Good Night, Meat Prince

8
1
Alerts
Illustration for article titled Good Night, Meat Prince
Illustration: Angelica Alzona

Bryan Menegus is one of the most frustrating editors I’ve ever worked with, which is to say he had annoying feedback like ‘Do you have a source on this?’, ‘This paragraph is complete gibberish’, ‘Did you forget to end this sentence?’, or ‘This is just totally factually wrong’. He also changed the structure of sentences and various words so as to massively and dramatically “improve” my writing and make it “make sense.” Who’s this guy think he is?

Advertisement

So while I am officially sad to report that Bryan and Gizmodo dot com have recently experienced what lawyers call “loss of consortium,” his departure came just soon enough to prevent several members of the G/O Media Group staff from fleeing his editorial oppression and starting an unedited Substack about cancel culture. Or maybe that’s just me. Several of Bryan’s colleagues asked to roast him per the Gizmodo tradition, instead mentioned things like him being an amazing reporter who has shed light on appalling labor abuses by some of the world’s most powerful corporations, a genuinely good person who does things like volunteering to deliver groceries to vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic, one of Gizmodo’s funniest headline writers, and a pretty baller amateur stick-and-poke tattoo artist. I suspect that last tidbit is selection bias, as anyone who died of bloodborne disease or ink poisoning did not respond to requests for comment.

Anyhow, as much as I might take issue with these positive depictions of Bryan’s character, I’m obligated to reprint them. All of them. There’s a lot. I’m not jealous or anything, I swear.

Gizmodo forever. And please tell Bobbo the cat I love him for me. Also, you still owe me a stick and poke of this. - Tom McKay, staff writer at Gizmodo

Zucker-san... You’re so.... KAWAAAAIIII!
Zucker-san... You’re so.... KAWAAAAIIII!
Illustration: Bryan Menegus

Kelly Bourdet, former Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo

Bryan is one of the best writers I’ve edited. He is genuinely smart and fearsomely skeptical of those in power. There are few people so absolutely unimpressed by and disgusted by the wealth and trappings of the Silicon Valley rich who tech journalists often cover. This is a credit to him.

Advertisement

Alex Cranz, former Senior Consumer Tech Editor at Gizmodo

When Gawker was broke it took a bunch of money to make Facebook Live videos, but because it was broke it did not actually spend money to make good Facebook Live videos. Which is how, for a few months in 2016, Bryan found himself frequently ingesting the absolutely most repulsive things on camera. I watched him make, and drink, Cheeto-infused tequila (it was greasy), Marmite-based beer (also not good), and joined me in tasting ranch dressing-flavored soda (it tasted, as I would assume, a very sweaty and unclean gentleman’s taint would taste after he attempted to bathe in a chemical spill at a feedlot). Bryan would do anything for the blog Facebook Live.

Advertisement

While I would like to remember Bryan for is the time people begged Facebook Lives to end so Bryan would stop having to consume so much weird shit, or for the way he went from the guy hired to post viral videos he found on the internet to the guy who kind of created the whole tech labor beat and first made everyone pay attention to the outside political power of redditors, I mainly remember him for the time we were both in the office, no one else had come in, and we decided to vape coffee grounds and see what happens.

Don’t do that.

Alex Dickinson, former Executive Managing Editor at Gizmodo Media Group

I have the sneaking suspicion that Bryan is one of those people without a bad bone in their body. That’s despite him never asking me to play guitar, Overwatch, Warzone, or anything with him, really. I was always impressed with his ability to get his hero Elon Musk to drop into Gizmodo’s DMs, and he would take my edits with only the occasional flashes of blinding white-hot rage. He would also prowl the GMG offices listening to this. 

Advertisement

Good night, sweet prince.

Hudson Hongo, former Culture Editor at Gizmodo

I’m told that Bryan is a dogged labor reporter, bringing to light shocking revelations like “work sucks.” I have also personally observed his tragic nice-guy-ness, like when he urged co-workers to join a mutual aid network after he got covid(!) while volunteering for one. Based on those qualities alone, you might think he’s like any other Brooklyn-based rose emoji type. You’d mostly be right, but know this: He’s also incredibly tall.

Advertisement

This tallness is notable because he has actively forsaken his phenotypical destiny. A consummate indoor kid, I watched Bryan spend years hunching a basketball star’s frame over a computer screen like a giraffe eating from a dumpster. He did this in pursuit of a much higher calling than journalism. From his humble beginnings click-laundering YouTube videos for Sploid, to the heights he reached reporting out shit-posts like “No One Wants My Hot Dog Salad” and “New York City to Sex-Havers: 😉,” Bryan is a true internet garbageman—one of the last.

Sure, frustrated editors often sent me his drafts because they had “no idea what this [guy] is trying to say.” And more than once I had to remind Bryan to mention the actual subject of his stories in the first 1,000 words. But these were ultimately symptoms of the digital neurocysticercosis he contracted by exposing himself to raw, untreated online. Who else would log onto Tumblr dot com for the sake of readers?

Advertisement

His life at Gizmodo might be over, but the folktale of Bryan Menegus will live on forever. In 20 years, when his former colleagues are huddled around burning e-scooters in the shadow of a fallen world, they will tell the tale of the Jersey Angle, Sadsquatch, the Tiredest Giant in the World. Good night, sweet bud.

Hamilton Nolan, former Senior Writer at Splinter

To a true soldier of the tech labor movement, I salute you.

Catie Keck, Staff Reporter at Gizmodo

To the best of my knowledge, some of the funniest, most unhinged headlines to run on the website Gizmodo dot com in the last few years have been the handiwork of Bryan Menegus. Like the rest of the sickos at this website, Bryan has an absolutely twisted sense of humor. That said, he’s as gifted as a labor and policy reporter as he is at editing your copy into something legible and maybe even interesting. I was always grateful when I was able to put my copy in his capable hands because it meant he would make the piece much stronger than the shape it was in when I filed. Any newsroom would be lucky to have him.

Advertisement

Sophie Kleeman, former News Editor at Gizmodo

I initially figured it would be difficult to roast Bryan for two reasons: he is a big sweetie, and he is my ex-boyfriend, so it might be kind of awkward. But then I remembered his hot dog salad blog and almost puked, so fuck it.

Advertisement

I met Bryan when he was still known around here as “Sploid Boy” (RIP Sploid). He soon proved he was capable of much more than that, including blog hits like this, this, and this (but not this, and, sadly, not this either).

It quickly became clear that he was one of those rare people who really, genuinely knew and appreciated the weird corners of the internet. Better still, his appreciation wasn’t some gross cornerstone of a try-hard personality like it is for so many Online People — he’s just really good at finding and cataloguing weird, repulsive, and otherwise horrifying internet ephemera, for no reason other than it makes his friends laugh (or cry). Similarly, unlike performative Internet War Reporters, he didn’t cover online extremism for personal glory, but rather because he wanted to call out the platforms implicitly encouraging it before it was too late. (Ah, well.)

Advertisement

The only story I can think of that comes close to roasting Bryan is extremely boring (I asked him to take care of my plant for 3 months while I was overseas and he almost killed it because he left it in the dark), so instead I will share my favorite Bryan story: On Valentine’s Day in 2017, we got drunk and went to see Fifty Shades Darker. He stood up and looked around the theater to make sure none of our coworkers had the same idea, and lo and behold, our boss Katie Drummond was sitting in the back with her husband. This would have been way more mortifying, but Katie was also seeing a 50 Shades of Grey movie on Valentine’s Day, so really, we all just owned ourselves.

Anyway, Bryan is good, and I hope whoever was responsible for running him out of here dies on the vine.

Advertisement

Alex Brook Lynn, former Video Producer / Live Broadcast at Gawker Media

Bryan Menegus was probably way too nice to me.

When I arrived at Gawker Media to spearhead the Facebook Live initiative, which was another way in which the monolith social media network attempted to siphon content from newsrooms by granting each the start-up capital to hire someone like me, I was a pain in the ass for almost everybody. It was my job to take a bunch of deadline-driven, blogging journalists and haunt them to participate in experimental video productions that would stream live from our office.

Advertisement

In trying to enlist some of the voices across all the Gawker brands, there were a few reactions that weren’t overwhelmingly avoidant: some wanted desperately to be on camera, as they may have had ambitions for a future on the smallest screen; some just drew the short straw, as every Gawker brand had to provide talent for some kind of content per week; some... like Bryan, were just really nice. I was never sure if he felt bad for me, or if he thought it was easier to do what I ask than dodge my requests for the next day or so. I like to believe that he enjoyed some of the antics I would enlist him in, like an on-camera deep dive into the merits of Cheerwine, or one full Power Hour of Super Mario Smash Brothers.

Illustration for article titled Good Night, Meat Prince
Photo: Alex Brook Lynn
Advertisement

I left Gawker Media, now Gizmodo Media Group or GMG G/O Media, in 2017. I am grateful that he was one of the people I actually stayed in touch with, not just because we share an interest in boxing but also because I am now the proud owner of one of his famous stick n’ poke tattoos which took up residence on my outer calf in the form of a coffee cup and saucer. I can only imagine he is on his way to bigger and better.

Matt Novak, Writer for Gizmodo and Paleofuture  

Bryan is one of those internet renaissance people who can do everything. He’s a writer, editor, and artist. He can work on serious pieces, funny pieces, and everything in between. His versatility is what made Gizmodo a destination site, and he’s sorely missed. But wherever he winds up will be better for it. We miss you, Bryan.

Advertisement

Rose Pastore, Science Editor at Gizmodo

Bryan, you are so much more hardcore than me, and I’ll really miss your influence.

Advertisement

Andrew Couts, Deputy Editor for Gizmodo

By the time I arrived at Gizmodo, Bryan had moved on from his Spolid-y, Facebook Live-y days and was firmly into his I Am a Very Serious Journalist Who Is Taller Than You phase, which is something I just made up but is at least partially true on multiple points. Anyway, it became immediately clear to me that Bryan’s superpower is calling out bullshit—Amazon’s, mostly, but he applied it to anyone who thought they could slip one past him, and watching him rip apart some PR person’s nonsense was one of my favorite parts of the job. Thing is, he’d apply the same argumentative rigor to get out of doing work he thought was stupid. I cannot tell you how many times I assigned a blog to Bryan only for him to spend as much time as it would have taken him to write the damn thing explaining to me why the story was simply not worth covering. Sure, he was often right, but I’m still mad about it.

Advertisement

The stories Bryan did decide to write, however, are excellent. And as an editor, he made every story he touched better. He’s that rare journalist with an equal capacity for deep, investigative reporting and deranged, hilarious shitposting. He’s profoundly empathetic and brutally honest. He’s a caring and loyal friend and a talented artist. He makes lovely baked goods. On top of all that, he is as tall as I assume most rich people are but without all the ghoulish parts and has a fantastic cat. Gizmodo is poorer without you, Bryan. Please send cookies.

Yessenia Funes, former Reporter for Earther

Bryan!! You always looked so tired. I hope you’re getting some time to rest. Or at least to stream some cool weird shit.

Advertisement

Ryan Mandelbaum, former Senior Writer at Gizmodo

I never had a dirtbag coworker before Bryan. But now that I’ve had one dirtbag coworker, I wish I had more dirtbag coworkers. Also fuck you for the hot dog salad post.

Advertisement

Victoria Song, Consumer Tech Reporter at Gizmodo

I’m mad that Bryan runs faster than me—it’s probably because he’s a skinny beanpole but it’s infuriating considering how hard I have to try to be a whole minute or two slower per mile. I’m also mad that whenever he edited my blogs, he knew exactly what to cut and add where to make it a better piece. Further, I’m mad that Bob is no longer in Cat Slack and that aside from being good with words, Bryan does rad tattoos. It’s incredibly rude to be talented on multiple levels AND have a cute cat. I’m mad that I didn’t get to have more of my blogs edited by him. I’m MADDEST, however, that he inflicted the hot dog salad upon the world. Eat shit, my dude.

Advertisement

Jill Pantozzi, Deputy Editor at io9 

Bryan is so talented at a ridiculous number of things it’s hard to believe he’s a real person that exists. But he once brought me baked goods when I really needed them and that’s why he’ll forever be in my heart. Also Bob. Bob is aces.

Advertisement

Shoshana Wodinsky, Staff Reporter at Gizmodo

Bry is an incredible reporter, a damn good editor, and a (surprisingly!!!!!) decent tattoo artist. He’s smart, funny, and one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met on the Gizmodo team. That said, he was also the one who convinced me to watch The End Of Evangelion on, like, my first week here, which was undoubtedly the worst prank anyone’s ever played on me. No amount of thoughtful, patient editing will make up for the fistfuls of brain cells I undoubtedly lost after waking up at 3 a.m. for the fifth day in a row from flying killer robot nightmares. In short, fuck that guy.

Advertisement

Brian Kahn, Managing Editor at Earther

In the three-plus years of Earther’s existence, Bryan maybe wrote one or two blogs for us. it just so happens that one of those blogs is perhaps the most beautifully deranged piece I have ever had the pleasure of editing. It was about New York’s styrofoam ban. A normal person would look at the topic and deploy facts and figures to argue that styrofoam has no place in society, and that throwaway culture is strangling the planet. Bryan chose to write a piece entirely in NYC Guido Voice. In a world of intractable problems, we need more problem-solvers like Bryan.

Advertisement

William Turton, former Reporter for Gizmodo

Bryan is a total sweetheart and a really talented guy. He’s also good-looking.

Veronica de Souza, former Head of Audience and Social at Gizmodo Media Group

Illustration for article titled Good Night, Meat Prince
Screenshot: Veronica de Souza
Advertisement

This makes me feel insanely old but I have known Bryan for over 10 years. We met as two little (yet obscenely tall) shits in college, when Bryan’s hair had roughly the same diameter as an astronaut’s helmet and mine was a questionable shade of “box red.” We went on to work together at *two* jobs, meaning we’ve been bitching about work to each other for over half a decade. Bryan is the first person I text when I encounter something truly vile online, knowing I can send these things to him without warning or context. He is funny, kind and smart, although he *did* once “vape coffee” for a story for some reason. I cannot find this story but I am in possession of the vaporizer he used for his research.

If I were to roast Bryan, I’d probably share a video of the time he ate an entire lemon, including the skin, at his desk while insisting he’s “never thrown up where he’s not supposed to.” I’d also maybe share a screenshot of the time he thought the movie Ford v Ferrari was about tennis.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Good Night, Meat Prince
Screenshot: Veronica de Souza

The thing is, I don’t want to roast Bryan, because he is a great writer and editor and a great person. I’d rather roast the various [REDACTED] who run [REDACTED], and continue to hold the very competitive top spot for dumbest [RDACTED].

Advertisement

Whitney Kimball, Current Reporter at Gizmodo

Great to see so many formers back on the blog! We should all just prewrite our roasts at this point, amirite? Ha ha ha.

Advertisement

Anyway, there’s a scene in the movie Children of Men in which Michael Caine repeatedly tells a gunman “pull my finger,” even after getting his finger blown off. Bryan is like that. Hardcore til the end. Solid dude.

Marina Galperina, Gizmodo Features Editor

First time I edited Bryan he had just returned from a miniature horse convention in Lexington, Kentucky. He was very dedicated to communicate this specific equine enthusiasm as an understandable thing, kind of relatable actually, but also with its own very distinct qualities. Culinary shitposting aside, Bryan bringing back the atmosphere was always fun to hear secondhand, even when he didn’t have that much fun in the field itself because sometimes he’d go to awful places like the DeploraBall. I wish for Bryan to now be getting into terrible situations for journalism, banging out good funny headlines, coming up with more weird ways other people can fix bad things, and bullying rich nerds. His cat is suspicious.

Advertisement

Christina Warren, former Senior Writer at Gizmodo

There are so many things I could write in a roast to BryBry, our bloggy boy who went from writing up sploids and doing deep, wonderful investigations into the weird internet and transitioned into being an amazing labor and investigative reporter and editor, but I’ll start with the solemn and the obvious: Bryan deserved and deserves better.

Advertisement

Frankly, all of you do. But I just want to put it on the record that Bryan, you deserved better.

Being your friend and colleague was such a joy. Watching you work, so exciting. I’ve never seen someone who *gets* internet culture quite like you, and tho those days are mostly behind you, it’s the weird shit I’ll always remember. Because I’m also a citizen of the internet and we recognize each other when we see it.

Advertisement

Sure, you made us look at a lot of bad stuff. And the internet has deeply broken your brain, but you somehow made it worth it.

I’m very mad that you weren’t able to blog this video as your final blog.

You got this stupid song from second grade stuck in our heads one day and Dicko almost let you blog it, but we all agreed it would be the perfect final blog to inflict upon the world. I’m so angry that was taken away from all of us. So there it is for the readers. This is the shit Bryan would just drop into Slack.

Advertisement

I was in a car the other day with other people because that is allowed now and that fucking song was on some Spotify playlist. And all I could think of was the repetition of that third verse. Over. And over. And over. And now I’m writing this, knowing this will be stuck in my head for hours if not days.

If you want to call me “baby”

Just go ahead now

And if you like to tell me “maybe”

Just go ahead now

And if you wanna buy me flowers

Just go ahead now

And if you would like to talk for hours

Just go ahead now

Just go ahead now. Fuck off for this, buddy. But also I love you.

Advertisement

DISCUSSION

Tebow Kneeled First

Honestly this should have happened after the hotdog salad incident.

The amount of "former"s on this blog are pretty intense. The site's losing flavor. I blame the herbs.