The last time we wrote about Adrian Chen, he’d had a lose-lose fight with Reddit. Now he’s got a win-win. And he got that win-win by dressing in a tutu and putting a shoe on his head.
Hacker/pretend-hacker group Anonymous, like Reddit, hates Chen for writing about them like they were simultaneously dangerous criminals and loud-mouthed posers. So in their press release about a supposed massive FBI leak, they said they’d give no interviews “till Adrian Chen get featured in the front page of Gawker, a whole day, with a huge picture of him dressing a ballet tutu and shoe on the head.”
I don’t know how likely they thought this was. They’d mostly seen Serious Adrian, the Nancy Grace of Gawker, and they knew Adrian knows “shoe on head” is a classic prank/humiliation tactic. But since they think of Gawker as traffic whores, they also noted that if Chen played along, he’d get his “desired pageviews number” out of the stunt.
And of course he’s getting those pageviews — the post got over 87,000 views in the first fifteen hours, and it’ll likely triple that today. He got another 45,000 views just for writing about Anon’s demand. But he’s also having fun.
What I want to know is whether Anon knew that apart from being a kind of dickish reporter, Chen is also a great comedian. See his video application to Essence Magazine, the premiere lifestyle magazine for African-American women. Or his Celebrity Chef sketch, or Text Messages From Barack. If you excuse the production quality, there are some funny lines backing up funny concepts — and a willingness to be wacky. And I wonder if whoever demanded the tutu and shoe-on-head was searching for that old wackiness.
Well thank you, brave soul. Thank you for opening a man’s eyes to the joys of childhood. Thank you for returning the old Adrian Chen to us. God bless us, every one.