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Friday, October 16, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced that his Movement for Democratic Change will boycott Zimbabwe's unity government over the jailing of one of his top allies. Tsvangirai has been working in an unstable coalition government with President Robert Mugabe since February. Tsvangirai says the MDC is 'not really pulling out officially,' but would not attend cabinet meetings or collaborate on any work with Mugabe's Zanu-PF. 'We don't have a problem with that,' remarked a Zanu-PF spokesman. Tsvangirai is protesting terrorism charges against his political ally Roy Bennett, who was released on bail seven months ago but then ordered back to jail this week, the day he was sworn in as deputy agriculture minister. 'Roy Bennett is not being prosecuted, he is being persecuted,' Tsvangirai said Friday. The United States and European Union have both condemned Bennett's arrest as politically motivated." (ForeignPolicy)



"Hillary Clinton was on the trot again this week, with an itinerary that took her from Zurich to London to Dublin to Belfast to Moscow and a nonstop schedule of diplomatizing on topics ranging from the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations to the Iranian nuclear crisis. But the headlines Hillary generated back home—and there were plenty of them—had precious little to do with her official duties as secretary of State. They were about her disclamation of any interest in a future presidential bid. About her insistence that she really (really!) is Barack Obama’s foreign-policy supremo. About the new Gallup numbers showing that Hillary is now more popular than Obama, which represents a truly stunning nineteen-point swing since the start of the year. About Hillary qua Hillary, in other words. The sudden Clinton clamor in the media strikes the ear as especially cacophonous in light of how quiet she has been for most of her nine months in her new job." (NYMag)



"Today it was revealed that Wasserstein's death means a $188 million payout from Lazard. 'Two of Mr. Wasserstein's eldest children, Pamela and Ben, are expected to play a pivotal role overseeing the trust,' the WSJ reports. Coincidentally, those are the same two Wasserstein children with backgrounds in journalism—Ben, the NYO noted yesterday, even worked as a New York editor. Ad Age says the family would probably want 'a minimum of $75 million to $100 million' for the magazine—but that they're just as likely to keep it, at least for the foreseeable future. And writing at Newser, former New York editor Caroline Miller rhapsodizes about the greatness of rich guys willing to pour money into good, money-losing magazines, and beseeches Ben Wasserstein to step up and take over his dad's role. Considering the debacle that young Jared Kushners' ownership of the Observer has been, it's odd that media types would fall over themselves once again to support a young, rich, and (all due respect to Ben) ignorant owner to take over one of the city's most prestigious media properties with nothing but ambition on his side." (Hamilton Nolan/Gawker)



"From the Armory, I went down to the Plaza where the World Monuments Fund was holding its 2009 Hadrian Award Gala. They were honoring David Rockefeller Jr. Dinner Chairs were Mica Ertegun, Fernanda Kellogg, Nina Joukowsky Koprulu and Jack Shear. The World Monuments Fund has for the past four decades taken on the preservation of endangered architectural and cultural heritage sites all over the world from Machu Picchu to little known desert castles of ancient Khorezm, Uzbekistan. The funds they raise go to preservation, restoration, reconstruction, repair. Every year since 1988, they’ve honored some individual or individuals with the Hadrian Award, named for the Roman emperor. Honorees have ranged from Paul Mellon, Prince Charles, Brooke Astor, Richard Jenrette, the Sainsbury brothers, Eugene Thaw, The Maharajah of Jodhpur to Viscount Norwich. It’s a very elite organization, the likes of which you see less and less of in New York .. Last night’s honoree was David Rockefeller Jr. Mr. Rockefeller’s father David Sr. was honored with the same award fifteen years ago. Mr. Rockefeller is regarded as a 'leader' of his family’s 4th generation – known as 'the cousins.' This generation has now succeeded the brothers, all of whom have passed away except for David Sr. The Cousins’ generation have expanded the family’s patrimony from its initial fortune building and maintaining into participating in the community in a variety of constructive ways either professionally or philanthropically." (NYSocialDiary)



"Ted Turner, the cable television pioneer who became one of the richest Americans, recalls the pain of losing his job at Time Warner Inc., his wife, the actress Jane Fonda, and $7 billion of his fortune. 'It was like having my heart ripped out,' Turner said yesterday in an interview in New York. The founder of Turner Broadcasting System and the 24-hour cable news channel CNN, Turner said that he has 'a couple billion' dollars left, including $700 million in Treasury bills. While contemporaries such as News Corp. Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Rupert Murdoch, Liberty Media Corp.’s John Malone, and Viacom Inc.’s Sumner Redstone keep competing in the media industry, Turner says that he doesn’t have enough money to get back in the business. He now focuses on nuclear disarmament, global climate change, women’s rights, and the environment. 'I’m working on the issues that are life or death for us,' said Turner, 70, who co-chairs the Nuclear Threat Initiative along with former Senator Sam Nunn. 'What I’m trying to do is stay relevant' ... Discussing the growing value of cable networks in the U.S., Turner said, 'I feel like a dummy.' Mocking himself, he sings, 'You let the big one get away.'" (Bloomberg)



"On a very chilly, rainy Thursday night, Ruth Reichl was hugging Dianne Weist on the third floor of the Time Warner Center, at the back of the restaurant A Voce. While embracing, Ms. Weist was removing a bulky winter jacket and a big red scarf. A handler asked Ms. Weist if she was interested in the coat-check. 'You can do what I did and hide it under the table!' said Ms. Reichl. Perhaps aided by the rain, it was an intimate affair last night, the final Gourmet party ever ... 'That kind of luxury that we all had is probably a thing of the past. The new business realities have changed the life at Condé Nast. I think print magazines as we know them will cease to exist.' She said that Si Newhouse broke the news of Gourmet's closing to her, and that he was really quite sad about it." (Observer)



"L.A.'s Broadway District was brought back to life with David Alexander's dazzling runway show last night. You might recognize David's designs from seeing them on celebs like Britney Spears, Ashlee Simpson, Kim Kardashian, and most recently Megan Fox -- who was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone in a very inviting swimsuit by Alexander. David told me that he found inspiration in Kar Wai Wong's trippy sci-fi film, 2046, some of which takes place in the '60s, and the historic Los Angeles Theatre was a perfect setting to highlight the designer's futuristic, retro looks. He also said he's influenced by Italian screen siren Monica Bellucci, describing her as having 'a truly romantic and obscure beauty that actually sets the standards on how I select my models. I also believe Janelle Monae has played a slight role. She has an amazing voice and a sort of hip-hop flapper style.'" (Papermag)

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