No More Strumpette?!

How will I sleep tonight? I have a bad habit of waking at four in the morning, seven, eight, whenever, rolling to the computer and logging on to Strumpette.  The rare times when the server has been down I get a hollow feeling – forced to consider how diminished life would be without Amanda Chapel StrumpetteStrumpette. This time it’s not a server glitch. It seems like Strumpette is down for the count. Amanda Chapel, whoever she is, resigned today, Columbus Day. A sign of discovery and a new world, or simply the end of a web experiment that flamed up and petered out? Who knows. The future, like Strumpette itself, is murky. I get that sinking feeling.

I first posted about Strumpette on PRBlogNews 3/6/07. Here’s an excerpt:

… Strumpette really defines and domiantes its own space. Strumpette is a free fire zone where you want to spend time. That in itself is Amanda Chapel Strumpetteincredibly valuable and a virtually unique experience – to want to spend time at a blog. I am a natural speed reader and the Internet lends itself to the quick consumption of information and the proliferation of blogs spewing nonsense on the web is dispiriting. Strumpette is like The New Yorker of PR blogs – something brilliant is going on here even if you don’t know what it is.

Strumpette was a revelation, proof that there was intelligent life in PR.  It was proof that artistry, creativity and spontaneity do not have to be abandoned when entering the toxic gates of the PR business.

I posted my first Week in Review on Strumpette on April 30, 2007, my last one yesterday.  Recently, I felt like I was just beginning to hit a comfortable stride. Also, the posts on Strumpette in the last couple of weeks were some of the best ever.  On the edge. On the news. Coming from many perspectives. Insightful. Beautifully crafted. Courageous. It was true last March as it was last week – if you came to Strumpette you came heavy or you got smacked down.  We lost a lot today.

Why was Strumpette an important era in PR? Let me count the ways:

Writing: The writing on Strumpette was some of the best on the web and certainly the best writing by far that the PR business has ever seen Amanda Chapel - Strumpetteor likely deserves. A good deal of credit for that goes to Brian Connolly, who has a keen nose for news and a keener sense for developing the story that should be written, not necessarily the one that people think they want. Give the audience what they want but not how they expect it, is a maxim of successful screenwriting. It was true of Strumpette.

Design: The design made you want to spend time there, made it okay to read longer pieces, was easy on the eye and was constructed with impeccable taste. The fact that there was handcrafted design, and a sense of style, made it unusual. Black and white in a kodachrome world made Strumpette new, in a traditional sort of way. All Brian Connolly.

Anonymity: Who was Amanda Chapel? Did it matter? Strumpette was satire, mostly, and the issues raised were more important than the Amanda Chapel, Strumpettetrue identity of the person raising them. Anonymity made for intrigue and levels of meaning hidden between the lines.

It’s sad to think of Strumpette in the past tense. Can Strumpette be rebornĀ in one permutation or another?  Is there a need, a real desire for a PR forum that encourages incendiary thought, that challenges convention and demands accountability? Or is this the end, my friend?

Comments

  1. Mark:

    Your Strumpette posts just got better and better. I’m a huge fan of your work.

    And the answer to your question:

    “Is there a need, a real desire for a PR forum that encourages incendiary thought, that challenges convention and demands accountability?”

    is: Yes!

  2. Bill Sledzik says:

    Mark,

    Let’s hope this news about Strumpette is a “time out” and not “game over.” There’s so much to save. I tried to express my feelings at my own blog earlier today, but I ended the piece by linking here. A very nice essay.

  3. Ike says:

    Timeshift Strumpette’s arrival 24 months in either direction, and I think you see a different reception.

    She came at a time when the industry was SO focused on the Doctrine of Transparency, that her Opacity was a cardinal sin – nay, a mortal sin.

    An earlier debut, and she rides the early wave that helped define many of the rules she later broke. Perhaps in molding and framing those arguments then, and an anonymous entity might have made a better case for survival and relevance.

    If Strumpette were born in 2008, there would be more than enough cynicism and gritty reality ready to accept her with open arms – or at least give her a chance.

    Instead, destiny dropped her within a very narrow slice of time where the rules of “community” were locked in, and were stacked solidly against her existence. Yet it was also the time when the tools and syntax of Social Media were hatching beyond the initial nests – when dangerous groupthink and cliquish behavior were threatening to turn an evolution into a revolution. Instead of a brave new frontier of applied technology, we nearly had a Brave New World of orthodoxy, mindless chatter, and vicious sameness.

    Amanda Chapel was equally vicious — and in many instances, more crude and cruel than necessary. The naked tart who dared to tell the self-anointed Emperors they had no clothes did so simultaneously with brilliant wit and gutter tactics. *That* is the price you pay when you create a character with many actors/actresses playing the part. I once met Naughty Amanda and Nice Amanda within the same day – a split personality that may have been the undoing.

    I can’t speak for Brian Connolly, but it must be exhausting to crank out that much material on a consistent basis. It must be even more exhausting managing the rotating vast of volunteers who took turns trying on Amanda’s wardrobe. (Disclosure: I wrote one piece for Strumpette, and it was under my name.)

    Maybe now that Amanda’s curtain has fallen, someone else can put the energy into keeping the spirit of the site alive. A place where ideas and ideals carry more merit than linkrank, and the tough questions of the day are exposed for all to see. Naked, indeed.

  4. Mark Rose says:

    Are these comments really from 2007? Am I really re-visiting this as “the good old days?”

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Mark Rose offers a far more intelligent and eloquent piece at PR Blog News. It’s one of those essays that had me saying, “I wish I’d written that.” Kudos, Mark. And thank you, Strumpette. [...]

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