A Chat With The Hairpin’s New Editor, Emma Carmichael
As of next Wednesday, Emma Carmichael will take over as the editor of this site. (I’m not leaving, though — more like giving myself a big demotion. I’ll just be in the attic, folding towels.)
Who is Emma Carmichael? I asked her this question.
me: Emma! So, you are going to take over The Hairpin.
Emma: Yes, I am. Wednesday, May 15, 2013.
me: The most important day of your life! Haha.
Emma: It is. And what are you going to do?
me: Jump off a cliff!! Just kidding, I’m going to stick around and do whatever you want me to do for a few weeks.
Emma: Yes. And then you’ll disappear but not for good.
me: Yes. And then I’ll sometimes write for the site, but otherwise be doing … whatever it is that I’m going to be doing. Are you excited?
Emma: I am so excited and so terrified, which is good. It’s going to be very different for me. I come from a Men’s Site.
me: Yes!!! Excitement and terror.
I’m so happy and excited to … “give” .. you the site? Ugh, what are the words.
Emma: There is no internet language for that.
Oh, that’s good.
me: So, you’re coming from Deadspin, and before that Gawker.
Emma: Yea, and before that, Deadspin again.
me: And you’re hilarious and smart and cool, and I know you’re going to be so great, but I also don’t want you to make me look bad.
Emma: And before that, the NYC Parks Department. And before that, college. Before that, womb.
me: Wait, the Parks Department.
Emma: Yes, I worked at the Parks Department for five months. Public affairs. I wrote press releases and speeches for new playgrounds.
It was almost exactly like Parks & Rec.
me: I did not know that!
Emma: Yea. While I was there I worked nights for Deadspin and eventually got hired.
me: Do you think that you will delete the entire site?
You can if you want.
Emma: I think I’m going to turn it into a NASCAR fan site after you leave.
me: That is totally fine.
me: What are some of your favorite topics?
Emma: In NASCAR, or more generally?
me: If NASCAR is No. 1, what would be 2 – 4?
You can also be like “no, that is not a question.”
No, that’s a good question.
2 is like, hip hop…. and women in it….
me: Oh this would be a good place to link to your excellent articles on The Awl.
Emma: 3 is Women Being In Places Where They Are Treated Horribly.
4 is Dogs.
Here’s a question. Did you ever think about eventually leaving the site, and is it scary?
Now that it’s happening. Because this site is very much your … child.
me: I know! It’s a little scary, but I think it’s also good.
I never really knew when or how I’d want to go, but then suddenly it felt like the thing to do, like someone else could do a better job. Which was bittersweet, because I don’t really do anything else. And I didn’t know what to do about that. But then when I got in touch with you, and you were interested in taking over, it made so much sense.
And I feel a little ridiculous getting into analogies about the site being my child. At first it was kind of a joke, but then it got more elaborate (“now she’s a baby, now she’s a toddler, now she’s a teenage girl, and she’s misbehaving!”), but it really has been my life for the past … 2.6 years. Haha, I pretend like I don’t know exactly how old it is. Ahhh, it’s like those moms who are all, “My baby is 48 thousand seconds old.”
Emma: And you launched in late October 2010. So that is 2.6 years of spending most of your waking life thinking about and working on one thing.
me: I hope that you’ll like working on it, it’s been the most fun and rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
Emma: Well for me, and I’m sure for lots of the Hairpin’s readers, it’s been a nice haven on the internet that I can turn to a few times a day and read something that is rarely, if ever, angry or loud or sarcastic, and that’s been very nice to have. I’ve admired the Hairpin for so long, but I never thought I’d end up working here — it’s so your site, and I was so happy at Gawker/Deadspin. But the minute I heard from you, it just felt like, “yes.”
Watch the readers be like, “No. Peace.”
Well, thank you, and I am so glad to hear that. That’s how I felt when I thought of you. Like, “Oh.” “Yes.”
Emma: So you’re not worried I’m going to fuck everything up?
me: I’m not. I’m so certain.
Emma: I hope not. I’m nervous because it’s something new and very different from what I’m used to, but that’s only a good thing. I don’t know if the readers need reassurance, but I do think I can maintain this site’s personality while also doing my own thing.
So like, only 4 NASCAR posts a day.
me: No doubt.
Emma: I think a lot of my nerves stem from the fact that I’ve been editing at Gawker and Deadspin for the past year or so, and so I’ve been writing less frequently, and getting back into a mode where I’m writing every day and thinking more critically about things myself (instead of thinking through/working with other writers’ thought processes) feels like a big adjustment. But we’ll be FINE.
me: Yes! It will be great.
Emma: But every time I’ve thought about May Fifteenth in the past few weeks, I’ve gotten simultaneous butterflies and stomach flip flops. The best kind of anticipation.
me: I feel you!!
Emma: It’s like a second date anticipation.
me: Well, you can move in on the second date, guaranteed.
Emma: Great, thanks!
me: Maybe can we do a flash round of questions, if that’s fun?
me: Spring or fall, as a season?
Emma: Biased because it is a flawless spring day in Vermont right now, but spring.
me: Right, also, you are in Vermont, where you are from. Haha, if all chats had exposition like this. “It is so great to chat with you, my friend who is from Vermont but now lives in New York City and has long hair.” Do you have a favorite TV show?
Emma: Ohhhh. I do the TV binge thing a lot. I’ve watched the entirety of The Sopranos twice, somehow. I played basketball in college and we’d always have to be on campus during winter breaks and so you’d watch like five series every vacation.
me: Whoa, I’m watching the Sopranos right now for the second time.
Emma: Recently I watched Top of the Lake and I really loved it. It was like a more sensitive Twin Peaks.
me: Oh, nice.
Emma: Lol. Last night my mom found all these ants in the sink (in Vermont)
And she turned on the faucet and said, “Time for you guys to go for a swim.”
Emma: Mom is a mobster.
me: That is amazing.
Also, it’s funny how that’s normal for Vermont, but if you were like “I had all these ants in my home” [in NYC], it would be like “Whaattt.”
Emma: I do have a mouse.
me: Do you have any plans for it?
Emma: I’m not sure. Lately I’ve just been swearing at him. Like, “you motherfucker” whenever he shows up.
me: Yeah. Haha. I had “one” once, but I thought it was a girl for whatever reason. And she always came out of the oven.
Emma: Yea, they love the behind-the-oven hang.
Okay. I think this is good for now. As soon as I said I was going to ask you flash questions, I got even more nervous somehow, and now I can’t stop weirdly laughing to myself.
Emma: Haha yea, let’s call it.
I mean this whole thing is weird, but in a good way.
I think that’s the main thing.
Emma: Final question, what is your first destination post-Hairpin/post-NYC?
For Emerson Beyer and Michael Bruno’s Deviled Egg Pageant and White Pants Garden Party.
Emma: Where dreams are made of.
me: Exactly. SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!
You can contact Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org with “pitches, ideas, and death threats.”