I was reading an interview of Sam Harris by David Samuels. Who is Samuels?
David Samuels, Tablet Magazine’s literary editor, is a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine and a longtime contributor to The Atlantic and The New Yorker.
So in the world of media, he is a player.
Anyway, I noticed something that caught my eye:
I first met Harris eight years ago in a Venice Beach restaurant, where we were introduced by a writer for The Simpsons. While I recall being dubious about whether the 21st century needed a new Voltaire, Harris’ first book, The End of Faith, marked him as one of the most important public intellectuals of our generation, an 18th-century Enlightenment thinker in a 21st-century world riven by 14th-century conflicts.
A new Voltaire? One of the most important public intellectuals of our generation? What kind of sappy writing is that? Why doesn’t he just get on with it and refer to Harris as Sam The Magnificent?
But then it turns out that Samuels, the media guy, is just promoting his friend:
Writing is indeed an extremely powerful and specific form of manipulation that imposes an unavoidable moral burden on the writer at the same time as it serves as a source of pleasure and income. I enjoy manipulating you, and it pays my rent. At the same time, I feel a powerful sense of responsibility to rewire your brain in ways that will have a beneficial effect on your inner life and your personal sense of connection to other people and to some larger whole that you and me and my atheist friend Sam Harris might all agree upon as a useful premise for thought and action.
But it gets much more interesting.
Samuels: I first met Harris eight years ago in a Venice Beach restaurant, where we were introduced by a writer for The Simpsons.
Eight years ago? Samuels wrote that on May 29, 2012. That takes us back to 2004. The very year Sam Harris published his first book. And who introduced Harris to the media player?
A writer for The Simpsons.
Sam Harris not only comes from money, lots of money, but he also comes from media. When your dad was an actor, and your mom and step-dad are TV producers, you have not only money, but something more important…..media connections. Sam Harris, one of the Four Horsemen, is a media creation.
Well, there ya go. There’s one of the media connections. When Sam Harris first began to promote his first book (before anyone knew he would become popular) a writer for The Simpsons introduced Harris to a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine and a longtime contributor to The Atlantic and The New Yorker. They became friends.
Who might the writer for The Simpsons be? I don’t know. But here is a tantalizing possibility:
How Sam Simon helped fund atheist billboards
Alongside his television success and animal charity work, Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon was also a passionate advocate for atheism