Remember how author Daphne Merkin downplayed her brother's connection to Bernie Madoff in the Times this past weekend, describing Ezra Merkin as "a sibling who did business with him," and then suggesting that Madoff's victims weren't really victims, since no one held a gun to their heads and demanded their cash? We weren't the only ones surprised by the bizarro op-ed. The Times agrees that a bit more disclosure was warranted, according to an email a reader received from Times public editor Clark Hoyt:
Author Daphne Merkin penned an op-ed piece for the Times yesterday and once again offered up a few thoughts on the scandal concerning her brother, disgraced money manager Ezra Merkin, who steered more than $1.5 billion to Bernie Madoff and who has since been forced to shut down his funds amid half a dozen lawsuits. This time, though, Daphne attaches a disclaimer to her piece, albeit one that might strike any rational person as a touch inadequate: "I did not know Mr. Madoff nor did I invest with his firm, but have a sibling who did business with him." Did business indeed! But that's not the only bizarre bit.
If you were thinking that author Daphne Merkin would have a good deal to say about the Bernie Madoff saga—and she must considering her brother is Ezra Merkin, the man who lost $1.8 billion of investor cash as part of the scheme—you're probably going to be disappointed by her piece on Tina Brown's website The Daily Beast. Merkin offers up few specifics about the events in question (or whether her own finances were affected), although you can probably take this as a thinly-veiled defense of her embattled brother:
There is something about being in novelist Erica Jong's apartment that makes a person feel a certain degree of—how to put this?—sexual license. Maybe it is to do with the enormous Tom Wesselmann nude that greets visitors in the foyer, all big lips and blonde hair contrasting with dark pubes. Maybe it is just knowing that you are in the home of the lady who coined and, you know, engaged in "the zipless fuck," even for those who could only have the thrill of discovering 1973's Fear of Flying on their parents' bookshelves. Maybe it is that Erica herself is such a hot tamale! In any event, something made me feel like it would be okay to go up to British author Ken Follett and start telling him my dirty secrets right off the bat. Photographer Kathy Lo was the youngest person there by at least five years.
In this month's Elle, Daphne Merkin sits down with her former New Yorker boss, Tina Brown, to discuss Brown's new book The Diana Chronicles. It's a strange article. On the one hand, Merkin calls Brown's book "superbly researched and artfully structured" and "compulsively readable," and says it "largely succeeds in elevating the narrative of 'shy Di' into the nuanced stuff of Shakespearean tragedy rather than the bold-type headlines of tabloid fodder." Well! Sounds lovely! But Merkin also sneaks in asides that made us wonder how she really feels about her former editor.
William Safire's former copy editor Jaimie Epstein, now a "freelance writer," took over his On Language column for this week's New York Times magazine and she is a big heap of "I rolled around in Daphne Merkin's hairshirt" nuts! It's like a mirage imagined by Lawrence Summers—lady takes over an oh-so-manly column and writes about her relationships and her feeeelings! See? I bet she can't do math either because she is all concerned with the affairs of the heart. She'll never win all of us a Nobel Prize. Unless there was a Nobel for emoting and journaling about dating in the modern age.