But there are good descriptions of the event here and here. Apparently my ultimate newspaper/literary crush was there, despite his rumored distaste for Gessen himself. You'll have to guess who I'm talking about because some things shall remain a secret, but I mean, I've always had a softspot for super smart boys with floppy hair and glasses.
Ned also went, sans moi, and he said that Gessen gave him some interesting advice that kind of catapulted him into the throes of a semi-existential crisis. That advice was: "As soon as you graduate, get out of New York. It is not a place for serious people."
And on the surface, I think that's very true. The internet has officially lambasted seriousness, banishing it to the dark, hollow concaves of whiney Livejournals. I try to be earnest on here sometimes but eventually I just erupt into mocking myself for even attempting to do so. Have we all become this self conscious? Because really, while we are a generation who happily broadcasts our innermost thoughts via blog, we are also a generation that eagerly ridicules each other for doing so. You cannot live in New York if you don't have a sense of humor. That's why Gessen himself is so torn up over all of the mean things people have said about him. And you know what? I would be, too. I've often feared that I don't have the kind of steeled resolve that one needs to adopt in order to participate in this social-climbing, nefarious thing termed the New York Media World. With every rejection letter I accumulate, I'll probably only become more and more serious.
And if you think about it, the internet is really the only thing that we can look to for having changed all of that. New York used to be a very, very serious place. And maybe in some ways it still is. People came here because no one at home took their ambitions and their fears and their sadness seriously. It was a safe-haven for the tortured. And now, perhaps, we're all still tortured, but we're forced to adopt a joking tone concerning that torture. It's passe to take yourself too seriously these days, and for those who are easily wounded, like Gessen and yes, like me too, then maybe it does make sense to escape from New York... but where to?