Media Memory Lane: Michael Wolff vs. Alan Patricof

The problem with tossing off a side note about media incest is that you can never go back enough generations to reveal the original sin. Regarding the $5 million shot in the arm coming to the Huffington Post, we mentioned that one of the investors would be venture capitalist Alan Patricof, who was in on the ground floor at New York magazine several decades back. We've since been reminded that Patricof and NYM's founding editor Clay Felker shared a legendary antipathy — one that caused or at least contributed to Patricof selling out and Felker getting fired — and that their enmity was recounted by media critic Michael Wolff for the magazine's 35th anniversary. Wolff bore no love for Patricof on his own account either, as noted in his 1998 book Burn Rate. A taste, after the jump.

An excerpt from Burn Rate ran in 1998 account in Wired; here we see Wolff's first meeting with Patricof when the latter's firm invested in the nascent Wolff New Media:

From a distance, there was something appealing about Patricof's eccentricities and cragginess (and crankiness), his rumpled suits (although I suspected those suits were as costly as a car), his fulminating, his deep, penetrating scowls. If the alternative was California and its techno-VCs (homogenized sharpies who spoke the language of engineers), then New York and its worldly, blue-chip financiers, whose perspective went back a tad longer than the advent of personal computers, looked pretty good to me.

Except when you got up close. Then, the senior partner resembled a mental patient.

And it pretty much goes downhill from there, with Wolff still seething about Patricof (that "sonofabitch") years later for his NYM anniversary piece. So much for luring Wolff into the HuffPo fold.

35 Years [NYM]
Bonfire of the Securities [Wired]