Max Goes Travelling part 2

Sadly, it appears Max Gogarty’s musings on life as an international jetsetter aren’t a spoof, as the Guardian’s Travel editor has now responded (although the comments on there are equally amusing).

Even more disappointing (if true) is the indication from ‘Maxsdad’ in the travel ed’s comments section that Max won’t be continuing his blog. In all seriousness, if I were Max I’d be doing my best to capitalise on the situation.

Yes, he’s had his first blog post for a national newspaper torn to shreds by a crowd of nearly 500 irate Guardianists brandishing quiches, but he’s the most talked about thing in the blogopshere right now. If he’s got a skin thick enough, he’s got a whole army of followers ready to read his next exciting installment. It may be utter drivel, but he’s something on a cult hero. G’wan buay, strike while the iron’s hot. You’ve already got two Facebook groups dedicated to you.

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I wasn’t the only person to wonder if it might be an elaborate PR ruse (the hits must have gone through the roof for that section of the Guardian) and there’ll be plenty of people wondering just how what must have been a seemingly innocuous blog attracted such scorn, ire, and hilarity.

Regardless of Andy Pietrasik roundaboutly saying it wasn’t nepotism, the fact he’s the son of a freelance travel writer whose work has appeared in the Guardian makes it feel like it was daddy’s contacts that got him the gig.

If we assume he was contacted on the strength of his somewhat questionable (if that one post is anything to go by) writing abilities, then would it have really hurt to introduce him as son a travel writer Paul Gogarty? You’d have probably got a few moanings of nepotism, but nothing like the full-scale vitriol unleashed yesterday.

The second point, which links to the first, is just the sheer awfulness of the writing. The only thing that tops it for sheer vacuousity was Peaches Geldof’s utter drivel in the G2 a while back.

Link the two together and you’ve got a blogosphere combustion, with the editor’s comments akin to pouring a can of petrol on the flames. There’s tongue-in-cheek and then there’s poor writing dressed as ‘irony’ as defined by Alanis Morrissette. No prizes for guessing which category Max’s falls into.

And yes, as a former journalist who spent ages getting a foot in the door, and knowing many other talented writers who are still trying to block open said door, or have made it through only to have the millstone of debts and low wages hanging round their neck, it’s easy to see how a stereotypical Primrose Hill yoof with a seemingly cushy lifestyle writing about how he’s swanning off around the world doing precisely what every other spilt middle-class child does all in the name of finding themself can stick in the craw.

I’m not going to be rushing out to burn down the pile of Guardians in my local newsagent just yet, unlike some of the more angry (and somewhat weirder) comments on the blog. If anything was going to make me do that, it would have been Peaches’ article – the ultimate example of how somebody famous for being famous and with no discernible talent for writing can have a column after sod all publicised across the front page of a national newspaper.

At the end of the day, the whole thing’s kept my whole office chuckling for the best part of the day and serves as an amusing footnote to the perils of the blogopshere. Let’s hope there’s a fair few at Guardian towers who’re giggling as well. You’d have to be incredibly po-faced not to crack a smile. The column may be dirge but if Max Gogarty returns he’s going to have one hell of a fan club. He could even have the tagline: More hated than Polly Toynbee. I’d read that.

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2 Responses to “Max Goes Travelling part 2”


  1. 1 ourmanwhere February 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    There’s another issue here – there’s a comment from someone calling themselves onviongravy – that I linked to on my blog. We’re all so fed up with tales of North London. The Guardian, which tries to pretend it has Northern credentials is the most luvvie of the luvvies when it comes to the Capital’s media world.

    I think that it where a lot of anger comes from. If this had been some less monied kid from outside of London the anger wouldn’t have been so full on.

    There is an increasing feeling that the Guardian sneers at the North and holds London up to be some bastion of cool. It isn’t and Max certainly isn’t.

  2. 2 Christopher White February 16, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    The comment from “Maxdad” (and isn’t it telling that he chose that as a username rather than his actual name — all protective-parent like) is possibly worse than the original blog.

    Convinced that all the vitriol was entirely personal rather than a response to combined nepotism and ineptitude, and that the commenters would be pleased that the kid’s ill (and I wouldn’t wish chronic diarrohea on anybody, except possibly David Blunkett because that would be well funny) and that he won’t be writing any more (which nobody would be concerned about as long as it’s not as bad again).

    Kind of understandable as a protective parent, but at the same time it’s manifestly his fault that Max could ever have thought that writing such drivel for a national newspaper website could ever have been a good idea. (I speak as a self-proclaimed expert on the need for constructive criticism.)


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