It’s not by design, intelligent or otherwise, but for some reason today is the most Canadianest day ever on Fishbowl. Especially in terms of spelling (we spell things differently up there. Scout’s honour). Okay, I’m going to post as I go because it’s getting late. Stay with me, I’m about to unmask a whole bunch of closet Canadians. Whoo hoo!
Archives: November 2005
I know, that’s kind of a mouthful of a headline, mais there has suddenly been all sorts of interesting dust-settling France coverage, and considering that a chunk of it ended up in my inbox with nary a mouseclick required from me I figured I should pass it along. Then I saw two more stories and, well, three’s a trend.
J’aime bien le pamplemousse. Oui, c’est vrai.
First, a shout-out to New Republic editor Marty Peretz, whose personalized email made me feel very special (how did you know that “Reader” was my special nickname?). Peretz drew my attention to TNR’s France-o-centric issue (see sad little Napoleon up above.Oh, buck up, little emperor. Elba’s not that bad), which features articles on why the French have failed to assimilate their minorities, and, confusingly, why the riots are uniquely French but also why all of this is also a European problem. Yowsers.
Next the New York Times Magazine published an architectural take on the riots, turning blame away from the French toward the Swiss, specifically the architect Le Corbusier, whose version of “upwardly mobile” is actually oxymoronic when taken literally in his high-rises on the outskirts of Paris. I think that sentence made sense but I’m not entirely sure.
And finally, in one of the more unique commentaries on the events overseas, over at Collision Detection FishFriend Clive Thompson writes of a unique project dramatizing the experiences of various French characters via machinimia (basically making art/video from video game characters and interfaces – more here). The TNR articles provide an interesting backdrop; the video-game-cum-movies highlight the assimilation/identity problems behind the more general marginalization of disaffected youth.
In any case, trois est un trènde, et aussi, je ne pas parler le Français vraiment bon. Zut alors! But that doesn’t change how I feel about grapefruit. Tasty, that.
Update: Allez allez allez! Fishbowl has been informed of more relevant links in this matter, specifically TNR cover-story-writer Paul Berman‘s book Power and the Idealists, as reviewed in yesterday’s NYBTR; it’s actually a super-favorable review and sounds like a really interesting book about the rise of post-1968 fascism in Europe, framed against, inter alia, the 1972 Olympics (a hot topic in the coming month when Munich is released). Wow, from France to Germany all in one post about unrest and racial violence in Europe. Nothing unsettling about that.
Kate Moss on VF: With so many nipples, maybe they won’t notice that you don’t have an actual interview
Vanity Fair‘s December cover was, by all accounts, a score: a gorgeous, doe-eyed shot of a winsome, un-strung-out looking Kate Moss with the coverline: “Kate Moss: The Inside Story of the Cocaine, the Boyfriend, the Shattered Career. Can She Come Back?” Readers could be forgiven for thinking that Vanity Fair had scored an interview with the supermodel. It had not.
At the Globe & Mail, New York columnist Simon Houpt raises an eyebrow at Vanity Fair‘s inability to score an interview with its subject. He recalls interviewing Graydon Carter who said of his subjects: “Most of the time, we figure out who we want, and then we just get them.” Case in point: the bestselling Jennifer Aniston September cover by Leslie Bennetts.* Case not in point: Vicky Ward‘s December cover story on Kate Moss, which cobbles together factoids from the public record with comments from her friends (we’re to trust that these people are friends and not “hangers on” as friends of Moss boyfriend Pete Doherty are described).
Ward’s write-around glosses over the lack of access, never specifically alluding to any attempt to contact Moss or even whether she had an official spokesperson (at one point she cites Moss’ lawyer Gerrard Tyrrell, but it’s unclear whether she spoke to him or lifted from the public record). Ward does write that Moss “has rarely given interviews — and then usually only to top magazines, such as American Vogue.” I’d say snap, but can you snap yourself?
Lacking such access, Ward does survey a number of presumably close friends of Moss, leading with “an acquaintance” who opines authoritatively on Moss’ relationship and then quoting her hairdresser, artist Tracey Emin (described in this week’s New York magazine, incidentally, as “bigmouth”) and people at a photo shoot, “people she has known for years.” These people might all be her best buddies or they might be total media whores; honestly, there is no way for us to tell. (We can tell that the pics are from a year ago…if we read the fine print.)
Houpt asked Vanity Fair spokeswoman Beth Kseniak about it:
“The cover line does not in any way suggest that we spoke to her, or that she talked to us,” she said. I asked whether carrying that photo on the cover suggests Moss co-operated with the article. “I can see how someone might assume that she had because, as you say, usually our cover stories do have interviews. But I don’t think there have been any letters to the editor complaining about it.”
Aim high, VF.
(BTW, UK Vogue was fooled, writing “Just days after getting out of rehab, Kate Moss has swept away any doubt of her comeback with a cover for Vanity Fair that is bound to send sales through the roof. The British supermodel…looks better than ever as she poses over 11 pages inside.” The headline? “Kate Moss Returns.” Don’t feel bad, UK Vogue; they were fooled (“Moss has another crack at modeling”), and them (“Moss comes back as covergirl”), and them (“Kate Moss makes modelling comeback with Vanity Fair cover”).
The story is really good but it’s locked away behind the Canadian equivalent of TimesSelect so I’ve reproduced it after the jump. Disclosure: Simon Houpt is a friend of mine. Kate Moss is not. If she was, I expect I might have had a shot at getting into Vicky Ward’s article.
WRITING AROUND JOURNALISTIC ETHICS [Globe & Mail]
Vanity Fair: Kate Moss nipple alert [FishbowlNY]
Ruth Davis Konigsberg, you’ve got company: the ladies at Miss Grace’s Salon are giving the kids from Math Club a run for their money and crunching New Yorker bylines somethin’ fierce. The result? Grace founder and author Elizabeth Merrick counted up all the New Yorker articles in 2004 (702) and logged how many of them were written by women (147), or 21%. See pretty chart above. Merrick does note, happily, that the fiction odds have vastly improved since editor Deborah Treisman has come aboard: a whopping 43% of fiction authors were women in 2004.
A quick peek at today’s New Yorker reveals similar stats: a big feature by Margaret Talbot and a TOTT by Scooter Libby literary expert Lauren Collins, a poem by Elizabeth Bishop and – yay! – fiction by Canadian Alice Munro; 4 out of 21. Otherwise it’s all Hershy and Hertzbergish, Paumgartenesque, Denby-riffic and McGrath-tastic. Which of course are all wonderful things, but the mag might just McCall for a few more chicks, especially those who are so skilled in elegant wordplay. I’m just sayin’.
GRACE GIVES THANKS TO DEBORAH TREISMAN OF THE NEW YORKER [Miss Grace's Salon]
Remedial Math [Miss Grace's Salon]
Pitch it, ladies, your time has come! [FishbowlNY]
This week’s New York magazine is sure to turn a lot of heads, with a breathless cover profile of alleged Hallowe’en rapist Peter Braunstein and an in-depth piece trumpeting the current network “anchor wars” (not to be confused with the “morning show wars” cover story of June 6, 2005). Both are hot topics: Braunstein has been at large for almost a month, leading to all sorts of shrill headlines across the covers of the Post and the News, and Vanessa Grigoriadis‘s cover piece capitalizes on that (right down to adopting the “fire fiend” moniker from the NYP), purporting to enter Braunstein’s head as he watched his eventual victim stride around the office in manolos, taunting him with her cool unattainability, his mind spinning a million fantasies, plotting, planning… I have no idea if things unfolded that way in the W Mag offices or in Braunstein’s head, which means neither can Grigoriadis, who is going off basically the same information that has been emerging over the past month, plus many, many adjectives. It’s one way to approach it, the fictionalized, hypothesized fill-in-the-blanks version (“It was the shoes that always got him,” and “He had a crippling insecurity and an enormous sense of his own intellect, and was possessed of a desire to court the most powerful New York women and an equal, and then overwhelming, need to destroy them”) — but in truth I’d be more interested to read a profile that says “this is what we know, and why” than “this is what we know, plus all sorts of stuff that we’re imagining.” There’s obvious work behind the piece, and the story is compelling on its own merit; Adam Moss, we doubt David Remnick would ever feel the need to tart it up with starry-eyed homage to “Fashion Girls.” We’re just sayin’.
The “anchor wars” piece by David Blum-not-Frum takes a thorough look at the players jockeying for position in the shifting new network world order, sifting through the rumors (Katie Couric thinking of taking over at CBS? Charles Gibson being held back from World News Tonight for the sake of Diane Sawyer‘s morning ambitions?). It’s a juicy, newsy romp (and gives us an extra reason to mull over Bob Woodruff‘s lunch with Susan Zarinsky at Michael’s last Wednesday, hmmm?), though he cites the reason that Anderson Cooper‘s “having it rough” lately is that he’s down to “only three or four fawning media profiles a week” as opposed to slipping ratings. Either way, it’s rife with the rumor and speculation that has made anchor-watching the sport of the past year as Rather, Brokaw, Jennings and Koppel have left the anchor chair. Niggling point: we reported that Walter Cronkite was married back on Tuesday, Nov. 15, but Blum’s piece says they’re dating. Come on, New York, don’t forget to read your Fishbowl!
Extra Zeitgeist-tapping bonus points: The happy intersection of showtunes and Canada in the article on bonuses at Goldman Sachs, written by Canadian Duff McDonald with the following headline: “Please Sir, I Want Some More.” Yes, sticklers, we know Dickens didn’t imagine it to music, but still.
p.s. “I want our magazine covers to be posters.” Ew. Hopefully not this one, you don’t.
Disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of Rent. I am also a huge fan of specifics.
Sorry we’re two days late on your weekly Michael’s fix, but the anticipation just makes it sweeter. Besides, the Wednesday before the most-travellingest day of the year does not for a booming lunch business make; indeed, Michael’s had a lonely, muted feel Wednesday in a half-empty room; even Michael Wolff could have gotten a table. They were clearly not gunning for a huge crowd, either; our waiter opened with a greeting followed by the blunt “There are no specials today.” Okay, then. Nonetheless, there were still some media luminaries to be seen (and all sorts of look-alikes, which kind of counts), plus pithy commentary on what people were wearing and eating, or what kind of famous people they kind of looked like.
Vamanos, muchachas! Let the parade of Cobb Salads begin.
Table 1: Crack photojournalist Harry Benson of Vanity Fair, Life, and about a zillion other places – check out some of his amazing photos from all over the world (and, indeed, modern history) here. Beatles, Reagans, Kennedys, Astaires, Clintons and John Wayne Bobbit (yes, that guy). Also: Diane Sawyer with long hair here, sporting a positively Katie Couric-like grin.
Table 11: Snowy-bearded Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, who we can safely assume will not be shopping today.
Table 12: A very attractive man who I instantly recognized as someone who had to be on network news. Straight out of central casting. Turned out he’s just that: Bob Woodruff of ABC news, anchor of “World News Tonight Saturday.” He was with Susan Zarinsky, who I believe is still with CBS and on whom the Holly Hunter character in “Broadcast News” was based (but presumably not the Holly Hunter character in “The Piano”).
Table 18: Liz Smith, beaming as she walked into the restaurant, looking suntanned, perfectly-coiffed and resplendent in an orange blazer with just a hint of coral. She dined with a man who looked like James Cromwell (Ruth’s husband on “Six Feet Under,” inter alia) and a blonde woman who we couldn’t really see. Didn’t catch their order but for dessert Liz had some sort of yummy-looking chocolate cake-type thing and her companions each had mango sorbet. Forgot to check if they ate their rolls.
Table 17: Men’s Health editor David Zinczenko with MH spinoff Best Life editor Stephen Perrine (and not, for a change, with former Men’s Journal EIC Michael Caruso). Zinczenko had the abs-friendly salmon, but we were heartened to see him raise a cookie to us in greeting. Aw. Even the abs need a treat now and again.
Table 6: The look-alike table to end all look-alike tables. Dead ringer for Fred Willard (“wha’ happened?“), with a man who certain diners who shall remain nameless suggested was “a young Stanley Bing” and a woman in a black beret who actually kind of looked like the woman in the beret hanging on the wall by Table 4 (not an actual woman).
Table 15: Our table! Fishbowl had the pleasure of dining as the guest of Table 15 habitué David Hirshey of HarperCollins/soccer-scoring fame, plus ESPN Books editor Michael Solomon, who both looked dashing in tweedy blazers, plus me, Rachel Sklar. Hirshey and I each had the Cobb Salad, and I was a little devastated to see that they’d changed it – what happened to the creamy mix of deliciousness featuring big chunks of egg white? (Note: egg white is abs-friendly). This concoction was leafier and less pleasing to Fisbhowl’s refined palate. Michael, if you’re reading this, please revert. Thanks. Luckily, Solomon ordered a chicken dish accompanied by fries, and he let us eat off his plate. For dessert we enjoyed some Proust-friendly madeleines. Stephen Perrine, please don’t be mad at us.
Additional sightings: Apparently Ron Perleman was there at some point, but we missed him.
More random look-alikes: A cheerfully-smiling blonde woman in a purply woolen blazer who closely resembled Meredith Baxter Birney of “Family Ties”; a silver-haired man striding out from the back room whom we thought for a moment might be Anderson Cooper. The hair wasn’t silver enough though.
On the way out we looked at pictures of Loreal‘s adorable new baby Sophia, who is as cute a lil’ Thanksgiving pumpkin as anything. Upshot: Babies are cute, madeleines are delicious, and Cobb salads are best left alone. See you next week!
We’re in the middle of prepping “Lunch at Michael’s” but in the meantime, a little Thanksgiving irony for you: FEMA’s Michael Brown is starting a consulting firm on disaster preparedness.
Here’s the part that almost makes you feel for him a little: “My wife, children and my grandchild still love me. My parents are still proud of me.” Until you remember this: “Restaurants are getting busy…we need time to eat in leisure, dammit!” and “Sir, you might want to try rolling up your sleeves to so it looks like you’re actually working” and “Can I quit now?” Then, you know, there’s not much sympathy.
Today is “Black Friday,” the cheerfully-monikered kickoff to the holiday shopping seasons and, retailers hope, the biggest shopping day of the year. Or not. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the day whether you’re bargain-hunting or boycotting!
Also, in unrelated news pertaining to blog synchronicity, “The Golden Girls” DVD set is featured in the linked Daily News article, apropos of nothing actually in the article. A sign – Bea Arthur really is all-powerful!
This was almost my new favorite parody until I realized that it wasn’t a parody: an honest-to-goodness song called “Bush Was Right” all about celebrating the vindicated wisdom of the Commander-in-Chief.
It’s by a very earnest, very right-wing duo out of Nashville, “The Right Brothers” (clever, right?) and apparently they’re campaigning to get the video on TRL. It’s done in a We-Didn’t Start-The-Fire sort of way (which we obviously can appreciate) with a bridge that really would have been worthy of top satirists…again, if only it actually were a parody. Ah well. Accidental genius still kind of counts.
Here’s a little sample to crack you up — and it should, regardless of your stripes — and here’s Keith Olbermann‘s take on a possible video, courtesy of Crooks & Liars. This, by the way, is not new news (à la stove-top stuffing) but is nonetheless worthy of sharing. Give a listen. You can’t be working all that hard today.
*Zell Miller: Right.