The Battle of Lysistrata
Wonkette has been through many changes, growing from a one-woman show into an integral part of the Gawker universe. Editors and writers have come and gone, and come back again. But never before has Wonkette experienced a reader/commenter mutiny like they did this week.
The drama began with the rehiring on Ken Layne as the editor-in-chief. Ken was the “West Coast Bureau Chief” when I started reading the site, and then he left, I presume to go freelance. Upon his return, he promptly fired one of the readers’ favorite writer, along with an intern and staff photographer, apparently because they didn’t “fit” with Layne’s vision of the site’s future. The writer, Megan Carpentier, had a huge following, and her loyal minions promptly organized a boycott of the site.
Wonkette commenters, or “Wonketteers”, are an eclectic bunch. There are gays and straights, college students and professors, patriots and expatriates, liberals and conservatives. The one thing they all have in common is the ability to see the ridiculousness of the political mindset in our nation’s capital and beyond.
And now they’re irate. Megan Carpentier is a smart, funny, and knowledgeable writer. She has worked as a lobbyist on Capital Hill, and used her inside knowledge to explain the sausage-and-lawmaking process in a witty and sarcastic, yet understandable, manner. She also was not afraid to offend sensibilities. Apparently, these are the traits that don't fit into the Gawker mold. By canning her, however, Wonkette has driven its more intelligent constituents away from the site.
The Wonketteers are currently congregating at a blogspot site called Homofascist’s Army (homofascist was a fixture commenter on Wonkette, and became the defacto leader of the insurrection). Meanwhile, Wonkette’s page hits have dropped by a third, and its comment boards have dropped in participation by half.
I for one will be visiting HF’s site to get my fix of witty political repartee, and encourage everyone else to do the same. Eventually, the Wonketteers will either migrate back to Wonkette or find a new site. In the meantime, HFA will be the place to be. See you there!