Monday, December 18, 2006

Quick Media Aside

Mike Kinsley is being hired to write an occassional column for Time. Howie Kurtz has the story here. Kinsley has the following to say about his new employers, who are already cutting 550 jobs and are expected to cut more. Time, he says,
"has a bigger bounce than you would expect. They're also paying me well and it's secure."

First, condescend to your new employer. Then brag about your salary. Then rub it in the noses of the people at the magazine who are about to lose their jobs.

Does anyone else remember the summer of 1998 when Si Newhouse offered Kinsley the editorship of the New Yorker? Kinsley, not content to simply say yes and take the best job in all of letters, needed time to think about it. He hemmed and hawed. Newhouse, sensing that Kinsley wasn't really into it, withdrew the offer. Kinsley said he wouldn't discuss the incident.

He promptly went and sent a nearly company-wide email detailing the entire courtship process, concluding with this bit of (counterintuitive!) gentility:
Maybe 15 minutes later I get back to the hotel room and there's a message: Call Si Newhouse. I call and he says, You seem reluctant. I say, It's a big decision, but if I do it I assure you I'll be energetic and enthusiastic. He says, I'm starting to feel reluctant too. I think it would be better to call it off. No apology.

After some stunned mumbling, I say, This is going to be embarrassing to both of us. He asks me to say that I had withdrawn my name. I say I'm not going to lie about it, but I'll decline to discuss it. He mumbles something and I mumble something and we hang up.

On reflection (about two minutes' reflection), I decided I was not inclined to do him the favor of not discussing it.

I mention all of this not because you or I should shed a tear for Newhouse, but to note that this could have no effect other than to demean whoever did eventually get the New Yorker job by making it publicly known that they were, at best, the second choice.

At least that story has a happy ending because you know, David Fucking Remnick.

Who's basically Proust, Batman, and Tom Brady rolled into one.

Still, that Kinsley's a class act.

1 comment:

AJ said...

Remnick's the Matthew Yglesias of yesteryear.