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Forty years before Valleywag, a middle-aged man named Clay Felker took over a newspaper supplement and turned it into New York magazine, deliberately breaking the rules in order to bring back readers who were abandoning reading to watch more TV. Felker died Tuesday at age 82. The New York Times obituary — I'm sure they've been lovingly crafting it for years — is that rare article worth reading beyond the first 100 words. You think Perez Hilton's nuts? Read up on Felker's career.

Mr. Felker’s magazine was hip and ardent, civic-minded and skeptical. It was preoccupied with the foibles of the rich and powerful, the fecklessness of government and the high jinks of wiseguys. But it never lost sight of the complicated business and cultural life of the city. Articles were often gossipy, even vicious, and some took liberties with sources and journalistic techniques.