Rupert Murdoch's Redeeming Quality

Nick Denton · 08/06/08 10:34AM

Moguls-relatively unmoderated by outside shareholders, capricious, dictatorial and long-tenured to the point of senility-do have one redeeming virtue. They're distinct individuals who can afford occasionally to tell the truth, while hired managers stick to mealy-mouthed platitudes.

Hoodgate: 'Telegraph' Spanks Journa-Blogger

Chris Mohney · 01/15/07 01:10PM

Sunday Telegraph US editor Toby Harnden better still have that badass flak jacket. He's enjoying a flurry of abuse after an article he filed about Saddam Hussein's execution appeared to describe details of the scene that never happened — particularly, Saddam wearing a hood on the gallows. After the obvious inaccuracies in the December 29 article were called out by readers, Harnden obtusely admitted on his Telegraph-sanctioned blog that the article had not been his "finest hour." This pseudo-admission of kinda-guilt inspired a bloggy uproar among the gotcha crowd, which in turn caused the Telegraph to panic and yank Harnden's blog entirely. But it appears the real culprit in this teapot-tempest might be Harnden's editors.

Dolce & Gabbana Too Edgy?

Chris Mohney · 01/10/07 11:00AM

A pair of Dolce & Gabbana ads that ran in the London Times and Daily Telegraph have caused a row (as they say over there) due to their literally knife-edgy content. The first ad shows a pair of D&G-clad boy-creatures on the brink of stabbing another of their number, apparently having already done in yet another who lies dead on the floor. The second ad is a Marie Antoinette-ish tableau that also involves a knife. (Full-size versions of both may be found after the jump.) These ads didn't cause trouble elsewhere, even in the U.S., but perhaps it was bad luck that the first ad ran opposite an article on knife-related crime. Beyond the stagey stabs, it's typical D&G melodrama all the way, "taking inspiration from the paintings of Delacroix and David." Not nearly as violent as those ads from Vogue Italia anyway. Can't we just get back to the blowjobs?

Alan Cumming Betrothed

Chris Mohney · 01/10/07 09:00AM

Sorry ladies, but he's off the market. Recovering nicely from his early-1990s bout with heterosexuality, Alan Cumming married boyfriend Grant Shaffer outside London over the weekend. The couple wanted to do the deed in America, but could not because of our prejudicial laws against Broadway actors. Check out the guest list:

Pretend Prostitutes vs. Rent Inflation

Chris Mohney · 01/09/07 01:00PM

Way off our geographical radar, but this has such obvious local application. Tel Aviv "creative co-op" VeeCee has launched a campaign to bring down inflated rents by infesting overpriced neighborhoods with cardboard prostitutes. "More whores in your neighborhood = lower rent prices." Flickr set here, "making of" video here. Hard to argue with the premise, though one could insert a caveat about the quality of the whores, plus context. Nominally "real" but essentially cardboard whores certainly haven't hurt rents in the Meatpacking District.

Are Any of These Books Not by Mitch Albom?

Chris Mohney · 01/03/07 11:20AM

More detritus cleanup as we venture into the new year: Click to enlarge the above image into a (very large) perspective on pre-holiday book inventory prep in one of's UK warehouses. Bear in mind this is likely one of Amazon's more modest operations. Any similarity to the warehouse scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark is purely coincidental.

Dead Skinny Model Craze Sweeps Brazil

Chris Mohney · 12/28/06 08:10AM

Technically only one actual Brazilian model has died so far — Ana Carolina Reston, shown here, who succumbed to anorexia-related infections after her tomato-apple diet kept only 88 pounds on her 5'8" frame. (This beat out the August death of Uruguay's model Luisel Ramos, 98 pounds at 5'9", who lived on "lettuce leaves and Diet Coke.") But three other young non-model Brazilian ladies have died from hyper-thinness in the last few weeks, causing the unwelcome sight of "awareness" rearing its ugly fat head among the international fashion set. Supposedly, Giorgio Armani's agents in Sao Paulo had even complained that Reston was "too thin," making Armani a veritable weight crusader in his field. Sao Paulo Fashion Week has no plans to adopt the draconian health requirements of Madrid Fashion Week, though they promise to only use emaciated girls age 16 or older. Progress marches on.

Times Square: Hub of Art, Reliever of Solitude

Chris Mohney · 12/12/06 04:10PM

In a New York Times article about the city of Sao Paulo's decision to do away with outdoor advertising, our hearts leapt at the sentiment predicting this would make Sao Paulo "like New York without Times Square." Of course, the sentiment came from an ad man, complaining about "a diminishing of urban life" in ad-free city. Still, only 1 of 46 city councilors voted against the ad-killing measure:

Did Jack Bauer Kill Princess Diana?

Chris Mohney · 12/12/06 03:25PM

This Thursday, Scotland Yard will release their final report on the 1997 auto crash that killed Princess Diana and her loverman Dodi Fayed. The greater mystery may be why anyone still cares, unless it's an attempt to drum up buzz for a 10-year anniversary series of commemorative plates. Nevertheless, other than the fact that yep, it was a drunk driving accident, one little leaked nugget has the British press claiming that the "American secret service" was bugging Diana's phone line at her Paris hotel without knowledge or consent of British (or, one presumes, French) authorities. Again, seems unlikely due to the who-cares factor, but remember — this was after the end of the Cold War but before 9/11, when American spy agencies didn't have a real job, and thus were up to all kinds of crazy pointless crap. Plus, blogs hadn't been invented yet.

Crack Now Basically Legal in UK for Pete Doherty

Chris Mohney · 12/05/06 01:40PM

Britrocker and Kate Moss manbutter supplier Pete Doherty may have been caught with heroin and crack in his car while ostensibly in drug rehab, but that's nothing a few hundred pounds and a break from driving can't fix. Making his weekly court appearance, Doherty didn't pretend to wince at this slap on the wrist, even enjoying a compliment from the judge for one of his songs. He now has a few days to try and figure out just what, exactly, one has to do in London in order to actually go to jail these days. We look forward to more progress from what must surely be the most tolerant (if not successful) rehab program in the world.

HOWTO: Faint for the Camera

Chris Mohney · 11/28/06 11:10AM

If you're going to have a weird malfunctioning-robot fainting spell, it's probably best to do it away from the news cameras. Recently ousted Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi had his TMZ moment at a rally this weekend, appearing to blow a fuse while speaking at a Milan rally celebrating his own self. Observe as a handler pries Berlusconi's hands off the lectern, then as the two are surrounded by a mob of security goons/technicians. Berlusconi is said to be recovering nicely, though his camera sense has significantly degraded since his virile days of banging the meter maid.

NBC Declares Civil War

Chris Mohney · 11/28/06 08:30AM

As of yesterday, NBC has decided to start referring to the conflict in Iraq as a "civil war." The decision was reached after much internal/external consultation, and its announcement has been attended with much ceremonial chin-wagging. Other news organizations were quick to note that they, too, have used the phrase, though usually in the predictive sense, or with the escape-clause question mark — i.e., "Iraq: Civil War?". Nevertheless, this Cronkitean declaration by an American news organization will no doubt give the Shiites and Sunnis of Iraq pause for reflection as they kill each other. "Civil war? When did it come to this? Oh right, a couple years ago actually. Carry on."

"Law Lords" to Adjudicate Dueling Brit Tabloids

Chris Mohney · 11/21/06 01:10PM

For the 2000 wedding of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, British tabloid OK! had an exclusive contract with the Douglas-Jones enterprise to run dewy styled photos of the proceedings. Rival exclamatory publication Hello! scammed and ran their own photos, resulting in years of litigation between the two tabs. This week, the dispute reached Britain's highest court — a panel of "Law Lords" in the House of Lords. OK! claims business interference, Hello! claims the journalistic right to "spoil" its rival's scoop. Concerning a particularly unflattering Hello! shot of Douglas feeding her wedding cake, Zeta-Jones says, "I don't usually like my husband shoving a spoon down my throat to be photographed." Notice the key phrase "to be photographed" — Douglas can shove a spoon down her throat all he wants, long as it goes undocumented. So amusing that the highest British court has to waste its time with such frivolous celebrity tomfoolery. Silly foreigners! Oh, wait.

If It's Sunday, Pete Doherty Must Be on Crack

Chris Mohney · 11/20/06 01:30PM

After managing to stay away from the authorities for over a week, Pete Doherty, Babyshamblet and Kate Mossifier, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of driving on crack. Apparently, Doherty and a couple pals were busted near his London home, meaning he was either on his way out or on his way home. Buzzkill. But at least this is a comfortingly familiar territory for Doherty and the rest of the world. You just know that baby can't wait to meet daddy!

English-Language Al-Jazeera Debuts This Week

Chris Mohney · 11/13/06 05:55PM

After a year's delay, the English-language version of al-Jazeera — the Arab television network based in Qatar — will finally debut on Wednesday. The Guardian has a complete rundown on the tangled backstory of how the channel has finally come about. Of particular note is the London-based crew of broadcasters al-Jazeera recruited from other networks and institutions from all over the world, some attracted to the commercial-free, ratings-proof nature of the channel (it's funded by the Emir of Qatar). Strangely, we haven't noticed al-Jazeera popping up on Time Warner cable guide just yet; if you know how to get the channel in New York without serious nerd science, let us know.

Angelina Jolie Rides Public Transit, Ethnicity Train

Chris Mohney · 11/13/06 03:40PM

Hey there, Angelina Jolie, when you're not adopting babies or fainting all over the place, how's it going with A Mighty Heart? In the biopic, Angelina plays Marianne Pearl, wife of Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in Pakistan in 2002; Dan Futterman plays Daniel. Above, Futterman and Jolie enjoy a stroll through a Mumbai train station, and it does appear that Jolie has cut down a bit on the brownface. Futterman bears a decent resemblance to Danny Pearl, though obviously a little hunked up. Apparently they weren't mobbed by local fans until they actually boarded the train, at which point bodyguards had to shoo away "young students yelling Jolie's name." Huge, huge journalism fans over there in Mumbai.