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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Last year (Gore Vidal) famously switched allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama during the Democratic nomination process for president. Now, he reveals, he regrets his change of heart. How’s Obama doing? 'Dreadfully. I was hopeful. He was the most intelligent person we’ve had in that position for a long time. But he’s inexperienced. He has a total inability to understand military matters. He’s acting as if Afghanistan is the magic talisman: solve that and you solve terrorism.' America should leave Afghanistan, he says. 'We’ve failed in every other aspect of our effort of conquering the Middle East or whatever you want to call it.' The 'War on Terror' was 'made up,' Vidal says. 'The whole thing was PR, just like ‘weapons of mass destruction’. It has wrecked the airline business, which my father founded in the 1930s. He’d be cutting his wrists. Now when you fly you’re both scared to death and bored to death, a most disagreeable combination' ... Another notable Obama mis-step has been on healthcare reform. 'He fucked it up. I don’t know how because the country wanted it. We’ll never see it happen.'" (TimesOnline)



"For more than 50 years, the tabloid daily Bild -- currently Europe's best-selling newspaper -- has served as both a reliable barometer of Germany's conservative movement and a steady vent of its populist id. The editors have never felt compelled to question their winning formula: The conservative parties' current talking points go above the fold, the naked 'Page One Girl' below it. The self-appointed guarantors of all that is traditionally Deutsch aren't much interested in the finer points of sensitivity training. And in that way, the tabloid might have been expected at some point this week to express ambivalence, if not disapproval, of the fact that the country's newly elected vice-chancellor and foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, is gay. Instead, though, Bild waved a white flag on one of the fronts of the country's decades-long culture war. As part of its gleeful coverage of the victory of the country's two main conservative parties in Sunday's election, the newspaper paid its respect to Westerwelle in the form of a sentimental page-one profile of his boyfriend, complete with a trashy headline: "His Boyfriend Makes Him Strong!'" (ForeignPolicy)



"I love the Olympics. And I love the idea of an American city—any American city—being awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics. I also happen to believe that the president of the United States is always the president—no matter where he is. He does not need to be holed up in the Oval Office to do his job, so I don’t buy the argument that President Obama will be skipping out on his day job by traveling to Copenhagen. But there are big risks for Obama in making the trip—and they have nothing to do with not winning the bid. The president seems to have forgotten the lessons that he helped teach an entire generation of political observers and operatives: Words matter, and so do appearances. President Obama will subject himself to three potentially damaging lines of attack when he boards the plane to Copenhagen. First, that he appears out of touch and absent at a moment of great domestic and international significance; second, that his priorities are parochial; and third, that he is disingenuous for reversing a statement made days ago that he could not make the trip because it would interfere with his health-care campaign." (TheDailyBeast)



"Also last night ... on one of the first cool nights of autumn in New York, the crowd stayed warm inside the heated tent at the Central Park Zoo as they celebrated the debut of James Gardner's novel, The Lion Killer. The book, described as "a thriller with bite," chronicles a search for a missing tourist that stretches all the way from the United States to Zimbabwe to the Sudan. Gardner himself has traveled to Africa more than two dozen times since his first trip in 1968. As guests nibbled on sliders and shrimp, Hasan Bakr provided musical entertainment with traditional African instruments like the ngoni, a harp-lute, and the djembe, a hand drum. The crowd included Mimi Strong, Gardner's literary agent; Maria Cooper; Sharon Bush; Mark Gilbertson; Tina Louise (who played Ginger in Gilligan's Island and is currently working on her second children's book); and Gillian Miniter." (NYSocialDiary)



"Emma Watson probably won't be returning to Harvard any time soon after being stalked in an orchestrated campaign of Ivy League harassment. Page Six reported on Tuesday that the 'Harry Potter' starlet and Brown University freshman looked "quite shaken" on Saturday as Harvard beat Brown 24-21 in Cambridge. Watson was reportedly flanked by security guards to protect her from gawkers. But her discomfort was actually the result of a targeted campaign by the Harvard Voice student magazine to draw as much attention to her as possible." (PageSix)



(Selena Gomez via papermag)

"Last night in L.A., Onitsuka Tiger hosted the record release party for Selena Gomez's debut album, Kiss & Tell. The album is is brimming with upbeat dance songs that make you want to look in the mirror, put on lip gloss, and tie your ponytail to the side. Girls will probably like it, too. Gomez has been linked to Twilight star Taylor Lautner, and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of him and the 30 pounds of muscle he gained for New Moon. I was instead greeted by Fame's Asher Book, which was fine with me. Book has major talent, a sweet face, and impeccable taste (he told me he was wearing Dolce & Gabbana and Diesel.) Book, who bought his V-Factory bandmates, mingled with fashion plate Lady Victoria Hervey -- who showed up with a cigarette in hand -- Selena's 'Wizards of Waverly Place' co-stars Jennifer Stone David Henrie, and Tiffany Thornton, the cast of 'The Secret Life of the American Teenager', soap star Taylor Spreitler and others. And though I loved the bevy of fresh faces in attendance, the highlight for me was an appearance from the elusive Kogi Korean BBQ truck." (Papermag)



"There is a trace of thwarted ambition about (Gore Vidal). 'I would have liked to have been president, but I never had the money. I was a friend of the throne. The only time I envied Jack was when Joe [Kennedy, JFK’s father] was buying him his Senate seat, then the presidency. He didn’t know how lucky he was. Here’s a story I’ve never told. In 1960, after he had spent so much on the presidential campaign, Joe took all nine children to Palm Beach to lecture them. He was really angry. He said, ‘All you read about the Kennedy fortune is untrue. It’s non-existent. We’ve spent so much getting Jack elected and not one of you is living within your income’. They all sat there, shame-faced. Jack was whistling. He used to tap his teeth: they were big teeth, like a xylophone. Joe turned to Jack and he says, ‘Mr President, what’s the solution?’ Jack said, ‘The solution is simple. You all gotta work harder’.' Vidal guffaws heartily." (TimesOnline)

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