[Ed. note: This is the farewell post of EXLEY, who was eliminated yesterday from ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Exley's avatar (at right).]
When I was a teenager, some of my classmates and I got bussed to a public high school 40 minutes away. We were part of a program for social outcasts who scored well on a couple of standardized IQ tests, and we applied all of our angst and intellect to harassing our bus drivers — we bellowed Queen’s “We Will Rock You” at the top of our lungs, we threw our lunches and snowballs at other cars to try to cause accidents (sometimes successfully), and once on our way home we all stared stonily at the bus driver by way of his rear view mirror until he finally cracked, turned the bus around, and drove us back to school.
Through my brief stint as an ATL Idol contestant, I’ve come to appreciate both what Lat does, and how those poor high school bus drivers must’ve felt. You guys are as unruly as a centaur’s dark and frothy pubes.
Read more, after the jump.
Granted, I sort of f**ked up. If there’s one useful thing that I learned from this contest, it’s that competing anonymously in a popularity contest is kind of stupid. I mean, I didn’t even reveal my gender and I was certain that if I so much as named my law school in my bio, everyone would be able to figure out who I was, I’d get fired, go crazy, and end up living in the back of a bus with a tea bag hanging from my teeth… in Los Angeles.
So instead I decided to be, as I announced grandly to my dubious boyfriend, “a working stiff, an everyman, like Holden Caulfield, ten years later.” I tried to be you, you stupid assholes. Pale-skinned and anonymous, sex-deprived and overfed, poignantly insecure, comically cocksure, and probably 90% male.
But while being tight-lipped about one’s identity can work fantastically well (e.g., UTR), impenetrable lips can, as everyone knows, make it impossible for things to slip through — and I never really felt any resonance with the posts that I wrote. That’s right, I cock-blocked myself.
But enough of this Gouldian navel gazing. Here’s something useful for you and the future of ATL: judgey guidance.
It’s obvious that commenters usurped the primary role of the judges in ATL Idol by being snarkier, funnier, and more engaged. Reading the judges’ commentary was as painful and embarrassing as watching Mr. Belding trying to fit in at The Max. With their impressive collective blawgging experience, however, I’d hoped that the judges would also provide some helpful insight.
I was especially disappointed that none of the judges (or commentary) picked up on the following point: The main value-added of ATL over other legal blogs is the inside scoop on biglaw — gossip on summer associate tomfoolery, bonu$es, raises, bonu$es, firings, bonu$es, and the titillating secrets of our opaque employers. (And bonu$es.) Though the Lawyer/Judge of the Day posts are fun and provide a platform for commenters to share what the guys in their high schools also did and that it was no big deal, they are not why most people visit ATL.
Therefore, neither writing ability nor a wicked sense of humor is the most essential characteristic of a successful ATL EIC. Lat’s got both but much more importantly, he’s got people who want to tell him s**t. Who see him at an event and are inspired to unload their secrets on to him as freely as a character in a Wong Kar Wai movie.
Thus the most important question in this contest is not who writes the best or who is the funniest, but rather, which contestant will inspire the dirtiest dirt from the broadest array of people-in-the-know? Will it be Earnest Alex, Muggin’ Marin, Solipsistic Sophist, or Bosomy F&D? (I don’t actually know who F&D is but I like to imagine her as someone with ample bosoms, named, you know.)
Good frickin’ luck to the remaining contestants. I’m driving back to the high school.