“‘I’ve always thought that if I wrote a novel about Hollywood,’ says Nikki Finke, ‘it would start, ‘That bitch!’ the studio mogul cried, but the secretary didn’t know which woman journalist he was talking about.'” So begins my interview with the latest issue of Elle magazine timed to its annual “Women In Hollywood” celebration. (The editors are holding a dinner and awards October 15th at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills.) Read my entire Q-&-A here about power, putzes (“There are a lot of Jewish mothers whom I blame for these people’s behavior”), why I watch The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week to get agent behavioral pointers, and whether women will ever get ahead in the movie biz. Some snippets:

ELLE: You are a powerful woman in Hollywood, Nikki. A lot of moguls there are scared of you.
Nikki Finke: Look, I’m not powerful, and no one is scared of me. But here’s why I think women make the best reporters in Hollywood. It’s such a testosterone-fest out here, such the preserve of alpha males, that when you have a male reporter interviewing a male mogul, it’s basically swinging dicks aimed at each other.

ELLE: Moron. I’ve seen you call them morons.
NF: Well, that’s a given. All moguls are morons. I can’t believe what they do on an almost daily basis. I approach this town from the point of view of “You’re all making terrible mistakes.” The content is terrible. The process is tainted. It’s an accident, almost, when a movie is good and comes in under budget. Everyone in Hollywood is part of a very broken system. Feed it with praise and you’ll never get the players to step back and say, “What the hell are we doing even playing this rotten game?”

ELLE: When you write something incendiary, it does free up other reporters to follow you.
NF: People will perpetuate the myths until someone like me pushes the envelope by telling the truth. Then other reporters can go to their editors and say, “Look what she’s reporting,” and they can do a tougher piece. It’s always hard to be the first, and I’ve suffered a terrible price for that.