Archives: October 2006
What are you doing filming in front of the Billy Goat Tavern?!? We’ll come drink with you!
More from the New Yorker profile:
We were in Hitchens’s home in Washington. His top-floor apartment,
with a wide view that includes No. 1 Observatory Circle, the Vice-
Presidential residence, is large and handsome: sparely furnished,
with a grand piano, books piled on the floor, a few embassy
invitations on the mantelpiece, and prints and paintings propped
against the walls rather than hung from them; these include an oil
painting of Hitchens and Blue (a dark-haired, darkly dressed woman-a
young Susan Sontag) with coffee, whiskey, and cigarettes on a table
in front of them.
Earlier today, Post columnist Paul Fahri chatted with online readers about, well, pretty much everything. Some notable excerpts:
- Greenbelt, Md.: There is talk that Dan Snyder is trying to increase the reach of his radio stations. Right now, when the sun goes down, his AM station has the wattage of a refrigerator bulb. Isn’t 730 AM one of the so-called “protected” frequencies that has to cut power at dusk because of more powerful stations in the U.S. and Canada on that frequency? Or is he going to try to get the FCC to expand the range of his FMers?
Paul Farhi: He’s apparently trying to boost his AM AND FM frequencies. This despite public denials that there’s any problem with his current power levels. Um, there IS a problem; the stations are almost unhearable (is that a word?) in many parts of the area…. Snyder’s a smart guy, and he probably knows a few people at the FCC. I wouldn’t bet against him.
- Beltsville, Md.: I can’t believe the Post is making you do these chats … I hope they pay you “hazard pay” for immersing yourself in such low-brow fare. Anyway, is the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown on tonight?
Paul Farhi: Ha! And you missed it–it was on on Friday.
The entire chat can be found here.
The New York Times’ Sheryl Stolberg dipped herself into a bit of hot water this week with a throwaway line in a pool report from a private fund-raising event President Bush attended in Boca Raton, Fla.
Telling reporters who did not get to tag along for the trip just what happened, she wrote: “Fancy gated neighborhood called The Sanctuary, with big stucco houses. Jordan Zimmerman, founder and chairman of Zimmerman advertising, was the host. Your pool was holed up at the next door neighbor’s house, where there was a verrrrrry expensive Bentley and a less expensive Mercedes in the garage. We were in the pool room. Very big, but tacky decor, in the humble view of your pool.”
No doubt, the room was tacky (Stolberg knows tacky). But the little line in “Pool Report #3″ sent a few shockwaves through the White House. A bit later, she sent out “Pool Report 3A.”
“Your pool is informed that some readers took offense to the previous pool report’s description of the pool hold in Boca, which shall not be repeated here.
“Upon reflection, it seems an apology is in order to those who open their homes so that we might do our jobs. Please excuse your pool’s lack of graciousness. Good manners sometimes slip away after a tiring day,” she wrote.
Indeed they do, and everyone who has ever done pool duty for 10 hours knows the feeling (one of the best ever was by Bob Deans of Cox News, who let fly some brilliant invective after trailing the president at a reclusive resort in Kananaskis, Calgary).
We asked Stolberg just who those “some readers” were.
“The some readers appear to be White House staffers, one of whom reported to me that our pool reports ‘go to a wide White House audience, and many reporters, and I will be honest that several people have e-mailed about this pool report.’ ”
“Which brings me to an important point: Calling the home tacky was tacky, and an apology was in order. That said, I am deeply concerned that our pool reports ‘go to a wide White House audience.’ Pool reports are for reporters, not White House officials. We wouldn’t allow the White House into our newsrooms to read our notes, and we should do something about it if the White House is widely circulating our pool reports. I’ve been uncomfortable with the fact that the White House is responsible for distributing them, and this makes me even more so.”
Join the club. The White House Correspondents’ Association has tried to address the problem several times, but never has succeeded. News organizations that travel regularly spend a fortune, and then send their color to everyone — even those reporters who never spend a dime on travel.
Note to the WHCA: The mood is changing (just as it is across America). There will soon be a full-fledged revolt on this issue, and the organizations that travel regularly will win. Money talks. It’s a rule.
During his online chat today, Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten was called out by his colleague (assuming it wasn’t just someone pranking him…it is Halloween and all), Comics Page Editor Suzanne Tobin, for not giving credit where credit was due:
Comics Queen: Hey, Weingarten, you self-centered ingrate, I read your chat about your Doonesbury piece last week and you didn’t even mention that I was the one who not only suggested you do the profile, but then followed up with reminder messages to make sure you didn’t drop the ball! But do you even throw a thank you my way? NOOOOOO! Do you even mention I saved you from an embarrassing error when I read the piece prior to publication? NOOOOO! So, for once, I am going to draw a line in the sand for all the copy editors in this newsroom who save all you reporters (AKA dunderheads) from yourselves time and time again and NEVER get any appreciation. It was a great piece, and I loved reading it, but it wouldn’t have existed at all if it wasn’t for me.
Your offended colleague,
P.S. I look forward to some serious groveling and a lunch at an expensive restaurant of my choice.
Gene Weingarten: I’m not sure who this person is. Are you the quiet one in the corner who snaps chewing gum and is always reading romance novels?
Later in the chat, Weingarten relents:
Gene Weingarten: Okay, okay, Suzanne. Yes, you suggested that I do Trudeau when he declined to do a comics chat with you, on the theory that he might conceivably go for a greater degree of publicity. You were right, okay? And, yesm, you caught me having Sam confess she’s afraid of her daddy to the wrong person. You were right again, okay?
But I can’t take you out for dinner. It just wouldn’t look… right. Two famous comics people like us. Opposite sex. Obvious “chemistry.” People would talk.
Less than two weeks after its official launch, HOTSOUP.com has partnered with MSNBC.com and MSNBC TV. “Extending well beyond the mid-term elections, the partnership with HOTSOUP.com gives MSNBC.com users a platform and a community through which they can sound off on the issues that impact the nation.” HOTSOUP on MSNBC.com can be found here.
According to the release, MSNBC.com will post the HOTSOUP.com “Hot Loop,” provided by Ron Fournier, everyday. “Loops are the discussion boards embedded throughout HOTSOUP that allow members to go deeper into the dialogue, engage with like-minded individuals and debate those who disagree.” Fournier will also write a weekly analysis piece for MSNBC.com.
(Hat Tip: TVNewser)
More from the New Yorker profile:
“No, excuse me,” Hitchens said. His tone tightened, and his mouth
shrunk like a sea anemone poked with a stick; the Hitchens face can,
at moments of dialectical urgency, or when seen in an unkindly lit
Fox News studio, transform from roguish to sour. (Hitchens’s friend
Martin Amis, the novelist, has chided Hitchens for “doing that
horrible thing with your lips.”) “Fine,” Hitchens said. “Now that I
know that, to you, medical ethics are nothing, you’ve told me all I
need to know. I’m not trying to persuade you. Do you think I care
whether you agree with me? No. I’m telling you why I disagree with
you. That I do care about. I have no further interest in any of your
opinions. There’s nothing you wouldn’t make an excuse for.”
“That’s wrong!” they said.
“You know what? I wouldn’t want you on my side.” His tone was
businesslike; the laughing protests died away. “I was telling you why
I knew that Howard Dean was a psycho and a fraud, and you say,
‘That’s O.K.’ Fuck off. No, I mean it: fuck off. I’m telling you what
I think are standards, and you say, ‘What standards? It’s fine, he’s
against the Iraq war.’ Fuck. Off. You’re MoveOn.org. ‘Any liar will
do. He’s anti-Bush, he can say what he likes.’ Fuck off. You think a
doctor can lie in front of an audience of women on a major question,
and claim to have suppressed evidence on rape and incest and then to
have said he made it up?”
“But Christopher . . .”
“Save it, sweetie, for someone who cares. It will not be me. You love
it, you suck on it. I now know what your standards are, and now you
know what mine are, and that’s all the difference-I hope-in the world.”
Over at sister site GalleyCat, author Nathaniel Fick sticks up for Jim Webb’s fiction.
An tipster sends us this little tidbit, which has us wondering:
What do you get when you put a former American Prospect staffer and a National Journal staffer in the same corner of the 9:30 Club? Apparently, an anti-war sing-along to the Decemberists…
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