Dear chaps, please excuse me for a couple of paragraphs while I turn into Gawker. In fact, I'm surprised Gawker hasn't worked this one out. It concerns the much-mooted relaunch of Radar, about which Gawker has been known to obsess from time to time.
Radar is/was/could be/will always be this somewhat ungainly lifestyle and culture magazine that was a smarter Blender, or a more androgynous Maxim. I mention all this because I trust that all you good people have never picked up one of these rags, and are, like me, ineligible for employment there. The important thing to note is that it pops up every now and then, provides temporary employment to some of the more obnoxious of Manhattan's creative class, and then disappears.
But is has, in the form of editor on chief Maer Roshan, an indefatigable booster. Maer knows that without him, many Mac-operating w*nkers will starve, and thus he is able to scare up some venture capital now and then to put out some issues. Never mind that whatever demographic he thinks is ill-served by the current crop of magazines is probably now owned by Denton's minions.
I shall get to the point now. Latest is that billionaire Ron Burkle is considering pumping some more money into Radar, as Gawker noted. Mr. Burkle is an occasional media investor, and is also making a pitch for some of the unionized Knight-Ridder papers, but this tilt at resuscitating Radar seems a mite quixotic.
This morning appears in the Daily News word that Mr. Burkle was being shaken down by a member of the loathsome Page Six gang. Burkle was apparently told that for a substantial sum of money the disgusting gossip-mongers at the Post would leave him alone. Burkle did the sensible thing and turfed the problem over to the Feds, who with luck will send at least one of them down.
But what if Burkle had a plan B? Page Six' capo, the bounteously oily Richard Johnson, is known to be rather difficult to attack, on account of his powerful publicist wife and solid media connections in the city. We learned this from Toby Young's book, and if you think that resting the following conspiracy theory on Mr. Young's information is a tad unwise, you'd probably be right.
What is the only possible use right now for a mostly independent, media-obsessed magazine with a track record of taking on celebrities with heavy handed publicity teams (see Cruise, Bonkers Tom)? That's right, some nasty-ass hatchet jobs on Richard Johnson, his wife his tennis partners, his employers, his pet dog, and anyone else that f***s with Ron Burkle.
[UPDATE: Bugger, mere minutes after this post, Gawker puts up a well-sourced and concise summary that gives this theory the words that it deserves. Like, seven]