Archive for December, 2014

Gawker Names Lena Dunham’s Alleged Rapist

Posted on December 31st, 2014 in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Apparently in an attempt to prove that he actually exists.

Where is Sabrina Rubin Erdely?

Posted on December 30th, 2014 in Uncategorized | 50 Comments »

It has now been a month since she made any public statement regarding her Rolling Stone fiasco—and her last statements on the story were defending it and angrily charging doubters of missing its larger import.

How, I keep thinking, does any self-respecting human being do this? How do you put your name on something, promote it, revel in the positive attention it’s getting…and then just run and hide when it turns out that you were wrong?

This is not exactly a profile in courage we’re talking about.

Getting the story so completely wrong in the first place was a disastrous mistake, but I don’t think that it alone should or would have ended Erdely’s career. None of us would want to live in a world without second chances.

I do think that her behavior since then should have that consequence. There is no place in journalism for someone who points a finger of accusation—at men, at administrators, at an institution—and then runs away when she is found to be wrong. The real question is not where is Sabrina Rubin Erdely. It’s, where is her honor?

My Gripe with the Barrymore Theater

Posted on December 30th, 2014 in Uncategorized | 16 Comments »

Last night my wife and I went to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a wonderful play based on a wonderful book, at the Barrymore Theater. It was a big night out for us; we have two young kids and don’t get as much culture as we used to.

So we were disappointed to learn that the two most important parts in the play—that of Christopher Boone, the autistic boy at the heart of the story, and his father—were to be played by understudies. Particularly disappointing was the news that Alex Sharp, who plays Christopher, would not be performing; when that was announced just before the curtain rose, the entire audience gasped in surprise and disappointment. He’s been getting amazing reviews, and, no offense to his understudy, he’s clearly the star of the show.

So this morning I called Telecharge to say, I went to see a play last night where the two biggest roles were played by understudies. That doesn’t seem right. Can you do anything about it?

They asked me to write an email. I did. I explained that Alex Sharp was a big reason we’d gone to see the play, that the Times’ Ben Brantley had singled Sharp out for praise, and that it really did make a difference to us that we saw a performance that was not what I had bought tickets for. And even though they were relatively cheap seats, at $100 a ticket, the seats weren’t that cheap. I didn’t ask for a refund, I just said, if there’s anything you can do to redress the situation, I’d appreciate it.

A few hours later, a guy from Telecharge wrote back. He said that he’d spoken to the theater and that the producers considered the two actors equal. Because they could and did both play the part, the understudy was not, in fact, an understudy. Therefore, too bad.

This is when I started to get cranky.

I wrote back to the man, pointing out that the idea that both actors were considered equal and Alex Sharp did not have top billing was pure bunk. The Playbill write-up speaks of Alex Sharp’s Broadway debut and features an interview with Sharp titled “How Alexander Sharp was Plucked from Obscurity to Star on Broadway“; it does not mention his understudy. Every single review of the play mentions Sharp; none mention the understudy. The play’s website features an extensive gallery of images from the show. Every single one features Alex Sharp as Christopher; none feature the understudy. has a video: “Watch Alex Sharp Solve the Curious Case of the Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Judging from its reaction to the loudspeaker announcement that Sharp would not be performing, the audience as a whole was expecting him.

I asked if he could connect me to the people at the theater, so that I could talk with them.

I have not yet heard back.

This raises an interesting issue. Yes, theater is a human art, and human beings can’t always go on stage. They get sick, they lose their voice, whatever.

But if you are heavily promoting a play based on the performance of one young actor, and people buy tickets in large part to see that performance, and without warning he does not appear in the play, are theatergoers not owed a refund if they want one?

I think they are—or, to be more precise, we are. If the star of the play can not perform for some reason, well, I hope he feels better soon. But that does not mean that I should suffer for lack of his art.

I’ll let you know how it turns out….but I’m not optimistic.

David Carr Mails It In

Posted on December 29th, 2014 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The Times’ peripatetic media critic weighs in with a classic “do I have to write this it’s the holidays” column today—his second in a row—looking at media figures who are facing challenges in 2015. Carr’s list of usual suspects includes Deborah Turness of NBC News, Joe Ripp of Time Inc., and MSNBC president Phil Griffin. This will not be news to anyone who reads a media column. David Carr’s media column, for example.

I grant you: There’s not a lot of media news between Christmas and New Year’s, and Carr can write this sort of thing as entertainingly as anyone.

But still—this is the kind of column that Carr could write in his sleep, and we could read in ours, and neither party would be any worse for it.

And notice, again, as I have pointed out about Carr’s work previously, the utter lack of reporting….

I Am Taking a Christmas Break

Posted on December 26th, 2014 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

…to spend some time with the family. Back by Monday, if not before. In the meantime, my holiday wishes to all—I hope you’re having a great one.

Still Relevant…Still Great

Posted on December 23rd, 2014 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Tears for Fears doing “Mad World” for Spotify a few weeks ago…

Headlines of the Day

Posted on December 22nd, 2014 in Uncategorized | 36 Comments »

Same story, different take….

U-Va.-Rolling Stone e-mails highlight university’s attempt to correct magazine.
—The Washington Post, today

Emails: How UVA Stonewalled Rolling Stone On Rape Story

—Jezebel, 3 days ago

More on this later, but the Post is right and Jezebel wrong; there’s not a lot of evidence of “stonewalling” in the emails between UVa and Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

Bloomberg Does the Right Thing, Bids Farewell to Jessica Pressler

Posted on December 20th, 2014 in Uncategorized | 20 Comments »

Capital New York and others report that New York Magazine editor Adam Moss has informed his staff that Jessica Pressler—the writer who just reported on a high school kid who made $72 million trading the market, except that he didn’t—will be staying at New York.

She had already left the magazine prior to joining Bloomber’s financial investigative unit.

This means, of course, that Bloomberg made the right call and withdrew its job offer to Pressler.

The reason, I would guess, is not just because Pressler got fooled by such an obvious financial fake that it cast doubt on her reporting bonafides.

It’s also that Pressler had previously mocked her new employer, saying she understood it to be a place where, if you stayed there a year, they gave you a magazine to run into the ground (I’m not even sure what this is in reference to—Bloomberg Pursuits, possibly?).

And, when challenged on her reporting about the high school kid, Pressler was initially glib and dismissive—”the story is really theirs,” she said of New York, adding that “we’re not a financial magazine”—and then aggressive and abuse, tweeting “fuck all of you” to her Twitter skeptics.

Moss’s memo was released on the afternoon of Friday, December 19, probably in order to attract the least amount of news coverage possible.

Moss told his staff that “we feel very lucky to be keeping her on and look forward to publishing more of her with pride.”

I wonder if his staff feels the same way. In any event, it’s hard to imagine that Pressler will be there long. It’s tough to go back to a place you were leaving for greener pastures and then saddled with an embarrassing journalistic fiasco.

The larger point is this: Pressler can be a nice writer, but she’s snarky and self-important and unprofessional. “Fuck all of you”? What news organization would hire a reporter who tweeted that to her followers?

It is ironic, though: I’m told that one of the reasons Bloomberg hired Pressler was because of her substantial social media following. But if the reporter built that social media following by being deliberately shocking and obnoxious, can you then trust her to turn on a dime and suddenly become mature and responsible?

Apparently not.

Thursday Morning Video

Posted on December 18th, 2014 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The trailer for the forthcoming Terrence Malick film, “Knight of Cups.” Can’t wait.

Thursday Morning Music

Posted on December 18th, 2014 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

A new song, “Realise,” from the British band Tear Talk. Shades of The xx and Wild Beasts. I like it.