Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
13

The Way Middle-Aged White Men Work Now

1.

Before he goes to sleep, between 11 and midnight, Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, typically checks in by e-mail with the same reporter: Mike Allen of Politico, who is also the first reporter Pfeiffer corresponds with after he wakes up at 4:20. A hyperactive former Eagle Scout, Allen will have been up for hours, if he ever went to bed. Whether or not he did is one of the many little mysteries that surround him. The abiding certainty about Allen is that sometime between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m., seven days a week, he hits “send” on a mass e-mail newsletter that some of America’s most influential people will read before they say a word to their spouses…. He bursts in and out of parties, at once manic and serene, chronically toting gifts, cards and flower arrangements that seem to consume much of an annual income that is believed to exceed $250,000. Allen — who is childless and owns no cars or real estate — perpetually picks up meal and beverage tabs for his friend-sources (the dominant hybrid around Mikey). He kisses women’s hands and thanks you so much for coming, even though the party is never at his home, which not even his closest friends have seen.

2.

Joe Weisenthal wakes up around 4 a.m. most weekdays, afraid that in the five or six hours he has been sleeping, something happened that could move financial markets. His alarm is his cellphone, and after he silences it so that his wife can sleep, he rolls from bed and starts to type, still in his pajamas, in the darkness of his apartment at the edge of the Financial District. And the first thing he types, the first of about 150 daily messages he posts on Twitter, is almost always this: “What’d I miss?” [...] During the course of an average 16-hour day, Weisenthal writes 15 posts, ranging from charts with a few lines of explanatory text to several hundred words of closely reasoned analysis. He manages nearly a dozen reporters, demanding and redirecting story ideas. He fiddles incessantly with the look and contents of the site…. He is like the host of a daylong radio show, except no one speaks out loud. He rarely makes phone calls. His phone almost never rings.

3.

[Tim Burke] works from home here, in what his colleagues call the “Burke-puter,” for its seamless integration of man and machine. It is less an office than an organism: a flashing, beeping, glowing, thrumming assault of screens, wires, remotes, tuners, phones, receivers, computers and general electronic effluvia wrapped around a person (“the monitor situation up there is insane,” said Burke’s wife, Lynn Hurtak.). Burke sits here alone in the dark day after day, for about 100 hours a week, watching dozens of sports events simultaneously.

To start his day, Burke organizes his desk. He then organizes the games he wants to watch on the various monitors. He makes sure his three Mason jars are filled with water so he will not have to leave the room on the account of thirst. He keeps track of Twitter feeds, Deadspin and breaking news on a monitor he has programmed so he can keep abreast of the many things he needs to keep abreast of.

On one of his computers, he has nine hard drives, which he uses to store the data that he has amassed. He built it himself, “out of components,” he says vaguely…. Since he joined Twitter in 2008, he has written more than 56,650 Twitter posts.

13 Comments / Post A Comment

Deep-vein thrombosis is the new erectile dysfunction.

A GIF, pronounced jif

Wait, what?!?!?!?

jfruh (#713)

@Clarence Rosario SEARCH YOUR FEELINGS, YOU KNOW IT TO BE TRUE

Mr. B (#10,093)

@jfruh I know the inventor of the .gif file pronounces it like the peanut butter, but computer whizzes are often linguistic idiots. HARD-G GIFs FOREVER.

abd5a171a8000000 (#250,668)

And Choire can't even be bothered to make a lousy 90-second morning blast.

davidwatts (#72)

I am excited that by the time I'm their age, I'll just have this stuff plugged directly into my brain. No fiddling with keyboards!

RonMwangaguhung (#3,697)

The world would be a better place if middle aged white men got a good night's sleep

LondonLee (#922)

Sleep is for losers.

mmmark (#4,458)

"…and was working on his dissertation on feminist theory and poker, which he has not finished."

@mmmark When [his wife] met Burke at a party about six years ago, he was 50 pounds lighter; a professor of communications and speech who lectured on media theory

And yet we don't know what time he wakes up in the morning.

shostakobitch (#1,692)

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Rod T (#33)

"Men" "Work"

Ralph Haygood (#13,154)

There's a lot I could say about these fools, but I'll cut to the single most appalling sentence in the post, the very first one:

"Before he goes to sleep, between 11 and midnight, Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, typically checks in by e-mail with the same reporter: Mike Allen of Politico, who is also the first reporter Pfeiffer corresponds with after he wakes up at 4:20."

Politico is toxic drivel. Calling it "Tiger Beat on the Potomac," as Charles Pierce does, is erring on the side of kindness. It's #1 on Alex Pareene's Hack 30 (http://bit.ly/Wxydb3), and for very good reasons. That Politico's Clown-in-Chief is the White House communication director's main man says a lot, and none of it flattering, about the Obama administration's approach to communication.

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