What’s a Rex Sorgatz? Funny you should ask: He’s a guy who came from an alt-weekly background in the Midwest to run MSNBC’s website, and he now lives in New York consulting on various digital media products when he’s not theorizing on things like “Internet Fame” and having his social life documented by places like The New York Observer and Gawker. And he’s now the subject of a New York Times profile. But Rex isn’t what matters here.
I am not quick to defend Mr. Sorgatz for his adoration of the limelight! A lot of things are going to be said about Rex, and how he conducts his public image, and whether or not people flank him at bars like he’s some kind of magical Internet sage. Like this:
IT was a rainy Tuesday night and Rex Sorgatz, a rail-thin man with spiky red hair and Sol Moscot glasses, walked into a birthday party held at Tom & Jerry’s, a bar in NoHo that has become a go-to place for New York’s Twitter class. A circle of friends who occupy the digital elite closed in, all shouting “Rex!”
You decide what’s more embarrassing: The fact that this moment was documented for the New York Times, or the fact that the New York Times documented it like that. Because however Rex comes out in the profile, it’s the New York Times that actually, really, comes off worse. Just look at this shit:
Since then, between the occasional Gawker mentions and acid Twitter rants, Mr. Sorgatz has managed to gain respectability and parlay his microcelebrity into an actual business that puts him legitimately closer to the center of the new media action.
Yet again, the New York Times — and, specifically, the Styles section — has given the full go-ahead to let loose on their utter animals-in-cages fascination with this thing called “New Media” and the people who run it and the fact that, ZOMG! They’re kinda legit and they make decent money. In other words, they missed the point. It’s not that Sorgatz has managed to succeed in spite of these things, it’s that they were stepping stones to getting where he is. That’s just the beginning. A line-by-line analysis of just how off-point the Times is again here would be, at best, trepanation-worthy, but the bottom line is that these guys just can’t resist a decent opportunity to show everyone just how far removed they are from the concept of “New Media” and the people who work in it.
Or maybe they really are that blithe, in which case, they are also in far more trouble than one would think.