ASME president and Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive had introduced Pearlstine by saying he could "buy all of our magazines before we even get back from lunch." When Pearlstine said he only wished they were for sale, Leive replied, "Good to know that matters." Later, Pearlstine asked Wenner whether he would sell the company before, say, a Democratic president raises the capital gains tax. "My motivation has never been the money," said Wenner, adding his "is one of the greatest jobs anyone could ever have. And I'm not so sure I'd be a good employee." ("Really?" Pearlstine interjected sarcastically.) "I'm happy to work for someone smarter than me..." Wenner began, then stopped. "Now I'm going to get myself into trouble."
There were less careful moments. Speaking about the pool of young talent: he didn't see an "Internet brain drain" because young people apparently face the choice between working for either "Salon or Slate, or for a magazine with a major and meaningful audience." (Incidentally, Slate editor Jacob Weisberg is an ASME board member.) When asked what magazines he read: "Since Norm left Time Inc., none of those," and said that though the newsweeklies are sent to him, they don't do it for him. "I wish them the best," he said. "I know they're trying harder." He did praise Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Earlier he had told WWD that he wants to frame a letter David Remnick wrote him praising material he found in Rolling Stone's newly released digital archive. — Irin Carmon
PICK ANY ONE: No matter whether it's Al Gore, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or J.K. Rowling, Time's Person of the Year 2007 will likely be a face, instead of a theme like last year's honoree "You," aka user-generated content. "I'd like to pick one person. We've done a lot of themes over the last few years and it would be nice to get back to that original concept," said Time managing editor Richard Stengel at the magazine's annual Person of the Year debate luncheon on Thursday. Most attendees at the event felt the same way, save for "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams, who has served on the panel for several years, and "The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg. Both backed Mother Earth and the word "green," respectively. The short list from My Space co-founder Chris DeWolfe, former Virginia senator George Allen and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali included Gore, Gen. David Petraeus, Rupert Murdoch and French president Nicolas Sarkozy. One concept that may still have a shot at this year's honors is the subprime mortgage crisis, which Stengel believed could be personified in some way. "Maybe you find someone who bought a house outside of Detroit who defaulted on their mortgage. You could say that it's like the butterfly wing that caused a hurricane later." Time's Person (hopefully) of the Year will be unveiled the week of Dec. 21. — Stephanie D. Smith