The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large
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Imagine you’re with the Secret Service. A young Ohioan calls up and says he’ll be joining the Nazi Party. “I wanted you to know.” Wait—the story gets even better. The Ohio man already has been within shooting range of presidential candidates. J. Ross Baughman isn’t a real Nazi, however. Instead he is a photojournalist for […]

Categories: Lorain, Ohio, Media | 2 Comments

How could I have written a newspaper novel like The Solomon Scandals without a chain-smoking editor? Kamikaze levels of tobacco and booze use helped certify newsroom denizens as manly risk-takers several decades ago, the time period of Scandals. Women were part of the scene by the 1970s, but they tended not to partake with such […]

Sally Quinn-bashers have once again been at work—ridiculing an essay headlined Sally Quinn announces the end of power in Washington. Granted, Ms. Quinn has never delighted my inner Veblen. The essay among other things recalled the era when Quinn and her husband, Ben Bradlee, “might have attended five-course dinners a couple of nights a week, […]

The inspiration for The Solomon Scandals novel came in part from my real-life investigation of the late Sen. Abraham Ribicoff’s secret investment in a CIA-occupied building. But guess what? The research was mostly a bureaucratic exercise, a series of phone calls, face-to-face interviews, Freedom of Information letters, and other routine matters. No underground parking garages. […]

Something bizarre is happening at Politics and Prose, and perhaps a few other bookstores in the Washington area—and therein may lie a lesson for the Washington Post. These booksellers are prospering, even as many others across the nation are closing or cutting back. Sales at Politics and Prose have zoomed from $3 million two years […]

Do Ben Bradlee and other Washington Post luminaries actually use the iPad app they touted in one hoot of a promo video? I suspect so.  What’s more, since my mostly favorable review of November 9, I’ve usually read the Post via the app. I have even accustomed myself to the vertical swiping needed to see […]

The Washington Post’s iPad app is finally out. No, The Product isn’t quite the equal of the rival New York Time app unveiled in the spring and refined since then. But the Post’s video promo leaves the Times’s marketing in the dust. I test-drove the iPad app today and suspect that Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward […]

How much coverage of Quinn Bradlee’s wedding is enough in the Washington Post, where his father was the Watergate-era editor and his mother’s picture still graces the On Faith Web page? I’ve noted that the actual wedding, as opposed to the fuss over the dueling weddings, received just three sentences originally and then just three […]

Well, the Washington Post has now published more than three sentences about the Quinn Bradlee-Pary Anbaz Williamson wedding festivities this week. The police showed up at 12:30 a.m. Monday in response to a Georgetown neighbor’s noise complaint about D.C.’s wedding reception of the year. So the Post’s Reliable Source gossip column generously doubled the total […]

Is more on the way? Or is this it? So far I’ve spotted just three sentences in today’s online Post about D.C.’s most-talked about society wedding this year—the union of Sally Quinn’s and Ben Bradlee’s son with a yoga instructor. As a long-time Postologist—with no incredible inside connections these days, but certainly with enough words […]

Seen the wedding announcement in the New York Times? By the time you read this, Josiah Quinn Crowninshield Bradlee and Pary Anbaz-Williamson may actually be man and wife. The wedding was set for today at the Washington National Cathedral (mentioned in The Solomon Scandals, complete with a moon-rock reference). He has worked on videos and […]

Washington is full of people telling others how to live their lives or at least wishing they could. Same for the media world. I call it the Mink Stole Ladies Syndrome, based on a party scene in The Solomon Scandals from the D.C. of several decades ago. Sally Sterling Quinn, with her judgmental dissections of […]

In the newspaper love department, I’m a piker compared to Danny Bloom, an American journalist living in Taiwan. Check out a YouTube of a song he wrote, I Just Can’t Live (Without My Snailpaper). I linked to it earlier from my semi-traitorous post telling how my old factory town newspaper in Ohio could use the […]

My “Don’t fire” headline is for the benefit of out-of-towners. As a close friend of the Grahams, the owning family of the Washington Post, she in fact comes wrapped in asbestos. So why am I writing this generally pro-Quinn post (amid the “dueling weddings” controversy—over the common date of April 10, shared by her son’s […]

It should be online by 7 p.m. Eastern tonight, and, yes, it’s mostly sympathetic toward her. I’ll make my case in detail. Update, 6:45 p.m.: Here’s the promised post.

In The Solomon Scandals, I have a little fun with a hyperspecialized Yalie named Rexwood Garst, a reporter at a Washington Post-type newspaper. “Serbo-Croatian,” says this young resume jock who lives in a converted carriage house in Georgetown, “that’s the key. I know how to speak it.” It all jibes with my suggestion that the […]

How did the sprawling Crystal City complex, near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, get its name? In the 1960s, developer Robert H. Smith dressed up his first apartment building there with a chandelier in the lobby, and soon the name spread to other Smith properties. It was, as I see it, a perfect example of […]

Two kinds of parties show up in The Solomon Scandals, my D.C. media novel: the private variety (“party-parties”) and “name-in-the-paper parties” (where the givers and the guests want publicity). For both, the location is still the Georgetown section of Washington, famous over the years as home to the liberal elite. I’ve never applied for “elite” […]

The Solomon Scandals is not about the Washington Post. I invented not just a D.C. newspaper but also a presidential administration to go along with it. Fiction, as I see it, isn’t about facts—rather, about greater truths. But for those who want a look inside the household of two Post-linked Names, Ben Bradlee and Sally […]

A friend and I had just seen a movie with a soft-spoken and obscenity-free editor, a balding Boy Scout of the city room. Now she wondered if my novel hadn’t sinned in making such a wild character out of George McWilliams, editor at the fictitious Washington Telegram. Her message couldn’t have been clearer. Ben Bradlee, […]