Are you a lady who uses the Internet? If so, you might be familiar with a particular commenter. The one who contradicts your arguments by playing devil's advocate, or pokes holes in your logical fallacies, or feels the need to remind everyone that obesity is a lifestyle choice and street harassment is just men being men and you can't fight evolutionary biology. Somehow, he manages to be on every website at once, remarking that he has no problem with people of a different race but stereotypes exist for a reason. The nebulous quick-fingered commenter's identity has now been revealed: Gawker Man.
Gawker Media launched Jezebel in 2007. Since then, the two sites' commenting communities have carried on a friendly brother-sister rivalry: Gawker is the cool but condescending older brother; Jezebel is the smart younger sister whose bubbly enthusiasm Gawker occasionally finds off-putting. Such was the case a couple of weeks ago, when both blogs covered the story of the teens who pranked their high school principal with a mariachi band.
The dueling headlines:
Naturally, a Gawker commenter felt the need to point out that he was pleased Gawker saw the story the right way, the way HE saw it, unlike at Jezebel, where the harpies were working themselves into a tizzy over it. (AS USUAL, amirite guys?)
"It's nice to see Gawker see this same way I see it. Just a group of bored teenagers. Unlike Jezebel who seem to think this is best thing to ever happen."
Yup, those ladies and their banal amusement. You’d think pranks were supposed to be funny the way those gals are cackling over it. Another commenter, rrpete, swiftly encapsulated his response.
"Women having opinions that people don't like makes Gawker man angry. How dare women people have different interests, experiences, and views than Gawker man?!"
Which prompted someone to ask: Who is Gawker Man?
And so Gawker Man—the straight white vigilante whose superpower is swooping in on each and every comment section everywhere on the Internet to right the balance between the sexes—was born. Or rather, given a name. Because anyone who's spent any time on the Internet in the past decade has surely encountered Gawker Man.
Quoth the mysterious rrpete, chronicler of the adventures of Gawker Man:
"Gawker Man is a white man in his mid 20s, late 30s. He has seen all and been all. He knows all. He voted for Obama, so he isn't a racist. He's a tech guru because he owns a video game console or five. Women bum him out, they are so confusing, are they people? Why don't they listen to Gawker Man's every word? But his dick is lonely and he's no homo. Is he a democrat? Is he a libertarian? Does he think fascists have a point? Gawker Man's opinions change like the seasons. Gawker Man is the very earth itself. He has a symbiotic relationship with NYC and Chicago and LA. But he knows someone who lives in a rural area, but he'll only admit it if it necessitates demonstrating his vast intelligence. Europe is so much better. The wind blows from the south. Gawker Man instinctively knows where he is needed. Gawker Man appears! Those crazies at Jezebel have gone too far. Gawker Man restores order and disappears into the night."
Commenters rejoiced at finally knowing the identity of the mystery man who'd rescued them from their perilous emotional appeals over the years. Gawker Man's historian was just happy to help.
"I'd like to thank everyone. I'm glad this has pleased you. But most of all I'd like to thank Gawker Man, but not all Gawker Men. We all must strive to never make generalizations. Gawker Man would certainly never do such a thing. What kind of scumbag (not all scumbags) would (sometimes not) make (destroy) a generalization without (with) (some) qualifiers? Gawker Man knows a guy who is street. Well, he paves streets, so he knows plenty about drug culture. Gawker Man once got kicked in the balls really hard. Gawker Man never forgets. Did he say he forgot? You're putting words in his mouth."
Another commenter proposed marriage, which, obviously, Gawker Man is not interested in. Heroes don't have wives or husbands, and more importantly, Gawker Man has a storied conflict with monogamy, religion and any and all Government Institutions. (Especially religion. Gawker Man is an atheist, obviously.)
"Easy there. Marriage is for fools, or so Gawker Man feels. It's just a social construction perpetuated by the religious right. Or capitalism, or maybe even Catholics, or communism. Gawker Man isn't a sheep or a shill. He's come to shear you all with the scissors of truth. Open relationships? Yes. Twilight was a terrible series. You expect Gawker Man to pay for a honeymoon? Get a grip. Gawker Man has an excellent grip. He can deadlift. But not at Planet Fitness. He already told you he isn't a sheep. He's a grower not a shower."
Gawker Man's many nemeses often wrongly accuse Gawker Man of having no life and no job. Gawker Man works hard, and he wants you to know it.
"Gawker Man does work hard. Harder than diamonds. He would never be a girl's best friend. What kind of hell would that be? Or seven hells. He's the Ned Stark of his local froyo place. Gawker Man is easily chilled, so he brings a hoodie with him wherever he goes. Last year, Gawker Man was walking the streets of NYC when he saw a man who was lost. Aren't we all? Gawker Man understand things, more things than you, or I, or any omnipresent being. Human nature? Absolutely. It's an explanation and a solution if you'd open your eyes. Gawker Man's eyes were dilated so that he could get a pair of Ray Bans. Let that sink in. Gawker Man isn't a misandrist, but one time a woman called him a creep and wave after wave of understanding hit him like a wet towel. It was hard to recover after that. Who was he really? How could she say such a vile thing? Like glass petals shattering on the marble floor of his favorite art gallery/wine tasting venue, Gawker Man was in pieces. Only a case of Mountain Dew and a marathon session of Halo could put him right. He was never wrong. Do you have any links to prove it?"
Gawker Man appeared the next day, ready to opine yet again on world events:
"Gawker Man knows a lot about the Central African Republic. Yup, yup, yup. War makes Gawker Man sad. Luckily, Gawker Man has Mario Kart 8. Maybe if Africans got their business together, they could be awesome like Gawker Man and not poor and bound by the chains of religion. Imperialism? Get out. Excuses. Gawker Man doesn't make excuses."
And a few days later, on gun control:
"Gawker Man has arrived. Gun Control? Yes. Gun Control? No. Obama? One time the barista at Starbucks spelled Gawker Man's name wrong on his cup. Not all gun owners become paramilitary terrorists. Or these poor folks were mentally ill. Whatever. Remember that time when time stopped? Libertarians aren't the problem. Fascists aren't a problem. Let me play devil's advocate. Your ad hominem strawman logical fallacy arguments won't work on me idiot. The real problem here is people not being more like Gawker Man."
Will we ever see the mysterious Gawker Man again? Surely. In the mean time, Fusion's Andy Dubbin has put together a rough sketch of what we think Gawker Man may look like in the wild:
Go forth, Gawker Man, and continue your heroic quest to right wrongs and be wrong about being right. You're the hero the Internet deserves.
Andy is a graphics editor and cartoonist at Fusion.