There is an unspoken and unwritten code among us moguls that I am about to break.
I have seen many things over my crazy life – from drugged out son of movie mogul Harry Manka in the 1960s and 70s to my current life as head of Manka Bros. Studios – The World’s Largest Media Company – but nothing prepared me for the fucked up shit that Herb Allen (& Co.) put us through last night. This is a sick and pathetic world (even for us rich and powerful) and you either join the sick and pathetic to survive or die trying.
While the media that is gathered behind the barbed wire and gun toting secret police outside the walls of the Sun Valley Lodge will hear one story about last night’s “charity gala hosted by Diane Von Furstenberg” – the real story is what happened on the other side of the Lodge.
At 7:46 PM, the lights went out in my room. This wasn’t a problem since it was still light outside. I could see fine. A slow, ominous drum beat could be heard in the distance. Then, the distinct voice of Charlie Rose came over the loudspeakers in what I thought was Latin but just turned out to be bad pronunciation. I started to make out the words:
“Seekers and Outliers…
It’s An Inflection Point…
The Tipping Point…”
There was a pounding on the door of my suite. I looked over and saw smoke coming from underneath the door. I put on a robe and opened the door.
Standing there was Sergey Brin and Larry Page dressed in chain mail – almost like Oakland Raider fans. Sergey was holding a smoke machine. Larry, speaking in as low a pitch as possible (but still pretty high), said: “You have been chosen. The Master demands your presence.”
Behind them, down the hall, I could see Jeff Zucker and Brian Roberts (badly disguised in homemade Spider-man costumes) drag a screaming Jeffrey Katzenberg out of his room and down the hall. Katzenberg was screaming: “I just need to finish this fucking call, you assholes!”
I went peacefully in my bathrobe to wherever the Google guys were taking me. Why the fuck not? This conference was already a dud as far as I’m concerned. This could actually be something interesting.
It was odd to see the Hotel Staff continue to say things to me like “Good evening, Mr. Manka” and “How are you tonight, sir?” – while being led to some secret location by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in chain mail. I believe they were supposed to put a hood on my head because once we got outside they stopped and argued a bit and then put a hood on my head. I could hear a few kids jumping into the nearby pool and having a good time.
As I walked toward something in complete darkness, the drum beat got louder and more intense and I could feel the heat of fire. My hood was suddenly pulled from my head and I had to laugh at what I saw –
– Barry Diller – in tight, small burlap sack shorts, a pair of metallic wings on his bare arms that were on fire at the tips and nothing else – standing in front of me in all his glory. I believe he had taken advantage of the free spray tan offered by the hotel. Behind him, on the ground doing Chinese splits in front of a large Burning Figure was Jon Miller. He was staring right at me as though he was about to kick my ass.
Barry Diller spoke to me in that slow, effeminate but oh-so-frightening voice: “Khan Manka, are you new media or old media?”
I told him I didn’t believe in the concept of old and new media. It’s just media to me.
Barry Diller: Wrong answer!
What followed (and I can’t keep writing because there are more pointless presentations and panels to go to today) was an insane night of dancing around fires; simulating the drinking of blood (which were actually Cape Cods with red food dye squeezed out of bota bags); rubbing canola oil and dirt onto each others bodies; something called the “golden shower test”; and, lastly, Barry demanded a human sacrifice which we all quickly decided should be Marc Andreesson. I’ll never get his screams out of my head.
It was just the worst freakin’ night of my life.
Afterwards, the lights came up and we were all given a goody bag by Herb Allen of various new handheld devices including the iPhone 4, the Droid and the latest iPad.
This morning, 5:00 a.m. came really early. The last thing I wanted to hear was the “Dawn of the Mogul”.