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April 03, 2009

Long, Not Particularly Thrilling Profile of a Weak, Incompetent Nepot

I had this in the sidebar with a huge quote but it looks absurd.

So here's Vanity Fair's profile of NYT nepot Pinch Sulzberger. It's indifferently interesting -- he's not a very interesting man, and the article is not savage enough to hook me. It portrays him as ineffectual and untalented and unentitled but in a soft way, denying me the bloody red meat I want.

Still, there is the occasional useful paragraph, like this:

To a degree some of his top staff consider unwise, he tends to promote people based not on a cold-eyed assessment of their talent but on how comfortable he feels around them—on how much fun they are. As Arthur was deciding between Howell Raines and Bill Keller for the executive-editorship of the newspaper, in 2001, the reserved Keller kept a professional distance. The gregarious Raines sought to sweep Arthur off his feet. “I remember seeing them at the 2000 Democratic convention, in Los Angeles,” said an editor at another newspaper. “Joe Lelyveld [then the Times’s executive editor] was there. He was running the paper. But what everyone noticed most was how Howell Raines seemed glued to Arthur. It was evident that Howell was seducing Arthur, insinuating himself. Howell is a brilliant journalist, and he exudes confidence. You could watch him making this big impression on Arthur.” Raines became the executive editor.

I can't quite recommend it, but I've been reading it on and off all day trying to find something quote-worthy in it. It's a good profile, I guess... except the subject of the profile is a weak man whose greatest achievement was being born.

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posted by Ace at 04:23 PM

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