Monday, December 12, 2005
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today proved that he is still the Terminator. In a decision denying the request for clemency of Tookie Williams, Governor Schwarzenegger insured that by the time many of you read this Tookie "will not be back." As Mr Schwarzenegger said: “Is Williams’s redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise? Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption. After studying the evidence, I could find no justification for granting clemency.”
This is a blessing for our society as a whole despite whatever hogwash that his celebrity supporters have fostered in their petition for clemency. That Tookie could not take Dennis Kozlowski, Ken Lay and some of the other more prolific economic criminals of the go-go 1990's with him is the only part that saddens me. Tookie was convicted of killing 4 people and his founding of the Crips fostered an era of killing and the proliferation of "Gangsta" violence and gangsta chic. Likewise, the lives of thousands of others were financially ruined by the likes of some of these economic crimimals.
As a people and a society it is questionable however whether we have any moral standing to administer the death penalty. Leftist Tom Hayden makes some compelling points in his open letter to Governor Schwarzenegger calling for clemency for Tookie Williams. But what is incredible to me is that this particular individual is whom the left has chosen to expend such extraordinary political capital in an effort to save. If anyone deserves the death penalty I find no more suitable candidate than Tookie Williams. Saving Tookie sends exactly the wrong message to the criminal or gang element in this country, even if it is questionable whether there is any deterent value with the death penalty.
What I find hypocritical is that we place such a different value on the destruction of life in economic terms vs. the destruction of life in physical terms. The lives of many are destroyed by men in suits with the almighty pen and back room deals. Maybe if guys like Enron's Ken Lay and Dennis Kozlowski who's economic crimes have destroyed he lives of countless individuals and families, faced a life in general population vs. a stint at Danbury's "Club Fed", their crimes against humanity would be far less prevalent or at least it would dilute the weight of the argument that the administration of the death penalty or severe criminal penalties is racist.
That we as a society administer the penalty in solitude behind closed doors via lethal injection does not make it any more humane. Let's be more honest about it. We are KILLING another human being who we have decided is no longer fit to remain on this planet in our company. I say do it Live on Pay Per View with the proceeds going to the victims of crime in the form of a special victims criminal relief fund. So what if it is entertainment for the masses? Is it so wrong for society to somehow regain the losses by profiting at the expense of those cretins who have caused so much destruction and harm to our way of life?
Putting aside whether the death penalty is morally right or wrong, what I have found most disengenuous is the approach taken by proponents of clemency for Tookie Willams. So much has been overlooked in their effort to save a soul who seems to have conveniently found redemption once he found an education and and some powerful hollywood friends. See, Curtis Sliwa, Debating the defense of Tookie Williams on Scarborough Country. No offense to Snoop Dog but he has no standing as a character witness in my estimation. If this was my character witness, give me the chair. The fact is that folks like Snoop are very much wrapped up in profiteering off the proliferation and glorification of "Gangsta" culture, even if they are but "Faux Gangsta's" or posers. Jamie Foxx likewise must have had his Ray Charles glasses on in joining the fight to "Save Tookie". Justice may be blind but in my humble opinion the only folks who are blind here are those who have so misguidely banded together in their fight to save Tookie. They should be asked to repeately quote the names of those who died at his hands as well as countless others who have died in gangland violence since the birth of the Crips.
The simple fact is that there is little or no evidence to the contrary that Tookie Williams is not in fact guilty of killing 4 people and inspiring the death of countless others through his founding of the Crips. His redemption rings shallow and false. What has he admitted? That he was a bad young misguided man who did not know any better? Would we as a society have been better off with a Six time Nobel Peace Prize nominee serving as a voice of reason to youth gangs in this country? Perhaps, but the symbolism of granting clemency to someone who has neither apologized or atoned for his sins and the crimes he was convicted of undermines the very essence of basis for clemency to begin with. Moreover, it is not in the power of the Governor to grant clemency and in the process overule the legislature and the judicial system without any coherent and plausible rationale for doing so. I am to say the least pleased that Governor Schwarzennegger did not cave to political pressure. He made the right decision and should be commended for doing so in a tough political climate. He could have made some more influential friends on the left by granting Tookie clemency.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Well, take a look at a Bronx cheer for Stephanie Klein all the way from Queens no less, the borough of her birth. Looks like Irene of Irene's Menagerie does not see SK as any Stephie from the Block. Irene states rather emphatically "Stephanie Klein is NOT a REAL NYC woman." to see the full post click here. I see a cat fight brewing. Give me a big MEOW!!
Oh and by the way, from what I see, Irene appears to be a woman, heterosexual and has her hands rather full, so I doubt SK's alter ego can label her a "stalker." There are some fascinating women to read who are dealing with some serious issues in life. And still others that are more earnest, original and intelligent representations of femininity. Obviously check out Irene's blog but also take a look at Girlspoke, a smart chic blog by girls with a very real sense of humor. Girlspoke actually gets a ton of male and female readers, including me.
Monday, October 17, 2005
In light of much of what that this blog has discussed of late, a fascinating read in the Water Cooler section of today's New York Post. See "She-devils: Luring the office back stabbler from her lair", Karen Toledano's book review of "I Can't Believe She Did That: Why Women Betray Other Women at Work" by Nan Mooney. An interesting quote about the subversive female nature:
"Caught between ambition and social views of femininity, a working woman may subvert her competitive nature for more passive forms of aggression....In this way says Mooney, she can excel professionally and still maintain her reputation as a kind and generous person--a phenomenon the author calls "looking clean dealing dirty."
This insight into the female psyche may explain some of the dirty dealings encountered of late by some that I know quite well. I have witnessed and heard a number of stories of careers ruined by reliance or confidence in some false and misguided notion of the existence of "sisterhood" in the workplace. My empirical evidence and this book seem to suggest that while women are typically thought of as being more compassionate or fair in their approach, they are also actually quite more deceptive than men.
Men seemingly deal with conflict and competition in the workplace in a rather head on manner. We are usually well aware of barriers to promotion, those whom are hurdles and what the rules of engagement are. It is not that men are beyond manipulation and/or deceit but the term "backstabbers" is perhaps less applicable to men in the workplace. It is women who are seemingly more often caught by surprise and left feeling victimized. Men are more likely to see themselves on the end of a losing battle. See: In the Company of Men. Certainly NOT a feel good movie but one that provides a glimpse into the depravity of men. Any comments from the peanut gallery? The book looks like a good read.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
New York, NY October 12, 2005
New York City Consigliere, photographer, verbose blogger, manhattan society.com honcho, Chris London's: "STRAIGHT UP AND WHACKY" ......Tales and confessions from inside the Big Apple life of a'How you doin' kind of guy, a really long book detailing his verbose tirades on the web, his rise from bridge and tunnel obscurity to a fun and fabulous life as a New York Sex God, "alleged" hit man and otherwise dodgey character in a major pre-emptive deal (including TV/film rights) to Judith "Big Pussy" Regansiero at Joey Bag O'Donuts Publishing, by Paulie Walnuts of the Guido Literary Agency. Paulie Walnuts of Guido Literary Agents will represent foreign rights (for book sales outside the NY/NJ region), on behalf of Bag O'Donuts Books. Christopher Moltisanti gets his 10% because ....well like it is not like you really need to know do ya? Bag O'Donuts Books was presented with an offer that they could not refuse when the Consigliere stated "gimme ten million or else I start tearing out pages." So rather than risk a horse's head in the Publisher's bed, the sum of $10 million was agreed to.
Walnuts speaking on behalf of Bag O'Donuts books states: "If you axed me, I would tell ya we would rather have had that Alex Blagg guy. I mean shiite, that dude can write but wat da fuck eh, it seems these days that you do not need an original or the genuine article to make money selling books, capische? Look at dat fat red headed broad who promotes herself, like the next Carrie Bradshaw on diet pills. Just another narcissitic Manhattan female cliche who deep down hates herself....and gets pissed when anyone pokes fun at her. The only difference between her and Lauren Weisberger is that some guys would actually like to put a little Devil in Lauren's Prada. Wat da fuck did this Consigliere do that Blagg did not? Well for one, he profiled the little red headed douche-bag a little more extensively, if only a year later. Sure he coulda been perhaps a little more succinct and maybe have a greater sense of humor like A Tale of Two Broads. An advantage in signing the Consigliere, however, is that each of his entries read like a freakin book so this cuts down on the publishing cycle. We could have this beyotch putting out a dozen books faster than you can say The Devil Writes Nada." The Consigliere, after thanking his numerous male and female fans (both of them actually) stated "I really do believe that my success is larely due to following the 10 minute blogging rule (and then multiplying it by 10), intricate use of index cards for each posting as well as sucking up or doning knee pads to service anyone who would help me get ahead."
The Consigliere goes on (as usual) to say, "I learned that strategy from learning how the Greek Tragedy networked a friendship/alliance with This Fish, after being introduced to her by a lesser known blogger, Ari Goes Down. You see, This Fish gets even more hits and more traffic than the Greek Tragedy blog and is actually ranked higher, but there is no need to tell anyone that, shush!. Ari was also ceremoniously dumped from the Tragedy's links because she is guilty of well not having as "pretty in pink" or tragically cliched a blog or persona. That's too bad but indicative of the self absorbed networking character of the zaftig red-headed douche-bag. Besides which once the wannabe whiney Diva met The Fish, who needs Ari anymore right? This Fish gets more hits than both of their blogs. The Diva figured out Everyone Worth Knowing well before the book was written on the subject by someone else."
Mr. Walnuts stated further, "besides, look this Alex Blagg guy is all the way out in the City by the Bay and I am not leaving Jersey to get on a freaking plane to talk to some guy who writes like a wise guy but lives 3,000 miles away. The Consigliere is paisan, sort of like the Tony Soprano of the blog world, and you know what even if the boss is not the best writer, I know who greases my wheel. We need a male voice to counter these Chic Slit wannabe types who would be far better off if they slit their own throats than attempting to slit the throat of anyone who critiques them. Whacking them would be sort of superfluous (and that is a big word for me even) cause der freaking whacked already if you catch my meaning. In my opinion, da problem with some of these dem der broads is that it all comes back to the "SAU-Seeche." Perhaps if they were gettin a regular feeding of the good ole Braciole they would shut their freaking traps. Their mouths run on like a drippy faucet with the freakin clap. And what's with chics who name themselves after "Fish"? Isn't that the last label a woman wants associated with herself? Go figure.
Friday, August 12, 2005
I turned to the New York Times Fashion & Style section on Sunday July 16, 2005 to read a piece written by Stephanie Rosenbloom entitled "Reader, I dated him." In fact, the subject of the piece herself, Stephanie Klein tipped me off in advance of the impending piece via Instant Messenger that she was "ironically" the subject of another New York Times Fashion & Style piece. Her feigned anxiety and nervousness stemming from the fact they were interviewing her legions of fans and perhaps even her ex husband was not lost on me.
When I read it, despite my off hand knowledge of the numerous pieces written out there critiquing the blog, Stephanie Rosenbloom, the writer for the NY Times, presumably does either (a) not use google search as part of her research or (b) is one of a gaggle of Stephanie Klein's female writer friends in her network or (c) her piece was the result of yet another Girl Crush. There are some quite pointed, poignant and otherwise fair critiques of her blog out in blog land, including one entitled Profiles in Douchebaggette'ery and still others questioning her originality as well as her overall smarminess. These critiques some how escaped mention in Ms. Rosenbloom's column since apparently all Stephanie has are "fans."Greek Tragedy has been critiqued widely by many bloggers on the internet for being nothing more than an utterly vapid and self indulgent rip off of Sex and the City and character Carrie Bradshaw, created by Candace Bushnell. One blogger satirized her blog in a piece entitled Soap Bloggera. There is also now even a smart parody of her site, see A Tale of Two Sisters. In essence, many have found Stephanie as shallow as a kiddie pool. One writer has even given a most accurate assessment as to Why Stephanie is Still Single:
"Here we have a clearly intelligent, reasonably attractive person, a talented and creative individual with a pretty excellent sense of humor. What is the problem? On the surface, this woman should be prime quality. Instead, she appears more to be a pathetic, sex driven, sadly tragic soul. It took a fair bit of reading to find out why as her site is huge. The answer lies here on the page "men to avoid". Bloggers often like to make lists. If done well (so don’t look for one here), they can provide a realistic and often humorous insight into the person. This page explains to me why Stephanie is still single and having problems. At first, I thought this a humorous response to "The Emotionally Unavailable Alcoholic’s Guide to Holiday Romance" published in the blog Manhatten Transfer (itself a great bit of writing), but as I read a ton of her Posts, it became clear this was, in fact, her mantra.
So now I know. Bluntly, she is perhaps one of the more superficial, immature, shallow, money hungry, status seeking people I’ve met through blogs… and I fear a women seemingly devoid of a value system or boundaries. And that writer isn't the only one who thinks he can see past Klein's flowing red curls to her vapid heart; the sorority girls at Barnard must have seen it too: "If she was as socially immature at Barnard as she is now," he wrote, "I can fully understand why she was the only woman in her class not to be invited to join a sorority. They had her number." see also Judge Roberts? Yawn. Stephanie Klein? Yowza!
The puff piece by Stephanie Rosenbloom, however, came across as one written on Judith Regan or Regan Books stationary. In fact, after reading it, I asked Stephanie whether the publicity team over at Regan books was responsible for planting the story, since the story did not contain nary a critique. I realized the insensitivity of my comment when I made it but maybe I was just being "straight up and dirty." My sense was that the writer was very much one whom Stephanie Klein courted and developed a relationship. I almost wanted to ask whether Stephanie Rosenbloom was in fact a personal friend of Stephanie Klein. I suspect so, as Stephanie stated to me that, "they really like me over at the New York Times." Perhaps the manner in which Stephanie Klein and Heather Hunter networked the Times for their gab fess piece on getting schtupped by the same guy, Benjamin Wagner, at the same time explains the reason for their being on the same menstrual cycle. Maybe their internal fluids became mixed in the process? See, Traveling the Too- Much-Information Highway.
Networking the media leads to good results and pieces like those written about Stephanie Klein most recently illustrate that. Whether she or Judith Regan worked the Times is irrelevant. This was very much the work of a skilled promoter or publicist. So this answers the question some writers have asked as to "Why I am not as famous as Stephanie Klein."
I met Stephanie Klein about a year ago. I was introduced to her blog by a friend Ari and subsequently met her. I am aware of, have met and personally interacted with some of New York's best writers and journalists, or at least those covering the social beat who write about the social life and style undercurrent, like Warren St. John, Amy Sohn, Vanessa Grigoriadis, Richard Johnson, Ben Widdicombe, Rachel Kramer Bussel etc. So I was curious that perhaps here was yet another, New York Original in the form of little Stephanie Klein. Unfortunately, I have found Stephanie to be about as original as Ray's Pizza. But I am sure her response would be to kish mir in tuchis since she is the one with the huge advance and more fat pay days ahead.
Stephanie Klein, an Ivy League educated suburban girl of affluence, who lives near Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side, is a Creative Director at Young & Rubicam, a Madison Avenue advertising agency. This is a woman who is quite adept and skilled at how to properly package a product for the market place, including herself. This is what she is paid handsomely to do by day. Her web design skills and photography are clear evidence of that.
Stephanie Klein's Greek Tragedy is pre-packaged by design, a caricature of a New York City female based upon the fictional character Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. The Puff Daddy of the blogging world's chic lit set, her blog is a cliche, hallmark or post card to the heartland if you will. Arguably Stephanie's blog is designed to appeal to lonely people with no legitimate lives of their own and no real sense of life in Manhattan. Their voyeuristic tendencies are satisfied by a glimpse into what they fancy must be the “Sex and the City” life (redux or the reality version) as they sit on their couches eating bon bons wondering what it must be like to be Stephanie Klein.
Her stories are by design, however, so tragically ironic as well as terribly self absorbed and indulgent, all while masked in this hip downtown edginess of Amy Sohn. Unfortunately, it does not make her as original as Amy Sohn. If she did not, however, come across so much as packaged sincerity and allowed herself to actually be what she was...it might be more credible and maybe in fact actually more interesting, but then again maybe it would not sell or be that interesting? It has also already actually been done by someone else. Perhaps her overnight success will allow her to develop an original voice, rather than remaining the Puff Daddy of Chic Lit, working off of the riff of other artists.
Stephanie is an attractive woman who knows how to make herself more attractive without looking like she is "working it." Much like the designer jeans thats come casually torn in the right places to highlight a woman's best attributes, Stephanie is acutely aware and tends to those little things that are supposed to accidentally make you look better. But as a friend said to me, are you sure it is not a bit more like those pre-fab homes which are put together rather quickly but lack the character, history and craftsmanship of the originals that they were modeled after? The originals being? Amy Sohn and Candace Bushnell, she said. Her persona seems rather contrived. It is.
When I first met Stephanie, I was very much looking for reasons to like her. As much as I genuinely tried, for a number of reasons, I found it incredibly difficult to find any substance of character in her persona beyond the self promotion. Like a good Publicist or Director of Communications in a political campaign she was adept at remaining on message. I have found her to be very much a fictional person living a fictional life, one that is designed or choreographed for the purpose of creating an utterly fabulous blogging persona. At first I thought it was perhaps because I did not understand her, her blog or what she was about. I even questioned whether I was being unfair. So, I gave it time, spent more time in her company and yet my perception did not change. I could not find the soul of Stephanie Klein and in fact after a year, gave up looking for it.
Virtually from the the day I met Stephanie, everything she does has been in pursuit of a book deal while trying to seem laid back or indifferent about it. That she succeeded in her mission with the book deal with Judith Regan is to her credit. That she pretends otherwise is well.......so Stephanie. Nothing happens in Stephanie's life by accident, except perhaps her husband walking out on their marriage. As her readers know the failed marriage and her ex husband has provided much of the fodder for her blog. But after X years, really give it up already. Move on. We have all had our hearts broken. To subject some dude to a daily written assault who for whatever reasons simply stopped loving you and walked out and otherwise ruined your Princess dreams of marriage, is kind of manic. It is simple, he was just not that into you. I even joked with her at one point, "you know Stephanie, in some ways you have your ex husband to thank for your success. You might have been destined for a mediocre marriage but now you seem destined to be the next big it girl." Judith Regan was quick to realize that in this reality tv era that the reincarnation of Carrie Bradshaw is a saleable product to advertisers. So while the intelligencia will have little respect for the gibberish on her blog, recognize that you and I are not her target market. The target market is rather those who have never been to New York City and perhaps only received a postcard or watched Sex and the City. Stephanie knows the game from the screenplay which she creates daily with her life to the one she is writing now for the TV Show for the book which has yet to be published.
If the life that she has created on her blog was not lifted from the pages of Sex and the City I might have less of an issue with the latest incantation of Carrie Bradshaw in the form of Stephanie Klein. The only tragic irony in all of this is that there is a whole legion of chic lit bloggers who will continue to assault our consciousness since they may fancy themselves as the next Amy Sohn, Candace Bushnell or now "oy vey"...Stephanie Klein. It is tragic because many are still so wet behind the ears with so little real life experience and actual drama or angst in their lives to legitimately write about or have any genuine ability to reflect.
In a media driven society, content is king. Content is needed to sell advertising. Psuedo angst sells, especially when you know how to package it. What is more disturbing about Stephanie Klein's Technorati ranking is that I have witnessed her rabid pursuit of media people and other bloggers, forging alliances and friendships purely with the goal of getting her blog linked and her "fame" spread. Anyone who does not add to that pursuit is largely irrelevant. Her notoriety stems from other female bloggers sensing that she must be it, linking her hoping to be mentioned or to get their comment in print online on her blog linking back to her site. Although one may wish to be careful because only polite syncophantic comments waxing philosophic about the beauty and elegance of the blogger's prose are allowed. Most who comment are typically bloggers themselves. Critics are routinely banned from posting.
Several months ago, I received a call and then numerous emails from Stephanie to me when yet "horrors" another blogger ripped and dissed her, not on her blog but on his. Stephanie was frenetic. This Blagg Blogg guy had to be stopped of course. I hesitated for a second thinking, well gee, I do not read what you write because while I like you (or am trying to do so at least) he reads you and is simply a critic. People have told me how much I suck numerous times but life goes on. Nevertheless, since she was my "friend", I shot off a nasty email without thinking. His entry was smartly called Profiles in Douchebaggette-ery.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens in New York gets broadcast around the world. The life and style of New Yorkers is an export. Myth becomes legend. The legend of Stephanie Klein is that her JAP Mythology passes for Greek Tragedy. That what she does is considered a greater or more profitable art form than those more talented is a sad reality and speaks volumes of the world that we live in today. Sometimes the greatest artists starve while the more commercially astute ones lead lives of grandeur. Stephanie is astute in that regard but after a year I have no idea who or what she is or stands for.
Do I hate Stephanie Klein? No, most certainly not. I am but a critic of what I do not think qualifies to be considered a literary art form. As someone else who knows her well, however, said to me confidentially over cocktails in the Hamptons, "it is one thing to wish your friend's success but it is quite another when the person is really just not at all likeable. The idea that she represents the typical Manhattan chic is repulsive to me."
Many who know her and have been in her company have her ceaseless self promotional skills somewhat offensive. Stephanie is always equipped with cards informing people who she is and that she is the next great thing but ironically despite the NY Times piece to the contrary, I have never been in her company and had anyone recognize her as someone "famous." Humility is not an adjective you would associate with Stephanie unless it is of the contrived and feigned sort you find in her musings on her blog. A conversation with Stephanie Klein, however, always leads back to uh well......Stephanie Klein of course. "You should check out my blog. I get X thousand hits per day." See "Straight up and Braggy, The Other Side of "Fame."
For those who are fans, enjoy your "reality" show and go buy her book, when it comes out. The most over hyped not yet author is coming to a book store near you. I will pass. If you made it this far, you may consider this my contribution to Stephanie Klein's Technorati ranking.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Chasing Amy.... Sohn
I genuinely tried to like her. For the longest time the answer eluded me, even though it was right there before my eyes on a semi regular basis. No matter what angle I viewed her from she was difficult to like. I wondered why. Was I envious? Was it something about her? Did she wrong me personally in some way? No. Was I angry at women in general for some reason?
- Chris: Was it really necessary for This Fish to rip on my friend on her blog? I mean he is a private guy that just lost interest in dating her. And she makes fun of him, his quirks and the fact that he is 40 years old. Tell her to get the fuck over it. Believe me, there is alot that sucks about your friend...a lot. It is not like he went to write a blog entry about her or the size of her tuchis.
- Ari: You hate women, own it!
- Chris: I do not hate women. I love women. Some of us just see no point in dating women who's alleged artistic talent is to poke fun at every "loser" that they date. That is why I will not date any chic lit blogger.
- Ari: You seem to hate women very much. You sure that you are not just gay?
- Chris: I like gay people. Big deal. But I also very much love women. I just have no empathy or interest in unoriginal women who are leaving these pseudo "tragically ironic" lives posturing to be the next Amy Sohn or Candace Bushnell. Frankly I would rather suck a big veiny cock than read that drivel
- Ari: That is not what all of us are doing
Chris: I am not referring to you but your friends Heather "This Fish Hunter and Stephanie Klein with her Greek Tragedy. Greek Tragedy? Give me a break. That shit is more like JAP Mythology. There is nothing tragic about her life. The only thing tragic or ironic is that we live in a society where people find this crap interesting. I am only fortunate to have gotten to know the person behind this and all I can is that at best it is soul less manufactured drama passing for bad commerical art.
- Ari: Why do you care?
- Chris: It is repulsive to me that this canned soul less garbage passes for some literary art form. There are writers writing original stories who do not get the attention that this Madison Avenueized manufactured shit gets
- Ari: Is no longer online
Amy Sohn wrote a column called Female Trouble in the New York Press in the 1990's. Like many, I and many of my male and female friends became intriqued and fascinated with her column. Amy so uniquely embodied the persona of that artsy Lower East Side, East Village chic even though she was from Brooklyn. Before I was even aware of the the label "chic lit" I saw Amy as a New York original. I read Amy's Female Trouble column and happy to see her climb the literary food chain, not because I had seen 5 thousand pictures of her on a blog in various different contrived poses. We had no clue and could only speculate as to what Amy actually looked like. She was sexy, vulnerable and real. It did not matter that as I found out years later when I actually met her that she happens to be a fairly attractive woman.
However artistic, creative and cool I thought that I was, to the likes of an artist, I was an upper east side cliche; way too yuppie with short hair. I was not a rocker, hipster or artistic dude with an angle that could appeal to the likes of someone like Amy. I was attracted to her even though I had no idea what she looked like. So many evenings over late night eggs and coffee after a night out, I would sit in the Viand Diner on the Upper East Side and read Amy's latest life experience, sexual interlude, romantic disappointment etc. More than Page 6 or the Sports Section, I was genuinely curious about this girl's escapades. I had no idea what she looked like and all different images would come to mind. Her words and experiences were heart felt and real. They did not reak of hey, I am trying to get my shit out there to become famous and get a book deal. They did not seem scripted to fit some pre-conceived notion of an edgy downtown female. She was in fact an edgy downtown female. Of that I was sure.
Several years later, as she climbed the charts of New York's writers, she became a published author and her column moved to the upscale New York Magazine, where she is remains a regular columnist. Whatever commercialization there has been of Amy Sohn, it has not come at the price of her originality and if nothing else has come as a consequence of her success first as a legitimate writer and story teller who did not derive her content from the works of other artists.
In late 2002, I got an email from Amy Sohn. She was researching a story and my name landed in her email box as a potential contact or source for a story. Hey Chris, this is Amy Sohn the email read.....I was referred to you by......she thought you might be an interesting guy to speak to....and it ended with, if you have a moment, can you give me a call at____ or let me know how to reach you. I replied with my number. A short time later the phone rang. It was Amy Sohn. How cool is this I thought. I have a great deal of respect for writers, especially those with a journalistic edge who research their subjects and show a commitment to getting a subject and the story straight. Immediately I felt comfortable with Amy. We began to speak in earnest as she fired off various questions to me. I was admittedly a little star struck and on some level still am in her presence. (Photo by Gregory Partanio: Amy Sohn, Chris London & Deborah Schoeneman)
As our dialoque drew to an end, Amy said that she would reflect on our conversation, some notes she took and call me later on that day or in the next few days. She did and asked me to meet her downtown, somewhere which was mutually convenient. At the time I lived in Battery Park City and she lived in Brooklyn so agreed to meet at the Tribeca Grande Hotel. I felt like a celebrity sitting there being interviewed by Amy while being lubricated with cocktails courtesy of New York Magazine. We engaged in an earnest discussion of my dating life and experiences. Her questions were pointed. Amy was quite adept at delving into my psyche, so much so that I found myself watching my own interview, thinking to myself this girl totally gets it and gets me. I should have been unnerved but I wasn't. Amy asked if I could provide her with some female friends, ex friends and girlfriends who would agree to go on record about me. I hesitated but ultimately did so, knowing full well that it might open a can of worms and give these women who were not always the greatest fans of mine a reason to take shots at me. They did.
Needless to say the story came out. It was called "the Pickup Artist". In the story for a variety of reasons they changed my name to Tad Brock. Initially I felt humbled and somewhat embarrased by the story. Gawker even poked fun at me later on. I was angry at the ex girlfriend who was a Publicist. Her level of honesty or should I say spin in knocking me was all too obvious. But Amy even picked up on that and was somehow able to distill the truth out of it. We both came across looking what we were which was highly imperfect individuals. I eventually embraced Amy as having put forth a pretty honest yet entertaining account of my dating life. We added each other to our respective contact lists and periodically we exchange emails for networking purposes as I have no issues whatsoever referring anyone to Amy if she is doing a story. In fact, my brother took pictures at her book party for My Old Man last year. I saluted her originality and her continued success. She deserves it.
Amy Sohn's Progeny: Girls of Tragic Irony
The success of Amy Sohn combined with the accessibility of blogging or publishing platforms has led to the proliferation of female bloggers, many of whom are seemingly trying to find and cultivate a tragically ironic edge from their lives; some with more flair than others. In some cases, it is so readily apparent that their "craftsmanship" reeks of similarity to to Amy Sohn and Candace Bushnell. Some do not. Case in point, I read a blog called Ari Goes Down and subsequently met the writer of the blog. We even became somewhat friendly and flirted but the chemistry was lacking between us for a multitude of reasons.
Ari made assumptions about what my life was about and pointed me in the direction of a blogger who I had never heard of Stephanie Klein, who has a blog entitled Greek Tragedy. Immediately I was struck by how packaged the blog and the persona behind the blog appeared. It made sense. I later learned that she was a Creative Director at Young & Rubicam, a major Madison Avenue Advertising Agency. There was a striking similarity to the Sex and the City characters. It was so clear that she was modeling herself on the Carrie Bradshaw persona I had seen on the show and even had as a similar small entourage of three-four girlfriends that she regularly travels with and whom appear in her pictures. How ironic that they span the spectrum of blondes, brunettes and redheads I thought. This looks posed.... It is.
Although her blog seemed a little self absorbed, I sent Stephanie a nice email commending her on style and the appearance of her blog. It was different than most others in design. It seem massaged or crafted artistically. After a bout of emails, IM's and a brief phone conversation, we agreed to meet. I met Stephanie Klein for the first time, at Starbucks on Madison Avenue and 41st Street, which was near our respective offices. I was working at the law firm of Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch at the time. Stephanie than joined me at a Fun With Wine.com tasting event that I was invited to at the Union Square Wine Store.
Manhattan Society.com is among other things my humble attempt to document a certain element of the charitable and social under current in New York City. Stephanie is a talented photographer. Having Stephanie join me periodically at some upscale social, fashion and charity events that I was invited to cover by some major Society Publicists was helpful to my mission. Our social alliance of sorts never evolved into any kind of substantive friendship beyond that largely because sadly I could not ever find the the soul or essence of Stephanie Klein beyond the facade of the persona on her blog. My brief flirtation with developing a more meaningful friendship ended for me in the early part of 2005 when I realized that in the end it is really all about Stephanie Klein and nothing that is not about that is really of any interest to Stephanie Klein or bloggers of her ilk, such as Heather "This Fish" Hunter. Certainly there was an element of opportunism to her M.O. and that of getting her friends into cool parties. The purpose? Largely to create the screenplay of an alleged fabulous life that smacks of "Sex and the City" down to the Manolo's and traveling in a pack of three and four girls. Documenting a life that is scripted is the essence of her fabulousity but it sells to those who do not know. How it is so tragic escapes me. The fact that it does not escape a lot of other readers or even a New York Times Columnist who's research spans the depth of a Press Release is sad. (To be continued...Part II Greek'ed Tragedy, coming soon)