The internet may have revealed my romance, but it was my bad luck to be involved with someone who’d written a biography of Murdoch perceived by him to be unfavourable.Murdoch’s paper the New York Post, in an act of obviously gleeful revenge towards Michael, could — by merely reporting the internet rumours — make me the harlot in the middle of a banner headline scandal.So surely I should get out of Dodge before it’s too late?
More puzzled than rattled by his aggressiveness and seeming rancour, I googled his site and, as I sat there, saw my name appear and myself go from a girl with no reputation in the city to a girl who, as my mother in Atlanta would soon point out, had lost her reputation.
He was, I gathered before I hung up, a man with a website.
I would have said, before becoming the subject of scandal, that one of the reasons I had moved to New York from romantically regulated Atlanta — my mother and early-to-marry friends being vigilant dating sentinels — was to be able to be involved with whomever I pleased without having to explain or (although this possibility had never occurred to me) face public censure.
Now I think that I’d have been better off in Atlanta. In Atlanta they continue to believe New York is as accepting in romantic matters as it is depicted in Sex in the City (surprisingly, even haute Atlanta, attuned to popular culture, has adopted a certain Sex in the City nonchalance in the last few years). I’ve noticed this among my many friends who have moved to Park Slope in family-oriented Brooklyn — they’ve come to regard Manhattan as the borough of dubious characters.
(This in a city of men with problematic marriages.) Much to my surprise, a rather ordinarily complicated New York romantic life turned out to be newsworthy.
I was a ‘femme fatale’; I was sleeping my way to the top (Michael is one of the founders of Newser.com, a web aggregator, which paid me an hour to do some writing); I was, well …a girl who had sex.
Several weeks ago I was awakened by a phone call from a man who, speaking in a loud and excited voice, demanded to know the fine details of my personal life. From this unknown man’s unknown website, my terrible scandal quickly moved to Gawker, the gossip site of record in New York, which published every saucy picture it could find of me, and then, shortly after, to tabloid headlines in the New York Post.
Was I in a relationship with the Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff — and under what circumstances? I was, in the initial report, a hapless naïf, prey to a ruthless older man.
Everybody, it seems, feels guilty about being part of the long New York bacchanal, so everybody must be guilty — all the more so if you’re not acting guilty.