About The Author
I’ve been a writer for most of my life. I always say it’s because writing was the only thing I could do when I was young, and there’s some truth in that, but it’s also true I had a couple of good teachers who made me feel I was a writer.
I grew up in Manhattan, drifted through Dartmouth College, then headed west to work on a wonderful weekly newspaper called the Santa Fe Reporter, in New Mexico – in some ways the best job I ever had. A year later, I came back east to be a ‘junior’ staff writer at Time, where I became the runt of an astonishing class of peers: Graydon Carter, Jim Kelly, Michiko Kakutani, Walter Isaacson, James Atlas, Rick Stengel, Kurt Anderson, Steven Smith, and more. All became journalistic stars of one kind or another – you can look them up.
Two years later I accepted an offer out of the blue to be the editor of a glossy monthly magazine called AVENUE, which pioneered in control-circulation, meaning it got given away, thick with fancy ads for jewels and chocolate, to New York’s richest zip codes.
It was from AVENUE that I was hired by Vanity Fair’s then-editor Tina Brown. One of my first assignments was to investigate the scourge of AIDS in the arts – a controversial topic, given that many felt associating the two was somehow subscribing to a prejudice about gay men in the arts. Yet the fact was that the arts were being decimated. That story, done just as the scope of AIDS’ destruction was coming clear, remains one of my favorites.
For better or worse, my interests range from politics to the environment, from society to business to the arts. My roughly 80 articles in Vanity Fair, and my books, span that gamut, which makes me a dabbler, I guess, though I can also say that as a writer I’ve never been bored.
One thing I’m not is snarky. I dislike that tone and all that goes with it: condescension, shoot-from-the-hip views, and glee in finding fault. I write about people I’m curious about, whose passions and ambitions seem worth the ink to me. Along the way, I’ll probably stumble across some flaws or mistakes, and I’ll put them in, too, but in context, I hope, and not without sympathy for what my subject is trying to do.