Memo Pad: Awards, Please... Fish or Foul?... For Hill, Sort Of...

Third time's a charm for Glamour vice president and publisher William Wackermann.

By and and
FOR HILL, SORT OF: "Often bad, but surprisingly important." That was the assessment of Atlantic national correspondent James Fallows, speaking of State of the Union speeches in general. Having written some himself as chief speechwriter for former President Jimmy Carter, he would know. Monday night's State of the Union was at least symbolically important, being President George W. Bush's last, and when Fallows noted that fact to the assorted media and cultural elites at the Atlantic's dinner at the Plaza that night, they did not abstain from claps and whoops. (The event was billed as featuring "100 New Yorkers," so the guest seated at number 101 balefully concluded he was an afterthought — even if there were several other "afterthoughts" beside him.) It could not be learned whether the few Republicans, who seemed to be clustered around Georgette Mosbacher, were as enthusiastic about Bush's exit, and Fallows was diplomatic: "I report, you decide," he said from the podium.

Fallows tried valiantly to spark discussion among politically credentialed diners, with some relevance (Slate editor Jacob Weisberg, for example, just published "The Bush Tragedy") and some awkwardness (Alexandra Kerry, carefully worded, on the man who beat her father, and former congressman Rick Lazio — who, for those unaware, is alive and well in the private sector).

Diners — among them Charlie Rose, Tina Brown and Sir Harry Evans, Andy Borowitz and a few Rockefellers and Roosevelts — were asked to vote on their preferences and expectations in the primary and general election. Brown, who has signed on to write a book about Bill and Hillary Clinton and will be honored today with a lifetime achievement award from the Magazine Publishers of America, raised her hand in support of Hillary Clinton but, when it came to who she thought would actually win, opted for John McCain. She said she was still considering how to report out her book — as in her book on Princess Diana, Brown faces a mountain of existing volumes. "That's what I like about it," she said. "The literature about them becomes part of the story." — Irin Carmon

Portfolio has hired its first European correspondent. Dana Thomas, Newsweek's Paris-based European fashion and culture writer, will join the magazine on Friday. Thomas leaves Newsweek after 12 years at the magazine, and has contributed to The New Yorker, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, The New York Times Magazine and The Washington Post during her career. The author's name has become familiar thanks to her best-selling book, "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster," which takes a critical (and some luxury executives insist inaccurate) look at the business of high-end retailing. Thomas wasn't invited to October's Louis Vuitton show during Paris Fashion Week because chief executive Yves Carcelle was upset by her critique of LVMH chief Bernard Arnault. "He said, 'I don't like that you compared the company to McDonald's,'" Thomas explained to WWD. "I didn't say it was like McDonald's as a product, but like McDonald's in that your label is one of the most recognizable in the world." Thomas said she and Carcelle have since mended their relationship, but she will not be at this year's Vuitton show — or any shows in New York or Europe — because she will continue her book tour in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Australia. — S.D.S.
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