On the one hand, you have to admire Thiel’s sheer and apparently
unending determination to make Denton and Gawker pay for coverage
he didn’t like — it’s Olympic level grudge-holding. But the
retribution is incredibly disproportionate in a way that seems
almost unhinged. It would be hard to argue that Thiel was
materially damaged by Gawker’s coverage in the way that he’s now
trying to damage Gawker. His personal finances haven’t been
destroyed and even the most egregious things Gawker has written
haven’t put literally everyone who works for Thiel out of a job.
(What did Lifehacker ever do to Peter Thiel?) And given his hard
libertarian tendencies, it should at least make him uncomfortable
in a very prickly way to utilize government bureaucracy to put a
capitalistic enterprise out of business.
Even if Thiel wants to argue that Owen Thomas’s 2007 notorious
“Peter Thiel is Totally Gay, People” post had a cataclysmically
negative emotional toll for him, trying to destroy the entire
business via abuse of the U.S. legal system still seems so epic in
its vindictiveness that I couldn’t help but wonder whether this
kind of asymmetrical reaction is just part and parcel of what you
can expect in Thiel’s orbit generally, if you choose to do
business with him.