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How eavesdropping can get you on TV (okay, MSNBC)

oheard.jpgOn April 28, 2005, I had been in this gig for less than a month and had no clue who most of you were. Right. So it’s not surprising that I, not unlike Wendell Jamieson, had no clue what “Overheard in New York” was until July (after Michael Malice had invited me to his birthday party, btw).

Which is why I had no idea until this second that OHNY had actually broken the Katie-Holmes-and-Tom-Cruise-Are-Actually-Serious story, like so:

Gawker Stalker, I Think You Missed One
Katie Holmes: He introduced me to his kids! And he’s taking me to Rome on a private jet this weekend.

–Starbucks, Waverly Place

Pretty hilarious. Apparently Tucker Carlson was fascinated by that last night when he had OHNY’s Michael Malice on to chat about the new OHNY book. Intrepid Fishbowl correspondent Bucky Turco was on hand to see, photograph, and opine. Appaently Michael made a point of saying that it’s not a blog, its’ a website that is updated daily (in reverse chronological order, no less. Honey. That’s a blog. Not nice to mislead the Tucker). Here’s my favorite part:

At one point Tucker equated the overheard stuff with wiretapping and Michael kind of responded, but there are no wires.

Hilarious. I love that. Then Tucker said that he’d expect some privacy if he were on a payphone, proving that he’s never lived in New York City, where the payphones are OUTSIDE. Said Malice: “I don’t believe in the right to privacy, its not in the constitution.” No doubt he will be watching tonight’s “State of the Union” address with interest.

Funny note: both Tucker and Malice have semi-unusual tie habits: Tucker’s is his bowtie, which has gone from unfortunate fashion choice to jaunty calling card, and, though we can’t tell from this photo, Malice’s is his ubiquitous hacked-from-a-tie arm band (under which, we have no doubt, is a tattoo which reads “Fuck The Bullshit It’s Time To Throw Down”).

“Overheard in New York” and the NYT: Coincidence, but no Malice aforethought [FBNY]

Media Minutiae, Supafast Supafly Edition

  • Ted Koppel wrote his first Times Op-Ed column!
  • Shafer LOVED it.
  • The NYT‘s coverage of Memoirs of a Geisha actresses is Gong Show, sez Tom Scocca.
  • Maxim…India? Yep. Sold out in a day, according to Maxim UK editor Greg Gutfeld. Over 80K copies.
  • The NYT’s search for truthiness…yields four hits. (But one of them’s a Stanley correction.) Still, three-fer usage by the paper of record? Those word people were right.
  • Remembrances for Wendy Wasserstein

    New Yorkers are clearly mourning the loss of Wendy Wasserstein, lioness of the contemporary theatre and, by all accounts, a warm and lovely woman. The NYT obituary celebrating her life and career is already #4 on MEL; at the Village Voice, theater critic and playwright Michael Feingold remembers her giggle, and at Bloomberg, legendarily tart critic John Simon (late of New York) only has nice things to say, calling her “delightful” “funny…and fun to be with” and a mensch (to get a sense of just how rare these compliments are, see Liesl Schillinger‘s excellent review of Simon’s criticism). Both remember her intelligence, humor, wit, sparkle and skill.

    They are, of course, not alone in that regard; there will no doubt be more stories and op-ed essays to come. Below are just a few examples.

    Wendy Wasserstein, Chronicler of Women’s Identity Crises, Dies [NYT]
    Wendy Wasserstein [Village Voice]
    Wasserstein’s Wit, Humanity Reflected in Plays: An Appreciation [Bloomberg]
    Recalling the Stages of an Uncommon Life [NYDN]

    More Minutiae, Kissing Valentino By A Crystal Blue Italian Stream Edition

  • Jon Friedman isn’t fooled by Oprah’s rigteous piety, and Joel Stein is an annoying fly that must be swatted away: That’s the general theme of Jon Friedman’s column today, plus Bode Miller is a press-mongerer. Even so, it was fun to watch. [MW]
  • Watch an episode of Sex and the City. They say it far more succinctly. n+1 thinks they’ve discovered dating, that dropping SAT scores is hot. Here’s a dating tip: it’s not. [n+1]
  • Two more Alessandra Stanley corrections: Honestly, the mind boggles. [Gawker]
  • Farewell to a 60 Minutes director and a part of history: Longtime — nay, founding — 60 Minutes director Arthur Bloom died from lung cancer. It was Bloom’s stopwatch that famously opened 60 Minutes almost since its inception, and that iconic image and sound is inextricably indentified with 60 Minutes to this day. [NYT]
  • In case you were wondering…Media-macher-turned-crusading-Canadian Michael Ignatieff was victorious in the recent Canadian election, taking the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, connecting with locals, and actually, it seems, making a go of it. Vive le Canada! [Globe & Mail]
  • More cuts at Time Inc.

    More cuts at Time Inc. today – Ad Age reports that 80 employees were sent home today, from both the editorial and business sides.

    On Dec. 13, 2005 Time Inc. axed 105 employees, including Time president Eileen Naughton, exec VP-news and information Richard Atkinson and Entertainment Weekly president Andy Sareyan.

    Another well-publicized name on the cutting room floor last December: former Director of Public Affairs, Diana Pearson. Except this was odd: yesterday in my usual Sunday-morning newsweekly email onslaught, suddenly I was receiving emails from Pearson again, over a month after she’d been let go. A little freaked, I emailed alterna-Time PR person Ty Trippet. Ty responded that Diana, along with some other staffers, “was able to stay on for some extra weeks. And she worked this past weekend.” Then today, the axe falls again. Very confusing.


    Time Inc. Cuts Deep [FBNY]

    Media in the Movies: Will Shortz Doc Wordplay Sold to IFC for Approx. $1 Million

    Shortzcutz.jpgCongratulations Will Shortz — puzzle master, brain-breaker, Soduku author and now movie star! The documentary Wordplay, by director Patrick Creadon about NYT crossword aficionados features puzzle editor Shortz (NPR’s “The Puzzle Master,” which sounds vaguely hot) and covers the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, with sprinklings of crossword minutiae and $1 million worth of fun for the whole family, which is how much IFC paid for it (after a fierce bidding war!).

    Personally, I prefer Boggle. I would totally go see the Boggle movie. Also, I might just be the Camp Winnebagoe Boggle champion. Then again, I might not be. Who’s willing to call my bluff?

    Crossword guru Will Shortz a fitting star for ‘Wordplay’ documentary [Salt Lake Trib]

    Asking the hard-hitting questions with

    Jan. 30, 2006:

    “FishbowlNY got some time with the Times‘ jolly Op-Ed man Frank Rich. And what was discussed during this valuable opportunity? Showtunes. Oh, excuse us — the NYC media’s showtune agenda. Don’t laugh: we’d do the exact same thing.”

    Hardballing the Times Op-Ed Team [Gawker]

    Nov. 23, 2005:

    “We’ve asked our media lords what they’re thankful for, and they actually responded. First up, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams:

    I am thankful for chewy Cherry-Mint-flavored Tamiflu.

    Times Op-Ed diva and man-lover Maureen Dowd’s thankful desperation:

    I’m thankful that my book tour is almost over; otherwise I’d have to plunge a steak knife through my heart.”

    Other mercilessly-grilled media personalities included Ana Marie Cox, Keith Kelly, Paula Froelich, Lloyd Grove, Tom Scocca, Gawker BFF James Frey, Jon Friedman, Simon Dumenco, and David Carr.
    Grrr! Go get ‘em, tiger!

    Media Thanksgiving: The Grateful Hacks [Gawker]

    Media Minutiae, “Vloggio Killed The Bloggio Star” Doesn’t Quite Have The Same Ring Edition

    • “There are a lot of people who think it would be fun to run a newspaper. Ever see Citizen Kane?” Dude. Peter Kaplan is so not worried about selling the Observer. [Times UK]

    • Lloyd Grove only wants to see you laughing in the purple paint: Or something. Claire Zulkey at mbToolbox has an illuminating interview with Lloyd, and the backstory to a bastardized Prince reference. [mbToolbox]
    • Oh, SNAP! “Wonkette has been removed, Counterpunch substituted.” Aw, c’mon, Jimmy, give the kids a chance! It’s their first day! [James Wolcott]
    • When The Lights Go Down In The City: Last season during Fashion Week, you may recall that an accident at the Diane von Furstenberg show wherein a bank of lights fell down and struck Karen Hanes Larrain, fashion market director of Cosmopolitan, resulting in a concussion and 30 stitches for the unlucky victim. This year Hanes Larrain, who has filed a lawsuit regarding the incident, has confirmed that she will be attending Fashion Week…just not the von Furstenberg show. No kidding. Good luck this time ’round. [SFGate]
    • On the video, who-oa-oa-oah, on the video: Bastardized Donna Summer is a helluva lot better than the bastardized version of “blog” which is “vlog,” which sounds like an evil yet lazy Transylvanian despot. [NYT]
    • Welcome to Yesterday…the way I’m rewriting it: Gatecrasher Ben Widdicombe reads Page Six vet Ian Spiegelman’s latest murder mystery, and finds all sorts of easily-identifiable victims strewn amongst its pages. [NYDN]

    The Fishbowl Final: Abs, Showtunes, Pressthics, Canada, and All Manner of Bloggery

    Fishy Finale.jpgThis week marks my final few days as your devoted Fishbowl blogger, and to mark the occassion I have decided to get to the bottom of some of the thornier issues we’ve tackled on Fishbowl together for these ten months. Does the New York media love showtunes? Why are there so many Canadians lurking within our midst? Why are we so moved to scrutinize the New York Times? What’s better for the lower back, crunches or leg lifts?

    Because you need to know the answers to these pressing questions and more, we present THE FISHBOWL FINAL&#153, a five-part interview series that we whipped up because we really liked that name. Below you will see the first installment — an exclusive interview with Frank Rich which will settle the whole showtune-and-the-media question once and for all — and during the week we will be following up with pearls of wisdom from Bonnie Fuller, Jay Rosen, David Zinczenko, and Arianna Huffington. Yes. We can’t believe they talked to us, either.

    In any case, it was fun and we hope you enjoy our little farewell series. Please continue to let us know how much you love showtunes. We now return to our regularly-scheduled programming.


    Frank Rich on Showtunes, Blogging, and What’s Butchering Broadway (or, Look, Frank Rich Is Still Making Hats*)

    Frank Rich and The Blogger of Broadway.jpgOn April 10, 2005, Frank Rich returned to the op-ed page with a flourish – and a reference to a beloved musical. About two-thirds of the way down his column, he referred to a nun in terms of Julie Andrews, which is about the easiest musical reference ever to get (and if you don’t know, you’ve clearly never read Fishbowl). He followed the next week with a column entitled “Get Tom DeLay To The Church On Time,” which we found loverly. It was certainly no surprise that Rich should be dropping theater references: as most of you no doubt know, he was the NYT‘s theater critic from 1980 – 1993, dubbed “The Butcher of Broadway” for, I suppose, his refusal to give good reviews to crappy shows (I know, I know, there are no crappy shows, only shows that ‘work better as soundtracks‘).

    Those familiar with this blog will know that chronicling the media’s love of showtunes is something of a Fishbowl preoccupation, up there with Canadians, our sexy New Yorker and a dripping Anderson Cooper. Those who have recently joined Rich in belting out the Lullaby of Broadway include fellow columnists Maureen Dowd with a nod to Damn Yankees (“Recline Yourself, Resign Yourself, You’re Through“)(and yes, she is irresistible, you fool) and Nicholas Kristof likening PlameGate prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to the rigid Inspector Javert of Les Mis&#233rables (yes, I know it was a book first. A book you can sing along to!). Also singing along: Matt Drudge, with the song of angry men. Do the hills still resonate? Hm, why don’t you ask Todd Purdum, former NYT Washington bureau bigwig and now Vanity Fair national editor? (He knows.) Ditto Kurt Andersen. If you’ve ever read — or written! — about that old razzle-dazzle, been depraved on account you’re deprived, wondered how to handle a woman, implored luck to be a lady, encountered a stranger in paradise, sent in the clowns, written about people who need people, washed that man right out of your hair, sent chicks/geese/ducks scurrying, or vowed to neither regret nor forget what you did for love, then you, my Funny Valentine, are not alone (attention February headline writers: it’s from Babes in Arms).

    So yes, the New York media loves showtunes — but still, we needed confirmation from the source. By his own admission, Frank Rich was practically weaned on showtunes, turned to them for solace and understanding, and found himself in their themes and melodies. A ticket-taker in his teens, a budding critic in college (he got a personal letter from Stephen Sondheim after a review he did of the “Follies” Boston tryout – that, I imagine, did not often happen), Rich came by his eventual appointment pretty naturally. His family even had its own version of a Mama Rose.

    So it was to Frank Rich that Fishbowl turned to expose the secret showtune agenda of the New York media.

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