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Posts Tagged ‘Andy Ferguson’

Reason Mag Turns 45, Editors Have Managed Not to Kill Each Other

Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch fucking hate each other. Put them in the same air space and you’re likely to hear them discuss their persisting feelings of blind rage for each other. Without even a trace of a smile, Gillespie, dressed head to toe in his signature black frock, explains the dynamic between the two. “We have a tight relationship that usually ends in physical violence,” he says.

Welch, who is editor-in-chief of the magazine, casts a weary glance in Gillespie’s direction: “He’s from New Jersey.”

The editors of Reason Magazine, Reason.com and Reason TV flaunted their hatred Wednesday night at a party in the company newsroom off Dupont Circle to celebrate the mag’s 45-year anniversary. The scene wasn’t raucous. It was peaceful, pleasant and a rarity in Washington parties in that you could breathe, hear and get a drink easily.

One senses that the above scene between Gillespie and Welch has played out in variations before. No less funny, whatever the case. Gillespie, who edits the online publication and Reason TV, has been at Reason for 19 years. Welch, since 2002. “I took two years off for bad behavior at the LA Times,” says Welch.

When I bring up their searing hatred to another employee, it’s explained that they couldn’t possibly have that much friction between them — Gillespie spends a portion of the month in Ohio, where his kids live, and Welch moved to Brooklyn a year ago, but visits D.C. often.

Weave around the newsroom and there is a relaxed vibe along with a mix of various accented employees. A week old intern with spiky hair and English accent greets us outside. Ahh…he’s Guy Bentley, the greeter and the guy whose key fob card is letting guests upstairs. “Great, fantastic, really well,” he says, when asked how his internship is going. “UK is a little depressing,” he adds, explaining that he wants to move to the United States. He says he would’ve been here a week early but for a visa issue.

Later on we run into Guy again who’s chatting with another intern named Zenon Evans. He’s blond, sort of exotic looking and in red trousers. Maybe we were duped by the British intern, thinking all their interns are from around the world. “Where are you from?” we ask.  Clearly expecting him to say Sweden or Munich, he says, “Cleveland.”

Our faces fell as we dipped into complete and utter disappointment. Who comes to a Reason party to encounter an intern from Cleveland? (Only kidding, Zenon.) “I love writing,” he says. “I’m dedicated to the libertarian cause. I feel like I’m actually accomplishing something.”

Reason‘s newsroom is unique in that there is a glass-encased fishbowl of a room plopped in the center. It apparently has poor acoustics and who wants to be on display like a fish with everyone pointing? Nonetheless, it’s a unique place to chat and tonight it’s where the cuisine — a low-key mix of wraps, vegetable platters and such — is situated.

It’s here in the fishbowl where we bump into Matthew Feeney, a British (we think) accented assistant editor. He was born in Scotland, but his parents are from England and New Zealand so his accent is all fucked up. Asked what his pet peeve as an editor is, he replies, “Not for the record.” (Seriously. A softball question to end all softball questions and he can’t say on the record what his editorial pet peeve is? We make fun of him to his face about it, but eventually let it go.) Here’s what he will tell us. Spoiler alert: It has nothing to do with sex or violence. “I’ve been working here since May. I enjoy my colleagues and the freedom to write about what I want, when I want.” Don’t mess with this guy! He’ll kick your ass.

By far the weirdest thing in the newsroom is the male pants-less mannequin located by the bar in the main newsroom. It’s showing off the black Reason T-shirt. (See it after the jump…)

In the back of the office is a library complete with a gargoyle and skeleton head. The library is the place where journalists go to “think great thoughts,” Gillespie explains. It’s just outside the library that we meet Preston Cornish. What kind of a name is this? We have no idea, but he seems to be a solid American. He manages the business advisory council for Reason. Like Feeney, he loves his colleagues, but he doesn’t own any Reason apparel. “It’s a great group of people who are committed to advancing freedom,” he says. “We punch above our weight.”

Somehow we get into the topic of cussing in the newsroom. “First time I heard ‘bloody f–ing c-word’ at 10 a.m. I was like, ‘alright mate,’” said Cornish. (By the way, “c–t” in England isn’t nearly as bad as it is here.) He glances at Feeney, who is apparently a pretty foul-mouthed bloke.

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Labash Blowout Book Party: Marion Barry Has Arrived!

IMG_0217.jpgThe Weekly Standard/Daily Caller Matt Labash’s book, Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures With Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, And Jewish Cowboys came to life Thursday night as characters from his anthology filed in one by one to the beautiful home of Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson and his wife, Susie. The evening was one of fun, frolic and, of course, drinking, as the Distilled Spirits Council sponsored the party with a well-stocked Scotch-filled bar.

Characters from the book who showed up to the festivities included Democratic political strategist and former campaign aide to Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) David “Mudcat” Saunders, Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens and GOP consultant Roger Stone, who famously taught Labash how to properly tie a tie (he claims Labash still needs help). Stone (in photograph above with Labash) explained that he was leaving later to catch a train to Manhattan – his policy is to never stay overnight in D.C. as the town is too awful a place to remain too long. “I hate it,” he said. “People are phony.” (Stone splits his time between New York City and Miami.)

Soon the party turned into a roast.

“Nice house, not waspy enough,” Stone cracked. “I appreciate the enormous role I have played in making Matt Labash.” Stone joked that people always ask of Labash: ‘What’s with all the Hitler memorabilia?’

Saunders, to whom Labash devoted an entire chapter, said the author was much more than a writer but a life confidant whom he still phones for advice. “He knows enough about me to get me arrested,” he said. Initially, Saunders said, he feared a story about him appearing in The Weekly Standard: “I’m a Democrat. The Weekly Standard ain’t a damn Democrat publication.”

The party was the scene of scenes for D.C. journalists. Faces in the crowd included conservative radio personality Laura Ingraham, The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes and Andy Ferguson, Politico’s Anne Schroeder Mullins, Patrick Gavin, Kiki Ryan, Michael Calderone and Pia Catton. Politico’s Jonathan Martin and NBC “Meet the Press” Executive Producer Betsy Fischer arrived simultaneously. The Daily Caller was represented well with opinion editor Moira Bagley, publisher Neil Patel, V.P. of sales Alex Treadway and congressional reporter Gautham Nagesh as well as Sean “Jim Treacher” Medlock on crutches. Others in attendance: The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard, the New York Post’s Charlie Hurt, Reason’s Michael Moynihan, Edelman’s Exec. V.P. Tony Blankley, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, D.C. media consultant David Bass, former Time scribe Tim Burger and Slate’s Editor David Plotz. The Atlantic’s Josh Green was there and spoke of the story he has been living as of late – that of Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) and the old Navy buddies who told him, among other sordid details, about the ex-congressman’s infamous Massa massage and now compelling “snorkeling”. Green joked, “I feel dirty talking about it.” More seriously, he called Massa the “Andy Dick of Congress.”

Lightening struck when former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry arrived. Late and decked out in a suit and cherry-colored tie, Barry stole the show. And for a good while, it was all guests could do but stare and snap cell phone pictures.

“It took me an hour to find this place,” Barry told the awed crowd, explaining his tardiness. “I wandered here and there and everywhere.”

Initially Labash had no idea that Barry that arrived. “No, no, I don’t publicly speak!” the author was imploring guests, unaware that his most striking character was about to weigh in.

Carlson explained to guests that The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol was sorry he couldn’t attend – he was in Manhattan hanging out with former N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Massa (everyone laughed). Carlson read a note from Kristol that said, in part, “When we hired Labash, we had hoped he’d become a star – we’re still hoping.”

Carlson, who wrote the introduction to Labash’s book, had solemn praise for Labash with a twist. “Matt doesn’t simply write about people,” said Carlson. “He takes them as lifelong friends – almost in a proctological way.” He said when subjects first read the stories Labash has written about them their first response is “horror.”

Then they realize that what Labash has written is true, that the author has maybe captured them more deeply than anyone ever has.

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More party pictures after the jump…

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