By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
Meanwhile, the mainstream media have been laying wreaths at Kissinger's feet. Years of Renewal was excerpted in the March 15 issue of Time, which declared the book "worth the wait." In her 60 Minutes interview with Kissinger that aired March 7, Lesley Stahl threw only softballs. But then again, in this age of access journalism, who wants to be a bomb-thrower? It doesn't make you any friends. Back in 1976, when the Voice published the "Pike Papers," which were leaked documents from a congressional investigation of the CIA, Kissinger himself accused the Voice of distortion and of fomenting a "new" McCarthyism.
This time around, Kissinger did not return calls for comment.
Elizabeth Wurtzel, the 31-year-old author of Prozac Nation and Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women, recently published an op-ed in The New York Times explaining that when she was in college, she could have used a lot more discipline. But no matter how much she may want to be spanked, the wild child probably wasn't expecting the dressing-down she got at the Tenth Street Lounge on March 8.
That night, some 150 people, mostly young women, packed into the East Village bar to hear nine women writers read the work of other women writers. When it came Wurtzel's turn, she stood up and introduced the work she had been assigned to read, Flying by Kate Millett.
"Can you hear me?" she asked. When voices called out no, she sneered, "That's okay. It wasn't her finest moment." Hissing and booing ensued, whereupon she said, "Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of hers, it's just that this work isn't her best." Then she began reading, stopping at one point to explain that the two people involved "seemed to have had a fucked-up relationship."
Suddenly, a voice boomed out from the audience. "Get down from there! I wrote that piece! I know how to read that piece!" It was Kate Millett herself, the author of the classic Sexual Politics, who is 64 and, by her own admission, flat broke. Long gray hair flowing, Millett grabbed the book out of the stunned girl's hands and finished the reading herself.
When she finished, the audience broke into applause. "Everyone just went, 'Oh, my God,' " says one woman who was there. "It was exciting and it was heavy." Then again, many women in the crowd were conflicted. On the one hand, Millett took control of a situation that she didn't like but what ever happened to sisterhood?
Wurtzel and Millett did not respond to a request to comment. But the story is so good that one of them is sure to write about it, or maybe it will appear in an upcoming book about intergenerational feminism by Amelia Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner, who organized the event.
How come all the twentysomethings get the book deals? Freelance writer Lucinda Rosenfeld, 29, has sold her first novel to Random House editor Daniel Menaker. Says Menaker, "It's a series of scenes in a woman's life starting with late grade school up to the age of 25, each of them an encounter with a different boy or man. It's really good. It's not meant to be erotic or pornographic. The scenes have as much humor as sex, as much melancholy as humor, and as much insight as any of those things."
Rosenfeld, who has written for the likes of Elle, Harper's Bazaar, and The New York Times Magazine, says it happened out of the blue: she was trying to find a copy of a book that Menaker edited. She called Random House, expecting to speak to Menaker's assistant, got him on the phone instead, and then dropped by the office to get the book. As she was leaving, "I mumbled something about how I was writing a book," whereupon he asked her to send him 50 pages. Maria Massie, of Witherspoon Associates, handled the deal.
Jake Tapper, a senior writer for the Washington City Paper who just turned 30, got famous last year when he wrote about his date with Monica Lewinsky. And now he's back. St. Martin's is about to publish Tapper's first book, an unauthorized biography of Jesse Ventura, and Salon has hired him as the new D.C. beat reporter.
"They're going to give me a laptop and point me to Capitol Hill," says Tapper, who calls himself more storyteller than pundit. He says that Salon editor David Talbot was impressed with recent cover stories Tapper wrote on Mike Tyson and journalist-pornography trader Larry Matthews. Then, when Tapper met with Talbot and news editor Joan Walsh last month, he says, "Everyone was in the same place professionally. We got in a circle and sang 'Kum-ba-yah.' "