Slate recently hosted a party to celebrate the transformation of one of its editorial projects, a blog about reading every page of the Bible, by the Web magazine’s editor, David Plotz, into “Good Book,” published last month by Harper. Since Plotz more or less summarizes the Bible in a 21st century vernacular, we thought it’d be fun to summarize his book party with the Bible in mind.
In the beginning there was a man with a clipboard, in a Tribeca lobby, near the banks of the Hudson River, directing the wanderers to the home of Slate Group’s chairman and editor-in-chief, Jacob Weisberg. There, they found the door ajar, ready for Elijah (a no-show, but he’s expected at Passover), and dozens of media folk.
These craftsmen of words came together and supped well in the home of Jacob. They ate grilled cheese with truffle oil and meat rolled up in leaves of arugula. They drank white wine, water and beer. Most of the guests coveted the décor of the home, which Jacob shares with his wife, Deborah and their two children. This Deborah is not the Israelite prophetess, whom Plotz describes in his book as an “awesome role model because of her “courage” and “skillful manipulation of weak men” but rather Deborah Needleman, the American editor who created the magazine Domino, which was shuttered a couple of months ago.
As for commandment-breakers at the party, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer talked with Victoria Floethe for several minutes. Floethe, a writer, has recently found herself in the gossip pages, for her romance with an older, married man, journalist and entrepreneur Michael Wolff. The response has been harsh: one commenter on Gawker even likened her Ashley Dupré, the prostitute with whom Spitzer notoriously cavorted. But Floethe has fought back, something Spitzer himself didn’t have much leeway to do. In a piece in Britain’s Spectator, published the day of the party, she wrote that New York has been “reduced to a horrifyingly captious and moralising small town” worse than Atlanta, her hometown.
While there were a few twitters about the Spitzer sighting, Rachel Sklar refrained from gossip with a tweet at around 8 p.m.: “At Slate book party for David Plotz’s ‘Good Book,’ from his ‘Blogging the Bible.’”
Fellow guest A.J. Jacobs didn’t twitter about the book; he blurbed it. An excerpt: “Trust me, thou shalt enjoy.” His credentials: he is the author of “The Year of Living Biblically,” a book about the one year he spent trying to follow all of the biblical commandments. To which journalist Edward Jay Epstein replied, “You know, if Spitzer had followed [the Ten Commandments], he’d be in Obama’s cabinet right now.”
Writer Rachel Lehmann-Haupt, meanwhile, had thoughts to share about being fruitful and multiplying. She has a book coming out in a few weeks that is a personal and journalistic examination of a woman’s fertility. “In Her Own Sweet Time” includes interviews with many doctors and women. If only she’d been able to interview Sarah, who, had Isaac when she was 90. Plotz’s “Good Book” take on this episode, by the way: “Since three wise men came to Abraham and Sarah and told them she would get pregnant, “the story of the Nativity is a rip-off…. The big difference: We Jews do not have any good songs about this incident.”