Journalism and rich people: “We move in their world, but it is their world.”

A great story from The Paper, a 1994 movie starring Michael Keaton, Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei, Randy Quaid and Robert Duvall.

The characters played by Duvall and Close are in this scene.

Bernie: In ’68, a bunch of us went to cover the Olympics in Grenoble. Decided to go to the best restaurant in town. Now, the menu didn’t have any prices, but we were all on expense accounts so we figured, fuck it, got drunk. Well, somehow there ended up being, I don’t know, fifteen or sixteen of us at the table, and when the check came – ooooo, it was nine thousand dollars.

Alicia: Whoa.

Bernie: Yeah. [chuckles] So, now we’re all starting to point fingers, we’re trying to figure out who invited who. And just when it was starting to get really embarrassing, this funny-lookin’ old guy at the next table calls the maitre-d over. [mimics writing] Ehhhh, he did a couple of squiggly lines on a napkin, signed his name, winked at us – that was it. The old guy was Pablo Picasso, and that napkin paid our bill.

Alicia: Did I miss the segue here, Bernie? What’s the point?

Bernie: Well, the people we cover – we move in their world but it is their world. You can’t live like them, Alicia. You’ll never keep up. Now, if you try and make this job about the money, you’ll be nothing but miserable, ’cause we don’t get the money – never have, never will.

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About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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