There was an innate refinement, a languid queenly hauteur about Gerty which was unmistakably evidenced in her delicate hands and higharched instep. No. Honour where honour is due.


London, 1966: the apex of Mod, the year of Twiggy and Blow-Up. The neighborhood into which Nick Denton was born, Hampstead, was the citadel of the moneyed liberal intelligentsia, posh but not stuffy. In retrospect, it was the perfect place for Marika Marton to have ended up. Marton (whose son strikingly resembles her) had escaped the Soviet invasion of Hungary just ten years prior, in 1956. A woman of formidable intellect, she spoke Russian, German, and Latin in addition to English and her native Hungarian, and began studying economics—first at London University, then at Southampton—almost immediately after immigrating. At the second school, she fell in love with her economics professor, Geoffrey Denton.

From the outset, their son Nick found himself in a near-bespoke environment of cosmopolitan cool, where his kinds of otherness—Jewish, Hungarian—made him blend in rather than stand out. So it was with the private school he attended, University College School, which placed little value on family crests but sent yearly waves of graduates to Oxford and Cambridge. Which is what happened to Denton. (…)

Denton has become more of a mainstream media baron than he admits. These days, Gawker Media’s blogs net up to 17.5 million U.S. visitors per month, making the company America’s 45th most popular online property, well ahead of (55) or (59).

Gawker Media grew through the annus terribilis of 2009. It grew in 2010. (…)

Denton has been celebrated at Davos, has spoken at Murdoch’s exclusive retreat, and chatted with George Soros at a White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

{ NY mag | Continue reading }

For years after starting Gawker Media, the online publishing network, in 2002, Nick Denton ran the company out of his apartment, in SoHo. “He said, ‘If you run it out of your house, then no one expects anything,’ ” Denton’s friend Fredrik Carlström, the film producer and adman, told me. “ ‘If you have an office, people want stuff. They want cell phones, lunch breaks, beer on Fridays.’ ” Gawker Media was a deliberately fly-by-night operation: incorporated in Budapest, where a small team of programmers still works, and relying on elegantly jaded bloggers who considered themselves outsiders with nothing to lose.

Early contributors tell stories about bounced checks, and receiving payment straight from the A.T.M. The arrangement, many assumed, was a convenient hedge against potential libel claims. (Scarcely a week passes without one or more of Denton’s nine sites receiving a cease-and-desist letter.)

{ The New Yorker | Continue reading }


Tyler Brûlé, the founder, chief executive officer, editor, and guiding tastemaker of Monocle, is running late, but even in his absence you sense him in the detail of his compact and carefully styled offices. Brûlé made his name as the editor of Wallpaper, once the house bible of loft dwellers and metrosexuals everywhere, a magazine with the subtitle, “the stuff that surrounds us.” (…)

Brûlé discovered his philosophy while dosed up with morphine in a hospital bed in Afghanistan in 1994. He was 25, a freelance reporter working on an assignment with Médicins Sans Frontières in Kabul, when a jeep in which he was traveling came under machine gun fire. He was shot several times in both arms—his left remains pretty much useless—and, while recovering, had time to contemplate his priorities. He distances himself from hallucinogenic visions of angels bearing style magazines, but suggests that he did, lying there, come to see what mattered most to him. The list included “friends,” “living in a great house,” and “wanting to travel and see the world.” The rest, he would argue, is magazine history.

Wallpaper helped define the tastes of the winners in the banking and technology booms. It combined an obsessive attention to the styling of household objects and hotel décor with an edge of distancing irony, a way of having it all. In 1997, after less than a year, Brûlé sold Wallpaper, begun on a shoestring budget, to Time Inc. (TWX) for a reported $1.63 million. By 2004, when he left, The New York Times could describe “the Wallpaper generation” and have people understand what it meant; Brûlé, at 33, had received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Society of Magazine Editors. After some acrimonious clashes, Brûlé says he was fired by Time over an expenses claim for a London taxi, while others recall it as a chartered plane; either of which is a little like disciplining Homer Simpson for eating a canapé.

He took with him most of his key editorial staff and Winkreative, a branding agency that had grown out of the magazine. At Winkreative, Brûlé had taken on the rebranding of Swissair in 2001 after its collapse—calibrating the look and feel of what became Swiss International Air Lines—and assembling a client list that ranged from BMW to designer Stella McCartney.

He planned Monocle, envisioned as “a trendy Economist,” from the beginning, but competition clauses delayed its launch until 2007. The hiatus gave Brûlé a period to devise a new independent funding model. In the beginning he went to venture capitalists and private equity. They all said the same thing: If it is going to be something that drives Web numbers, then great.

“I got a bit tired of hearing from 24-year-old MBAs how the world of media was going to unfold,” Brûlé says. “We had a Spanish client at the agency, and she came into the office one day. She is the Catalan matriarch of a family business, and she asked why there was a desk downstairs but no one working there. I told her about the idea for a magazine. She took the plan away and came back to say she would take 10 percent of the business on one condition: There had to be four other investors with similar stakes, they also had to run family businesses, and they had to be geographically diverse.”

Brûlé, never a man to shirk a challenge, came up with the appropriate investors from Australia, Sweden, Japan, and Switzerland. (…)

(Brûlé mentions in passing that Winkreative has just won a contract “to rebrand the country of Taiwan.”)

{ Businessweek | Continue reading }

photo { David LaChapelle }

‘Don’t sue her she’s a stripper! Life already sued her and she lost.’ –Jeff Winger


How Hunter S. Thompson applied for a job at The Vancouver Sun

October 1, 1958
57 Perry Street New York City


I got a hell of a kick reading the piece Time magazine did this week on The Sun. In addition to wishing you the best of luck, I’d also like to offer my services.

Since I haven’t seen a copy of the “new” Sun yet, I’ll have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn’t know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I’m not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley.

By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand. And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you.

I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he’d tell you that I’m “not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That’s a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.)

Nothing beats having good references.

Of course if you asked some of the other people I’ve worked for, you’d get a different set of answers.If you’re interested enough to answer this letter, I’ll be glad to furnish you with a list of references — including the lad I work for now.

The enclosed clippings should give you a rough idea of who I am. It’s a year old, however, and I’ve changed a bit since it was written. I’ve taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.

Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews.

I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations.

I would rather be on the dole than work for a paper I was ashamed of.

It’s a long way from here to British Columbia, but I think I’d enjoy the trip.

If you think you can use me, drop me a line.

If not, good luck anyway.

Sincerely, Hunter S. Thompson

{ Vancouver Sun | Continue reading | via Alec Friedman }

His eyes open wide in vision stared sternly across the sunbeam in which he halted


Some of the italicised words are pure slang and have no place in respectable writing – celebs and nookie, for example. Others come under the heading of coy or vulgar euphemism – toyboy, love child, love nest, cheating and stunner are what might more directly be called gigolo, illegitimate child, flat, committing adultery and mistress .

Some are simply failures of terminology: those who ride horses go riding, not horse riding; and those who shoot or hunt practise field sports. (…)

The main objection to most of the tabloid language highlighted above is that it devalues the currency. If somebody is devastated because his football team has lost a match, how does he feel when he gets home and finds his wife and children have been killed in a fire?

{ Simon Heffer on The language of tabloid exaggeration | The Guardian | Continue reading }

‘Yes I. Do it in the bath. Curious longing I. Water to water. Combine business with pleasure.’ –James Joyce


CM: What is the relation between and the print version?

Andrew Richardson: You’ll see in the print version you have the QR codes and if you have a QR reader on your phone you can scan it and that will open up the online version where you can watch say a film that is referred to in the print version or a translation of an article while you have the magazine in front of you. So you have this Analog Digital interface. What we have on the website is not really a reflection of the magazine, it’s an ancillary device to the magazine and then what we’ve started doing now is blogging…So we have a ‘feed’ section on the site where we put up something every day or every couple of days, something that interests us… That’s what’s exciting in a way; the magazine is a beautiful object, a resolved rigorous publication, whereas the website is a much more spontaneous easy way of communicating. We have 4 or 5 different contributors and they each bring their own sort of thing to the mix. There is a gay point of view, a lesbian, a straight girl, straight guy- different types of people who are sharing things that they are interested in. It’s very important that this magazine is not a ‘straight’ magazine, it’s all sex and we try to represent that in the blog as well.

{ MDX | Continue reading | }

The open backdoor of All Hallows


The word is douche bag. Douche space bag. People will insist that it’s one closed-up word—douchebag—but they are wrong. When you cite the dictionary as proof of the division, they will tell you that the entry refers to a product women use to clean themselves and not the guy who thinks it’s impressive to drop $300 on a bottle of vodka. You will calmly point out that, actually, the definition in Merriam-Webster is “an unattractive or offensive person” and not a reference to Summer’s Eve. They will then choose to ignore you and write it as one word anyway.

I know this because, during my three-plus years as a copy editor, I had this argument many, many times. (…)

I pretty much knew I wanted to go into journalism since I served as an editor on my high-school newspaper, the Three Penny Press, but what exactly I wanted to do changed throughout the years. Initially I thought I wanted to work for People, but then I realized that I am way too shy to approach famous people and ask them about their personal lives. Also, my desire to be their best friend would likely interfere with my ability to do objective reporting. Then I decided I wanted to work at a fashion magazine, a dream killed by The Devil Wears Prada, a friend’s internships in the industry and the acknowledgment that I’m not very good at putting clothing combinations together. (I like dresses for a reason.) But starting at some point in college, I aspired to one day, fingers crossed, work at New York magazine.

{ Lori Fradkin/The Awl | Continue reading }

photo { The Cobra Snake }

Nicky’s methods of betting weren’t scientific, but they worked. When he won, he collected. When he lost, he told the bookies to go fuck themselves.


It was followed in late 1936 by Life, the picture magazine, which was an astonishing newsstand success: “By the end of 1937 . . . circulation had reached 1.5 million — more than triple the first-year circulation of any magazine in American (and likely world) history.” But then, as throughout much of its existence, Life was troubled by high production costs and insufficient advertising revenues.

Luce’s empire grew to include “The March of Time,” first a radio broadcast and then a newsreel for theatrical distribution, and finally, in 1954, the slow-growing but eventually phenomenally successful Sports Illustrated.

The empire was called Time, Incorporated, a name that no longer exists. In 1990 — 23 years after Luce’s death — it merged with Warner Brothers and has since been known as Time Warner, a partnership that has seen its rough times but is now “one of the three largest media companies in the United States.” It is “a powerful and successful company, although the magazine division that had launched the company [is] weakening fast in the digital world of the twenty-first century.” Time, which was required reading in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, even for those who detested it, seems now to be waiting-room reading; Fortune retains relatively strong circulation but seems primarily known for its “Fortune 500″ rankings; and Sports Illustrated, though still widely read, is no longer noteworthy, as it once was, for superb journalism that at times reached the lower rungs of literature.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Listen if you let me, I’ll be the reason you shine


The press seems to be having a little trouble distinguishing between verbal and physical harm lately. Earlier this month, New York Post Page Six contributor Ian Spiegelman dashed off an e-mail to writer Douglas Dechert threatening to “push your face inside-out in private or public” and to see “how many times I can slam my fist into your face before someone pulls me off.”

{ New York Observer, 2004 | Continue reading }

Everyone’s special, Dash


{ Cameron Diaz, Elastigirl, Michael Caine | Randy Glass, The Wall Street Journal portraits | more }

‘Il y a le visible et l’invisible. Si vous ne filmez que le visible, c’est un téléfilm que vous faites.’ –Jean-Luc Godard


A 1956 memo to Playboy photographers listed Hefner’s criteria for the centerfolds. The model must be in a natural setting engaged in some activity “like reading, writing, mixing a drink.” She should have a “healthy, intelligent, American look—a young lady that looks like she might be a very efficient secretary or an undergrad at Vassar.” Many centerfolds feature the implied presence of a man: a flash of trouser leg in the corner, a pipe left on a table. These props transform the pinups into seduction scenarios. Their premise is simple: by identifying with the absent man, a viewer can enter the scene. 

{ n+1 | Continue reading }

related { Playboy outsourcing most magazine operations }

Sidewalk sundae strawberry surprise


Rupert Murdoch said recently that he’s planning to stop Google News from indexing his publications including the Times of London and the Wall Street Journal. Murdoch’s idea is that Google News and the like make it too easy for Internet users to sample news for free rather than paying for it as God and Rupert intended. Mark Cuban, who is very clever but with whom I rarely agree, thinks this is smart on Murdoch’s part, because Twitter is changing the way people find news, effectively disintermediating Google, but not the News Corp. publications, themselves.

It’s funny how Murdoch’s statement made Cuban think of Twitter while it made me think immediately of the A&P.

The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, or A&P, was America’s first national chain of food markets. Hell, it was America’s first self-serve market, first to have store brands, first to advertise nationally, first to have a customer loyalty program (in 1912!), first to publish its own magazine (Womens’ Day, which is still around, though no longer owned by the A&P), and for most of my childhood back in Ohio A&P was the big Kahuna of grocery chains. With $5.4 billion in sales in the mid-1960s, A&P was at least 20 percent bigger than any of its competitors.

But after 105 years of setting the pace for the grocery industry, A&P peaked in the mid-1960s and went into a decline that lasted for at least 15 years and, it can be argued, continues even to this day. A&P, which has had German owners (the Tengelman Group) since the 1970s, is more of a super-regional chain today and doesn’t particularly vie for industry leadership on any measure. What happened in the mid-1960s to hurt A&P was it opted out of being indexed by Google News.

Well not literally, but close enough. A&P management, which back in the mid-60’s was still chosen from the founding Hartford family, decided at that time to abandon shopping centers — retail aggregators as Google is a news aggregator. They reasoned that in most shopping centers the anchor store was an A&P. In their view their supermarket was the main draw for a shopping center and didn’t need any of those other shops or stores to provide traffic. The rest of the shopping center was seen by A&P management as being purely parasitic.

{ Robert Cringely | Continue reading }

related { Interview with Rupert Murdoch | video }

previously { For the next few decades, journalism will be made up of overlapping special cases. }

photox { The last days of Gourmet magazine }

Hippa to the hoppa and you just don’t stoppa


{ Pagan magazine, 1966 | Richard Kern and Jo Ratcliffe, V Magazine September 09 }


{ left | right }


{ Katsura Funakoshi, The Sphinx is Eating a Grasshopper above the Forest, 2007-2008 | Asger Carlsen }


{ Oscar Santillan, Failed dawn, 2008 | Stéphane Vigny, Lustre, 2007 }


{ Thom Puckey, Black Penitent, 2000 | Mask, dated 1745, Inscribed by Myochin Muneakira | The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York }

In passion and fashion he began travelin’ time, 3rd eye, 3rd eye, 3rd eye


{ Playboy may finally publish an issue that nobody jerks off to the cover model. | Playboy November 2009 cover feat. Marge Simpson | Playboy October 1971 cover feat. Darine Stern }



{ Andrea Mantegna, St Sebastian, c. 1470 | Esquire magazine, April 1968 | And: Radar Magazine parodies 1968 Muhammed Ali Esquire cover }