Monday, December 08, 2003

Russ Smith On Michael Wolff

Where did I go wrong and how is it truly done, seem to me to be the laments arising, prayer-like, from Russ Smith's tender assessment of Michael Wolff in, of all places, the embattled Hollinger Inc's New York Sun.

Can I too be a daddy cool of the media, Michael? Lunch with me, oh successful media critic, and tell me where I went awry ...

"Mr. Wolff is the quintessential caricature of Manhattan�s insulated, effete, and self-important insider," writes the scrappy Russ Smith, by way of wind up. But from then on, (and on) the drool quotient increases arithmetically as Russ does a one hundred and eighty degree turn from his usual role as irascible conservative, now trying on the ermine hat and spaniel-like eyes of the courtier.

Please, Michael Wolff, invite Mugger to Michaels and put him out of his ass kissing misery! We actually kind of liked him when he took on the power elite of this city and Washington, arms swingling, eyes closed,broad haymakers rarely, if ever, connecting with the intended smug liberal media target: it was somehow touching.

But now Smith continues, shamelessly, nose shaded an autumnal brown:

"Mr. Wolff, along with a group of investors including advertising legend Donny Deutsch, is one of the bidders for New York magazine, which is currently up for sale. At the same time, he has been discussing with Roger Ailes a possible television slot on Fox News.

Please step lively, butwatch the drool. Smitty goes on:

"Mr. Wolff holds court at Michael�s � the favored restaurant for such worthies � nearly every day; he�s a frequent talk-show guest; he owns a Rolodex that�s the envy of competitors; and he is a regular on the lecture circuit. He speculates at will on the failures and successes of companies such as TimeWarner, News Corp., the New York Times, Viacom, Vivendi, and Cond� Nast, and the (mostly) men who run them.

"He�s on a first-name basis with Rupert Murdoch.

One can almost feel the pathos, the longing; but it is not over:

"One attribute Mr. Wolff possesses, however, separates him from all the other vain characters who read the New York Observer every Wednesday to see if their name is mentioned (if only that paper had an index!): He�s got thick skin and is less prone to hold grudges than most of his lunch companions."

And surely Russ Smith would be an excellent one of those lunch companions.

The Corsair can feel the love and -- dare we say it? -- envy from over here (envy is great weakness of the writer, after all), even at the far end of the rarified media elite precincts.

The Corsair would like to suggest that Mugger get himself a blog, as he will get far greater visibility in this manner than as a columnist for the moribund and irrelevant New York Press.

And good luck on that invite to Michaels.

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