LAT

New LAT column: entertainment

It's going to be on the op-ed page or in whatever the reinvented Sunday Opinion section is to be called, written by Time (and ex-Entertaiment Weekly) columnist Joel Stein. In today's New York Observer, Tom Scocca calls Stein "the face of the late-90ís snarkiness bubble...a take-him-or-leave-him figure," and quotes Michael Kinsley saying he never liked Stein's Time columns. Still, he gets the gig.

Mr. Stein pitched Mr. Kinsley something else: a column about the entertainment industry. And Mr. Kinsley, to his own surprise, loved Mr. Steinís ideas. "They were fantastic," Mr. Kinsley said. "I was thrilled."

Entertainment, Mr. Kinsley said, is "the local story. Itís also the national story that we ought to own." Just as The Washington Postís opinion pages cover politics, Mr. Kinsley argued, the Los Angeles Times should do the same for its local industry.

Sure, but everyone puts The Washington Postís local industry on their op-ed pages. Does Mr. Steinís take on Hollywood really fit in an opinion section? "It might run in our Sunday section," Mr. Kinsley said. "It might run in op-ed."

"I would hope that people would have a broader range of interests than politics," Mr. Kinsley added.

Mr. Stein compared his new role to that of a long line of comic op-ed writers, including Russell Baker and (ulp) Art Buchwald. Not Bob Novak. If anyone tries to leak the name of a C.I.A. agent to Mr. Stein, he said, heíll cooperate with investigators immediately. "Iím going to rat out anyone that gives me information if it means me going to jail," he said. "Other than that, I feel kind of lost."

Stein says he'll be moving to L.A. Stein's website, bio, Time columns and his page at International Creative Management, which reps him for lectures.


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