"Nothing better defines Kim than how little we actually know about him. When asked, even the most respected outside experts on North Korea in the United States and in South Korea—not to mention inside the White House—invariably provide details that turn out to be traceable to Dennis Rodman or to a Japanese sushi chef named Kenji Fujimoto, who was employed by the ruling family from 1988 to 2001, and who now peddles trivial details about them (such as how Kim II once sent him to Beijing to pick up some food at McDonald’s)."
JONI MITCHELL: Ask anyone in America where the craziest people live and they'll tell you California. Ask anyone in California where the craziest people live and they'll say Los Angeles. Ask anyone in Los Angeles where the craziest people live and they'll tell you Hollywood. Ask anyone in Hollywood where the craziest people live and they'll say Laurel Canyon. And ask anyone in Laurel Canyon where the craziest people live and they'll say Lookout Mountain. So I bought a house on Lookout Mountain. [more inside]
Two centuries ago, America was a pioneer in the use of punitive isolation. Now it is pioneering a refinement: the use of solitary without end.
As the West African Ebola epidemic stretches into its 10th month: researchers have identified the likely cause of the initial outbreak: a young boy playing with bats in a village in Guinea. The NY Times considers how the opportunity to contain the epidemic was missed and the effects of Ebola on West African economies. Vanity Fair takes a look at the failure to contain the disease within Guinea, Frontline goes to "Ground Zero" in Guinea, and searches for a missing Ebola patient. Meanwhile, West Africans welcomed Christmas (previously) and the New Year. Africa Stop Ebola!
When Mark Birley died at the age of 77 he left behind a legacy of London nightclubs for the aristocratic set ...and a highly contested $200 million dollar estate with last second will changes, phony ex-girlfriends, and feuding children. Maureen Orth explores the family life of the nightlife king.
Can Satya Nadella Save Microsoft? (Longform) Great Vanity Fair article that spends a lot of time examining the Gates/Ballmer dynamic.
"Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Long Suicide of Montgomery Clift" by Anne Helen Petersen for Vanity Fair. (Warning: graphic description of car accident in the link.) [more inside]
Diagnosed with terminal cancer two years ago, and given only months to live, Sam Simon is still alive and still racing to spend the fortune he made as co-creator of The Simpsons on causes he loves, whether he is rescuing grizzly bears (and chinchillas and elephants) or funding vegan food banks. Sam Simon and philanthropy previously on Metafilter
Generation Wuss » by Bret Easton Ellis [Vanity Fair]
"In his books, he used to shoot at the materialistic excesses of his generation. But today, youth has become Bret Easton Ellis' favorite target. According to him, young people are just too sensitive, too narcissistic ,too stupid. But ultimately, as he explains in this exclusive text, he kind of feel sorry for them ( and they love it !)."
Behind Claude’s Doors
In 1960s Paris she became known as the world’s most exclusive madam, whose client list was said to include John Kennedy, de Gaulle, Onassis, and multiple Rothschilds, and whose beautiful and cultivated girls often went on to marry wealth, power, and prestige. But among the many secrets Madame Claude kept, perhaps the greatest were her own. William Stadiem, who knew the elusive Claude in the 1980s, follows her trail to the South of France.[more inside]
I have lived many of the questions that have become central to our national discourse since 1998. How far should we allow the government into our bedrooms? How do we reconcile the right to privacy with the need to expose sexual indiscretion? How do we guard against an overzealous government demanding our private data and information? And, most important to me personally, how do we cope with the shame game as it’s played in the Internet Age? - Monica Lewinsky for Vanity Fair
What that Louie episode got right and wrong about fat women. After Sunday night's airing of Louie, some thoughtful, angry, interesting articles about how the show dealt with the issue of female body-shaming have popped up. But should the issue of fat-shaming women really be brought up by men?
blood, dirt, & angels features audio clips of photographer Alfred Wertheimer discussing several iconic photographs he took in 1956 of Elvis Presley. Among them: The Kiss. [more inside]
Deep below the streets of New York City lie its vital organs—a water system, subways, railroads, tunnels, sewers, drains, and power and cable lines—in a vast, three-dimensional tangle. Penetrating this centuries-old underworld of caverns, squatters, and unmarked doors, William Langewiesche follows three men who constantly navigate its dangers: the subway-operations chief who dealt with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the engineer in charge of three underground mega-projects, and the guy who, well, just loves exploring the dark, jerry-rigged heart of a great metropolis. What Lies Beneath.
To Steal A Mockingbird The notoriously private author Harper Lee is now waging a public courtroom battle. Her lawsuit charges that in 2007 her agent, Samuel Pinkus, duped the frail 80-year-old Lee into assigning him the copyright to her only book, To Kill a Mockingbird—then diverted royalties from the beloved 1960 classic. (SLVF)
Continuously exasperated Tumblr Jesus Christ, Silicon Valley really lets loose [NSFW] at a Vanity Fair profile of Dave Morin, creator of the hip alternative social media app Path.
"Steak is the defining mouthful of our time" (A.A. Gill, for Vanity Fair)
The Making of 'Pulp Fiction' as told by Quentin Tarantino and the cast. Plus ephemera, a QT death chart, and Marvin.
For Vanity Fair's Comedy issue, the groundbreaking improvisational comedy duo of Mike Nichols and Elaine May sit down (but don't quite sit still) for their first joint interview in decades.
Security experts agree that it’s only a matter of time before smartphones become the smart person’s murder weapon of choice.
Vanity Fair: What's Wrong With The Michelin Guide. Esquire:Why It's Hard To Trust The Michelin Standards. FT:Star-Crossed: Once universally revered, the Michelin Guide is now dismissed by some as a relic of a bygone age
"From the beginning, we thought that everything about the show should be painfully, painstakingly real."
My friends and I weren’t popular in high school, we weren’t dating all the time, and we were just trying to get through our lives. It was important to me to show that side. I wanted to leave a chronicle—to make people who had gone through it laugh, but also as a primer for kids going in, to say, “Here’s what you can expect. It’s horrifying but all you should really care about is getting through it. Get your friends, have your support group. And learn to be able to laugh at it.”The Oral History of Freaks and Geeks [more inside]
On Kate Moss, and Taking One for the Team: "So, earlier this week Vanity Fair published a rare interview with Moss, in which the model, who is well-known for her circumspection, is unusually frank about the early years of her career. Moss was still a skinny, gangly teenager when she was plucked from mediocrity in Croydon and catapulted to superstardom. She was barely an adult, almost still a child, when she did her first topless photo shoot, with Corinne Day for The Face. In the interview, she talks about how uncomfortable this made her... This isn't the only the only revelation Moss made during the interview. It also turns out that the famous Calvin Klein campaign she did in 1992 with Mark Wahlberg gave her a nervous breakdown... Conveniently ignoring the fact that when the pictures were taken, Moss wasn't 'the face of the '90s', but a skinny teenage girl who cried because she was made to take her clothes off, Needham continues by saying that Moss' skinny frame 'seemed to encapsulate the euphoria of those long-distant times.'" [more inside]
Cruise post-Cruz was apparently tired of having ... ecclesiastical pillow fights interfere with his sex life: he needed a devout Scientologist to sleep with. Thus began an elaborate auditioning process ... to find him a drop-dead-beautiful true believer to share his lifeMaureen Orth charts the rise—and fall—of a celebrity marriage. [more inside]
"To understand how air-force navigator Tyler Stark ended up in a thornbush in the Libyan desert in March 2011, one must understand what it’s like to be president of the United States—and this president in particular. Hanging around Barack Obama for six months, in the White House, aboard Air Force One, and on the basketball court, Michael Lewis learns the reality of the Nobel Peace Prize winner who sent Stark into combat."
From Vanity Fair, The Murder Hustle: In 1988, 'When businessman Gene Hanson died in a California doctor's office, his partner, John Hawkins, a former Studio 54 bartender, got $1 million in insurance. Nine months later, Hanson was caught in Texas with a new face and a new name, Wolfgang Von Snowden. He and the doctor are awaiting trial for murder. Hawkins, a scam artist and sex addict, has disappeared with the money. Ann Louise Bardach investigates three double lives in the business community of Columbus, Ohio, the Genet underground of West Hollywood, and the luxury condos of Miami's Biscayne Bay.' Part 1. [more inside]
Sponge-Fraud!: 'Artist Todd White seemingly had it all. With a multi-million-dollar art brand, collectors and clients ranging from Sylvester Stallone to Coca-Cola, and a burgeoning reputation in art-mad Britain, his days as lead character designer of SpongeBob SquarePants were but a distant memory. But, as David Kushner reports, when his confidante and gallerist Peggy Howell reported a burglary of his paintings at the hand of ninjas, things took a turn for the even stranger.' [more inside]
"A difficult situation or problem whose seemingly alternative solutions are logically invalid." The tragicomic 1961 novel that sprang from Joseph Heller’s experience as a W.W. II bombardier mystified and offended many of the publishing professionals who saw it first. But thanks to a fledgling agent, Candida Donadio, and a young editor, Robert Gottlieb, it would eventually be recognized as one of the greatest anti-war books ever written. In an adaptation from his Heller biography, Tracy Daugherty recalls the tortured eight-year genesis of Catch-22 and its ultimate triumph. [more inside]
Only 13% of articles in the New Republic, 22% of articles in The Atlantic and 30% of articles in the New Yorker are by women. ThinkProgress' Alyssa Rosenberg wonders why men's magazines underserve women and women's magazines underserve journalism. Anne Hays is boycotting the New Yorker for publishing too few women. Ta-Nehisi Coates thinks it's about old-fashioned class norms. Are the "female stars of long-form journalism" the solution to the problem or a red herring?
I’d always dismissed the idea of human trafficking in the United States. I’m Indian, and when I went to Mumbai and saw children sold openly, I wondered, Why isn’t anything being done about it? But now I know—it’s no different here. I never would have believed it, but I’ve seen it.
"The plan was money. The architect was money. The designer was money and the builder was money. And if you ever wondered what money would look like if it were left to its own devices, it's Dubai."
"You're Adam, a five-year-old boy sneaking your pet rat into your seven-year-old sister's underwear drawer."
In Character: Actors Acting is a series of photos featuring Jeff Goldblum, Jane Lynch, Laurence Fishburne, Geoffrey Rush and 26 other actors reacting to short character prompts from photographer Howard Schatz.
The finance minister might as well be standing in Pompeii and saying that actually the volcano wasn’t really worth mentioning. Just a little lava!
When Irish Eyes Are Crying - an article on Irish economic woes by Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair.
‘Don’t let up on ’em. Drive ’em off the road. Starve ’em to death. Pull their money out of their bank accounts.’ The colorful, on the lam Randy and Evi Quaid are interviewed and profiled at length in the newest Vanity Fair and Esquire magazines.
"The Man Who Never Was." Vanity Fair editor Todd S. Purdum follows up his 2007 profile of then-Senator John McCain and a scathing 2009 profile of Sarah Palin by asking whether McCain, "...the leader so many Americans admired — and so many journalists covered — ever truly existed." (Previously)
"If there were any justice in the world the Greek bankers would be in the streets marching to protest the morals of the ordinary Greek citizen." Michael Lewis investigates Greece's economy. "In Greece the banks didn’t sink the country. The country sank the banks." In this terrific Vanity Fair piece, Michael Lewis visits Greece and examines a country where the general sense of civil society and trust has broken down, allowing mismanagement of the country's finances and economy on an unbelievably massive scale. [more inside]
“Where you going, Clark?” asked the agent. “I’m going to get a turkey sandwich,” he said. It would be the last lie he told before 20 agents with assault rifles wrestled him to the ground. The 2008 kidnapping that capped one of the longest, most fantastic impersonation cons of the 20th century won't keep the Man in the Rockefeller Suit behind bars for long. But what about the discovery of his link to skeletal remains from a family that vanished twenty-five years ago and 2,500 miles away? Who was this guy? [more inside]
“But I decided on the Mona Lisa, which was the smallest painting and the easiest to transport.” “So there was no chance,” asked the court, “that you decided on it because it was the most valuable painting?” - From Vanity Fair, the twisting, engaging story of how the Mona Lisa was stolen in broad daylight in 1911. (via)
Vanity Fair recently published "It Came From Wasilla", Todd Purdum's lengthy profile piece about Sarah Palin, her involvement with and the inside workings of the McCain campaign, and her political future. [more inside]
The sky is a really big place, right? So how did a Boeing 737 and a Legacy 600 private jet manage to collide head-on at 37,000 feet over the Amazon jungle in Brazil? William Langewiesche's detailed analysis of the 2006 crash--which killed all 154 aboard the 737--provides some answers. [more inside]
George Bush's failings and follies inspired some of Vanity Fair’s illustrators' best work.
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