Holy hell, last week was hot. Next to nude were we, shirtless and in a bright pink turban, our getup not unlike what White Teeth author Zadie Smith is wearing—well, isn't wearing—in the new Vanity Fair. She's bearing more than just white teeth, pictured in writerly retreat in Tuscany, a pug dog pressed to her chest. According to the article, Zadie spent 62 days in Santa Maddalena and by the end of her stay had completed 121 pages of her new novel, The Autograph Man, due in September. It's an "existential tour around the hollow things of modernity," such as "the ugly triumph of symbol over experience." If that sounds like a hot load of publicity pug shit to you, you're right. We demand to know what the book is actually about, but our calls to the U.K. publisher haven't been returned. . . . Not sure if it's a triumph of symbol over experience or just a triumph of lowly editorial assistant over high-flying (and floppy-haired) editor, but the magazine industry is hot, bothered, and very delighted about a forthcoming memoir called How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. No, it is not by Andrew Sullivan, or Jann Wenner, or anyone formerly at Talk. It's by someone you've never heard of: Toby Young, who worked for years as editor-in-chief Graydon Carter's assistant at Vanity Fair and apparently feels fucked over. Toby's New York publicist said on the phone last week, "Listen, it's much more than just the ins and outs of Graydon," and she went on to say something about it being a "coming-of-age" something or other, at which point we stopped listening. . . . How is Jann Wenner alienating people—namely, Rolling Stone readers? By hiring FHM (basically, Maxim for the uncut laddies) editor Ed Needham to revitalize Wenner's flailing former flagship of youth culture. Expect visual doodads and blurb-length articles to replace the long-winded pieces by Hunter S. Thompson
because, according to reports, Wenner thinks we're all too dumb to make it to the end of an essay. . . . More blurbage: This week you may have received (although ours was hand-addressed, so it's more likely you didn't) a narrow postcard promoting the July debut of a new local publication called The Dispatch. Said postcard had little to say about what exactly will be dispatched, though dispatches are promised to be "beguiling," "clever," and quarterly—"to ease digestion." The Nightstand hasn't seen any of the forthcoming contents, and therefore has not yet formed an opinion as to whether this will be an interesting McSweeny's knockoff or a pathetic one.