JT Jackson was David Foster Wallace’s friend and occasional muse at the University of Arizona MFA program they attended together in the nineteen eighties. Or he was Wallace’s old pot dealer, who is now cashing in on the late writer’s legacy. It depends on whom in the inner Wallacesphere you ask. “If JT was a more successful writer,” one person said, “we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” Another described him as “a real character” at the beginning of our conversation, but by the end, he was using words like “charlatan” and “erratic.”
I finally read the Olbermann filing against his former employer, Current TV, because it's Friday and I needed a laugh. (PDF.) It's pretty dramatic and overly aggrieved and not that damning, but then all he's claiming is that contracts were breached; it's not like anyone punched him. On the plus side, at least Olbermann is represented by real lawyers—Patricia Glaser (who did well for Conan!) and litigator Jill Basinger. Among Olbermann's complaints: Olbermann was treated as if he was hired to be a puppet! Not literally, I guess, or this would be a much better read.
Rough day in new-media-land too: Tumblr's getting it from all sides, for pretty much extorting a developer—threatening to shut down his personal sites because they don't like a popular browser extension he made—and for not working well with fashion communities. C'mon boys! This kind of stuff is all easy to fix! Everyone's rooting for you.
"He and I had a huge fight about the editing of that piece…. We even fought about that title."
Over on New Books In Food, hosted by Allen Salkin, Ruth Reichl talks about the editing of David Foster Wallace's "Consider The Lobster" for Gourmet. Reichl had worked to get Wallace to cover something for ages, and finally he settled on a lobster festival. And then… he returned with a piece that was mostly about the agony a lobster must feel: "Is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure?" Chaos ensued. Advertisers ran.
Tmrrw I'll write about my favorite ice cream flavor & then spend three days dealing with press attacks about how unethical I am.
— Michael Arrington (@arrington) February 14, 2012
If you love Internet drama—and why wouldn't you? It's so spiritually refreshing and intellectually fulfilling!—don't miss the current "Silicon Valley tech reporter/investor" throw-down happening at multiple showcases near you. Here's a pretty good entry point: "This started when Nick Bilton of the New York Times posted an item criticizing Path, which had been caught up in a firestorm when it emerged that Path had been uploading entire address books from people’s iPhones. Bilton made the legitimate point [...]
• "Nikki Finke has been fired from the blog she founded, Deadline Hollywood, and will be leaving the company as soon as this week."
• "As you may be aware, Sharon Waxman at TheWrap has just published a libelous, false, and defamatory story on her blog, in which she claims amongst other things that PMC has fired Nikki Finke from Deadline."
• "According to people close to Finke, her PMC contract has a window, opening this month, that allows her to leave Deadline."
• "Right now I am not going to discuss my Deadline Hollywood contract or my relationship with my boss Jay Penske. Why? [...]
If the ship (or at least the captain of the ship) is going down, if founder Michael Arrington is really fired from AOL, then why is "his" (technically: Arianna Huffington's) site TechCrunch still publishing? The first thing you do when the corporate overlords freak out on your publication is conduct a work stoppage. The conclusion you would draw is: that's a lot of people who could lose their jobs, and they don't feel like Arrington could protect them. (He couldn't, likely. They work for AOL.) So apparently the demands made by Arrington—essentially, "sell me back my site or let me do whatever I want"—are not being met. [...]