the 21st century, announced Thursday that it’s shutting down next week for reasons that are too repulsive and terrifying to think about for long. In its 14-year lifespan, Gawker published breakthrough investigations and scurrilous gossip and everything in between. It created much of the lively, ironic, emotionally labile house style of the internet. It revealed that the mayor of Toronto had been filmed smoking crack and that Politico’s Mike Allen let a source write an item and that BuzzFeed’s Benny Johnson plagiarized from Yahoo Answers. The fact that a billionaire could kill Gawker out of spite is a crisis, and the fact that Gawker is gone is a tragedy.


When it comes to Gawker we are conflicted out the wazoo. One Slate editor is married to a Gawker editor. One is married to a lawyer who represented Gawker in the Hulk Hogan trial. One is a former Gawker Media executive editor. None of these Slate staffers worked on this roundup.


Here are some of our favorite Gawker posts for you to read before they disappear into the Memory Furnace to be replaced by something Peter Thiel likes better.

My 14-Hour Search for the End of TGI Friday’s Endless Appetizers by Caity Weaver

Weaver’s famous mozzarella-stick stunt isn’t just about TGI Friday’s endless appetizers. It’s about the supreme difficulty of entertaining yourself for 14 goddamn hours without being able to read a book or use the free Wi-Fi. (Though she did play with the TGI Friday’s app.) —Torie Bosch


Is It Time? by Dog

Everything published in Gawker’s Dog column was a pure delight. It’s impossible to imagine any other publication printing this spot-on but affectionate satire of both dogs and columnists and accompanying it with such beautiful illustrations (by Jim Cooke, of course). This is a good one in which Dog explains why he doesn’t wear a watch. “It’s not for me. I’m classy, not flashy. I also don’t know how to read a watch,” Dog writes. I will miss Dog so much. —L.V. Anderson

Burning Bridges That Never Really Mattered: Joe Dolce Edition by Jessica Coen


Coen’s departing editor letter is a total evisceration of the then-editor of Star, who tried to have an unflattering post removed. It is hilarious yet very fair, a burned bridge done right. —Jeffrey Bloomer


The Zimmerman Jury Told Young Black Men What We Already Knew by Cord Jefferson

Writing before the #blacklivesmatter movement took hold, Jefferson’s bracing, bitter essay on George Zimmerman’s acquittal, on what he had experienced as a black man in America, and on what black people have to put up with every day remains powerful. —Seth Maxon

Real Housewives of New York: The Stoning of Bethenny F. by Richard Lawson

Lawson’s Real Housewives roundups summed up so much of what made Gawker Gawker: bitchy, exacting, exhaustive, hilarious, obsessive, and a little surreal. At their best, the recaps blurred fiction and reality so that if you didn’t watch the show (and maybe even if you did), you wouldn’t be quite sure what really went down and what was spun purely out of Lawson’s Bravo-addled headspace. The loopy patois he concocted for the Countess LuAnn de Lesseps was mind-altering—worthy of a thread in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. —Jessica Winter


Is Donald Trump’s Hair a $60,000 Weave? A Gawker Investigation by Ashley Feinberg

Donald Trump’s hair, with its absurd, origamilike complexity, has long been an object of ridicule and speculation. Is it a wig? Is it a transplant? Is it the hide of an unfortunate golden retriever? This year, Gawker finally cracked the case, accumulating a mountain of circumstantial evidence that the persimmon-colored demagogue is wearing an awful and outrageously expensive weave, created by a specialist who worked out of his own building. This is a hilarious investigation for the ages and one of the best things I’ve read this whole godforsaken election cycle. —Jordan Weissmann

Everything I Ever Thought I Knew About Street Sharks Was a Goddamned Lie by Andy Cush


Cush’s outrage over the revealed history of bogus synopses for the ’90s cartoon Street Sharks is one of the funniest things to come from the Ghost of Internet Past. Who knows how much time (or how many takedown requests) will pass before we purge this fake history from our collective consciousness? —Dawnthea Price

The Most Deranged Sorority Girl Email You Will Ever Read by Caity Weaver

Perhaps the defining literary work of our time, every sentence a crystalline gem of violent beauty and power. —Gabriel Roth


Alex Balk’s Day Off b/w I’m Back, Baby by Choire Sicha

This little throwaway post from almost 10 years ago is so funny and great that I don’t even know what to say. —Heather Schwedel


Here’s What’s Missing From Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up by Dee Barnes

Plenty of media organizations are happy to be the vessels for the stories famous and powerful people tell about themselves. Gawker never was, and we all benefitted from the existence of a place that called out and ripped apart self-serving narratives. —Josh Levin

What Are The Odds These New Media Brands Will Survive? A Power Ranking by Leah Finnegan and Max Read

This is a little morbid, but it’s also an example of what made Gawker great. Even with its hearty sense of self-deprecation, rereading this today stings. —Susan Matthews

The Gawker Endorsement: None of Them by Alex Pareene


Pareene’s case against each of the remaining presidential candidates on the day of the New York primary was a lucid encapsulation of this dreadful political year. —Seth Maxon

On Smarm by Tom Scocca

Snark is the revenge of the powerless. The powerful don’t like it. They prefer smarm, a positive, happy view of the world, which smooths out conflict and serves to maintain the status quo. Tom Scocca makes the case against smarm and shows why we need snark in this memorable 2013 essay. —Helaine Olen


Who Needs a Log Flume When You Can Get a Blow Job in a Theme Park Bathroom Instead?: My Family Vacation by Rich Juzwiak

This might not be the most serious or poignant of Rich’s writing at Gawker—at root it’s about trading blow jobs with a guy in Toon Lagoon—but it is representative of the fearless, honest, and compassionate way he’s treated subjects, especially queer ones, in his time there. Rich’s ability to find humor and beauty in the strangest or most mundane of assignments has always impressed me, and this piece represents an early and important ethnography of a now-defining aspect of queer male life. I think of his as a crucial voice in the LGBTQ conversation, one with which I’ve often agreed and just as often argued. I hope, after Gawker, we continue to hear it. —J. Bryan Lowder


Fuck Boston by Hamilton Nolan

I’ve only lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts for a year, and I’m leaving in two weeks, but I quite like the place as well as the city it borders. Still, Hamilton Nolan’s 2013 essay “Fuck Boston”—in which Hamilton clarifies that he also means “Fuck the Puritans” and “Fuck Boston (the band)”—is one of the funniest things Gawker ever published. —Seth Maxon

A Long, Dark Early Evening of the Soul With Keith Gessen by Emily Gould

What other magazine would have let someone publish this? And yet, why not! They probably got a lot of pageviews out of it too. —Gabriel Roth