After jumping through nuclear-fueled flaming hoops getting some expenses paid this week, I can’t help but envy these tales of a time when men were Men and expense accounts were Expense Accounts:


The sex. The money. The booze. The journalism. For #LastPrintIssue of Newsweek, I spent weeks interviewing dozens of Newsweek vets for a huge oral history of the making of the magazine. Here’s one of the stories I dug up: 

Kubic: Arnaud de Borchgrave was famous for this kind of thing, too. His expense accounts were legendary. The amount of his luggage that airlines “lost.” With $40 shirts and $100 shoes and what have you. In the 1960s!

Doyle: I was once at a dinner party with Arnaud, and I watched him in his double-breasted bespoke suit peel a grape without touching it. Peel a grape using, like, I think a knife and a fork. Peeled the skin, put it in his mouth. I’ve never seen it before or since.

De Borchgrave: I lived extremely well. I traveled a lot. In those days we always traveled first-class. Was never questioned. We stayed in five-star hotels. Never questioned. If we had to stay in one place for several days or weeks, we could get a suite. Never questioned. I never had an expense account questioned in the whole 30 years I worked at Newsweek.

Kubic: I remember specifically. Arnaud was doing something during the Indo-Pakistan War, and he hired 110 guys to push his Jeep across some incredibly difficult road. And he said he paid each of them a dollar.

De Borchgrave: I was with Dean Brelis of NBC on the Indian border. When we got near Sikkim, there was a landslide, so we had to hire sherpas—300 of them—to get our vehicle across the landslide. They carried it. Locals, in the village. We gave them good money. Two or three dollars apiece. Put in this big expense account. Never questioned. What did I write on the expense account? “Sherpas for manhandling our Jeep across a landslide.”

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