Some publications have stringent, tightly policed guidelines about not assigning reporters to cover stories that they have a personal connection to. Other publications have, uh, the opposite policy. Seriously, do you remember the last time you read a New York mag feature whose author didn't at some point step forward and announce, "Disclosure: I once shared a yoga mat with Madonna in 1995" or some such nonsense? We certaintly don't. But the disclosure moment in Vanessa Grigoriadis's long Sympathy for Judith Regan profile today has to be our all-time favorite:
A few years ago, after I wrote a story for this magazine on the then-burgeoning Internet-dating scene, timid young editors from ReganBooks began to call to ask if I wanted to write books on various topics, such as the man with the biggest penis in the world. Um, no. Regan asked me to lunch, and we instantly bonded. To a woman, there's something enticing about Regan's anti-plastic surgery, pro-sex feminist stance, mixed with a She-Devil-ish anger at the power men have in the world (even though she sometimes expresses it by saying that she's going to eat their testicles). She told me that I reminded her of herself when she was younger and that she could give me a great job, show me the ropes, take me on a tour—perhaps one day I would even become as powerful as her. "I used to be a writer, too, but I wanted to do more in the world—don't you?" she asked. Yes! I told her I was worried about managing a career and a family, and it seemed like I could have only one or the other. You can do it all, she said—don't let anyone trick you into thinking it's a choice. Wow. Aren't you sick of playing by men's rules, having male editors, writing about what men want you to write about? she asked. She was building her own gang, her own posse, to take on the publishing industry, and I was going to be her capo. We had to make our own group, she said, like the Jews.
Grigoriadis didn't take the job, though she and Judith "delved into it further," and she's "pretty glad [she] didn't." But we're sure there are dark moments late at night when Grigoriadis regrets her decision. It's not every day that someone like Judy offers to make you her capo.