Thanks to the anniversary, he has lately been much in the news. He has made the rounds on the chat shows, morning and evening.
HBO, meanwhile, is airing a two-part, four-hour documentary, Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edgeproduced by Wenner and codirected by the gifted left-wing documentarian Alex Gibney.
Altogether it is enough commotion to cause the average consumer of media to rear back and ask: As it happens, there are at least two answers to that question.
One is that Wenner possesses superhuman powers of self-promotion. In the journalism business, it is usually the writers who leap onstage to gyrate and shimmy in hopes of pleasing an indifferent public, while their editors keep shyly to the shadows, feigning modesty and smoldering with envy.
He has made himself more famous than all but a handful of his writers; the rest bear on their backs the skid marks from his powder-blue Porsche N Cabriolet.
The other answer is this: Wenner was a genuinely great editor, and as with all great editors his magazine see more an Popular Best Essay Editor Site For University of his ambitions and enthusiasms.
Rolling Stone and its founder are worth attending to, if not celebrating, because for two or three decades the magazine served as the most articulate promoter of the s counterculture in all its guises: As a result he became not only famous but rich—and not just rich but shamelessly, ostentatiously rich, a man who enjoyed his filthy lucre perhaps a bit too much.
The powder-blue Porsche was just the beginning. And many of his early allies, who once considered him a fellow radical, have never forgiven him for it. Aside from an occasional nod to his editorial gifts, the biographer never gives Wenner an even break. A quick flip through the index shows the story as Hagan wants to tell it. The biographer lobs insults into the oddest places.
But Hagan follows up with a quotation from an estranged ex-employee to make a dark non sequitur: Hagan likes sarcasm, too. Anyone who takes the trouble can piece together a balanced and more plausible view of Wenner with snatches from each. Like most success stories, his begins in ravenous ambition. Reared in prep-school comfort in Los Angeles, Wenner had dropped out of UC Berkeley and was working a series of low-end reporting jobs in San Francisco when he got the idea for Rolling Stone.
Gleason, 30 years his senior. Gleason was a widely admired jazz critic who himself had become besotted by rock and roll. His fascination led him to make the sartorial mistakes common in those days to the year-old men who embraced rock culture and, they hoped, the young women who came with it. At Rolling Stone he dropped the hipster duds and acquired the bushy sideburns, the billowing mustaches, the turtlenecks, the peace symbols dangling here and there. Still, Gleason was a serious man. This wasthe year of Sgt.
Like Wenner, Gleason believed Popular Best Essay Editor Site For University as a musical form rock was substantial enough to bear the critical weight that hep-cat intellectuals had earlier placed on jazz.
Unlike Wenner, he had a keen appreciation for professionalism. From the first, Hagan makes clear, Wenner was as much a fanboy as a journalist, hoping to use his position as editor of a rising publication to bathe in the nimbus of his favorite rock-and-roll celebrities. The ambition often paid off editorially. In word came that Lennon and Yoko Ono had posed naked, front and back, for the cover of a new album called Two Virgins.
It made a worldwide sensation. Multiple printings of the issue sold out. And Wenner had made a new friend. The friendship was transactional, as friendships between journalists and celebrities usually are. A few months after the Beatles broke up, Lennon agreed to grant Wenner a long interview. Coming off years of drug abuse and months of psychotherapy, Lennon was as garrulous as any ex-junkie analysand could be. The interview, its extravagant profanity uncensored, appeared over two issues and again generated headlines everywhere.
In his nationally syndicated column William F. By this time Wenner was presenting himself as an intimate of the couple—such good pals indeed that Lennon bestowed upon him a pen-and-ink drawing of Yoko, naked with legs akimbo.
The Lennon association gave Wenner and his writers credibility as they set out to woo other stars for profiles and interviews. Lennon quickly came to please click for source the interview with its multiple indiscretions, and he assumed that its one-time appearance in Rolling Stone would be the end of it. Wenner knew editorial gold when he saw it.
After promising Lennon never to reissue the interview in book form, Wenner waited a few weeks and then incorporated his own book-publishing company to reissue the interview in book form. Furious, Lennon never spoke to him again and badmouthed him to anyone who would listen. Hagan says Lennon quietly funded a rival countercultural magazine in San Francisco in hopes of driving RS out of business. By then it was too late. S tories from the Edgethe HBO documentary, fails to mention the falling out between Jann and John, leaving viewers with the impression of an enduring friendship.
Yet even discounting for the whitewash, Stories from the Edge persuades a skeptical viewer that Wenner had his own kind of integrity. The fanboy in him ran puffers on his rock-star friends, but as the magazine Popular Best Essay Editor Site For University in circulation and seriousness the editor in him knew enough to print the facts as his reporters found them.
The Rolling Stone article placed blame for the calamity squarely on the Stones, even though Wenner at the time was sucking up to Jagger like a DustBuster. In the same way, while Wenner might occasionally insist on a favorable review of some performer he was busy romancing, the list of albums by big stars that he let his writers pan is long, and surprising even now. Often he let go here staff mock his pretensions or politics in print.
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If you concluded from this freewheeling atmosphere that the people who worked for Jann Wenner liked him, you would be misled. Popular Best Essay Editor Site For University years ago, when former and current staffers held a year reunion, they decided not to invite him so everybody could have fun. Hagan gathers enough evidence to make the case that his subject is petulant, self-centered, miserly, cold-blooded, infantile, and quite willing, in the wink of an eye, to turn friend, family, or foe into objects to be manipulated for his own advancement or satisfaction.
Not a lot of fun to date, work for, marry, have sex link, parent, be raised by, or do business with, is Jann Wenner.
But what about his work? The editor that Wenner is most often compared to—by Hagan, by journalism professors, and by Wenner himself—is Hugh Hefner. The comparison is probably unavoidable.
Both men singlehandedly founded famous magazines in the second half of the 20th century that shambled, still upright but much the worse for wear, into the 21st.
Both men became famous for the polymorphous perversity of their semi- private lives. Professionally, though, the comparison is inapt and unfair—to Wenner. Hefner was a humorless flesh-peddler, a pompous publicist. His method of editing was to pay high fees to first-rate writers who sent him their third-rate stuff.
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Over more than 60 years Hefner managed to edit a magazine whose contributors included Nadine Gordimer, Marshall McLuhan, John Updike, Vladimir Nabokov, Eric Hoffer, and John Cheever and still failed to publish a single landmark piece of fiction or journalism. Not so with Wenner and Rolling Stone. As an editor Wenner was panoptic, widely curious, and tuned to talent.
Thompson and bought up writers Tom Wolfe, P. He squeezed all of them for their best stuff, through charm, cajolery, and cash. His more info gift to them, aside from bottomless expense accounts, was patience, bordering on indulgence. There are two kinds of writers, someone once said: An issue of Rolling Stone in its glory days offered vast hectares of prose, printed in stately columns with neoclassical trimming, marching down the page between illustrations of the highest quality photographs by Baron Wolman, Richard Avedon, and Annie Leibovitz; pen-and-ink grotesques by Ralph Steadman; caricatures by Philip Burke and Steve Brodner.
The kind of latitude Wenner allowed his writers might have resulted in one of the dullest creatures in publishing: And they reflected a high opinion of his audience, maybe undeserved.
It was Wenner who sent Wolfe to Cape Canaveral in to write about a moon launch.
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Popular Best Essay Editor Site For University decade later, Wolfe got stuck trying to write a novel about New York City. Wenner offered this web page publish the book in installments, Dickens-style, on the hunch that the greatest magazine writer of his time might force himself to write against an immovable deadline.
The Bonfire of the Vanitiesrevised and placed between hard covers, caught American life more precisely and hilariously than any other novel of the time—or of our time, for that matter.
Wenner turned Thompson into a brand, long before it occurred to anyone else that a self-respecting writer would put up with such an indignity. Wenner already had one writer, Timothy Crouse, covering the campaign. Thompson filed 14 dispatches in all. For anyone who swallowed them whole as they appeared, and who never quite recovered from the experience, the story of their publication seems heroic, even oddly moving.
After a few days reporting, Thompson typically would hole himself up in a hotel and postpone writing for as long as possible—he once compared his method to a jackrabbit on a highway, waiting till the last second to jump out of the way of the car.
At last, fortified with bourbon and methedrine often supplied by Wennerhe might begin his story in the middle or at the end. He sent the sections as they rolled from his typewriter, out of sequence and at all hours, across a Teletype-like device to the RS offices in San Francisco.
With the deadline pressing in, Wenner and a deputy would man the machine round the clock, and as the pages tumbled out they tried to arrange them into a coherent whole.
The prose moves at lightning speed, tossing off wild images and wacky observations as it races down the page. Long stretches of the book are simply made up, a fact that Thompson and Wenner assumed readers would tumble to.
The rest comprises energetically written bits of mediocre, and ultimately mistaken, punditry, with intimations of an onrushing apocalypse as a backdrop to the fireworks. His enduring gift to his readers was to make them laugh. Which should be enough. Thompson was once asked whether any other editor would publish writing like his. Money was always a point of contention between Wenner and Thompson. You could plug the names of any writer and editor into that sentence.
Until his suicide 32 years later, his stuff appeared only sporadically in Rolling Stone —or anywhere else.