i'll eat shit and like it
so long io9, and thanks for... well... a little bit of everything, i guess
The outlets currently owned by G/O Media have a tradition—when you leave you get one last blog. A final hurrah, a kind of funbag where you get to say what you did, what you’re proud of, where you’re going, and, most importantly to the tradition at hand, you get to spill the tea a little bit about what it’s like to write for one of the best blogs on the planet.
(Also, everyone gets to tell you to eat shit. If you’re reading this you have been granted the one-time disbursal to tell me to eat shit. Feel free to do so in the comments.)
I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. On the day I was let go I was on vacation—taking a week in a cabin in the northern Appalachians to work on finishing up [REDACTED]. (More on [REDACTED] in another clickbaiter.) My dog was limping and I was taking her to the emergency vet. I saw I had a meeting mysteriously scheduled with a member of upper management I had only spoken to once before. Within an hour I knew I was getting laid off.
And… that’s how it went. It was a six-minute phone call. I didn’t get a single explanation. I wasn’t told anything. My work was never brought up once. The HR person thought I was an AI reporter. Truthfully, that was the moment I realized that this layoff wasn’t a reflection of the value I generated or even the words I wrote. It was arbitrary. It meant nothing. All this means is that I’m out of a job.
I’m not going to talk about the media landscape. Or layoffs. Or how unfair it is, or how inane this decision was. All that shit is already out there. I’m going to talk about what I loved. I’m going to tell you about everything at io9 that I absolutely adored. Because he’s the simple truth of it.
I fucking loved my job.
It had its ups and downs, and really a lot of the problems I had came from the upper management, same as everyone else. But when my job was good—when we didn’t have to deal with whatever the upper management was scheming—my job was great.
I was able to write every single day about the stuff that I cared about. Every day, I was asked to think critically about pop culture, fandom, books, television, and—most famously—games. I was able to interview fans about their favorite characters, talk about gender and video games, expose bad actors in the industry, talk to amazing actors, interview writers I admire, and get on camera with Rahul Kohli… twice. Tilda Swinton told me I had fabulous hair. I got to hug Chuck Tingle! Tyler Posey told me he was a little scared of me. LeVar Burton watched with bemusement as Mica Burton and I talked in a totally different nerd language during our interview. I was so good. I was excellent at my job. And I did it happily. I did it easy. I was good at my job and while it was often hard work, it was never a burden or a struggle. Because I was, and am, a very good journalist.
This newsletter isn’t just a proxy for my last blog on io9; it’s more like a eulogy. A part of my life—a big part—isn’t there anymore. I’m going to miss it. And worse than that is the fact that I had so many stories I was looking forward to writing.
If this sounds insane to you, trust me, I’ve considered that possibility. But it’s the truth. I was supposed to publish the next Gaming Shelf on November 14—today. I made promises to people—creators, writers, game designers—and now I can’t follow through. And this is true for all of the stories I had planned. From critical coverage to interviews to book cover reveals. I was looking forward to all of it. And now, I’m missing those promises I made. I am genuinely heartbroken over the stories I have left on my desk.
I wish I had time to apologize to everyone. I wish I had time to tell them I was leaving. I wish I could let everyone in my io9 inbox know that I wanted to tell their story, but someone else, without even knowing what their story was, without even knowing these stories were even there, decided that none of them would be written.
G/O Media didn’t even know they had made that decision when they let me go.
I had at least four investigations ongoing at the time of my dismissal. Important, deeply reported, meticulous investigations that I had invested dozens of hours into over the past year, that I had studied, dug into, pieced together, and spent probably over a hundred hours interviewing people. I was talking to people—so many people—and their stories were important. They meant something. And now I might not be able to tell those stories.
That’s what hurts the most. The fact that I have people in my inbox who wanted me to help them, and now… I can’t. That’s something I’m mourning as well. I’m sorry I couldn’t finish what I started.
The more that I wrote for io9 the more that I thought of my work as a service. There is no need for a journalist if there isn’t an audience. The work that I’m proudest of is the work that said something nobody else was saying. That gave space to other people. That took me out of the equation. Or, mostly out of the equation. I’m an opinionated little fucker, even at my best.
I’ll miss my silly op-eds. I’ll miss my serious op-eds. I’ll miss talking to authors and directors and actors. I’ll miss talking to fans. I’ll miss talking to game designers and gamers, and I’ll miss talking to players, writers, and everyone in between.
I’ll also miss talking to my coworkers. My io9 teammates were incredible. Clever, insightful, funny, horny, unhinged. And all in our publicly browsable slack channels. If that’s what did me in, I’d be happy knowing it was a dick joke that sent me off. They had no idea that I was going to be laid off. They had no part in it, and that, again, reinforces the fact that my work was simply not a factor. I don’t know the kind of arithmetic that went on in upper management, but I deserved better than whatever spreadsheet they used to dispassionately and dismissively assess my worth.
A small series of goodbyes: My editor, James Whitbrook, let me do just about anything. Thanks for that. It was probably a mistake. My work was better for it. Except that shit about covering The Rock’s tweeting through poor Black Adam press rather than working on the OGL story. That was definitely a mistake and also my favorite story to tell to other journalists. Thanks for that too.
Cheryl Eddy and Germain Lussier are powerhouses in their respective beats. Knowledgable, kind, and brilliant. I want to eat them alive and imbue their powers. Watch out. I’m in your walls.
Sabina Graves and Justin Carter kept me humble with how good they were at what they loved to talk about. They are unique voices and incredibly sharp. I will miss them cutting me down to size and also building me up. There are no better colleagues.
To everyone who trusted me with their story—whether that was a testimony against injustice, why you wrote your game, or simply what you thought about Our Flag Means Death—thank you. It was my honor, my genuine pleasure, and my proudest accomplishment to be able to tell your stories.
I hope to do it again someday.
P.S. If you do tell me to eat shit, it would be lovely if you also mentioned a piece of my work that you enjoyed over the past two years. It’s my birthday this week and I’m feeling sentimental.
Also, thanks. It means a lot that you’re here. More from me soon. I promise.