Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Annual Conde Nast XMas Luncheon

Medialifemagazine talks to the NY Post's Keith Kelly, who covers the annual Conde Nast Christmas luncheon. Ah, the holidays are here again, and that means missletoe, the ambient dulcet tones of Manheim Steamroller, pine needles on the street, the Charlie Brown special (The Corsair gets a tad misty), and, to be sure, that silly woman who makes and ass of herself and invariably gets dragged home through the chilly streets of New York by her patient chums because she drank too much egg nog at the company party ("You guysh ... are the besssst"), and, finally, the Conde Nast Four Seasons editor and publisher bash.


Imagine for a moment the ambitious, hairsprayed collective egos assembled in that VIP room; all that hot gas in a single combustible location. No wonder there is no smoking permitted.

It's an interesting read, with gems of exchange, like:

"Medialife: Why do people pick on Carter anyhow? Do you have any sense of what motivated two national newspapers, the New York Times and the LA Times, to run lengthy features on his dealings?

"Kelly: I think they pick on him because they don't like his ski-slope hairdo. Or maybe it's more of that blame-Canada stuff."

Well, The Corsair picks on Graydon not only because of that improbably architectonic mop that vertically resides on Carter's stubborn Canadian noggin, but, frankly, because my good man hasn't put an African-American on the cover of VF in years (for full ire and rancor, see "Hey, Graydon, where are the African-Americans")-- and, of course, we know that Gretchen Mol (September 1998) is more deserving than Oprah; that Matthew McConaughy (April 1996) is bigger than Jamie Foxx or Janet Jackson post superbowl; that Sandra Bullock (September 1995) is greater than Samuel L. Jackson in the Hollywood constellation.

"Medialife: Every year it seems you have devoted some words to the seating order at the tables nearest Si Newhouse and what it all means. Cond� Nast watchers of course gobble up your insights. Yet each year it also seems you quote Maurie Perle, CN's spokesperson, tossing cold water on the whole notion that where people sit means anything at all. Who's right here, you or her?

"Keith Kelly: ...It is not as perfect as the old Cond� Nast annual group picture. They abandoned that some years ago, right around the time Tina Brown dropped out of the scene. I think they should bring it back. It was always Anna to the right of Si, Tina to the left. The seating is not quite as meticulous as the photo, but there is some thought process behind it. I think it is no coincidence that the embattled Graydon [Carter editor of Vanity Fair] got a good seat this year. And when The New Yorker finally went into the black a few years ago, they were sitting pretty as well. And you can be pretty sure that Si and or the CEO are not going to look at someone through a long holiday lunch and then fire him first chance they get in the new year. Given that, there is also a conscious effort to rotate. So in the end, neither one of us are 100 percent right. They are just clues that have to be put together with other clues."

Interessant. The Corsair wrote last year on the seating:

"... Oh, look (waves fakely), and there's Lucky Editor in Chief Kim France who, like Christ's neighbor, the crucified robber who repented at the last minute, now sits on Si Newhouse's left hand (... and ascended into heaven"), at the power table (".. to judge the living and the dead").

"Metaphors of paradise ring -- like Silver bells -- true here as Conde Nast is the Nirvana of glossies. Just as Dante Aligheri places the true Paradiso in the Empyrean, situated outside the universe, and therefore, my fellow grad students of the Byzantine rituals of Conde Nast, outside of space and time, those outer tables, far away from the Mystic Rose, that celestial choir that is Si Newhouse, are less appealing, less -- shall we say -- "holy."

"And would it be a far stretch of the imagination to envision the editors at Conde Nast dressed in ermine? Why, Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley is seated so close to Si that she can just ... just dip her head, slightly and gently brush her rose lips against his signet ring. Not since the Court of the Sun King has anyone assembled such a crowd of nonpareil beauty and excellence. That image I have conjured of Amy Astley is so beautiful ... so sublime in aspect, that I believe that I shall now presently weep like a bitch."

"Medialife: Is smoking permitted? Do people actually smoke coming or going? Or is it considered entirely uncool these days to be seen with a cigarette?

"Kelly: No smoking allowed inside, officially, because Julian could get a nice fine. But Graydon last year lit up and convinced his buddy James Truman to join him. This year, Carter dashed off, something about his kids and an after school function. Not a lot of puffing going on, even among the Brits."

Of which The Corsair wrote:

"Accompany me through this gallery of 'what fools these mortals be.' Why, look over there (smiles, waves), it's Graydon Carter and his boy wonder, James Truman lighting up -- Johnny Blaze! oh, those scamps-- tobacco products--indoors! And in direct defiance of Mayor Bloomberg's anti-smoking ban. That contrarian Canadian libertarian is just being rowdy!"

For the whole Mediaweek interview, go here.


Zeynep said...

Ron, its me....Case!!!

The Corsair said...

smothers Case with love and kisses ...