John Hughes, Director of The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Dies at 59

John+Hughes+01TMZ is reporting the director John Hughes has died of an apparent heart attack. The New York Times confirms. Hughes arguably set the gold standard for teenage flicks with such classics as Sixteen Candles The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, as well as writing Home Alone and Pretty in Pink. Details are still emerging. In the meantime some Hughes highlights.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Breakfast Club

Sixteen Candles

Sixteen Candles – Final Scene – Movie EndingFunny bloopers are a click away

Pretty in Pink

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Mr. Mom

Was Bill Clinton’s North Korea Trip a Big Mistake?

masteroftheuniverseArguably the best part of today’s press conference with just-landed Laura Ling and Euna Lee is when Ling recounted being told the were being taken to a impromptu meeting, and then walking into a room and seeing Bill Clinton. Wow, right? It’s like every Christmas you’ve ever had rolled into one!

That said, was it a big mistake? Will Bill Clinton now be called upon to rescue every unfairly detained American? To wit: Newsweek’s Maziar Bahari has been unfairly jailed in Iran after videotaping parts of last month’s sweeping protests. currently has a long feature about him and an interview with his wife Paola Gourley who is six months pregnant with their first child and hasn’t had any contact with him since June. How soon till someone starts asking when Bill will be jetting off to Iran to pull Bahari out? And if he doesn’t (and in all likelihood he won’t be) what will be the explanation? This is a tricky precedent the government has just set by allowing a former president to directly involve himself in this type of negotiation. Perhaps even a dangerous one according to former UN Ambassador John Bolton, who addressed the potential pitfalls of Clinton’s trip in yesterday’s Washington Post.

While the United States is properly concerned whenever its citizens are abused or held hostage, efforts to protect them should not create potentially greater risks for other Americans in the future. Yet that is exactly the consequence of visits by former presidents or other dignitaries as a form of political ransom to obtain their release. Iran and other autocracies are presumably closely watching the scenario in North Korea. With three American hikers freshly in Tehran’s captivity, will Clinton be packing his bags again for another act of obeisance? And, looking ahead, what American hostages will not be sufficiently important to merit the presidential treatment? What about Roxana Saberi and other Americans previously held in Tehran? What was it about them that made them unworthy of a presidential visit?

Good questions. And ones that are likely going to be asked more frequently in the days ahead. The reality, of course, is that Bill Clinton will not be making regular trips like this. And while the outcome of this trip is fantastic, and the political tableau it provided fascinating, the truth is it also offered the U.S. government a way to open talks with North Korea that not only saved them face but allowed them to look the hero. How high a price it exacts on future Americans held in similar situations remains to be seen.

Fall Fashion? September’s Looking A Lot Like August…

jennifer-aniston-elle-september-2009miley-cyrus-elle-magazine-coverThe September Issue: it’s not just the title of the highly anticipated R.J Cutler documentary about Anna Wintour, it’s also what every magazine-loving fashionista anxiously awaits. September enters our mailboxes like a warm Thanksgiving feast — it’s bicep-flexing heft comes packed with Chanel’s newest ads, Testino’s freshest fashion shoots, and Glenda B.’s most thoughtful Fall advice — a welcome antidote to the malnourished August issue. And of course, there’s the cover: the ultimate seal of approval for the model who lands it. But this year? Not so much.

Judging from Elle’s September cover, which features Jennifer Aniston clad in black leather (last month anyone?), it’s beginning to look a lot like August. Magazine lovers beware: your September feast will be anything but.

In what is widely considered the most important month in both fashion and magazines, ad sales have dropped dramatically: Harper’s Bazaar’s ad pages are down over 20%. W has estimated a loss of 53% of its ad pages. Even Anna’s issue is losing weight – Vogue has experienced a 36.7% loss to be exact (these numbers were taken from the Ad Page Totals at

But ad pages aren’t the only thing September is hungering for. Where is the couture? Where is Uncle Karl’s newest tweed? Or Lanvin’s sexy fall dress? Why are we seeing Jennifer Aniston –yawn –in a black strapless leather bustier and black silk pants, when we saw Miley in leather and lace just last month? Joe Zee, my love, where are you?

WAKE UP! It’s SEPTEMBER, in case you have forgotten, and without high fashion ads itching our scratch, readers will need more than last month’s left overs.s-VANITY-FAIR-large

Other soon to be disappointments include, but may not be limited to:

ashley-olsen-on-the-cover-on-marie-claire-september-2009.0.0.0x0.450x601.jpegVanity Fair’s sugar sweet, yet seemingly sell-out-ish choice to memorialize this year’s two biggest celebrity deaths by recycling images of Farrah and Michael

Marie Claire’s cover featuring Ashley Olsen, jessica-simpson-covers-glamour-magazine-september-2009 wearing a gorgeous, yet unoriginal, white see-thru frock and sporting her usual nose-narrowing smirk

Glamour’s cover girl, Jessica Simpson (aka, Marie Claire’s January Cover Girl and Vanity Fair’s June Cover Girl) decked out in slightly ripped denim – shocking – something sparkly – even more shocking – and too much blue eye makeup.



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Alessandra Stanley’s Brilliance Saves Her!

cuar02_hitchens0804 This disclosure was one of many that Keller made in a Q&A he did with L.A. TimesJim Rainey, the full transcript of which was passed on to Joe Strupp at E&P.

The exchange reads thusly:

Q. Specifically, some people inside the paper believe that Alessandra has been allowed to continue as a critic, without sufficient punishment, because she is close with Jill Abramson. Your response?

A: We love a conspiracy theory, but the truth is simple: Alessandra has been allowed to continue as a critic because she is — in my opinion, among others — a brilliant critic.

As for the perception that some New York Times stars (ahem, Maureen Dowd) get special treatment, Keller had this to say (hint: he blames it on the editors!):

If any editor finds a factual error in any piece by any writer at this paper and fails to point it out because the writer might yell or because the writer is thought to be a favorite, then that editor is failing to do his or her job. Stars or purported stars are obliged to get their facts right. Editors are obliged to edit everyone without fear or favor. Period.

Need For Speed: WSJ Embargoes News Embargoes

nm_wall_stggbournal_070727_msThe Wall Street Journal makes its home at the intersection of business and journalism, two industries that increasingly rely on speed — speedy information that is. In a move to keep up with the increasingly rapid flow of information on the Internet — not to mention beat the competition in the ever-tightening print market — The Wall Street Journal will no longer participate in traditional news embargoes unless their reporters are getting exclusive access, PaidContent reports.

No more sitting on information at the behest of a source to break stories at the same time as other outlets. The Journal is more and more interested in being first, forcing reporters t0 move away from the 3,000-word articles we’re used reading on the frontpage and get used to the idea of churning out short items as quickly as information becomes available. In other words, The WSJ is attempting to operate in Internet time.

The embargo embargo comes just months after WSJ managing editor Robert Thomson stressed the importance of getting news items on the Dow Jones Newswire as quickly as possible in a memo to his staff in March:

A breaking corporate, economic or political news story is of crucial value to our Newswires subscribers, who are being relentlessly wooed by less worthy competitors. Even a headstart of a few seconds is priceless for a commodities trader or a bond dealer – that same story can be repurposed for a range of different audiences, but its value diminishes with the passing of time.

That month deputy editor-in-chief Gerry Baker and Dow Jones Newswire SVP and managing editor Neal Lipschutz elaborated on the nuts and bolts of high-speed reporting in a memo to the staff:

URGENTS are to be considered the first outlet for our journalism. We do not hold stories for publication either later that day or in the next day’s paper unless there is an absolutely compelling case to do so. The bar for this judgment will be set very high…

The premium on accuracy for URGENTS cannot be overstated. Of course, errors must be corrected as aggressively and quickly as possible, but errors do risk damaging the reputation of Dow Jones and the Journal, and corrections slow publication.

It remains to be seen if the new WSJ policies will be received as a muscle flexing or a much-needed move to compete with the likes of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s DealBook at the New York Times and other financial blogs that move information at breakneck pace.

Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed List Clothed in Irrelevance

bdl-obama-0909-ps01 Vanity Fair has released its 2009 Best-Dressed List. Does anybody care? It wasn’t that long ago that these sorts of lists, from publications like Vanity Fair, were powerful measures of a star’s clout, or their clout-to-be as the case may have been. Vanity Fair in particular had a sharp sense of the zeitgeist and was once very good at plucking young stars out of the mix just before they hit the big time.

These days Vanity Fair’s strength, such as it is, lies mostly in its ability to recap some golden era that is still only available to the public through the TimeLife photo archive. To wit: The best-dressed VF archive that is also now online is far and away the more interesting read! Come to think of it, you know who should really do a best-dressed list? The Sartorialist! That would be a great read.

Anyway, best-dressed! Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni top the list. Okay, I take it back, I am not yet tired of looking at pictures of Michelle Obama. But Kelly Ripa is also inexplicably in there. Along with various, mostly uninteresting European royalty. Also, Brad Pitt, Alicia Keys, Anne Hathaway, oh and the President! Well he is well-dressed, it’s true. Oh, by the way you can vote on these, should you manage to make it all the way through. However, by number 17 or so it becomes clear why TMZ has had such great success. Yawn. Far more interesting is this slide show of the ‘Chosen Ones’ which includes the likes of Babe Paley, and Audrey Hepburn. If did a slide show like this every week we would come back for more.

When You’re Wrong About Bill O’Reilly, You Better Correct On The Front Page

oreilly_8-3Fox News host Bill O’Reilly got a rare front page correction today from the St. Petersburg Times – a sign that if you get something drastically wrong concerning the #1 cable news host, you may want to appease him.

TV critic Eric Deggans incorrectly lumped O’Reilly into a column about news personalities who have accused Pres. Obama of racism (his colleague, Glenn Beck, was correctly on that list), but O’Reilly has never said anything like that. The FNC host addressed the story on his program last night as well.

“The problem with Mr. Deggans is acute,” said O’Reilly last night. “All American newspapers have an obligation to hire honest people, not crazed ideologues. Now, I don’t want anyone to lose their jobs, but this situation – beyond the pale.”

For his part, Deggans took to his blog to apologize. “One serving of humble pie, coming right up,” he started.

Deggans also made note of a jinx that apparently came true. When he criticized Alessandra Stanley over her errors, he wrote: “It’s a sure route to jinxland, pointing out the errors of other journalists.”

But at least you got a shout-out on O’Reilly?

Here’s the clip from last night:

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