Category Archives: People

TNY: My Holocaust Memoir

This week’s New Yorker has a Ben Greenman Shouts and Murmurs piece titled “My Holocaust Memoir.” The piece imagines a writer’s pitch letter to Oprah about a Holocaust memoir that bares a striking resemblance to Herman Rosenblat’s love story, Angel at the Fence. Herman’s story might not be true, but he’s now inspired satire.

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Jim Chanos: The Catastrophe Capitalist

I have a piece this week in New York Magazine that profiles renowned short-seller Jim Chanos. In the rarefied world of global finance, candid opinion is a rare commodity, discretion is prized—ask a question about Goldman, and you’ll be greeted with a silence bordering on omerta. But Chanos, whether responding to petty zoning disputes or exposing market bubbles, does not subscribe to this code. Ever since Bear Stearns blew up last March, Wall Street’s beleaguered CEOs have accused shorts like Chanos of manipulating the media, leaking damaging rumors to journalists and profiting off their banks’ demise. Chanos, in addition to posting returns of 50 percent, has been waging a public battle to clear short-sellers’ name, and prove that inept Wall Street CEOs are the ones we should be taking down.

From the piece:

As a short-seller, Chanos earns a living by borrowing and then selling shares of a company he thinks will experience trouble. When the stock tumbles, he buys back the depressed shares and returns them to the lender, pocketing the difference. In other words, Chanos is a financial undertaker. He makes a profit when companies die. And when there’s an epidemic, he gets richer still.

Read the full story HERE:

School Daze

Tomorrow, on the day the Obamas visit the White House, rumor has it that Michelle will look at D.C schools for Malia and Sasha. I have a piece out in the Atlantic that reports on the secret lobbying campaigns that Washington’s most elite private schools have employed to attract the Obamas. The front runners are said to be Sidwell Friends (of Chelsea Clinton fame), Georgetown Day and the Maret School. “There’s a frenzy going on in terms of speculation,” one Maret parent told me. “It makes me want to vomit.

Read the full piece HERE:

A Q&A with Yazmany Arboleda 9/24/08

Tomorrow night I will be interviewing the artist Yazmany Arboleda about his work “The Keller Gates Project” at the Art Director’s Club. Last year, Arboleda constructed an elaborate ruse and duped the media into writing about a fictitious exhibit titled the Assassination of Hillary Clinton/The Assassination of Barack Obama.

The conversation should be interesting, and will explore how the Internet is changing our perception of reality. Earlier this year, I wrote a cover story for New York Magazine about how Facebook Clubs created by Horace Mann students set off a scandal that tore the elite private school apart. Increasingly, what happens in in our digital reality online is shaping our actual reality.

Details about the event are below:

ADC hosts a special Advertising Week event

The Assassination of Art, When Politics and Art Collide
A conversation about ‘The Keller Gates Project’ between artist Yazmany Arboleda and Gabriel Sherman, Contributing Editor of New York Magazine.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
6:30-8:00pm
@ADC Gallery
106 West 29th Street, NYC

ADC Members Free
Non-Members $20
Students $10

Refreshments will be served.

http://www.adcglobal.org/adc/events/calendar/

Inside Lehman Brothers Final Days

I have a piece in this week’s New York Magazine that covers the meltdown at Lehman Brothers. Inside Lehman, the breakdown of order represented on a micro-scale what one might imagine would happen to the city, or country as a whole, if capitalism failed. No one was spared. I report for the first time that Lehman’s former president and COO Joe Gregory was close to filing for personal bankruptcy, after he borrowed money against his now worthless Lehman stock. From the piece:

At the Seventh Avenue headquarters, the Trader watched it all unfold like a nightmare. Managers instructed the staff not to trade. The company blocked outgoing e-mails with attachments. A colleague frantically called human resources to find out if his wife, who was due to give birth any day now, would be covered by Lehman’s benefits plan. With no instructions from the top, the Trader took his colleagues down to a lunch at Pastis.

Read the full piece HERE

National Enquirer to NYT: “I Wouldn’t Have Run That Piece”

I have a piece in the New Republic next week that goes inside the National Enquirer as the tabloid broke open the John Edwards sex scandal. As the team of Enquirer reporters uncovered the Edwards-Rielle Hunter affair, the tabloid looked into other rumors, this time involving John McCain and Vicki Iseman, the pretty blond telecommunications lobbyist named in the controversial New York Times investigation published in February. The Enquirer had five reporters poking around the McCain campaign, but ultimately decided not to publish their findings. “I wouldn’t have run that piece, there was nothing in it,” David Perel, the editor of the Enquirer, told me regarding the Times story. “It was filled with innuendo. . . . When you’re done reading it, you’re like, there’s no there there.”

Read the full piece HERE:

Can Take My Eyes Off You

Much of the media has its eyes trained on Barack Obama this week during his swing through the Middle East and Europe. While the McCain camp has been making the point lately that Obama has been the beneficiary of media love, there’s also a growing feeling of frustration among the reporters covering the Obama campaign. I have a piece running in the New Republic next week that takes a deeper look inside Obama’s relationship with the press corps.”I’ve never had an experience like this, with this campaign or others,” the New York Times’ Adam Nagourney told me. “I thought they crossed the line. If you have a problem with a story I write, call me first. I’m a big boy. I can handle it. But they never called. They attacked me like I’m a political opponent.”

Read the full piece HERE