by tony pierce, 113
ken layne doesnt care what you think. he doesnt care what your momma thinks. and he damn well sure doesnt care what the interwebs think.
layne’s Sploid was given the axe recently by Gawker’s nick denton. at this point i should probably disclose that denton’s gawker media is a quasi-competitor to jake dobkins’ gothamist empire, and i am currently employed by dobkin as hnic of LAist. and i should probably also disclose that i once wrote for layne’s Tabloid back before fire was invented when we were roommates on haight street, and now i live in an apartment that layne handed over to me when he moved out to marry his dear wife.
i cried at laynes wedding, i danced in his former backyard (which is now welch’s), and i banged a teenager in the closet where he once wrote for the Online Journalism Review and even had her sign the door jamb as proof that i wasnt dreaming. something that im sure was inspired by ken’s ghost. even though he was far from dead.
layne laid it out in a blog post that appears to take jabs at denton, other blogs, and even the company that nearly bought Sploid. and by jabs i mean body blows.
ken layne, pictured, has a right to be peeved. he had a good thing going there. it wasnt going to take over the world, but most of the blogs on the technorati top 100 arent gonna take over the world either no matter what they think. the world is impervious to bloggers — or communists. both make a big noise but at the end of the day they are just another passing fad invented so that a handful at the very top can get some tail that would otherwise be way out of their league.
what Sploid was to a casual blog reader was a weird oasis of creativity and freakiness, snappy writing, crazy stories, and funny ass pictures. it didnt look like anything else on the web, it didnt sound like anything else, and it didnt fit in. you know why? because it wasnt intended to. and if it began to fit in Layne would yell at whoever was fucking up the program.
what Sploid was to someone who was allegedly building a media empire was an opportunity to truly diversify ones portfolio in a non-pussy way.
and one thing that this gigantic orgy of blogs called the Internet has shown to the more-than-casual blog reader is that a good writer is a rare beast indeed. especially a funny one. who writes every day. for your ass. great writers are hard to find, great bloggers are even harder to find among the millions and millions of blogspots and wordpresses out there.
Sploid had three excellent, funny writers. layne, fatman, and the cat wrangler. they worked cheap. they drank. they wrote every day. they got it done. they even spellchecked whihc is more than dobkin gets from me, so wtf. and basically ken says wtf in a much funnier and bitter way than i which shows you that sometimes it isnt the blog’s fault if it doesnt get ten gazillion hits a day, its the worlds fault.
not everyone calls in for the right american idol, not everyone votes for the right skull n bones whiteboy, not everyone buys the right glam metal power pop cd. and lord knows not everyone goes to the best blogs every day.
in a world where the daily show, colbert, the factor, and the onion draw millions of people every day to laugh at the attrocities of this fucked up game called life, how could someone think that Spolid, if positioned and marketed right, couldnt reach that demographic online?
its not kens fault that hes ahead of the game and writes so much better than most bloggers that it comes across as french. and it certainly isnt fat man’s fault.
anyway i love ken because of headlines like this: GOODBYE FOREVER
ledes like this: Just like YouTube, Lebanon, Joe Lieberman, newspaper circulation and airline travel, Sploid is being demolished.
and runs like this:
And then some months passed and nobody much read the site and Choire got hired by the New York Observer (he is now the guy in the fedora and trenchcoat). And pretty soon it was just your editor in Reno ranting about Katrina and his drowned hometown all the time. Weirdly, the readership doubled.
Gawker kingpin Nick Denton decided this was the perfect time to delete the archives and debut a radical new design that looked like a robot had taken a dump on a crossword puzzle.
For maximum impact, the six-hour switch to the “new system” was done in the middle of the workday, so that readers could get a “behind the scenes” look at the world of Gawker Media … meaning, actual login screens for the Gawker publishing system. It was great.
Overnight — or “over day” — half the readers went away.
i will never have the courage to say half of the things that i really feel which is why i tell you on the busblog straight up that im holding back, bullshitting, making shit up, and photoshopping extra smoke. which is why i truly respect ken and the guts to tell the fucking story the way it was and make it funny and sad and beautiful.
its the way real bloggers are supposed to be every day, and every day we fail.
somehow it’s ken who is paying for your sins. now you know the rest of the story.
word is hes moving the wife and kid and dog to LA and hes going to take it out on the world through screenplay writing and country songs. me, i hope he takes up quarter horse gambling so i could have someone to go to the track with.
whereever he lands it will be with fanfare and flashbulbs, fairy dust and wine. the girls will be beautiful and the copy will just write itself, until it goes blind.