Thoughts on Ed Champion and his Detractors

So Salon.com, one of the three heads--along with tumblr and jezebel.com-- of the cerberus guarding the left wing of the outrage porn industrial complex, has published a hit piece on Ed Champion over some nonsense flame war crap between him and some people who dont like him. Im not going to link to it, because linking to outrage pornographers only encourages them, but you can probably find it if you want to read it. I suggest you pass, you wont be missing anything.

I honestly dont know whats going on with Ed or what the whole mess is really all about. I dont really much care about any of that. Near as i can gather, the current mess is a rolling boil that got started when Ed pointed out in a detailed essay this summer (of 2014) that author and editor Emily Gould sucks. That this was news to anybody, or that any one would be shocked to discover someone holds such an opinion of Emily Gould, is moderately surprising. I was previously under the impression that the conclusion that "Gould sucks" was the inevitable result encounter with her media output. See, for example, this video of Gould being insipid across the table from Jimmy Kimmel doing a Larry King impression on CNN 7 years ago: http://youtu.be/2-avakrRUaU I also understand shes engaged to the guy from n+1. And i mean, what more do you need.

ETA 8:12 PM PDT: iI mention this because I see an element of hypocrisy in a group of insiders rallying to the defense of a person who has grown her own career through the exploitation and criticism of celebrities. Why is it okay for Gawker to post whatever it hears about celebrities and post libelous pictures of them but it isnt okay to excoriate the author of a book who works hard building her own celebrity based on such yellow journalism? I would suggest, strongly, that it isn't; the people engaged in it, particularly the ones at significant publications, should be ashamed of themselves

Keith Gessen and wetasphalt's past criticisms of him aside, Gould's status as a New York Lit scene insider is well established. And her work is dull and self indulgent in the manner that most first novels are. I have a couple of unpublised manuscripts myself that are roughly of the quality pf Gould's output. Eric has an unpublished mss. that is frankly leaps and bounds better than anything I've seen of Gould's and yet I think ue'd agree is still likely best unseen by the larger world. And i have no doubt that there are unpublished first novels sitting in drawers all over the world of similar middling quality rightly being ignored by the publishing industry. So while i have no doubt that there was an element of jealousy in Ed's manifesto against middling millenials, hell, I'm jealous and Ive never even tried that hard to get my novel published let along done it more than once, he also had a point. Emily Goulds crap, being objectively no better than anybody elses crap, is nevertheless afforded greater status and multiple publicatins. And thats a problem worthy of an insightful critic to point out. And everything else aside, no one can deny honestly that Ed is an insightful and serious critic.
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Outrage porn and the in crowd in new york being what they are, the pile on following Ed's decision to kick the hornets' nest are also predictable. The latest looks like a falling out with another writer that was pretty nasty and about which I know nothing and, as its none of my business i dont really care much about.

The thing i do care about in all this is Ed. We are only acquaintances, Ive only spoken to him a couple of times in my life, but looking in from the outside, it seems to me that he is not doing so well at the moment. I don't live in his head or walk in his shoes, and i dont want to talk out of turn, but Ive been very public about my own struggles and I do see some of that reflected in what has been going on with this latest mess that has culminating in Ed being suspended from his twitter account. Once upon a time, when i was in a pretty dark place, Ed and eric hung out with me in New York and Ed was nice to me at a time when i needed that from people. Im forever grateful for that.

So just wanted to say that because from outward appearances it looks like Ed is in a pretty dark place himself, i hope that turns a corner soon. And I want to say shame on Salon for slogging in after the whole thing is over and the damage was done and kicking a man when he is down. That kind of bullying is far worse than anything ive seen attributed to Ed by his critics.

And thats really all anybody should have to say about that. Not that it will stop the outrage pornographers from continuing to revel in it until their next opportunity to make money off of shallow, impotent malaise comes along. Which Im guessing will be sometime this afternoon.

Comments

Though I agree with

Though I agree with everything you've said (except about Emily Gould, about whom I know nothing), I do kind of wish you were less negative. I'm not sure talking about Emily Gould sucking helps your argument for having more compassion.

well, i probably wouldnt have

well, i probably wouldnt have gone there it except that there is a pretty thick slice of irony in the whole gang up on ed thing that emerges from that video and gould's defense of gawker. Also, there are excerpts of Goulds books online and they are vapid trash on par with both of our (rightly) unpublished self indulgent first novels. I dont think the argument for having more compassion would be helped by dismissing Eds work outright. For whatever other flaws they had, i think its important to point out that the core criticism of the middling millenials that ed got started with this whole episode over is a critical stance that is understandable, justifiable, and likely accurate.

I think this is more

I think this is more reasonable than anything you say about Emily Gould in the post itself.

All i said in the post is

All i said in the post is that she sucks. I stand by that. I think you can overly sensitive about this sort of thing. If a persons honest impression of someone is that they suck, I dont think theres anything wrong with expressing that opinion. Of course its just my opinion, but this is a blog, what else am i going to write about? Im sure there are a lot people who think I suck out there, they certainly reveal themselves in the comments fairly regularly. One thing i agree with emil gould about in tht video clip is that there is a chamging relationship to privacy being brought about by the internet, and that isnt settled yet. One of the elements of that that isnt new, however, is that when you enter the public square you risk other people not liking what you do and saying so. I have no problem with that. What i would point out, however, is that there is a difference between that and turning that i to a freak show based on a gross power imbalance which is what has happened with Ed. Yes, to an extent he brought it all on himself by doing what he did publicly. At the same time, however, people with louder megaphones need to be aware of when they're kicking down and i think they need to be held to account for that when they do it. If this had stayed in the blogosphere and on twitter i wouldnt have aaid anything, but Salon is an order of mgnitude different, and when someone shows upmwith tactical nukes at someone else's knife fight there is just no way that isnt out of line.

Dear Mr. Quackenbush:I've

Dear Mr. Quackenbush:

I've spent most of my recent time offline and have had no taste for the many articles have written about me. The more important goal has been to get well (of which I'm much better, even if it came at quite a cost) and to escape a dreadful economic trap hidden from most American eyes. Nevertheless, I wanted to write in and express my appreciation for your spirited defense. I haven't yet decided whether I want to write about what happened. The more important story is after. But if you want to write about this further, I will say that the key to all the faux outrage in the literary community is Joyce Carol Oates. I am hoping that you and Eric are well.

Thanks and all best,

Ed