ink-stained wretches

The Private Life of Jacob Weisberg

Photo-illustration: Getty Images

As our eyes glanced over Deborah Needleman’s editor’s letter in the big summer issue of Domino recently, our hearts stopped at this sentence: “For my family, summer is all about hosting friends. Come May, we’re dragging out an old metal table to set under the oak tree for lazy breakfasts, long suppers and countless birthday parties.” An ordinary person might see this as a generic shelter-book tableau, but it set our imaginations on fire. Needleman, after all, is married to Jacob Weisberg, King of Slate. If that oak tree and that old metal table could talk!

Granted, Weisberg isn’t the first wonky-writer guy to shack up with a lifestyle-focused lady journalist. (Remember when Columbia J-School dean Nicholas Lemann and former House & Garden EIC Dominique Browning were knocking boots? No? Maybe you aren’t a total dork, then.) But it is the first time we’ve had such insight into what such a pairing must be like. Every time we crack open Domino, the editor of “the guide to living with style” tells us something new about her life with the author of In Defense of Government, and we can’t help but envision it as it must play out: The former Marty Peretz protegé, recumbent on four-billion-thread-count Pratesi linens, declaiming on the impotence of Ehud Olmert, the crisis of neoliberalism, and why Malcolm Gladwell makes so much more damn money per speaking engagement than he does. Did he remember, his wife asks, to pick up the artisanal cachaça for the caipirinhas she wants to serve when Mike Kinsley swings by this afternoon?

We dug into the back issues to bring you some of our favorite moments from what we imagine life chez Needleberg (Weisleman?) is like:

At Domino, beauty is about seasonality—a really luxurious bubble bath to ease us into winter’s cold or a candle that reminds us of a fireplace and mulled wine” (November 2007). Hairy, yellow-ish writer’s toes poking out of the bubbles, Jake kicked back in the Waterworks tub with a pencil and the galleys for Bushisms XIII.

My 6-year-old, Nathaniel, is all power heros and Legos, but when we put him into a linen dinner jacket and pinstriped trousers for a cousin’s wedding, he turned into a different child” (September 2007). Papa Weisberg, pacing briskly in the parking lot outside the wedding, cradling his iPhone — he couldn’t not take a call from Bob Rubin — while Little Lord Fauntleberg stumbles after him, struggling to keep up.

… about six months ago, when my husband and I were in the middle of a major renovation of our Dutch Colonial in upstate New York…” (October 2007). The bespectacled Rhodes scholar stammeringly complies with his wife’s demand that he inform several hulking members of Local 7 that they have installed the rainshower showerhead in the wrong bathroom.

To us, these suggest the raw materials for a graphic novel: The Private Life of Jacob Weisberg. Serious book-deal inquiries only, please.

Related: Deborah Needleman’s Muted Tribeca Loft

The Private Life of Jacob Weisberg