Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Conde Nast Luncheon Seating Arrangements

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The winner gets to sit next to this man ... (image via forbes)

So, we go to the NYPost's Keith Kelly to tell us who sat at the right hand side of the feudal lord of Conde Nast, Si Newhouse. This is where the interlocking Dantean circles of peripheral contact with the sweet air that Si breathes is deciphered.

Keith Kelly, our translator of Conde Nast cultural anthropology, he of the intrepid "Kelly Clan," no doubt crouched in the air vents -- knees-against-the-chest --- at The Four Seasons days previous, surviving on a steady diet of uncooked Ramen noodles and Wild Irish Rose, casing out the joint, in anticipations of this robust mosel of scoop. And, a robust scoop it is:

"Christmas came early this year.

"No, not the lighting of the Rockefeller Center tree but the elite luncheon of the top editors, publishers and executives who work for billionaire S.I. Newhouse Jr. inside the glitzy Cond� Nast publishing empire.

"This year's extravaganza at the posh Four Seasons restaurant was the first to stretch beyond Cond� Nast's traditional top-bracket titles such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Glamour and The New Yorker, to include the less prestigious titles of its Fairchild group, home to Jane and W, and the more pedestrian Golf Digest Companies.

"The addition of more tables, bringing nearly 100 people to the meal, has already engendered grumbling that the gates have opened too wide. 'It's gotten too big,' said one veteran."

That's what you've got to love about the Conde Nasties. The sheer fucking disdain they have for the very concept of democracy and equality, and the candor with which they express that unfashionable disgust. Goddamned refreshing. To Conde Nast employees it is, and will always be, the 14th Century. Only they are of the landed gentry, hudled in their towering castles (sewage flows downwards), and everyone else, with the possible exception of Jude Law, George Clooney and, quite possibly, Catherine Zeta-Jones is, well, a peasant carrying the Bubonic Plague.

Seriously: It's cathartic to watch delusional thinking of that magnitude -- that: Conde Nastitude -- play itself out so dramatically and in high heels.

"The biggest guessing game was, of course, which top editor would sit with Si Newhouse.

"Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter surprised everyone by skipping the event entirely.

"Unlike several years ago, when Carter simply forgot, this year, he knew he'd be in Europe and had called in his apologies ahead of time. Wired's Anderson snagged the Si table, thanks in no small part to his designation as the Ad Age Editor of the Year a few weeks earlier. In a surprise appearance, Architectural Digest's Paige Rense sat at Si's right hand. Joanne Lipman landed a choice table chaired by her immediate boss, Cond� Nast Editorial Director Tom Wallace � but David Carey, her business side-partner in the new business magazine venture, came in from the cold and sat with Si."

Sweet joy. And now we can sleep well, knowing that chestnut. Do you think they talked about Peter Braunstein? Full story here.

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