New York taps into the Zeitgeist

poster.jpgThis week’s New York magazine is sure to turn a lot of heads, with a breathless cover profile of alleged Hallowe’en rapist Peter Braunstein and an in-depth piece trumpeting the current network “anchor wars” (not to be confused with the “morning show wars” cover story of June 6, 2005). Both are hot topics: Braunstein has been at large for almost a month, leading to all sorts of shrill headlines across the covers of the Post and the News, and Vanessa Grigoriadis‘s cover piece capitalizes on that (right down to adopting the “fire fiend” moniker from the NYP), purporting to enter Braunstein’s head as he watched his eventual victim stride around the office in manolos, taunting him with her cool unattainability, his mind spinning a million fantasies, plotting, planning… I have no idea if things unfolded that way in the W Mag offices or in Braunstein’s head, which means neither can Grigoriadis, who is going off basically the same information that has been emerging over the past month, plus many, many adjectives. It’s one way to approach it, the fictionalized, hypothesized fill-in-the-blanks version (“It was the shoes that always got him,” and “He had a crippling insecurity and an enormous sense of his own intellect, and was possessed of a desire to court the most powerful New York women and an equal, and then overwhelming, need to destroy them”) — but in truth I’d be more interested to read a profile that says “this is what we know, and why” than “this is what we know, plus all sorts of stuff that we’re imagining.” There’s obvious work behind the piece, and the story is compelling on its own merit; Adam Moss, we doubt David Remnick would ever feel the need to tart it up with starry-eyed homage to “Fashion Girls.” We’re just sayin’.

The “anchor wars” piece by David Blum-not-Frum takes a thorough look at the players jockeying for position in the shifting new network world order, sifting through the rumors (Katie Couric thinking of taking over at CBS? Charles Gibson being held back from World News Tonight for the sake of Diane Sawyer‘s morning ambitions?). It’s a juicy, newsy romp (and gives us an extra reason to mull over Bob Woodruff‘s lunch with Susan Zarinsky at Michael’s last Wednesday, hmmm?), though he cites the reason that Anderson Cooper‘s “having it rough” lately is that he’s down to “only three or four fawning media profiles a week” as opposed to slipping ratings. Either way, it’s rife with the rumor and speculation that has made anchor-watching the sport of the past year as Rather, Brokaw, Jennings and Koppel have left the anchor chair. Niggling point: we reported that Walter Cronkite was married back on Tuesday, Nov. 15, but Blum’s piece says they’re dating. Come on, New York, don’t forget to read your Fishbowl!

Extra Zeitgeist-tapping bonus points: The happy intersection of showtunes and Canada in the article on bonuses at Goldman Sachs, written by Canadian Duff McDonald with the following headline: “Please Sir, I Want Some More.” Yes, sticklers, we know Dickens didn’t imagine it to music, but still.

The Fire Fiend and the Fashion Girls [New York]
Anchor Roulette [New York]

p.s. “I want our magazine covers to be posters.” Ew. Hopefully not this one, you don’t.