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Monday, June 22, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"DAWN: Any plan to visit Pakistan in the near future?’ PRESIDENT OBAMA:‘I would love to visit. As you know, I had Pakistani roommates in college who were very close friends of mine. I went to visit them when I was still in college; was in Karachi and went to Hyderabad. Their mothers taught me to cook,’ DAWN: What can you cook?’ OBAMA: Oh, keema … daal … You name it, I can cook it. And so I have a great affinity for Pakistani culture and the great Urdu poets.’DAWN: ‘You read Urdu poetry?’ OBAMA: ‘Absolutely. So my hope is that I’m going to have an opportunity at some point to visit Pakistan,’" (Dawn via Politico)



"Shortly after first lady Michelle Obama presided over a 'jazz studio' in the White House last Monday, telling everyone that 'the understanding and appreciation of jazz is integral to understanding and appreciating American history and culture,' a somewhat-contradictory message was coming from a government agency five blocks away. The audience for what she called 'America’s music' is shrinking, fast, according to a study released late that same day by the National Endowment for the Arts. We’re all used to hearing dire reports that attendance at the ballet, the opera, the legitimate theater is down. But jazz? Since the NEA began studying arts participation in 1982, jazz is the one performing art that had enjoyed steady increases." (TheDailyBeast)



"MOST practitioners of Islamic finance pride themselves on their modesty. But not Adnan Yousif, the chairman of the Union of Arab Banks, a regional club for financial firms. He has recently struck a tone more reminiscent of greed-is-good Wall Street, with a grand plan to build the biggest Islamic bank yet seen, spanning the world and providing Muslim countries with new financial services their people have barely heard of. 'People never thought big here, never thought globally,' he says." (TheEconomist)

"Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Kagan and the same old crew of discredited neoconservatives who pushed America into Iraq have returned again to chastise President Obama to not force-feeding Iran their democracy. That not even other Republicans are biting might spell the end of an era. One characteristics that ideologues of both the left and right share is a commitment to what might be termed the 'Great Leap Forward'(GLF). In the Marxist case, the GLF always implied a transformation in the fundamental character of humankind. Just as soon as we get rid of capitalist exploitation by virtue of a Communist revolution and a 'new man' would emerge who would cease the selfish, self-destructive behavior that had characterized every state’s behavior since the end of feudalism. Revolutions notwithstanding, the Right’s version of the GLF is not so different, except that it is much easier to put in place. What is needed to transform tyranny into freedom, according to the arguments of its most esteemed ideologues, is the American-inspired overthrow of this or that Islamic regime, usually, it turns out, whose country’s name begins with letters 'Ira..'" (TheDailyBeast)



"Haunting images from the world's most fragile states." (ForeignPolicy)



"If you couldn’t get enough of momentous national street protests before, Iran’s ongoing Tweet-volution will certainly keep you buried in a backlog of must-see/read/post-to-Facebook digital tidbits of cyber-democracy in action for a long time. Between refreshing Andrew Sullivan’s page for the next tsunami of Persian-green tweets, and watching all those YouTube videos with bigger crowds than Braveheart, it might be easy to think you know the nooks and crannies of Tehran like the back of your hijab. However, while the mainstream media’s coverage of the posts linked round the world may resemble a brontosaurus trying to win the 100m dash, there is only so much depth you can get out of 10 mins of low-res cell phone footage or texts with a 160 character limit. So for those of us curious for a window into Iran that allows for a more leisurely, reflective glimpse, there’s certainly been no shortage of sources of late that don’t require a DSL connection—and won’t strain your eyes without the proper gamma correction .." (VanityFair)



(image via businessweek)

"Nick Denton is sitting amid the rows of screen-staring digital workers in the fourth-floor walkup that serves as Gawker headquarters, having neglected to build himself a private office. 'I would do it, but I don't want to be mocked by the blogs,' says the company's founder, retreating to the loft's only semiprivate space -- a pair of old couches next to a table with boxes of canned soda piled underneath. This is rather amusing: Gawker became a strangely addictive force on the Internet by ridiculing all manner of media people, often in bitingly harsh terms. But the site has evolved into a broader, less Manhattan-obsessed gossip emporium that now includes original reporting -- prompting a quick disclaimer from the sharp-tongued Brit. 'We don't seek to do good,' says Denton, wearing a purplish shirt, jeans and a beard that resembles a three-day growth. 'We may inadvertently do good. We may inadvertently commit journalism. That is not the institutional intention.'" (HowieKurtz)



"Woody Allen’s 'Whatever Works' found itself working out just fine with audiences this weekend, pulling in a fantastic $280,720 from 9 screens according to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier this afternoon. That gave the Sony Pictures Classics’ release a $31,191 per-theater-average, falling just slightly behind 'Away We Go‘s $32,603 average two weeks ago and thus making it 2009’s third best limited opener (both 'Whatever' and 'Away' failed to match the unchallenged $54,798 'Sunshine Cleaning' averaged this past March). As far as Allen’s now 40-title long resume goes, 'Works' falls behind his recent single digit screen openers 2005’s 'Match Point' and 2004’s 'Melinda and Melinda,' which found higher averages of $49,824 (on 8 screens) and $74,238 (on 1), respectively. For reference’s sake, last year 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' incomparably averaged $5,427 from 692 screens, en route to $23,216,709, Allen’s highest gross in over 20 years." (IndieWIRE)



"The Whitney Museum held its 2009 Whitney Art Party last Wednesday, June 17. BCBG MAXAZRIA partnered with the Whitney for the third consecutive year, with co-chairs Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney, and Lubov and Max Azria, along with Allison Aston, Camilla Belle, Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo, Mark Fox, Adam Lippes, Melissa Gellman Weiss, and the Whitney Contemporaries." (NYSocialDiary)



"A few days before the Iranian election, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held a big rally at the Mosallah Mosque — said to be the world's largest, if it is ever completed — in central Tehran. It was not very well organized. About 20,000 supporters of the President were inside the building, being entertained by a series of TV stars, athletes and religious singers. Many thousands more swirled outside .. The streets were getting very crowded now — and there was a giddiness to the scene. It was the sort of crowd that might gather after a football victory. The Ahmadinejad supporters, dressed in the red, white and green of the Iranian flag, seemed to be enjoying the freedom as much as the more flamboyant Mousavi supporters, who were draped in green. At one point, an Ahmadinejad supporter stuck his head out the window of his car and sang a lullaby, 'Mousavi — lai, lai,' in response to the students chanting "Ahmadi — bye, bye." The students laughed. It was as if someone had opened a door and an entire country had spilled out. It was possible to believe, for a moment, that these genial young people, from both sides, might be creating a new, more open Iran for themselves. And then, the door slammed shut again." (JoeKlein/Time)



"The Observer has learned that former CBS News President Andrew Heyward is working for NBC News as a digital and broadcast consultant. According to an NBC News spokesperson, Mr. Heyward will be working with NBC News President Steve Capus and NBC News Senior Vice President Alexandra Wallace on several programming and news gathering initiatives. Not so long ago, Mr. Heyward and Ms. Wallace worked together at CBS News, where Mr. Heyward was president from 1996 to 2005. Recently, Mr. Heyward has been working for Marketspace LLC, consulting clients on digital media practices." (Observer)

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