Tina Brown compares Martha Stewart to Martin Luther King: No kidding. In this morning's Washington Post, she writes:
"It used to be that going to jail gave a positive aura only to moral gurus, spiritual leaders, and revolutionaries... Martin Luther King Jr. and the pantheon of civil rights heroes... Now it's vanquished CEOs and burned-out celebrities getting the martyr's halo. The new century's `Letter From Birmingham Jail' could be from Paris Hilton, via her T-Mobile Sidekick."
For those who don't know, Martin Luther King did not do a stint in the Birmingham jail for insider trading...
What lies behind this monstrosity of a column? Our grade of B in our freshman Pscyh 101 class suggests.... projection.
The wondrous Ms. Brown writes of Martha Stewart: "The level of venom Martha experienced was all about how she made every other mini-player in the media firmament feel like a wallflower. Status rage is always the ugliest."
The "mini-players" in Ms. Brown's own "media firmament" actually included Pulitzer Prize winners, and New Yorker staff writers, cartoonists, and editors, who she dispatched at whim
if their stories did not provoke enough discussion at the Hamptons cocktail parties she attended, or otherwise were not generating enough "buzz" among her "set." Writers like Ray Bonner, now of the New York Times, Arthur Lubow, James Lardner, Jr., Elizabeth Drew (all of whom she fired) were more than "mini-players" during Ms. Brown's own "media firmament." Ms. Brown was famously paranoid that much of the bad press about her was the result of inside information fed the press from writers and editors who had felt mistreated by her. Most of them, contrary to Ms. Brown's belief that they were "mini-players" whowere seeking revenge acted gracefully when shown the door, either too humiliated to say anything, or simply grateful for the opportunity to write for the New Yorker in the first place.
Other propective "mini-players" in Ms. Brown's own "media firmament", perhaps, are the Weinstein brothers, who fronted her more than $50 million for Talk, and with whom she has privately remained embittered towards, when they pulled the plug on her magazine.
If our theory about her projecting her own woes and person onto those of Martha Stewart, that would mean Ms. Brown... has compared herself to Martin Luther King. Yuk.
Len Downie, the Washington Post's editor, who signed up Ms. Brown to run her column, because the Post lacked a "New York edge" and a "New York presence", has hardly succeeded in acheiving his goal by running columns like these. He has only given Tina Brown an opportunity to appear frivolous regularly on his newspaper's pages (as opposed to appearing frivolous elsewhere), in the process making himself appear the same by refusing to have anyone edit her or kill a column on occasion.
Ten Years Ago on Grasping Reality: May 25, 2008
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