A team of young New Yorkers descended on D.C. Friday night to throw a party at the Hirshhorn celebrating the one-year anniversary of Good magazine. The heady bi-monthly donates the proceeds from each $20 subscription to charity, and most of the articles also concern bright ideas for how we could all do more for the world. Good has received a ton of attention, not as much for its altruism as for its parties. Founder Ben Goldhirsh, son of Inc. founder Bernie Goldhirsh, has a knack for getting attention. And he’s making a big to-do with birthday parties in New York, Los Angeles, and…D.C. The choice of the District seemed to confuse both the fete’s organizers and the government and nonprofit-worker crowd. (I think I spotted a pair of athletic sandals.)
The packed museum turned, as far as I could tell, into an interlacing web of lines of people waiting for the free drinks. The bar selection included soy-milk white Russians but no wine, to the horror of many, including me. Eric Hilton and Rob Garza of Thievery spun a rather dull set. I did try to have fun. But I was feeling a little surly when we left. And then my friend offered to give a cute girl and her sweaty friend a ride to Adams Morgan. I’m not entirely sure what inspired his generosity. As we pulled away, the sweaty guy beamed that Ben had decided to do something positive with his power.
“What do you mean,” I asked, knowing I was kinda starting a fight. “Is there a specific article you like?”
“Oh, no,” he said. The thing was that Goldhirsh had, marvels, convinced people to give to charity. Our plump passenger said he hadn’t read the magazine and didn’t plan to. Now I understand that giving to charity is a good thing, but it’s also nothing new. Rich people love using charity as reason to party—, and all of Good’s parties seem just like a miniature, slightly indie version of that. But instead of a polo match or a really really fancy party (with finger food and, you know, wine), we got a sort of frustrating, roaming crowd of networking wonks. I could have gone to the Tune Inn and Goldhirsh might as well have sold $20 hot dogs.
In the morning, I logged onto Good’s Web site to check on the quality of all that unnecessary journalism. The articles, however, had been replaced by a notice from GoDaddy.com that the domain had expired on September 3. It seemed all the party-throwing had distracted the young publisher from his, er, mission. It’s back up now.