What's The Big Idea? Searching For Meaning at the 'Ideas Festival'

Hamilton Nolan · 05/08/13 10:40AM

Media companies love to wrap themselves (ourselves) in the cloak of "ideas" just as much as advertising firms love to burnish themselves with the patina of "creativity." In both cases, it is self-flattery disguised as public celebration. We the media are not simply engaged in telling you stuff that happens; we are in the more lofty business of propagating ideas. Ideas! Who doesn't love ideas? What sort of ideas? Oh... all types of ideas!

The 20 Best Trollings in Modern History

Hamilton Nolan · 03/25/13 04:00PM

From the Spanish-American War all the way up to the 40 Hottest Women in Tech, the past century has borne witness to some epic trolling, bro. This amoral art form—loosely defined as "the media fucking with you on purpose"—has defined our modern era of outrage. It is time that we honored the very best trollings of the past 115 years.

Esquire Editor Explains: Women Are 'There to Be Beautiful Objects'

Hamilton Nolan · 03/20/13 01:00PM

Esquire magazine's editorial philosophy can be summed up as "Booze, Bacon, Bourbon, Books, Broads, Boobs, and Bros Talking About Fashion But Uh, Not in a Gay Way." Actually, we're just giving them a hard time. The real editorial philosophy of Esquire, as stated by Esquire's UK editor, is simply: "Women are objects."

Esquire Editors: If You Complain About Our Botched Bin Laden Shooter Story, You Hate the Troops

Tom Scocca · 02/12/13 02:09PM

Having bungled one of the two central premises of their story about the Navy SEAL who is supposed to have killed Osama bin Laden, the editors of Esquire are now arguing that they were secretly right all along. Yes, Phil Bronstein's piece did say that "the Shooter," as the story calls the SEAL, gets "no health care" after leaving the service, when in fact—as Stars and Stripes pointed out—he is covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. But according to the editors, that's a distraction from the real point:

'The Fun Never Stopped for Me': Rihanna Quite Enjoyed the Rihanna Plane (Fiasco)

Camille Dodero · 02/04/13 03:45PM

Rolling Stone's most recent issue has Rihanna on the cover, with an accompanying profile by contributing editor Josh Eells. For the piece, Eells goes to a comedy show with the loudly expressive pop star, waits two hours to eat spaghetti with her, and grills the expert decision-maker about rekindling her love affair with Chris Brown, who is "disgusted" by his past behavior, Ri swears. (If you'd like to be filled with unspeakable rage, by all means, her Chris Brown quotes are here.) But there's another very important aspect of Rihanna's recent past that's addressed in the story, over a plate of calamari: the infamous Rihanna Plane.

'Sexually Gay But Ethnically Straight': Nate Silver (Almost) Gets It Right Again

Rich Juzwiak · 12/18/12 02:15PM

Out has named Nate Silver its Person of the Year, and the resulting profile by editor Aaron Hicklin is an endearing portrait of a dude who is doing well at life by being so right all the time. There's great stuff about the making of the man and his dealings with those who try to undo him. He says flattering things about Nick Denton ("He's willing to be kind of destructive and path-breaking, and to challenge the status quo; in some ways, it's kind of more my style"); Denton barely returns the favor ("He's not necessarily the best statistician, but he might be the best stats geek who can also write—and perform on television. His steadiness under pundit fire before the election was something to witness."). Heh.

2012's Best Magazine Cover

Hamilton Nolan · 09/18/12 02:55PM

The Sun Runner is "The Magazine of the Real California Desert." Published in 29 Palms, California, not in one of those cheap imitation deserts. Here's the cover of their August/ September issue, "Celebrating Robin Maxwell's Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan."

Girls Ask Teen Vogue to Stop Photoshopping; Teen Vogue Asks Girls to STFU

Caity Weaver · 07/13/12 11:01AM

Last week, a 14-year-old girl declared victory in her campaign to convince Seventeen magazine to incorporate images of "Real Girls" into its pages. What she gained (besides lots of press coverage) isn't completely clear; Julia Bluhm petitioned Seventeen to cut down on Photoshopped images by printing "one unaltered photo spread" per month, and editor-in-chief Ann Shoket responded by vowing to readers the magazine would "help make your life amazing!" and "give you the confidence to walk into any room and own it."

Dispatch From the Future: Katie Holmes Goes to Tom Cruise's Birthday Party Today

Hamilton Nolan · 07/03/12 12:20PM

From the current (July 16) issue of OK! Magazine: "We often see Katie Holmes carrying around 6 year-old daughter Suri— dollies, blankets, and all. But on June 25, the little princess gave mom's back a break as they sprinted through the streets of NYC. With husband Tom Cruise shooting Oblivion in Iceland, the dressed-down Katie enjoyed some just-us-girls time with Suri, stopping by Chelsea Piers, Whole Foods and Jacque Torres Chocolate. They also saw the film Brave in the East Village. The pair rejoined Tom for his 50th birthday on July 3."

Jonah Lehrer Just Does Not Know How to Do Journalism

Hamilton Nolan · 06/20/12 11:22AM

Yesterday we found out that Jonah Lehrer, the Gladwellesque whiz kid who's The New Yorker's newest staff writer, reused his own old writings for every goddamn blog post he's written for The New Yorker so far. A self-plagiarist, he is. Big time. What's the latest? He is an even bigger time plagiarist (self, and otherwise!) than we knew yesterday. And for it, he should probably be eased out of journalism's highest echelon.

Adam Moss Has Chocolate* on His Face, and Other Minor Occurrences at the National Magazine Awards (Update)

Hamilton Nolan · 05/04/12 10:55AM

At the National Magazine Awards ceremony in Manhattan's Marriott Marquis hotel ballroom, famed New York Magazine editor Adam Moss took the stage with chocolate on his face, almost certainly from the Chocolate Pot du Créme dessert course served only minutes before. It had gotten into the stubble under his lower lip in a smear that covered a goodly part of his chin, giving him the appearance of a man casually accepting an award for Best Magazine Section just after being punched repeatedly in the mouth. The three sizable television screens placed at the back of the stage enlarged Moss's chocolatey visage so that it could be clearly seen from the back of the room. Though his cacao calamity was the subject of many whispers amongst the assemblage, its existence did not appear to register in the consciousness of Adam Moss whatsoever. He left the stage without incident.

Essence Magazine Cans White Republican Editor in Fun Teachable Moment

Hamilton Nolan · 04/24/12 09:26AM

Essence magazine is, like, Glamour for black people. It is a completely bland and inoffensive publication. Still, given the racial politics in America and the general dearth of big black media outlets, Essence's moves are scrutinized through a more sociopolitical lens than Glamour's would be. Which makes everyday office scandals all the more entertaining.

Sexile in Guyville: Lady Writers and the Male Celebrities They Profile

Emma Carmichael · 03/22/12 04:30PM

In GQ this month, Claire Hoffman sits down with rapper Drake for the magazine's cover story. Drake is not a horribly interesting person, and celebrity profiling is not usually a horribly interesting craft, but Hoffman wrote a great piece. Within the few hours she spent at the rapper's mansion in The Valley, she essentially lived through a real-life chapter of a 16-year-old's fan fiction. Drake wined and dined her (with white wine spritzers!) in his backyard terrace—complete with waterfalls, bronze animal statues, and a giant fire pit "fit for a king from Middle-earth"—and they watched Sixteen Candles. All that was missing was a bearskin rug.