The Buzz

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The good part about Michael Wolff's writing on media for New York magazine is his crackling, big-think distillation of the goings-on in that world. The bad part is his playing out its incestuous self-regard. So it is with his soon-to-be-released book "Autumn of the Moguls." There's a satchel-full of excellent, whack-on-the-skull-notions (like the riff about America Online being built on the sweaty back of its dirty chatrooms). There's also an entire chapter on Wolff's personal table at Manhattan's media boite Michael's. Granted, it's all very modern-day media-world and somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But still. Wolff lets you know the table is "a very good table very near the front of the room."

Still, The Buzz concedes it's brave to refer, in print, to Miramax Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein as "obese and grotesque ... a famous cheater and liar." And Wolff's excellent deconstruction of, say, why AOL tanked, and the role of former AOL Time Warner co-Chief Operating Officer Bob Pittman in said tanking-among many others-is a delight. He also manages to nail the peculiar malaise gripping the media world these days. We couldn't put the damn thing down, suffused throughout with the kind of self-horror-itself a feeling very modern-day media-world, as Wolff amply documents.

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