Thursday, January 19, 2006

The British Media Barons Par-Tay


Deadlines be damned! Princess Di biographer Tina Brown tosses back some distilled Bolivian peasant blood cocktails with USA Today's Elysa Gardner. (image via NYSocialDiary)

The respected British business daily the Financial Times had a party. You know it was the shit. Friction dances, Jello shots, and whatnot. Despite the recent readership slump (and other assorted issues), those Brits know how to party. According to our favorite social chronicler David Patrick Columbia in NYSocialDiary:

"I was going to a party in the Mandarin that was a reception to say goodbye to Lionel Barber, the recent US editor of the Financial Times (who has recently returned to London to take over as the Editor of the whole paper), and to welcome his successor in the US, Chrystia Freeland.

"... I am (obviously) not a businessman but I like to read the financial news and columns to gain insight and knowledge on the everyday workings of our world.

"... Inside the ballroom of the Mandarin I was surprised to see so many familiar faces. I found Lionel Barber whom I�d met in passing a few months ago when I was lunching at Michael�s with Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel who knows him. Then I took a picture of Mrs. D-S with another very unassuming personality Chrystia Freeland, who turned out to be the new editor of the US edition of the paper.

"Then there were the famous British-Americans Tina Brown and Harry Evans, and Sir Howard Stringer, the now very American Welshman who is head of Sony worldwide. I ran into James Montgomery, another Brit who is the US News Editor of the FT, whom I met only the night before at the screening of Eugene Jarecki�s film Why We Fight. I introduced him to Vartan Gregorian.

"The British media people do not appear to wear the same facade of self-importance that is common among American journalists who write for the bigger name publications. Some would say I�m imagining it. Perhaps it�s because they�re on foreign soil and have a natural sense of humility. Whatever it is, it�s refreshing compared to so many (with notable exceptions) American journalists of lofty positions who have high self-regard despite even their faulty or inadequate political reportage."

True. Perhaps it has to do with an acute consciousness that the sun has risen and set on the British Empire. And now, due to the dictates of history and the gas pump, we've inherited that mess. The British Atlas can now, at last, stretch out his arms -- the weight of the world gone elsewhere -- and kick it freestyle.

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