Hillary Clinton Dismays Anna WintourMEDIA
• Anna Wintour took Hillary Clinton to task for backing out of her Vogue photo shoot because she feared looking “too feminine.” Wintour: “The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying.” Ouch. [WWD]
• The Directors Guild showed up the writers in striking, heh, fashion: After just one week of negotiations, the directors struck a deal with the studios that includes the all-important online-video money. The writers are cautious, though, since the last time they followed the directors’ lead they got screwed on the home-video market. [WP]
• Wal-Mart, responsible for 20 percent of all “newsstand” magazine sales, announced it would dump more than 1,000 titles from its shelves. Shocking twist: The New Yorker stays, but Boar Hunter Magazine is out! [NYP]
‘Portfolio’ Still Looking Elsewhere for InspirationHave you noticed that all of the news about the Great Condé Nast Reshuffling of 2008 has emerged from Women’s Wear Daily? It’s becoming the mouthpiece of the company’s HR department. (Or maybe the news is all a little too boring for anyone else to care about.) After a week of updates about shifts and firings on the business side at Condé titles Vogue, Golf Digest, Lucky, Teen Vogue, and The New Yorker, WWD today tells us about Portfolio (this month’s cover pictured here). Apparently the business mag’s editor, Joanne Lipman, tapped recently departed Post metro editor, Dan Colarusso, to run its growing Website. Also, to fill new Portfolio publisher William Li’s absence at Men’s Vogue, Condé looked within its walls to Details associate publisher, Marc Berger. We’d walk you through all of the changes that came last week, but the most telling detail is already above: While the rest of Condé Nast continues to recruit talent only from inside the company, Portfolio continues to look outside for fresh ideas!
New Titles All Around [WWD]
Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls. It Tolls for Tina Brown.Late last week, we received a very nice invitation to a luncheon sponsored by the Magazine Publisher’s Association and the American Society of Magazine Editors. It was their annual lifetime achievement awards, and guess who is being honored? Tina Brown. Apparently the former editor of Tatler, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and the ill-fated Talk is at that point in her career when the final retrospective is in order. You know, the point in her career that comes at the end. We feel a little bad for Tina. Getting a lifetime achievement award when you are 54 is a little bit like getting the “Most Improved GPA” certificate at college graduation or a magazine cover with the tagline “Sexy at ANY Age”: It’s an honor and an insult at once. Surely, we thought, Tina must be up to something. She’s a legend! For example, there’s that HBO development deal that we heard about but HBO exec Sheila Nevins apparently didn’t. And after finishing her book The Diana Chronicles in late 2006, she went on to write Um Well, we’re not sure, exactly. An insider tells us that she’s shopping around two or three new projects. But we haven’t heard about them. Does anybody know what Tina’s been up to? Or should we start assembling a clip reel for her memorial service award-ceremony montage right now? We’ll set it to the tune of “Candle in the Wind.”
Related: HBO’s Sheila Nevins Is Confused by Tina Brown, Bored by Hillary
Bush to Economy: ‘Hey, Did You Get a Haircut? Something’s Different.’FINANCE
• Bush acknowledges slower economy, but he stops short of warning about recession. Still, will he go for another round of tax cuts? [NYT, NYT]
• Financial titans Warren Buffett and Maurice Greenberg came under attack in the Gen Re trial. Neither stands as a defendant, but both were accused of being intimately involved in a fraudulent transaction worth $500 million. [NYT]
• Now that Jimmy Cayne’s out of the picture, which hedge fund will step in to buy Bear Stearns? [Deal Journal/WSJ]
Riding the Mechanical Bull With Curbed, Eating Shrimp With Gothamist, and Senior Rock and Roll With ‘The New Yorker’This is a big week for office holiday parties, and it kicked off last night with events for Curbed, Gothamist, and The New Yorker. Both Web parties took place downtown, both had open bars, but only one was kind enough to actually invite us — we stopped by both nonetheless. For the New Yorker party, a spy sent us a brief report to slake our endless thirst for weak specialty cocktails. After the jump, our continuing coverage of your most revealing moments, honest conversations, and miscalculated flirtations. For what is an office holiday party but the corporate equivalent of overhearing someone you know having sex?
Competing Spitzer Profiles Ruin Our WeekendThank God for leisurely winter weekends. It took us two days to absorb the two massive, competing Condé Nast profiles of Eliot Spitzer: one in Vanity Fair (8,577 words) and one in The New Yorker (11,938). Have we learned anything new, other than the fact that if David Margolick and Nick Paumgarten got together, they’d have a book the size of On the Road between them? Yes, in fact: Spitzer apparently likes The New Yorker better than Vanity Fair, and thus The New Yorker likes Spitzer more, too. As the genre of the political portrait edges closer to the celebrity profile, access becomes a measure of quality; whoever gets more wins. In this case, while VF’s Margolick gets a quickie with the Gov in a “utilitarian skyscraper” on Third Avenue, The New Yorker’s Paumgarten literally gets to fly with Spitzer in his turboprop built for eight, surveying the fiefdom below and pondering the vastness of the state. Is it any surprise that his profile is friendlier?
Did ‘The New Yorker’ Rip One of Its Cartoons Off ‘The Far Side’?MEDIA
• OMG, plagiarism in The New Yorker’s cartoon issue? [Gelf]
• Washington Post chief Don Graham has 300 Facebook friends. Poke away! [Washingtonian]
• Fox 9’s license is up for renewal, and a bunch of incensed New Jerseyans are fighting the station for failing to live up to its Jersey-side obligations. After all, the channel is based out of Secaucus but bills itself as “My9 New York.” [NYT]
in other news
Is C Really Going to Let N Talk About Her Like That?
Me-ow! Maybe she’s just being funny, but in her Gossip Girl think piece this week, the New Yorker’s Nancy Franklin displays a Blair-worthy level of cattiness regarding Cecily von Ziegesar, the creator of the books on which the CW show is based.
I’ve been told that some kids in Manhattan’s private-school population resent the way they’ve been depicted in the show, but that tells me that there’s some accuracy to von Ziegesar’s portrait. (Or maybe they just want to distance themselves from a Nightingale graduate who can write a paragraph like this: “There was a box of orange Tic Tacs in her pocket with only one Tic Tac left. Serena fished the Tic Tac out and put it on her tongue, but she was so worried about her future, she could barely taste it.”)
Well, as we all know, there’s nothing Gossip Girl likes more than a good catfight, and this could be a classic!
High School Confidential [NYer]
Earlier: Intel’s coverage of Gossip Girl
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]
Murray Hill: From Deer to Drunks
To think, 400 years ago, instead of drunken ex–frat boys from Penn puking up Wild Turkey, there were actual wild turkeys roving around Murray Hill. The New Yorker’s Website today has some very cool computer-generated images of Manhattan circa 1609, to go with a long story that you will probably never get around to reading on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s effort to figure out what Manhattan might have looked like in the days before skyscrapers and fake Irish bars. (Or, we should say, “Mannahatta,” as the Lenape called it. It means the “land of many hills.” Oh wise Lenape, early adopters of real-estate broker-speak.)
Mapping Mannahatta [NYer]
in other news
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.
Investment Banking: More Stressful Than IraqMEDIA
• The New Yorker thinks men are funnier than woman — running more than eight times as many men as women authors in “Shouts & Murmurs.” But what about cartoonists? [Radar]
• The Gawker-Observer conveyor belt switches directions yet again: associate editor Doree Shafrir set to go legit and start covering “ideas” for the curiously pink paper. [Gawker]
• Mark Deuze, the author of a new book on the media industry, claims that workers in media are the “most likely to accept exploitative labor practices.” Duh! [I Want Media via Mixed Media/Portfolio]
It’s Expensive Being Rupert MurdochMEDIA
• Did Dow Jones cost Rupert Murdoch an extra $1 billion just because he’s Rupert Murdoch? [Slate]
• Rik Hertzberg to blog for The New Yorker. From YearlyKos. And without fact-checking. [
in other news
The Black-Tie Horrors of the New ‘Times’ Tower!The staff of the New York Times, as you may have (repeatedly) heard, is not entirely enamored of the paper’s shiny new building, across Eighth Avenue from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. (This probably says more about the sorts of conversations we have than about anything else, but we’ve been finding it profoundly odd for the last month or so to no longer be able to use the phrase “43rd Street” to refer to the paper’s headquarters. “Eighth Avenue” just doesn’t work the same way.) People don’t like the elevators, they don’t like the toilets, they don’t like the automated window-shade system, and they don’t like the lights, which sometimes turn off on their own. (They also don’t like the leaks, mice, and maggots, though that displeasure would not be unique to Timespeople.) In today’s new New Yorker, that magazine’s architecture critic, Paul Goldberger, an alumnus of 43rd Street who presumably has listened to his old friends kvetch about their new tower, passes along yet another dissatisfaction with the new workplace:
In a nice, democratic gesture, most of the building’s perimeter has been left open, bringing in lots of natural light, and the private offices for editors all have glass walls facing into the newsroom. One member of the editorial board, who gave up a large, enclosed office in the old building for one of these small fishbowls, growled to me, “There’s no place I can change into a tuxedo.”
God, it’s hard working in the newspaper business these days.
Towers of Babble [NYer]
Judi Giuliani, Puppy Killer?Vanity Fair’s forthcoming takedown of Judi Giuliani paints her as “opportunistic, puppy-killing homewrecker.” ABC News employees were reminded not to surf for porn on company time after it was discovered that an intern had nude photos online. Married cosmetics heir William Lauder may be the illegitimate father of a child with nightlife honcho Howard Stein’s daughter. Mets pitchers John Maine and Aaron Heilman partied at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone. New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane might not technically be married to the mother of his two children, journalist Allison Pearson. Penélope Cruz and Bono were spotted holding hands in St. Tropez. Star Jones claims women on TV get a raw financial deal. Rachael Ray and Ron Jeremy were in Saratoga for the opening of the racetrack.
Whose Interviews These AreThe New Yorker confuses Robert Frost and David Frost (whoops!), much to the amusement of both “Page Six” and the Gatecrasher. Porn star Jenna Jameson has lost a lot of weight and has started acting unprofessionally since her divorce. Real-estate developer Harry Macklowe gets preferential treatment at all Icon parking garages in Manhattan. Ben Widdicombe got an earful from Pauly Shore. The Russian Tea Room uses out-of-context quotes to give the impression that it has been well reviewed. Tom Wolfe will give a speech in Miami about art and architecture. A number of J.P. Morgan bankers are expected to attend Dana Vachon’s book party tomorrow night, despite the treatment the firm (or, rather, the fictitious firm based on Morgan) gets in the book.
in other news
‘New Yorker’ Critic Seeks Blogger Cred, Has Pussy GaloreWe’re as always glad to see highfalutin writers embracing the blog polloi — especially New Yorker classical-music critic Alex Ross, whose thoughtful blog has always been a winning accompaniment to his pieces in the magazine. One does start to wonder, though, if even such august figures can start to take the bloggy stereotypes a bit too seriously:
One presumes he was wearing pajamas when he wrote this.
On the Road [The Rest Is Noise]
in other news
Susan Orlean Thinks You’re FatLong before politicians realized their idiotic public gaffes would be indexed forever in YouTube, writers faced a similar but somehow graver problem: ill-advised books published early in their career that stick around on shelves forever to haunt their authors. On Radar Online today, Claire Zulkey catalogues many of those wish-they-were-forgotten titles, hitting many of the greatest hits, like Lynne Cheney’s sapphic romp and Scooter Libby’s oddly bestial mystery. We were most interested, however, in a less well-known work that made the cut. New Yorker scribes Patricia Marx and Susan Sistrom — that’s Susan Orlean to you — apparently once interrupted their careers to author the compelling The Skinny: What Every Skinny Woman Knows About Dieting and Won’t Tell You!, which, according to Amazon commenters, is a “sick book by unhealthy women” filled with “tips on self-destruction.” We’d love to ascribe this detour to youthful desperation, but the book was published in 1999 — one year after The Orchid Thief and while Marx was firmly ensconced in a career as a novelist and Saturday Night Live writer. The book’s money quote? “Eat all you want, but never swallow. Spit always.” And to think of all the money Si Newhouse has wasted on their expense accounts.
Read in the Face [Radar Online]
Magazine Can’t Wait for End of Bloomberg EraWe’ll remind you, first, that New York elects its mayor the year after the United States elects its president. Then we’ll remind you that Mike Bloomberg was elected to a second four-year term — unprecedented spending, unprecedented margin of victory, remember? — in November 2005 and inaugurated on January 1, 2006. Finally, we’ll remind you that this means he’ll be New York’s mayor until December 31, 2009. Now let us point you to the first two sentences of Adam Gopnik’s “Comment” in the current New Yorker. The emphasis is ours:
It is a sign of the times — which, a Greenwich Village bard once told us, change — that two former mayors of New York may run for President next year, and no one thinks that either candidacy is even slightly a joke. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is thinking of running, as a Republican, and current Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be a former by then, may run as a None of the Above.
Hey, even the world’s most storied fact-checking staff gets a holiday break, too.
Sushi With ‘The New Yorker’; Pad Thai With ‘Allure’Another December night in New York, another round of company Christmas parties. Last night our roving party reporter Julia Allison hit The New Yorker’s annual fête — where she was allowed inside! — and Allure’s far more subdued affair. After the jump, her reviews, complete with our four-category, scale-of-1-to-5, vaguely Zagatian party ratings. (Spoiler: The New Yorker won.)
Ellen Willis, 1941–2006Ed Bradley wasn’t the only notable journalist to pass away yesterday. Ellen Willis — the New Yorker’s first rock critic, golden-era Village Voicer, radical feminist, and founder of the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at NYU — died of lung cancer in her Queens home. “Ellen was an extraordinary generator of ideas,” said friend and fellow critic Robert Christgau. “All rock criticism shows her influence.” At the New Yorker, she pioneered a critical approach to the public persona of the artist, rather than the work itself. As a feminist, she co-founded two influential groups, Redstockings in 1969 and No More Nice Girls in the eighties, and famously wanted to “smash monogamy,” arguing in favor of pleasure, choice, and pornography. At NYU, she was respected by students who remember her as a formidable teacher and a shy mentor. “I really loved Ellen, because she was so nurturing, in a totally unsentimental and charmingly awkward way,” said former student James Westcott, who is now an editor at ArtReview in London. “She ‘got’ all of us and championed all of us.” Willis lived in Queens with her daughter Nona Willis-Aronowitz and husband, Stanley Aronowitz. She was 64.
— Emma Pearse
Ellen Willis, 64, Journalist and Feminist, Dies [NYT]
Selected Writings [NYU.edu]
Robert De Niro Lives the Good LifeRobert De Niro closed on Harvey Weinstein’s ex-wife’s CPW apartment for $21 million; Grace Hightower bought him a Rolls. Hillary lost eighteen pounds, threw a party at the Roxy. Tom Ford had margaritas in London with VF’s Elizabeth Saltzman and filmmaker Chris Weitz. A former Playmate Alice Denham shtupped many fifties and sixties Village figures including Norman Mailer, James Dean, and Philip Roth, who didn’t want to talk about her book. Latest Bachelor Prince Lorenzo Borghese went to party, hit on women. Mick Jagger gets caviar facials. Yusuf Islam, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, may or may not be able to get into the U.S. to promote his new album. Queens councilman Eric Gioia will throw party in Manhattan. Alex Kuczynski had plastic surgery, wrote about it, pissed people off. Nora Ephron went to a play, wore a scarf. Brandon Davis bounced a check; other family members sold their homes. Moby, Lisa Ling, others partied at a store opening. Janet Jackson’s boyfriend says it’s her label’s fault her album tanked. Mel Gibson’s movie is coming out, so he’s visiting synagogues and making Jewish friends. Leo DiCaprio, his mom, his grandmother, and his girlfriend flew from Paris to Rome on a private plane. New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane gave a “master class” in the Condé Nast auditorium, made jokes that presumably were funnier in person than on the page. Zach Braff writes thank-you notes on an antique typewriter.