Tina Brown: The Talk Launch Party Was ”Unwise”

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Tina Brown gave an interesting interview to Tehelka (via The Guardian Blogs) while she was on Delhi on vacation. Tehelka describes itself as, ”the fastest growing English weekly newspaper in India … It is independent, fearless and stands strongly for public interest journalism.” Here are some of the highlights:

— On the New Journalists, or the lack thereof nowadays. ”I thought of (opinion makers) myself when Norman Mailer died last week. Mailer’s generation was full of great public intellectuals. When Mailer and Gore Vidal and Willam F. Buckley Jr said anything — it mattered. But now, you are just some guy on TV with a thousand other pundits. Nobody matters.”


— On editing VF. ”In its first format, Vanity Fair had tried to be a New Yorker with pictures. They were doing the classic 15,000 word pieces, but I knew people were not going to read it, even if it was by Marquez. What I tried to do was combine the original glamour and froth of the 1930s with the great narrative journalism of American magazines in the 70s and 80s such as Rolling Stone and Esquire …My goal was to combine the high and the low. So you might have this wonderfully fun piece about Demi Moore being pregnant on the cover and inside a big piece on the fall of some regime in Africa. I did find that the more intense the serious strand became, the more the magazine sold.”

Tina Brown loves juicy stuff, not sleaze. ”Take Barack Obama, who I think is terrific, but his wife went on TV recently and said, in the morning he has bad breath and leaves his socks around. My jaw sagged. I thought, what are you doing to yourself? Can you imagine Jackie Kennedy saying this about John F. Kennedy? It’s insane. Suddenly all his mystique collapsed. I want to return private life to where it belongs. You can’t be iconic without mystery. I love juicy stuff, not sleaze.”

–On Tina’s tenure as Editor of The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin understood juiciness. ”The OJ Simpson stuff in The New Yorker was also really good. Jeffrey Toobin was a DA and hadn’t written any journalism when I hired him but he turned out to be someone who understood juiciness. He did some wonderful stuff.”

Finally, Tina Brown sounds positively Brideshead Revisited (cue: melancholy music) as she recounts the glories of the infamous Talk magazine launch party. From IndianExpress:

IE: I read another comment of yours. You had a great party to launch Talk and I think you quoted somebody, ‘You should never have a party that’s bigger than the movie.’

”Tina Brown: Yes, the launch party for Talk. I think it was probably the best party that’s ever been given, on Liberty Island, with magic lanterns. It was the party where Salman Rushdie met his former wife Padma Laksmi for the first time. So he remembers it till this day, but it was such an occasion that it’s unwise, really unwise. I mean we had Madonna and Kate Moss and all these movie stars arriving on the boat but it was not a great idea. I think magazines are like mushrooms; they should grow in the dark without being vegetative.”

(image via maryellenmark)”>wgaeast)