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Tom Perkins Jokes to New Yorker About Buying the Chronicle

Scott Lucas | July 2, 2014 | Story Tech World

Cantankerous venture capitalist Tom Perkins is back in the headlines today, telling the New Yorker that he's been joking with Rupert Murdoch about buying the San Francisco Chronicle.

A little backstory: Perkins is the founder of Sand Hill Road VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who set off a firestorm after comparing the treatment of the richest one percent in America to the plight of Jews under the Nazis in Germany. The proximate cause of his comparison was the Chronicle running a series of stories poking a little fun at the massive hedges growing in front of his ex-wife novelist Danielle Steel's San Francisco mansion.

The most recent issue of the New Yorker checks in with Perkins (the author of the novel Sex and the Single Zillionaire). The article is behind an online paywall, and our print copy hasn't arrived yet. However, many of the most trollish of Perkins's comments are already circulating. Among them:

He misses the Sausalito whorehouse of 1957: "'I was twenty-two, twenty-three,' he explained. 'I lived in Sausalito, which back then had a functioning whorehouse—one of the last ones in the Bay Area. It was a loose town where anything went, and I loved it.'"

When it comes to the LGBT community, he's no Rick Perry: "San Francisco was that way. It was artistic, outrageous. The gays had a lot to do with that."

He thinks the city was so much cooler before you got here: "I knew writers and artists. North Beach. The Beats. The jazz. It's still a great city, but I think it was better then."

He might yet become a media mogul: "Rupert Murdoch—I talked to him the other day—he says, 'Tom! I'll help ya. We'll raise the money. We'll buy the Chronicle.' I Said, 'Rupert! If we bought the Chronicle and ran it the way we would like to, we wouldn't have any readers.'"

Is there any reason to train any spotlight on Perkins's latest salvo? Honestly, not really. He hasn't had a role at his VC firm in years. He's too loony to be any kind of stand in for the larger class of rich tech folks. He hasn't even been married to Danielle Steel in years. But he's so damned quotable.

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