Brian Grazer's thoughts on the big issues won't be in Sunday's Los Angeles Times Current section, if there even is a Current stuffed deep into papers this weekend. But here is the introduction he penned for the section (well, unless Allan Mayer or Kelly Mullens wrote it for him.) It was gleaned from the news editing system at the Times by someone on the inside.
For virtually all of my professional life, I've made my living - and my name - as a movie and television writer-producer. But what I've really been doing is pursuing a 25-year journey of curiosity. Curiosity informs everything I do. The prospect of exploring unfamiliar subcultures, meeting smart people who look at the world in new and interesting ways, learning more about how things (and people) work - that's what inspires me.
So when The Times invited me to guest edit an issue of the Current section, giving me creative freedom to choose whatever writers and subjects I wanted, I couldn't resist. In the end, I whittled the list to a few of the areas I find currently intriguing: the dynamics of popular culture, the relationship of matter to mind, and the effect of morals and mores.
In short, what makes us the way we are in a constantly evolving world? It's a question that's fascinated me for as long as I can remember, and one I expect to continue asking for the rest of my life.
Meanwhile, blogger Bill Bucy makes an apt point in the comments at the Times opinion blog: "First, count up the people in the Times newsroom [who] have had or are having sex with someone who has tried, is trying or might someday try to influence news coverage or opinion. Fire them. Then try to put out the next day's newspaper."
* 5:30 Update: Times Publisher David Hiller treats Grazer — who might be a little PO'd right about now at how this all backfired on him — with very tender gloves in a release this afternoon. Besides mentioning his Oscar and Emmys, the statement from Hiller lists the writers and pieces that Grazer commissioned for the Current that will never be. After the jump:
This morning we made the decision to stop production of this coming Sunday's Current section that was to unveil a new "Guest Editor" program, with the debut edition headed by Oscar(tm) and Emmy(tm)-winning writer-producer Brian Grazer.
The reason for this decision is that a potential conflict of interest had emerged over a personal relationship between The Times' Editorial Page Editor Andrés Martinez and a public relations executive from a firm doing work for Brian. We believe that this relationship did not influence the selection of Brian as guest editor. Nonetheless, in order to avoid even the appearance of conflict, we felt the best course of action was not to publish the section. The trust our readers place in us, built over 125 years, is of the highest importance and we try never to do anything that would call that into question.
I want to underscore that nothing in this situation is, in any way, a reflection on Brian Grazer, who has been honorable and generous throughout. I'm sorry that he and the wonderful group of contributors he had assembled have been put through this. The fine contributors include Paul Ekman on lie detection; André Leon Talley on fashion and status; Eric Kandel on the brain and psychotherapy; Dalton Conley on political polling and bias; Shepard Fairy with a special illustration; Marty Singer on the increasingly brazen tabloids and paparazzi; and Sam Hall Kaplan on L.A. I want to thank them for their willingness to participate in this novel idea and hope there will be an avenue to bring these creative, thoughtful and insightful pieces to our readers in the near future.
Also today, Andrés Martinez has submitted his resignation and I have accepted it. I understand and respect his decision. I valued him as a colleague and thank him for his contributions to this great paper.
David D. Hiller
Publisher, Los Angeles Times