The Media Says Au Revoir to All ThatHarperCollins is laying off staffers, the Toronto ‘Metro’ is written by interns, and approximately 41,000 media jobs have been slashed since the start of the recession. But things are looking up in France!
Tomorrow’s Journalism, Today!Slate’s literary editor Meghan O’Rourke is working on a story about Facebook status updates. Obviously, this information needs to be shared as a Facebook status update of her own!
JPMorgan Gearing Up to Move Into Bear’s Sweet HQFINANCE
• JPMorgan Chase will probably move its investment-banking unit to Bear Stearns’ smokin’-hot headquarters on Madison Avenue. The building is valued at $1.2 billion, which is just one-fourth of quadruple the price JPMorgan paid for the firm itself. [NYP]
• JPMorgan Chase’s valuation of Bear Stearns shows that financial institutions are significantly overvalued. Speaking of which, many employees had their life savings wiped out. [NYP, WSJ]
• Meanwhile Goldman Sachs’ earnings are down but beat analysts’ expectations. [DealBook/NYT]
Back of the House
A Strong Case Made for the ‘Greatest Wine on the Planet’Articles about some well-heeled journalist’s quest for eating/drinking/smoking/owning the “best ever” usually leave us pretty cold, but Mike Steinberger’s Slate essay about trying to drink the legendary 1947 Cheval Blanc might be one of the most enjoyable wine tales we’ve ever read. The best part of the piece isn’t about the wine itself, a freak Bordeaux that somehow has only gotten better over 61 years or even that [SPOILER WARNING!] Steinberger gets to drink it (“The ‘47 Cheval I drank that night now ranks as the greatest wine of my life, a title I doubt it will relinquish”). Reading the essay, you actually get some feeling for what the wine is like and how it’s possible for a vintage Bordeaux to be accurately likened to Forrest Gump. A great read.
The Greatest Wine on the Planet [Slate]
RIP Jean-Claude VrinatThere’s a nice tribute to the late Jean-Claude Vrinat, the owner of Taillevent in Paris, over at Slate. Taillevent could loosely be called the Le Cirque of Paris, if Le Cirque had never moved and if the food had been utterly impeccable (if a little boring) for its entire existence. Though cited and even revered by the food world, restaurants like Taillevent seem to be fading into history — which is in itself a good reason to read the piece.
Remembering Jean-Claude Vrinat [Slate]
Jack Shafer Is ProjectingWe were delighted when we went on Slate this morning and saw this headline: “Someone Please Take Away Roger Cohen’s NYT Column.” Yes, we thought, that’s exactly what we’ve been thinking lately! If we ever bother to read that column, it rarely seems to have anything to say. So we eagerly clicked through the link on the Slate homepage and found ourselves at Jack Shafer’s column. Uh-oh, we thought. Does criticism still count if it’s made by Mr. Complain-y Curmudgeonpants himself? He who hates David Sedaris, Ian McEwan, and Michigan? What does it say about us that we agree with him? Have we really begun tasting life with such a heavy dose of salt? Is it time for us to self-appoint ourselves as public editor to the world and wake up every morning on a bed of crabapples, throw on our bitter pants, and view the world through our prescription grouchy glasses?
Eh, maybe it’s just that Roger Cohen is pretty damn boring.
Roger Cohen is writing as badly as he can [Slate]
UPDATE: We just noticed that the sub-headline of Shafer’s Roger Cohen column reads: “There’s no excuse for his lazy writing.” Which is funny, because his original headline for the piece was, “Richard Cohen Is Entitled to His Opinion,” (emphasis ours). Yeah, lazy writing is the worst, Jack.
Did Aaron Charney Only Get 100K From Sullivan?LAW
• Will Aaron Charney ever have to work again? More than likely — he may not have gotten more than $100,000 in his sexual-harassment settlement with Sullivan & Cromwell. [PrawfsBlawg via Above the Law]
• Should law schools be more like business schools? One law prof thinks so, and he looks a little like Justin Timberlake, so he must be right. [Law Blog/WSJ]
• Do Cravath’s two rounds of bonuses signal Big Law strength and more money for associates, or is the firm just hedging so they aren’t locked in to paying the same amount next year? [NYT]
apropos of nothing
We React to Slate’s ‘24’ Parody in Real TimeSlate magazine — a top source of witty satire for, well, no one, hopefully — debuted an animated parody of 24 today, inspired by recent remarks made by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Kids Safe Online? Not From Themselves
Slate’s Emily Yoffe takes a somewhat hilarious journey today through the amazingly alien world of children’s online social networking. It is, she finds, a world full of penguins, Froot Loops, Barbies, and oddly enough, flagrant capitalism. Yoffe was worried that her children weren’t learning important life lessons while they were logged onto the Internet, and also that they were exposed to predators. But in the end, she concluded “that these sites are mostly benign.” Yoffe obviously didn’t read the spectacular Talk of the Town piece in the New Yorker this week, which we’ve been waiting for an excuse to link.
Two Sushi Scholars Knock the Scales Off Our Eyes
We’ve let the cult of sushi impose itself upon us long enough: The mystical reverence stemming from rice and knives, the reverent hush of the omakase bar, the meticulous manners required of every procedure. We just read an exchange on Slate between Trevor Corson and Sasha Issenberg, the authors of The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, From Samurai to Supermarket, and The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy, respectively. Both men have studied the history of sushi and the burgeoning global sushi industry, and under their gaze some common myths about sushi simply disintegrate.
Slate Knows No One Loves You, Provides Highbrow Dirty Talk
Don’t despair, lovelorn: Slate is today offering an anthology of sex poetry, presumably as a salve to those of us who won’t be getting any. We’ll leave it to you to read the actual verse, but we’d like to highlight three curious facts. First, that Robert Pinsky, the Webmag’s poetry editor and a former U.S. poet laureate, seems even more obsessed with who is gay than Rosie O’Donnell is; second, that Emily Dickinson’s “If You Were Coming in the Fall” is not a double entendre; and, third, that Robert Frost’s “Putting in the Seed” is. Class dismissed.
Great Poems About Sex [Slate]