Monday, 20 June 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #750: Toilet Talk

Comcast is shaking things up at their new property NBC-Universal. One of the first things to go are the perks of the senior executives. They have been moved out of their big fancy offices, to more modest digs, the restaurant style executive dining room that was barely used is now a buffet, and a lot of guys have lost their private bathrooms.

One tidbit from the report stuck with me. That tidbit was that former NBC-Entertainment President Jeff Gaspin spent $200,000 getting a private bathroom installed in his office at the Universal Studios lot.

What does that tell you?

It tells me that he really, really, really shouldn't have had a job with any authority beyond asking if the customer wants fries with their order.

I have nothing against a boss having a private bathroom. If I was running a major corporation, I'd like to have a private bathroom. Because there's nothing that undermines someone's authority than having everyone hear (and smell) the evidence of the massive monkey-claw double-deuce you dropped after a burrito party at Jeff Zucker's house.

But it's not something that's worth $200,000.

I've seen a hell of a lot of home improvement shows, and while I'm no expert, I've seen some pretty fancy-schmancy bathrooms go for $20,000-$25,000 max, so basically 1/10 what NBC-Universal paid for it. The basic model would be a sink, and a toilet, now if you're a really big cheese you're going to want a shower, because accidents happen, and it's better to have and not need, than to need and not have. You don't need it to be big, you don't need it to be fancy, because you're probably going to be the only one using it. All you need it to be is clean, and functional.

The fact that this bathroom was so huge, they reportedly moved out two other offices to make room tells me something about him, and the management of NBC. The reaction to the board of directors to this extravagance should have been to fire him immediately, possibly out a window.

That's because he's:

1. Someone you can't trust with company money: There is only one reason for him to spend that kind of money on that kind of opulence for what should be a purely functional space.


The ego to think that he is so special he needs a massive bathroom, as well as the ego to think that it's perfectly okay to spend lots of the company's money to feed said ego.

Nobody's that special, and anyone who thinks they are, do not deserve any authority because they are going to abuse it.


2. Someone so out of touch with reality they got easily ripped off: Now this is if it wasn't his ego that made him do it, just plain old stupidity or ignorance of life in the real world. It reminds me of a news report I once saw. In it some people were criticizing presidential candidate John Edwards for spending over $1,000 for a haircut. In the report TV producer Norman Lear defended Edwards by stating that it was a perfectly reasonable price for a haircut, because he pays $400 for a haircut and he's pretty much bald.

On what planet is $400-$1000+ considered a normal price for a haircut?

Why the Axis of Ego*, of course.

It's an extremely isolated world, one where everything costs way more than what the free market calls for, because it's not a free market. A free market requires a consumer who knows what they're willing to pay for something because it's their own damn money. In the semi-feudal market of the Axis of Ego prices are determined by how much of someone else's money they can get away spending.

It's hard to find a good and honest contractor, there are a lot of crooks out there. This is especially true inside the Axis. The customers are allowed to be careless with money, because it's not their own, and the vendors know that. So it's perfectly reasonable for a smooth talking salesman / contractor to pawn off a lot of overpriced luxuries on someone who really doesn't know that it's not normal.

Which one is true?

It doesn't really matter.

But either way, it does explain a lot about how poorly NBC-Universal's been run in recent years.


*Beverly Hills, Malibu, Hollywood & related environs.


  1. Blast Hardcheese21/6/11 7:29 am


    $200k is more than I paid for my house! I'm an ardent capitalist and even I think that's crazy.

    Actually, if it was his own money blown on Le Commode Golden I'd be fine with it. But to be spending other people's money like that? Crazy.

    One thing that doesn't make sense to me in the whole 'Axis of Ego' thing is...don't these bozos ever run up against 'real' people? You know, the gardener, the housekeeper...people who have to really work for a living and make ends meet. Don't they ever talk to them, or are they just part of the background to their own Awesomness?

  2. When you're a full citizen of the Axis of Ego, everyone you meet is somehow dependent on you for their living, or wants to be dependent on you for their living. And a lot of times you're not even paying for them, the company you work for is.

    That's a lot of butt kissing and it can skew your view of the world.

  3. What Mr Hardcheese said.

    For $200,000 you could buy my house. Twice. And I live in a fairly nice, if older, home. Of course, I live in flyover country.

    It's not like the coasts where you have to make a deposit of your left kidney just to rent a two room flat.

    While I have to agree that a really nice bathroom is the ultimate when it comes to living well.......That's a bit much.

  4. From what I am reading from Comcast this is encouraging, much of NBC's ratings mess had do do with ZUCKER and this insane corporate culture. What these execs need is a lesson in discipline and self control.