The March issue of Men's Journal (not online yet; subscribe, why don't you?) features a cover story on Josh Brolin, the mustachioed leading man who is stalked by Javier Bardem in "No Country For Old Men." As if that wasn't exciting enough, the story is written by child-loving Josh Stein nemesis Neal Pollack! Pollack doesn't get a chance to talk about his kids in the piece, but he does throw in some mentions of Brolin's kids, like this telling, priceless anecdote: "We did this one trip to Scotland. Just me and my kids. We had absolutely no plan...We used to have a running joke where I'd yell, 'Where do you wanna sleep tonight?' and the kids would yell, 'We don't care!'" Hahahahaha! We mention this by way of pointing out that this is potentially the least insightful celebrity profile in any magazine so far in 2008. Brolin picks Pollack up, they get stuck in traffic, they drive to Palmdale, they eat tacos, they go home. This is a completely accurate summary. Judge for yourself by this post-taco excerpt, which is, without exaggeration, the crowning achievement of Pollack's story:
Rolling Stone and Us Weekly owner Jann Wenner and his partner, Matt Nye, (for whom he dropped his wife, Jane) are expecting twins in January, according to Business Week's Jon Fine. The newest little Wenners will join his current army of four. But this party is just beginning—the interview transcript is something to behold. Some highlights!
- In an interview with the Guardian, Conrad Black calls his fraud trial "bullshit" and announces that he's at war with the U.S. government. The paper also has an excerpt from Black's forthcoming biography of Richard Nixon, which praises the former president's "surpassing dignity." Read into that what you will. [Guardian]
We're hearing that Tom Foster, editor of Men's Journal, has resigned, citing irreconcilable differences with Jann Wenner. He'll be out of the office by 1 p.m. today. A tipster speculates:
At a gathering for 49 Nobel Prize winners in 1962, President Kennedy remarked that "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone." All well and good, but this January 29th will see the greatest assemblage of magazine genius ever gathered together in the same room - with the possible exception of when Art Cooper had that fatal meal with Dave Zinczenko. That's right, it's MediaBistro's "Editors on Truth Serum — The New Rules of Success Now," a panel discussion at Chinatown Brasserie, starring such luminaries as Tom Foster (Men's Journal), Brandon Holley (Jane), Stacy Morrison (Redbook), Susie Schulz (CosmoGirl!), Richard Story (Departures), and Jake "Shake 'n Bake" Weisberg (Slate). As 'bistro Boa-in-Chief Laurel Touby puts it,
Women's Wear Daily reports that Jann Wenner's decision to replace Michael Caruso at the helm of Men's Journal hasn't worked out as well as, um, pretty much only Jann, expected. "[N]ewsstand sales for the magazine have gotten increasingly worse since Wenner took over as editor in chief last November," says WWD. Why could that be?
Yesterday we quoted an interesting claim from Michael Caruso's wrongful-termination lawsuit against Wenner Media, that "Wenner denied Caruso the ability for about six months to fire one staff member whose removal was integral to the success of Men's Journal." Never mind how one person's presence or absence could really be integral to a magazine's success; we wanted to identify this magical individual with make-or-break power. That's where the problem started: The emails we received fingered two different people, each with equal certainty and vehemence. So we don't know which one is really the culprit.
Last week we posted an inventory of Michael Caruso's guaranteed perks and bonuses when he was editor-in-chief of Men's Journal — guaranteed biz-class air travel, $10,000 for sticking to his budget, $10,000 for winning a National Magazine Award, and so on. For the rank-and-file, though, life is less pleasant. An MJ freelancer sends along the magazine's expense guidelines for normal folks, from which we learn that air and car-rental upgrades will never be reimbursed, yellow cabs and not car services must be used in New York, magazine and newspaper purchases can't be expensed, and — this is really our favorite part — restaurant tips will only be reimbursed up to 15 percent.
Last week we took a look at axed Men's Journal editor Michael Caruso's wrongful-termination lawsuit against Wenner Media and were distracted by his generous compensation plan. Now that we've processed that though, we can examine his actual case. Caruso charges the Wenner meddled in the management of his magazine — Jann Wenner? Meddling? No way! — and then fired him for no reason. So, what was the nature of Wenner's interference?
We, too, got our grubby hands on ousted Men's Journal EIC Michael Caruso's wrongful-termination lawsuit against Wenner Media, and we must say it's a delightful read. Our favorite part, though, is the inclusion of Caruso's complete employment contract, executed on November 17, 2003, between Caruso and Wenner Media SVP Robert Kent Browridge.
Remember when former Men's Journal editor Michael Caruso "decided not to renew" his contract? Maybe there was a little more to that story, according to state court filings:
So what to do when no one will come run your men's lifestyle magazine because everyone hates the idea of working for you? When you're so well known for meddling and overruling that one candidate for the job, who refuses to be considered for the position, comments, "It's like going to work for George Steinbrenner?" Easy! Put yourself in charge.