09.30.07

Looking For Drollery, Settling For Trollery

Posted in Blogged Down at 10:48 pm by

Of the in-house variety! Somehow ignoring the historic contributions of Rog, the New York Times’ Allen Salkin muses, “There are those who have blogs. Then there are those who leave comments on other people™s blogs, sometimes lots and lots of comments, sometimes nasty, clever, brilliant, monumentally stupid or filthy comments.” Expert witness Shel Israel opines, “œPeople are doing it for the same reason another generation of people called in on talk radio. They are passionate, they live in a world where nobody listens to them, and they suddenly have a way to speak.

So how better to examine this modern phenomena than by considering comments submitted to Gawker.com….by a Gawker Media employee?

The real-life identity of one of Gawker™s most frequent contributors, and a best of the week honoree, LolCait, was a mystery to the editorial staff until a few weeks ago. That™s when Richard Lawson, a 24-year-old sales coordinator in the Gawker Media ad department, who was worried his insider status could be discovered and ethically embarrass the company, confessed that he was LolCait.

His success shows how good commenting has become social currency online. Mr. Lawson, who studied playwriting in college, said he started leaving comments after he was hired five months ago, just to see if he could survive the audition as a Gawker-approved commenter. He made it, and was later singled out for a comment that was in the form of a fake entry from the socialite Tinsley Mortimer™s diary.

œThat was when some of the other commenters started saying, ˜Hey, I like your stuff,™ Mr. Lawson said in a telephone interview.

His basic style is œeasy jokes, puns, random celebrity jabs, he explained. In response to a news item about the rapper Foxy Brown slapping a neighbor with her Blackberry, LolCait commented, œThis is like the time Spinderella stabbed me with her Treo.

Easy jokes? Did Oscar Wilde ever crack wise about Salt-N-Pepa’s dj and a PDA? I think not.

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