Friday, April 10, 2009

James Wolcott: Cthulhu of Vanity Fair? (Plus: Gisele Bundchen Nude!)

James Wolcott's Vanity Fair blog throws less traffic than Protein Wisdom, but -- alas! -- Jeff Goldstein, Dan Collins & Co. don't have a high-end Conde Nast magazine to pay them a full-time salary to write unfunny "humor" posts:
For a Master of Disguise such as myself . . . majoring in latex masks and the slurring vowels of obscure dialects, infiltrating the Tea Parties will be a piece of pie. It will require little more than a series of message t-shirts tastefully spattered with barbecue sauce, baggy jeans, sneakers that double as orthopedic shoes, and a protest sign with at least one word defiantly misspelled, as if to say to the media, "Fuck you, MSM, only pussies adhere to that 'i' before 'e' bullshit." Please forgive the obscenities and vulgarities--it's all part of "getting into character" and feeling the role.
As much as some may be tempted to compare him to Cthulhu, Wolcott is not really interesting enough to be evil. He might be more usefully compared to Frank Rich, who became bored with writing theater criticism and decided instead to try his hand at political commentary. This seems to have inspired the imitative Wolcott, who had muddled around for decades as a media/pop-culture critic, to decide that this politics scene was the place to be.

How incestuously convenient that he's married to a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, and so the fact that Wolcott's political writing is both ill-informed and unenlightening matters not a whit. As I wrote nearly a year ago:
If James Wolcott is being paid by the word, his 3,700-word screed in the June issue of Vanity Fair is the Crime of the Century.The article is presented as describing the "vicious Clinton-versus-Obama rupture at Daily Kos" and thus an analysis of "a party-wide split" among Democrats, but it's really nothing of the kind. In fact, it's nothing at all. There is no reporting and very little that could be called research. Just massive paragraph after paragraph of florid prose.
Observant readers, contemplating the fact that Wolcott's fictitious "party-wide split" failed to prevent the Democrats from carrying 53% of the popular vote in November, cannot help but conclude that Wolcott doesn't know what he's talking about. And yet he continues to collect a paycheck from Graydon Carter.

True to his belle-lettrist roots, Wolcott apparently can't be bothered to pick up a phone and call an actual source, much less trundle his corpulent ass somewhere and do any on-the-scene reporting. He expects to be admired on the basis of his self-imagined eloquence and wit, which explains why he goes to such lengths with his stereotypical portrayal of conservatives as troglodyte hicks who can't spell.

Like his marriage to Laura Jacobs, Wolcott's liberalism is incestuously convenient. Vanity Fair is basically a fashion/celebrity magazine, and the inclusion of ignorant political commentary is therefore not necessary to the magazine's stock-in-trade. Yet New York being New York, and the magazine business being the magazine business, if Vanity Fair is going to feature ignorant political commentary, you can bet that it will be ignorant liberal political commentary.

So they sell a magazine by putting supermodel Giselle Bundchen naked on the cover -- with a multi-page pictorial display inside -- and use part of the resulting revenue to pay Wolcott to provide uninformative (and largely unread) filler between the ads for jewelry, cosmetics and brand-name clothing.

My search for wealthy investors to fund a magazine combining nude supermodels and conservative commentary has been unssuccessful so far. Oh, there are plenty of guys in the blogosphere who'd be happy to write conservative commentary for 20 cents a word, but nude supermodels? They would require the supervision of a trained professional journalist.

UPDATE: Dan Collins is overjoyed to be named by good ol' Wolly. Just don't try to elbow me out of that gig as Editorial Director for Nude Supermodels at the new magazine, Dan.


  1. I'm pretty sure someone like Wolcott would have his personal hero be Elsworth Toohey.

    Really outside his hangers on, and those paid to read his drivel, who willingly bothers with him? He's not worth fisking because it's too easy, and frankly not a challenge in any meaningful way.

  2. Whoa, I'm not the only one who's made the Wolcott - Toohey connection? Really is spot on.


  3. See if Culture 11, had settled on that formula (Rule 5) they would have been iin business a little longer. The doyen of the upscale
    fashion/entertainment and to the enemy (debauchery and blasphemy)
    never really understood the illogic
    of backing Obama.

  4. If he had any wit he would have spelled it "pusseis."

    Game over.

  5. "Oh, there are plenty of guys in the blogosphere who'd be happy to write conservative commentary for 20 cents a word, but nude supermodels? They would require the supervision of a trained professional journalist."

    As a man who has been editor, senior editor, publisher and web VP for Penthouse, I am your huckleberry.

    See talent is everywhere in the conservosphere.

  6. "nude supermodels" + "supervision of a trained professional journalist"
    Yes, because when action might be expected, you want it written up properly.

    By the way, has Jimmie sorted out his hurricane relationship(s)?