It was the best of times, it was the worst of Times.

Andrew Goldman goes all in with The Desk
What is “The Desk”? It’s a documentary I made about the making of a short film about my actual adventures with Paul Henry, a TV star from New Zealand whose career imploded on live television in 2010. In the midst of directing this scripted short, I got fired from my job as weekly interviewer for The New York Times Magazine. My life fell apart and I documented it.

It sounds self-indulgent. It’s incredibly self-indulgent. And probably narcissistic too. I mean, I’m interviewing myself for my own website. But I’m embracing the absurdity. If not for the support of my wife Robin, and my wonderful Zoroastrian psychiatrist I would have buried the drives in my backyard a long time ago. Dr. Nejad told me that making the film was a therapeutic and healthy way to deal with my anger, and that the film would probably resonate with those who’ve had similar feelings after being fired. She’s also said releasing it was my fate. The whole enterprise is patently self-indulgent. But that doesn’t mean “The Desk” isn’t a really fun movie.

You veer into Oliver Stone territory with the conspiracy you propose got you canned from the Times. There are a lot of people who will say this, and I imagine the Times will as well, if they ever comment publicly. But one of the things that Efraim Klein, the film’s brilliant young editor, explained to me when he first read my documentary script is that film is not journalism, and the level of detail that might work in a story would bore a movie audience to death. There are a ton of details I haven’t included that would suggest that an advertiser got me fired because she didn’t appreciate being asked hard, but very reasonable, questions.

“Suggest” sounds circumstantial at best. I imagine the case against Bobby Durst will be largely circumstantial too but I happen to believe he killed a bunch of people. Maybe ask Arthur Sulzberger about me and see if he starts burping.

What’s wrong with treading carefully around advertisers? You understand that without advertising there would be no magazines. I understand that very well, and I’ve always been very willing to tread carefully when magazines have important relationships with advertisers. The difference is the Times still tries to pretend that it’s an organization that would never tolerate advertiser meddling. It’s impossible to play by the rules when there are two rulebooks—the official one, and the real one.

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