The Awl and its women-geared branch-off, The Hairpin, will cease publication at the end of this month. Since 2009, The Awl has encouraged serious, aspiring writers to write about their queerest passions and guided many big-name writers to success– a current New York Times Styles editor; writers for The New Yorker; and the craftsmen of classics Spy Magazine and The National Lampoon, to name a few.
On either website, readers would never find a kitsch, impersonal quiz on which flower they are; they would, however, find “Would You Rather Be A Person Who Smells Peonies All The Time Or A Person Who Smells Gasoline All The Time?,” a hilarious, in-depth contemplation on the matter with voice. Only on The Hairpin could you find a deceitfully convincing quote from Gwyneth Paltrow reading, “Actually, this new diet we outline in the book has helped me get down to my goal weight, which is what I weighed when I was 8-years-old.”
Sure, fake news is one media outlet to express our First Amendment right. But The Awl and The Hairpin have redefined freedom of the press to be creative and relieving, establishing a true escape from the
“great big internet” that the sites intended to shelter true believers in good storytelling, poetry, and aberrant articles from. Disguising what you need to hear with what you want to hear is what these online havens have done best.
The Awl’s financial and comedic companions, The Billfold and The Splitsider, will remain in operation, but the holepunch left in the online publishing world will be felt by all appreciators of good, truthful writing that compelled them to “Be Less Stupid.”