It’s the End of Feminist Media. Again.
Jezebel’s closing isn’t the end of an era — it’s a reminder that the era has been over for a long time.
When I was a teenager, the universally acknowledged center of culture in Columbus, Ohio was an all-night coffee shop named Insomnia. It was filthy, and the bathrooms never worked, and the coffee was barely serviceable. Nonetheless, anyone who was vaguely “alternative” wound up at Insomnia, the same way every terrible entry-level punk band played the basement of Bernie’s, a few doors down. (I was offered a slot in a band playing at Bernie’s because I wore an interesting outfit and claimed — incorrectly, as it happens — that I could play keyboard. This happened, not once, but several times.) Every date I had before age 20, every non-school-based relationship, resulted from running into someone at either Bernie’s or Insomnia. It was where my young life happened.
Anyway: Because of establishments like Insomnia, and Bernie’s, and because of the crowd they attracted, that particular strip on High Street was bought up by some developers, rumored to be fundamentalist Christians, who wanted to get rid of the drugs and binge-drinking of the rebel youth, and bring in the drugs and binge-drinking of the OSU fraternities and sororities. I believe it was those same developers who kept trying to shut down the BDSM-slash-Goth club on the edge of town — or, rather, it was on the edge of town, but they kept shutting it down, and it kept re-opening in increasingly unlikely locations, including (in its final incarnation) a former French restaurant with a scale model of the Eiffel Tower. I never saw that version of the club, but I have to imagine it added a certain Continental flavor to the spankings.
Well: The news that Insomnia was about to close hit my friend circle like a big Midwestern tornado. The owners promised there would be a last hurrah, a big party before the lights went out. All that summer, people kept talking about what the last night at Insomnia would be like — I heard that everyone’s band would play, that there’d be celebrities present, that the party would be up on the roof, that everything would be free, including the furniture, which people were planning to take home with them — and maybe it was all bullshit, but the party at the end of…