Michael Wolff has a Future of the Internet piece that’s infinitely better than Newsweek’s 1995 article about the internet not having a future.
One question I had is, in the article, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter says Twitter would generate “a billion search queries a day in the coming yeah.” So how much do you think Google would pay for a little button next to every Tweet that says, “Google This”. And you could highlight the terms you want to search on Google.
Wolff also talked about Barry Diller’s new media company model which could have brands owning entire shows instead of buying 30 second ads. I’ve been waiting for that forever. Of course, I think it will only work for a year or so, while the brand can get press for the new type of advertising, but it’s worth a shot.
James Wolcott profiles Alec Baldwin. It’s a good read, but nothing new, though I’m interested because Baldwin’s career is so interesting. He’s absolutely killing TV right now on 30 Rock, after killing Saturday Night Live all those years. He’s been great in a couple good movies (as Wolcott notes), but doesn’t have a big role in an important movie. How will we think about him in 20 years?
Oh, by the way, he’s talking about retiring after 30 Rock…
So perhaps the smoke signals heâ€™s sending up about retiring arenâ€™t a bluff. But I canâ€™t help but think that if he gets the chance to work with Meryl Streep again he wonâ€™t say no. That would be like turning down dessert, and heâ€™s a cat who canâ€™t resist cream.
Here’s a Sherlock Holmes story reprinted in Vanity Fair.
The on again, off again movie version of Michael Lewis’ book, Moneyball, is back on. Bennett Miller, director of Capote, has been brought in to steer this ship home. He will, apparently, be taking the movie in a direction different, and more mainstream, than original director Steven Soderbergh.
Here’s a video of Michael Lewis explaining the origin of The Blind Side. There’s about 15 people in the theater when he does.
If it’s pettiness you crave, here’s a bazillion word, 2 part series on The Forgotten Man Of Moneyball, Eric Walker. In an interesting move assuring a constant bias, the author of the piece is that forgotten man, Eric Walker.
Lastly, I’d like to again ask why Liar’s Poker has not yet been made into a movie.
Vanity Fair has a habit of posting stub abstracts of their bigger articles. This isn’t exclusive to VF, Rolling Stone does it, too, but it is an annoying way of using the web. Barry Ritholtz takes them to task for this, and then publishes the PDF that they sent him to drum up publicity. If you can’t wait until next week to read Michael Lewis’ take down of Joe C and AIG that explores among other things:
How A.I.G. F.P. became the first stop for Wall Street banks looking to insure the massive amounts of debt they were buying, packaging, and selling: â€œWe were doing every single [credit-default swap] deal with every single Wall Street firm, except Citigroup,â€ says one A.I.G. F.P. trader. â€œCitigroup decided it liked the risk and kept it on their books. We took all the rest,â€
click above for the full article.
In other Michael Lewis news, you probably knew that the Siderbergh/Pitt vehicle, ‘Moneyball’, got axed last week. Here’s an insider’s version of events that doesn’t make anyone at Sony look very good. Sandra Bullock’s ‘The Blindside’ continues to truck, and still, for some reason, no one has made any moves to make ‘Liar’s Poker’.
This is from last week, or the week before, but James Wolcott’s not-too-long take down of the DC hive-mindset is great, each delicious sentence dripping with scorn.
I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but Monday’s Big Picture about Somali pirates works relatively well to illustrate William Langewiesche’s Vanity Fair article about… Somali pirates.
Two lengthy excerpts from the interesting article:
If you added up the assets already available, or soon to be, the display of French power was impressive indeed. And it was arrayed against what? A band of barefoot natives, Fuzzy Wuzzies in rags, hip-firing their Kalashnikovs with poor aim, and worshipping some filthy G.P.S. as if it had fallen from the sky. They should have surrendered days before, even to the Canadians…They were not particularly bellicose or arrogant, but they refused to be impressed when they should have been. A warship coming at you is supposed to present an intimidating sight…It raised disturbing questions about the relevance of governments and the exercise of power. More specifically, a suspicion crept in that these pirates knew exactly what they were doing, and that they understood the forces at play with more sophistication than had been assumed. Fuzzy Wuzzies they were, but until Paris decided it could accept casualties among the Ponantâ€™s crew, they had stymied the French national will.
Today, almost one year later, Somali pirates continue to ignore the increasingly urgent displays of national power. One of the ironies of the concern being shown is that the shippers being provided with naval protection are the very same people who for years have made a mockery of the nation-state idea. They know that whatever pirate tolls they pay will always pale in comparison with the taxes that would be imposed if global law and order ever actually prevailed. But there is little danger of that. In its place a convoy system has been instituted for crossing the Gulf of Aden. CMA CGM has ordered its cargo ships to use it when practical… Because of an increase in crew pay, insurance, and other piracy-related costs, the company has imposed a $23 surcharge on every standard-size container that it takes throughâ€”amounting to a quarter-million dollars for each trip by the largest ships. Given the margins built in, and despite the need for the occasional payout, this means that CMA CGM, its insurers, and its crews are profiting from Somali piracy.
The pirates are professional and don’t typically harm the crews they capture because they know that the ship owners will pay a ransom, covered by insurance companies (AIG in this case) as opposed to allowing the military to mount an attack. This is especially so because everyone is profiting from the current arrangement.