Intellect and Romance Over Brute Force and Cynicism

Intellect and Romance Over Brute Force and Cynicism
Sweet freedom. (Image: NBC)

Some of you may remember the quote “intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism” from Craig Ferguson’s outstanding tribute to Doctor Who on the old (and far superior) The Late Late Show. But thinking back — on what is to be my last day running Gizmodo — I think it sums up how I’ve felt about working here for the last four years.

I lost count of how many times I told the staff I needed to talk to them as a group — about something totally innocuous — and several of them would blurt out “oh god, please don’t tell us you’re leaving.” I’m gonna let their therapists unpack that but when it finally came time to make an exit announcement a reality… well, let me just say it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my lifetime. I’m sure today is going to come close.

I’d wanted to work at Gizmodo for ages. Even though this blog and my personal “The Nerdy Bird” blog were launched at almost exactly the same time, I yearned to be part of a super cool team. Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders are some of the coolest around. While I never worked side by side with them, I did get to meet them and several Gizmodo alums I already knew “from online” at the site’s fifth anniversary party. Still, even as I was running the Mary Sue, I hoped one day to join them “at the office.” There were a few Sliding Doors moments in the ensuing years where I discussed with the folks there about joining up. I often imagine what life would be like had I started working at Gizmodo earlier but the world works in mysterious ways and I like to think I came on at just the right time.

I’d previously freelanced for Rob Bricken at Topless Robot (I also contributed to its sister site: RIP, Heartless Doll) and we often had conversations about him wanting to find the right place for me at Gizmodo. It finally happened toward the end of 2017, as Katharine Trendacosta was leaving for another opportunity. I was over the moon. Of course, by that time, Gizmodo had been merged into Gizmodo “thanks” to some things we won’t talk about and I was greeting a rather large team when I showed up to the offices for the first time. It was daunting trying to remember everyone’s names but in time I got to know the personalities of everyone who made up Gizmodo. Fast forward a bit and, “thanks” to some other stuff we won’t talk about, Rob left and I was promoted to Deputy Editor. I was a little scared (they never filled my old position so I’ve been doing two jobs), very excited, and more than a little pumped for the times ahead. Rob, you fucking nerd. Thanks for being in my life all these years and for everything you’ve done for me.

You might already know this if you’ve stayed with me this far but… these people are amazing, this site is amazing, and nothing will ever compare to my time here. If you’ve kept up on company news, you can imagine why I (and too many others) started contemplating leaving this behind a while ago. I truly do not want to go, I have to go — for me. That said, making the final decision was agonizing because of my people. I’ve been called “Blog Mum” for a good reason, I’d do anything for them; they’re not just talented journalists, they’re some of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure to call friends. I’m going to say some sappy and probably silly stuff about them now, so turn away if you can’t handle that.

Autumn, our social master, it’s been a joy getting to know you. You’ve persevered through some rough times in your neck of the woods here and never once gave up your enthusiasm for spreading Gizmodo’s great works. I can’t thank you enough for that. You are joyful, enthusiastic, and helped make us shine. Plus, you came into Slack with zingers when we were all least expecting it and destroyed us. That’s talent. In case you forgot, tell your mum “thanks for the socks.”

Beth, Beebo, whatever your name is. It wasn’t the same without you. People didn’t tend to quit Gizmodo because we love it so much and I’m sorry your hand was forced. Your work ethic and creative mind knows no bounds. The videos you made for us and the ones we worked on together were so good (and underappreciated). You questioned me a lot but I think that helped me evolve in my managerial role. Plus, your ridiculous holiday movie multiverse pitches couldn’t have been written by anyone else. I blathered on about you enough in your roast so allow me to move on.

Charles. Charles! You’re unbelievably gifted and I can’t wait to see where you go in your career over the next few years. But I want to thank you for hanging in there with the rest of us and putting up with more bullshit than anyone should have to with a grace they didn’t deserve. When I first started, I wasn’t sure we’d get along but as we got to know each other and began making little connections, I was so happy. I’d made a really cool friend with someone who was talented to the point of ridiculousness. Frankly, you should have ditched us. I’m glad you didn’t. I’m glad I had the chance to edit you. I’m glad for the many side-Slacks. I’m glad for the joys we shared. For the heart to hearts and the laughs and the witches. Let’s get you on that Cindi interview asap.

Cheryl, what can I say except… your dog is the greatest thing I’ve ever set eyes on. OK, there’s more. You made my life a little easier on a daily basis as my right-hand woman and for that, I’m forever grateful. I loved getting to bond with you over our tastes in TV and music. I loved finding out about what you did in the dark times before Gizmodo. I loved your countless nicknames for Leroy, you don’t know this but I cataloged them all (also, yours is the ONLY Instagram story I watch). Every time I thought you for sure had to have run out of ideas for horror lists you came up with five more unique ones. How? HOW? Lol. I’m gonna miss you way too much. I know you’re not going anywhere but still! I guess the last thing I’ll say is: at least we’ll always have the good seasons of the X-Files.

Germain, my main movie man! I know we sort of knew each other before I started here but getting to know you (and your cats) better has been a joy. I will forever be in awe (aka jealous) of your art collection and the ability to get so much of it up on your walls. You are so damn good at your job. Your interviews are always unique, you really know how to get the goods. It was always a pleasure to edit your reviews… your many, many, many reviews. You’re a non-stop machine, I truly don’t know how you do it. Keep it up, give the cats a hug, and don’t forget to sweep the leg (or the oxford comma).

James, sod off, you bloody git! Did I use those correctly? I can’t believe I’ve edited you for four whole years and I still can’t break you from putting the punctuation on the outside. It’s impressive. You’ve been here longer than me and really helped me settle in at Gizmodo. You were the quickest to make friends with because we have so much in common but I will never understand your love of [insert like 1,000 things here]. I can’t believe I let you get away with as much as you did, from terrible jokes and shitposts to inappropriate jokes and sentences the size of paragraphs. It’s really, really hard to leave your daily presence because you’ve been a tremendous partner and friend. Being able to work with each other through some of the most stressful, the happiest, and the silliest times has been an honour. Continue to boldly go. Now piss off and go eat a disgusting chip butty.

I’d be remiss here if I didn’t mention just a few more people (I told you, everyone here is the best). Evan, I’m so bummed I didn’t get to work with you longer but holy shit am I excited for what you’ve done since. Continue kicking arse. To my weekend warriors over the years, Julie, Courtney, Valerie, and Justin, my unending thanks. I’ve done weekends and they’re not easy but I never once had to worry about work on the weekends because of you all. That was a gift. To our many video producers, thank you for making us look and sound good. It’s not the same without you.

To the Gizmodo Prime and the Earther crew… uhh, sorry, there are just too many of you. You’re like ants! Always showing up to ruin a picnic, but in this case, the picnic is horrendous companies or politicians trying to get away with shit so it’s a good thing you’re here. You’re the best reporters in the business. Keep it up. To Alex Cranz: fuck you, eat shit, etc. To Marina: for the love of god, write about Mission Impossible and take care of yourself.

Allow me to circle back to “intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism.” My folks, it’s the best way to live. Try to remember that when times are tough here. Anyway, I’m not dead… I just won’t be around as much! For now, it’s time to go. Hope everyone remains badass.

Farewell, to blog mum. (Gif: Gizmodo) Farewell, to blog mum. (Gif: Gizmodo)

Wondering where our RSS feed went? You can pick the new up one here.