Is Max Gogarty the New Kellie Pickler?

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  02.25.08 | 2:23 PM ET

Well, there may not be a video going around for this one, but a major travel blogging scandal is generating plenty of attention. The chronology, so far as I can tell, goes like this:


1) 19-year-old Max Gogarty writes the introductory post on his new blog over at The Guardian, which will chronicle his gap year adventures.

2) Readers respond with (occasionally hilarious) vitriol, which only increases when someone makes a connection between Max and sometime Guardian freelancer Paul Gogarty—his father.

3) The Guardian closes the comments section on the post, and Max’s blogging gig is cancelled.

4) Bloggers everywhere feast on the kid’s remains.

As when Kellie Pickler and Miss Teen South Carolina got ripped to digital shreds, I am torn between pity (especially, in this case, for a young aspiring writer) and snickering. After all, Max’s blog contained gems like this: “I’m not entirely sure what appeals to me about travelling. Maybe the lack of work or study? The mayhem? The imagined company of beautiful girls… I’ll do my best to tell of the debauched beach parties, the dodgy days with ‘washing machine’ tummy, the messy late-night stumblings into bars and, of course, all that bullshit about finding myself.”

Still, less-than-scintillating gap year clichés are no excuse to traumatize the guy for life, are they?

The fallout so far includes the creation of two Facebook groups and Wikipedia being forced to lock down the editing function on the entry for nepotism. BuzzFeed has a list of its best five related links, and Digital Lifestyles has a collection of its favorite hate-filled comments. Finally, Caroline Davies of The Observer has a story focusing on the impact of all the publicity for Max and his family.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

4 Comments for Is Max Gogarty the New Kellie Pickler?

Kelsey 02.26.08 | 12:04 AM ET

It would have been interesting to see if India and Thailand straightened out his tone a little bit. But I guess we’ll never know now.

This fella is only 19!  People should have really cut him some slack. A shame…

Elizabeth 02.26.08 | 11:54 AM ET

Kelsey has good point… He was just at the beginning of a journey. One would expect him to learn and grow as a result of his travels.

Tom 02.26.08 | 6:15 PM ET

I feel incredibly sorry for the guy. Did none of the (no doubt middle-aged, bitter, failed writers) people how commented on the blog actually pause to consider that other 19 year olds going on trips might have enjoyed reading a blog by someone their age going through the same experiences as them? Or is it a crime to provide content for a specific audience? The Guardian could have been aiming for that 18 year old crowd just leaving school - a good potential crop of future readers. INstead the people who commented seemed to think he should writelike Paul Theroux.

Tim 03.05.08 | 3:03 AM ET

That wasn’t an issue, Tom, because there are HUNDREDS of blogs on the internet with exactly that sort of information in them already, and countless numbers of travel sites and discussion forums. He was a terrible writer, and the blog had no business being on the Guardian. Saying ‘he would have got better’ is not a valid argument, i’m sure he would, as would anyone who practices anything, but again, The Guardian is not the place to practice. You can do that on any one of the myriad of free blog sites available.

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