Age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?
I'm 49 (for a while longer and I'll take advantage of every day). I now must confess I'm a media executive with a too-long title (president & creative director of Advance.net). I used to be a critic and actual reporter and I still like to brag that I started Entertainment Weekly. Been in and around New York since 1981, leaving San Francisco (not the smartest thing I've ever done, I thought at the time). Now a proud member of the B&T tribe in New Jersey.
Three for You
1. You're hosting a panel at tonight's New York Bloggers Event that pits Nick Denton vs. Jason Calacanis. What's your quick pre-game analysis on each?
As a participant, I think I'm morally prohibited from pregame wagering. But, what the hell, bloggers know no rules: I never bet against Nick. Jason will come into the ring with power, unafraid to throw punches and milk the crowd like a champ. But Nick is sneaky-smart (read: British).
2. Howard Stern and blogs: don't you think there's been too much overstatement of either's political power?
Hell no and hell no. Your question is a product of old, big-media think (read: the power law). The present and future of media and politics and marketing is fragmentation: slices of slices. But those slices will add up to whole pies. Just this afternoon, I stood with well-to-do Republican dads at a church kids' bowling party (how's that for a demographic festival?) and they brought up Howard Stern's campaign against Bush. Stern has political power. And blogs? Well, if they don't have influence why are you writing one (and why are you reading one)? It's all about influence. Howard Stern influences. Bloggers influence influencers. They have juice.
3. Buzzmachine's rules of engagement state: "No personal attacks, hate speech, bigotry, or seven dirty words in the comments or comments will be killed along with commenters." Do you think it's as simple as that for the FCC to enforce behavior on the airwaves?
A very, very simple and fundamental difference: I'm not government; I'm not ruled by the First Amendment. Any private entity -- magazine, TV network, book publisher, blogger -- is necessarily an editor; they select what to say and what to distribute and what not to. That is their business and their right. It is not the business or right of government. Once the FCC (and the FTC and the Justice Department and Congress and the President) start deciding what can't be said -- and who can't say it -- then the First Amendment is in tatters. Congress shall make no law, damnit.
What was your best dining experience in NYC?
I love street food. So when I quit Entertainment Weekly, the staff brought my favorite street-food chef from the Halo Berlin cart up to our offices to fix me a few wursts and set off every smoke alarm in the building.
9pm, Wednesday - what are you doing?
Falling asleep on the couch after putting the kids to bed with the laptop on my lap, trying to squeeze out one more blog post for the day.
Describe that low, low moment when you thought you just might have to leave NYC for good.
In 1981, I left San Francisco following, in the words of a friend, "the boyhood dream of conquering Gotham." But I found myself living in an immorally overpriced and tiny apartment in the suburbs of Harlem. I did try to return to California, north or south, but the jobs just weren't right. And then I met and married a Jersey girl. We tried to leave once, when I briefly took over the content for Rupert Murdoch's first Internet flirtation, Delphi.com, in Cambridge, Mass. But it was disaster.com and so I realized that my industry, my career, my life is in New York and I'll be buried here, in the backyard.
Just after midnight on a Saturday - what are you doing?
Falling asleep on the couch after putting the kids to bed with the laptop on my lap, trying to squeeze out one more blog post for the day. Do we sense a pathetic pattern here?
What's the most expensive thing in your wardrobe?
A few Armani suits -- "protective coloration" for Conde Nast, in the words of my colleague -- but they came from the Barney's Warehouse Sale long after that was cool.
Where do you summer?
"Summer" would be a strong verb. We go to a bit of Brigadoon in the Poconos called Skytop, much nicer than it sounds: no trailers, no champagne tubs, lots of golfing WASPs.
Just how much do you really love New York?
I tried to leave a few times but I couldn't. New York sucks you back in like a vortex or at least a squid.
Medication: What and how much do you take?
I take beta blockers indirectly brought on by 9/11: Inhaling the dust of destruction at the World Trade Center brought on pneumonia, which brought on a lung test, which included a spritz of something that caused the heart to race (the cardiologist called it a "beta antagonist," showing me that you don't want to f*** with my betas), which caused afibrillation, which brought on the drugs, which make me run slower and which forces me to calm down and be less psychotic, which is to say, it makes me less of a New Yorker. In short: I take 25mg of anti-New-Yorker medication every morning with my orange juice.