Monday, October 08, 2007

The Annotated Media.

Callen Bair wrote a nice piece about me on Portfolio.com. I thought, since it was a nicely put together, pretty accurate presentation of the story, that it might be the perfect candidate for a new feature here on TYOML... The Annotated Media.

Tah daaahhhh!!!

The piece went like this. My comments have been added in red.

Painting the Faces of Business

I like the headline. In her earlier quicky-blurb about Big Maria she used the phrase "portraitist-to-the-business-elite," a line of copy of which I'm extremely fond.

As mentioned earlier this week, Geoffrey Raymond of Annotated Murdoch fame (this I like too, for purely egotistical reasons), is downtown peddling (I was feeling pretty good up until "peddling," which only further reinforces the artist-as-cheap-whore image explored a couple of posts ago) the faces of business again, this time with a portrait of CNBC business news anchor Maria Bartiromo as the Virgin Mary — he's calling it Big Maria.

When I was talking to Ms. Bair I did refer to it as Big Maria. Truth be told, I'm not sure what the hell the name of the painting is. I'm of half a mind to keep the original "Big Maria I (Plane Too Many)" title, although she couldn't be expected to know that.

"The original reason why I painted the picture...was that I was actually kind of outraged by the...Bartiromo / Todd Thomson / Citigroup / private jet quasi-scandal," Raymond said. "It struck me as one more aspect of how the media isn't what it used to be."

Exactly. I might have put a slash after "private jet", but that's just a quibble. Further: what outraged me was that poor Todd Thompson lost his job over the damned thing (although you could argue that this was merely the window dressing for what would have probably happened anyway, given the ongoing Citigroup cleansing by the now-not-so new boy Chuck Prince), whereas Ms. B--presumably one of the most influential financial reporters on television--didn't even get her hand slapped. The fact of the matter is that she should be scrupulous in not just avoiding impropriety, but also in avoiding the appearance of impropriety. I mean, isn't all this about credibility? And if all this is okay with CNBC, they should look at their policies on this matter. I wonder if CNBC's policies on reporter/subject relationships are the same as NBC's.

Bartiromo as the Holy Mother, then, would be ironic commentary.

I couldn't have said it better.

Raymond has been exhibiting the painting in front of the New York Stock Exchange — where the "Money Honey," herself, reportedly peeked out to take a look at the portrait — and Goldman Sachs — because "that's where the money is." Even so, the passers-by interested in acquiring the paintings Raymond has put on view always low ball him, the artist said.

Big Maria is also up for sale on eBay. Raymond bumped up the starting bid to $4,999.00 from the $3,500.00 for which The Annotated Murdoch eventually sold (to a guy in Thailand who had read about it in the paper). But he wants to see it sell for $10,000 or $15,000.

Ten to fifteen grand! Harumph. Shows you what I know.

No bids yet.

The successful bid came in at "<1 minute" in what one might call eBay jargon. In regular language, this would be called "at the very last conceivable moment."

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