OTHER SUN VALLEY 2016 POSTS:
This morning was, by far, the most dramatic and tense mornings I’ve ever had at Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Conference – and there have been many dramatic and tense mornings over the years.
We were jolted awake at 5:00am by a screaming, shrieking version of “The Dawn Of The Mogul” over the loudspeaker.
I am told Herb Allen wanted to shake it up a bit for the younger crowd (mostly for the Snapchat guy – Evan Spiegel – who he took liking to) and make it more “relatable” to them – so he had Iggy Azalea – a female Australian white rapper – record the anthem. My God, it was awful.
There was a note pushed under everyone’s hotel room door instructing us put on the military fatigues provided by Allen & Co. (emblazoned with the logo) and meet down at the Duck Pond in fifteen minutes.
Today, there would be no calisthenics.
Today, there would be nothing but war.
Supposedly, Herb Allen wanted to end this battle between Old & New Media; Hollywood & Silicon Valley; once and for all.
And his solution – was paintball.
When we all gathered blurry eyed looking ridiculous in Allen & Co.-branded military fatigues, Herb Allen was in complete Master Sergeant mode – chomping on a cigar and using kids’ sidewalk chalk to draw a thick red line down the middle of a pathway.
Herb Allen: Old Media on this side! New Media on this side!
Almost everyone started to move to the New Media side as no one wants to admit being on the “old” side.
Herb Allen: Stop! (he spit) If you work in Hollywood or New York go to this side (he pointed) over here – with the duck!
There was a duck sitting on the Old Media side.
Herb Allen: If you work in Silicon Valley or are under 40 – go over there!
The sides were split. All of us had no idea where he was going with this – though, I must say, the New Media group looked pretty pumped up – nodding their heads like bullies about to take down a bunch of weaklings.
Herb Allen: The game is paintball. The objective – VICTORY!
Old Media was given bright green paintball guns and New Media was given bright red paintball guns.
Herb Allen: You will be given ten minutes to strategize, pick a leader, and then I will sound the battle horn! You may not leave the property and please stay away from the pool where there are many families with young kids. Go!
Both groups broke off and went different directions. I (Khan Manka, Jr. – just so you don’t forget) went reluctantly Old Media (didn’t anyone see that we’re going Over-The-Top?) and we converged near a supply shed by the executive parking lot.
By the looks on our faces, you’d think we had already lost.
Bob Iger: O that we now had here but one ten thousand of those young men and women in Hollywood that do no work today!
Les Moonves (a former actor – remember? – in full Henry V St. Crispin’s Day mode): What’s he that wishes so? My friend, Bob Iger? No, my fair Bob, if we are marked to die, we are enough to do our Hollywood’s loss; and if to live, the fewer of us, the greater share of honor (and power and money!). God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one person more.
John Malone: What the fuck are you talking about?
Les Moonves: Proclaim it, Bob, that he which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart – I’m looking at you, John Malone – his passport shall be made, and crowns for convoy put into his purse; we would not die in that man’s company that fears his fellowship to die with us.
Several moguls look at each other – prepared to leave but decide to stay after a glare from Les Moonves.
Les Moonves: This day is called Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Day. He that outlives this day and comes safe home, will stand a tip-toe when this day is named, and rouse him at the name of Herb Allen.
A fire in the eyes of the moguls was clearly being lit.
Les Moonves: He that shall live this day, and see old age (well, I suppose most of us are already there), will yearly on the vigil have a dinner party with his neighbors and say “Tomorrow is Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Day.” Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, and say “These wounds I had on Herb Allen’s Day.” Then shall our names, familiar in our mouths as household words – Les Moonves, Bob Iger, Jeff Bewkes, Rupert Murdoch – other Murdochs – Shari Redstone, Brian Roberts – be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
The fire is now mixed with tears in the moguls’ eyes.
Les Moonves: We few, we happy few, we band of moguls; for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my mogul friend, be he ne’er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition.
Les Moonves stands, prompting everyone else to stand.
Les Moonves: And executives in Hollywood now a-bed – or at the gym – shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods (and womanhoods) cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Day!
A massive cheer erupts from the band of moguls as the BATTLE HORN SOUNDS!
As we charged into battle we were immediately and completely surrounded by New Media.
Rupert Murdoch: Goddamn you, Moonves, and your fucking speech!
Old Media had been thoroughly outmaneuvered by New Media and the slaughter was horrific. Red paint splattered everywhere, bodies falling hard to the ground. New Media showed no mercy as the Old Guard fell.
No one was spared.