On Monday, at a dinner at the Waverly Inn, an executive of Uber suggested that the company ought to hire people to smear journalists—PandoDaily’s Sarah Lacy was the example—who have criticized their practices. (Lacy had recently written about the sexism in the company’s corporate culture.) Unfortunately for Uber, a Buzzfeed editor was at the dinner. In the aftermath of the story, written by Ben Smith, Uber’s CEO apologized for the company and on behalf of the executive, Emil Michael, in a series of tweets that is especially amusing, as the Awl pointed out, when accompanied by a Twitter avatar that is “literally a picture of money.” Lacy responded in a horrified post yesterday. “There is a line someone can cross, even amid an era where the Valley believes founders can never be fired.”
Hendrik Hertzberg writes about his time as editor of the New Republic in the ’80s and early ’90s, a charmed era of unceasing argument both in the magazine’s offices and on its pages: “What The New Republic did best, had always done best, was opinion. Its politics were polemical, its art was the art of argument. The divided staff became, in effect, a kind of murder board.”
The Oxford Dictionaries word of the year is vape—”to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.”
Tonight, the National Book Awards will be announced, with the ceremony livestreaming at the National Book Foundation site beginning at 7:40pm. Our hopes are with Marilynne Robinson for fiction (she’s the master), Camille Rankine for poetry (same), and Roz Chast for nonfiction. You can read Michelle Orange on Robinson’s Lila here; and Parul Sehgal has a review of the Rankine in our upcoming issue, which comes out December 1. On Monday, the Foundation’s “5 under 35” winners, Yelena Akhtiorskaya, Alex Gilvarry, Phil Klay, Valeria Luiselli, and Kirstin Valdez Quade, were celebrated at an event in Brooklyn. We interviewed Akhtiorskaya this summer.
At The Toast, Roxane Gay has launched her new vertical, Butter.
James Wood on Hermione Lee’s biography of the late-blooming English novelist Penelope Fitzgerald, who “proceeds with utmost confidence that she will be heard and that we will listen, even to her reticence.”