Disclosure. Disclosure! I like Frank Rich, based on my small but existent amount of contact with him in the course of my work. And as someone who is well-enough employed, in the unstable business of journalism, and who is still not too old to have maybe have a chance to eventually become better employed, I am also wary of Frank Rich. The former New York Times theater critic-turned-columnist, now a New York magazine writer and an HBO something-or-other, exists within a network of powerful goodwill and even more powerful professional obligation.
Nathaniel Rich's second novel, Odds Against Tomorrow, traces the life of Mitchell Zukor, a young mathematician obsessed with predicting apocalyptic natural disasters. After college he finds himself working for a secretive insurance firm in New York City, where his ability to predict these cataclysms becomes his job. After his predictions are realized, Zukor is proclaimed a prophet in this new world, ravaged by natural disasters.
Because I didn't grow up with rich, famous New York media figures for parents, who could use their connections to insert me into a choice job in the media world, I've always been in favor of banning people who do have such parents from holding those good jobs. It would make the competition for them more meritocratic, and (bonus) wouldn't affect me personally. Sure, some of those legacy kids are smart and qualified for their positions—but then again so are dozens of other, less connected people. Prime example: Nathaniel Rich, son of Times demigod columnist Frank Rich. Nat is an author and associate editor at the Paris Review, and, by all accounts I've seen, intelligent and capable. But still, I think we should ban him from writing out of pure spite and envy. It just seems like the revolutionary thing to do. In the clip below, Nat talks about how growing up in the Rich family has affected his career. "I don't feel I need to respond to it. People refer to me a lot worse ways (than as a Rich boy)," he says. Such as?
The Times' City section today gives its cover over to a long, knowing meditation by a lifelong New Yorker about all the changes the city has gone through since its darker, more edgy days. "I have vivid memories of 1980s Times Square (my parents worked in offices there), but I never got to experience the distinct pleasures of all-night grind-house double features or live sex shows," says the author. His name is Nathaniel Rich, and he's the 27 year-old son of Times columnist Frank Rich. Wow, those Rich kids sure are good at getting published! [NYT]
Doree and Nikola headed to the Puck Building last night for a Paris Review fundraiser. Their account, and photos, follow.
There are certain ways that one announces one's place in the social pecking order. Dalton or Spence. Summers in Nantucket, winters in Palm Beach. Really all out is the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For those truly interested in becoming a part of the literary establishment, there is the Paris Review and its annual gala. Most parties for the quarterly literary journal take place at its offices in Tribeca and are generally attended by the expected assortment of nattily attired lower-level publishing types and a couple of famous writers enticed by the free drinks or the comely assistants who drink too many of them. But the Revel, as the annual benefit is called, is an entirely different animal. Tickets started at $500 and one was welcome to purchase a table for $50,000, which is the annual salary of two assistants.