Former Gizmodo Editor Blasts Gadget Bloggers and Gadget Nerds

Posted on February 17, 2007

Gizmodo editor emeritus Joel Johnson has gone on a big long rant about the crappy quality of gadgets, the gadget bloggers who blog about them and the idiots who buy them.
I gave up two years of my life writing about gadgets for this site. Waking up every morning at 5 AM, chewing up press releases to find the rare morsel of legitimate information, chasing down "hot tips" that ended up being photochops of iPods with reflections of genitals in the touchscreens. Oh, and the worst: fielding emails from PR parasites eager to suck away precious time in a half-hour phone meeting while the Senior Vice-President of Smoke Blowing tells me about how his company's software-based on an idea cribbed from Google-is going to change the way I look at something I didn't care about in the first place. (Inevitably, "forever.")

And you guys just ate it up. Kept buying shitty phones and broken media devices green and dripping with DRM. You broke the site, clogging up the pipe like retarded salmon, to read the latest announcements of the most trivial jerk-off products, completely ignoring the stories about technology actually making a difference to real human beings, because you wanted a new chromed robot turd to put in your pocket to impress your friends and make you forget for just a few minutes, blood coursing as you tremblingly cut through the blister pack, that your life is utterly void of any lasting purpose.
That is just part of the long "Horseshoes and Hand Grenades" rant from Joel Johnson that also urges gadget blog readers to "Stop buying this crap. Just stop it." Have a lot of people seriously been buying all the gadgets listed on blogs like Gizmodo and Endgadget? Or, are people mostly just there to read about new gadgets because there is a big difference between reading about tech gadgets for fun and research and actually buying them. Joel Johnson must think readers are buying these "chromed robot turds" or there would not have been the rant. It's the gadget obsessed that buy their gadgets ahead of everyone else that make Joel Johonson the angriest. Johnson says the average Joes are smarter because they are more patient: "the market-at-large waits until a clear leader emerges, then takes a modest plunge."

Gearlog writes that Joel has forgotten that it is not the average Joes who read gadget blogs. Gearlog says, "What an idiot. I guess Johnson forgot who reads these blogs. They're not written for or by your average Joes. These are designed by and for tech and consumer electronics enthusiast who live to know about the latest new thing. Who consider it a badge of honor to try things out first, to suffer through bad design and ill-thought out products. All so they can tell friends family co workers, and especially the companies that make these products how crummy n--or great-- they really are."

It might have been partially a link bait strategy and if so a pretty successful one. MediaVidea used the rant as an opportunity to talk about whether gadget blogs are useful or not. The post includes this nice animal kingdom analogy of gadget blogs: "In the gadget blog arena, Engadget and Gizmodo are the two elephants, surrounded by 10-12 tiger-sized smaller sites. The rest of the field is chock full of small foxes drying to get a piece of the adsense action."

Maybe Gizmodo had Joel Johnson come in and write the gadget bloggers and gadget buyers suck essay just to help keep Gizmodo ahead of those nasty tiger and fox blogs chomping at their heels?

Then again maybe it was just a fun rant. It has gone over well with many other tech writers. Angela Gunn at USA Today even drafted a marriage proposal. Cranium In Absentia says the gadget rant is "one of the most brilliant, dead-on, scathing, and hilarious pieces I've seen written about anything lately."

Some have even turned on gadgets after hearing the truth from Joel Johnson and are sending ill wishes to gadgets everywhere. Wired's Gadget Lab brought out a photo of the undead to represent the early adapter suckers out there.