Gawker loves to mock Esquire columnist Stephen Marche, as he himself points out in the pages of the New York Times. Among other things, he's made the site's list of the "worst 100 white men" in history, as well as its roundup of "least important writers." Still, his column Tuesday isn't to revel in Gawker's legal troubles, but to defend the site. "Gawker serves an essential function in a celebrity-obsessed culture, and if it were to disappear, the world would be poorer and the cause of journalistic truth would be damaged," he writes, adding that the website "deserves more support than it is getting." Gawker loves making those in power uncomfortable, even if that power stems from celebrity. Marche doesn't take a position on whether Gawker should have posted the sex tape of Hulk Hogan, but he notes that nobody would have objected if Hogan were a congressman.
The thing is, "even a pathetic D-lister like Hulk Hogan has more power to shape the world today than most congressmen," writes Marche. "The world we live in has made a presidential nominee out of a reality television star. This is the world that Gawker predicted and took up arms against." As for billionaire Peter Thiel, who is funding the fight against Gawker, Marche writes that he is part of a "new breed of technologists" trying to take control of the news media and must be challenged. Marche also notes that Thiel is a student of Stanford philosophy professor Rene Girard, who championed something called "scapegoat mechanism." Thiel, Marche writes, "has turned Gawker into a scapegoat for the shifting world of celebrity culture that we all inhabit. He has made Gawker into a scapegoat for the world he himself is helping to create." Click for the full column.