Stephen Schwarzman sits in front of the breakfast table.
It’s not just any breakfast table. It’s the most important breakfast table in the world. It was built for John F. Kennedy by an Italian marble worker who died mysteriously during the cold war. Kennedy never ate at the table, however. He was assassinated too early. Later it was acquired by Nancy Reagan for her husband, the former President. But he also died before he could eat breakfast at the table.
It made Schwarzman happy to know that among these powerful men, only he had eaten at the table. He. Stephen Schwarzman of Philadelpha, the man who had come from nothing and become something. No, not “something.” Who had become everything. And not “become” but made himself. The man who had made himself into everything.
A servant silently glides across the polished floors of the most important breakfast nook in the world. A moment of irritation passes across Schwarzman’s face. He has barely touched his crab salad. There is at least $320 worth of crab still on the plate. There is also kiwi and grapefruit and a spice from Thailand that is unavailable in the United States. Unavailable to anyone who is not Schwarzman. It was a gift from the third most powerful man in China. If this servant touches his plate, Schwarzman will fire him. Why are they always touching his plate before he is finished?
The servant isn’t here for the crab. He is carrying a phone on a silver plate. He doesn’t say a word.
Schwarzman lifts the phone, flicks it open. He makes a mental note to fire whoever is calling during his breakfast.
“You’re reading that story in the Journal about winning another year to fight the private equity tax, right?” the voice of his chief lobbyist does not sound as happy as it should. Schwarzman was reading that story. “Look. Forget it. Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has declared the private equity tax hike dead in the Senate, there’s still a chance that an even harsher tax hike could work its way into a bill to reform the alternative minimum tax.”
Schwarzman chews a bit of crab but doesn’t say anything.
“Do you have the New York Post?” the lobbyist asks.
“Who the fuck do you think you are talking to?” Schwarzman says, tiny bits of crab escaping from his lips.
“Here’s the deal. The house proposal raises the tax on carried interest to 38 percent. The Senate will have a lot of political pressure to act on this AMT patch and a carried interest bill could be one palatable way to offset the revenue hole they need to fill. We can still probably get rid of this thing. But the house is harder to fix. So many more of the buggers. We’ll have to spread the love around a bit,” the lobbyist says.
Schwarzman coughs. He hangs up the phone and puts it on the plate. Looking back at the crab, he quickly calculates what 38% of his breakfast would be. Then he eats that portion in one forkful.
For a moment his mind flashes back to the family store in Philadelphia, to his job folding towels. They would like that, those Democrats. They would like to see him back in Phildelphia, folding fucking towels.
The servant turns quickly and walks across the room. There’s a slight squeaking noise as his soft, rubber soled sneakers hit the the floors. Schwarzman makes a mental note to fire him.
Why does Bess Levin not get more recognition? Minus the piece she was just featured in for the NYO. I never hear her name mention, when talking about these Gen Y bloggers, yet she probably has a more loyal following. Explain por favor.
I do not know. This is one of the great mysteries of the blogosphere, right up there with how Andrew Sullivan can have sex for 12 straight hours without emergency-room-level chafing, and how John Carney still has a liver. If I had to guess, it’s because Dealbreaker isn’t a general interest site and as such is mostly read by 29-year-old males who work in institutional finance and have a median income of $220,000 a year, and that’s not an enormous audience. It’s an issue of size of platform, and Dealbreaker’s a niche site. I referred to her someone at Gawker a few years ago and she wrote a couple of guest posts for them, but decided she liked her post at Dealbreaker better. But she’s hilarious, and if someone manages to actually hire her away, they’ll be lucky to have her.
I agree with everything Elizabeth said but I’d like to add four more points.
1. Bess doesn’t hang out in media circles very often. She doesn’t show up at parties where bloggers or other journalists get together. This somewhat limits her visibility. Apart from the occassional Gawker posts, she also hasn’t done much to publish outside of DealBreaker or do things like television and radio appearances. Since I’m sure there are plenty of editors and producers who would love to have her, so I assume this focus on DealBreaker is intentional.
2. She’s awesome at writing for her audience, the wealthy young men Elizabeth describes above. This is a great business, since these guys are hard to reach and have a lot of disposable income. But at times DealBreaker can be somewhat inaccessible to a wider audience. Most journalists, even these days, don’t know much about Wall Street and so they don’t get Bess. (This isn’t to say that Bess can only write for this audience. I think she would do an amazing job writing for a general interest audience, like the viewers of the Daily Show. She’s focused on a Wall Street audience because that’s her job.)
3. Bess has widespread and powerful ‘recognition’ in her ‘target demo.’ Fifteen months after I left DealBreaker for Clusterstock, I still find myself explaining to financial professionals who haven’t heard of Cluster that I used to run DealBreaker. And they always ask the same thing, “What’s Bess like?” She’s a star, as her recent meetings with Stevie Cohen and Jamie Dimon indicate.
4. This is all changing. The New York Observer picked her up as one of the most powerful young people in New York. Lots of other journalists read that paper, so you can be sure Bess is now on their radar. She was also prominently mentioned in a big New York Magazine piece about the impact of blogs on the financial world.
In short, I’m not sure Bess even wants the kind of ‘recognition’ you are asking about. If she did, I’m sure she would have it.
So Gavin didn’t win the Hipster of the Decade contest.
Because people are retarded. Gavin pretty much invented “hipster” as a less violent version of punk for kids who missed out on the real thing. And he made millions doing it. He defined the style, the attitude and which drugs and drinks were acceptable to hipsters. But, whatevs, some other guy was voted hipster of the decade.
The worst part about this was that Gavin was supposed to eat his own piss on cornflakes if he won. Since he’s also one of the most hated men in America, this should have totally put him over the edge. Maybe he’s not so hated after all. People voted for Carles because they didn’t want Gavin to drink piss. Or maybe they thought Carles would have to drink piss.
Where was I? Oh, right. Piss. Anyway, it turns out that some guy who might be Gavin’s intern decided to make the game a little more exciting. He told Gavin he’d won. So Gavin drank the piss…even though he’d lost.
Apparently, there’s some kind of controversy about whether or not Gavin is an evil genius who set this up ahead of time, knowing all along he’d eat his piss regardless of whether he won or lost. Because…and I’m not sure if I follow this exactly…eating piss makes you famous. Or internet famous, at least.
I think that’s all beside the point. Whether it was planned or not, a faux prank or not, let’s pay attention to what really happened here: Gavin McInnes pissed on cornflakes and ate them.
Gag. Cough. Happy new year.
NEITHER IS SELF-HELP BLOGGING JOHN KINDLY FUCKOFF SOME OF US ARE WORKING SHHH PLEASE THANKS. The next person to blog advice about how to live my life in the future that isn’t The David Attenborough of Drinking in Manhattan, John Carney, I will not only unfollow, but I will also find someone to pull on your uvula until you’re puking up stomach lining. Although if you’re delivering egg sammiches, John, I’ll take one.
In related news, I had a dream Denton emailed me that Richard Johnson freaked out at a country club, and that Chris Rovzar got the scoop on it because they’re having some kind of gossip feud and that I needed to get on it. And then I woke up. And buried my head under a pillow. And went “MUGHGHGGHHHHHHHHHH.”
Working? Ah. That’s what you call it. One post up at 9:45 am. It’s two hours later. Shouldn’t you be blogging? If you’d followed my advice, you’d be racing along already.
I’m glad you brought in the decade with a bang. If we’re going to make this the best decade ever, we’re going to have to throw a lot of parties. Last night was a sign that we’re up to the task.
This morning you are feeling kind of low. Your head hurts and your thoughts are fuzzy. Your stomache is staging a rebellion. It tastes like a cat slept in your mouth and died there. You regret things you don’t quite remember.
In short, you are hungover.
Fortunately, I know exactly what you need to do.
1. Remember that hangovers are physical not metaphysical. Nothing is punishing you for having too much fun or misbehaving last night. There is no God who hates you for drinking. Karma isn’t out to exact retribution. Nature is not balancing your fun with misery. Everything you are feeling is produced by chemicals reacting to other chemicals you ingested or that your body produced because it was exhausted.
2. Sleep in. You were out late. Maybe you danced. You talked a lot. You didn’t get much sleep. And the sleep you did get wasn’t as restful as it might have been because your body was combating the effects of drugs or alcohol, which takes energy. Go back to sleep for a bit. The world won’t wait for you but the world isn’t a train leaving the station. It will still be here when you wake up later.
3. Drink Coffee. You are tired from staying up too late. You need the caffeine to boost your energy. It will also clear your head, make your thinking faster and sharper. It will boost your mood, as well. Remember a huge part of that depression and regret you are feeling is purely chemical. Coffee will pick up your spirits.
Coffee also cuts the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by 20 percent. So this is a matter of your health.
4. Eat a bacon and egg sandwich. Alcohol depletes brain neurotransmitters but bacon and eggs, which are rich in protein, contains amino acids that top these up. This will make you feel better. The carbs in the bread will be easily converted to sugar, boosting your metabolism and helping you get rid of the alcohol more quicky.
5. Drink a Bloody Mary, Dummy. Do you think it’s just a coincidence that Bloody Mary’s are the quintessential brunch drink? It’s not. Although most people probably aren’t aware that they enjoy Bloody Mary’s so much because of the drink is a highly effecient hangover fighter, that’s surely one of the reasons for its popularity.
Heavy drinking causes dehydration, which in turn deprives you of body salts, including magnesium, potassium and chloride. These are what the sports drink makers call electrolytes (but there’s too much sugar in most of sports drinks and they are otherwise nutritionally dead, so avoid them). Fresh tomato juice is a great source of these. Add celery salt and tabasco sauce to replenish your lost sodium and help you rehydrate. Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice and Worchester sauce for Vitamin C, which helps you better metabolize alcohol. The vodka will ease the alcohol withdrawal, the shock caused by your system by the binge followed by deprivation.
Feeling hungover and sorry for yourself is no way to begin the new decade. Now you know how to recover.
As much as I want to root for the punks, last night’s New Year’s Eve performances make it very clear that Green Day mostly produces prom music these days. Jay-Z, on the other hand, makes music that makes you want to dance. And, really, that’s what punk music is supposed to make you want to do.
Well, I think it’s pretty clear that I won that decade. If tonight is any indication, I’m the fave to win the next ten years too.
The score so far: 4-0.