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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Nearly half a century ago, a New York neighborhood was condemned for its heedless indifference to a young woman’s cries as she was being murdered. Today, Kitty Genovese’s screams might draw people out of their apartments -- but only to capture her death on cellphone cameras and post it to YouTube. Brittany Murphy’s is only the latest name in a march of celebrities to die prematurely and publicly -- while the whole world watches but no one helps. For model Anna Nicole Smith, the end came following years of gluttonous consumption of prescribed sedatives and painkillers. Michael Jackson’s final curtain fell rather randomly after one of his requests for a powerful anesthetic that is normally only administered in hospitals prior to surgery. What these three have in common is not merely the lurid transparency of their afflictions and the apparent ease with which their deaths could be predicted." (TheWrap)



"A friend gave me a copy of Dominick Dunne’s new book, Too Much Money. The advance buzz on it has been so-so and even not-so although the critic in the New York Times liked it. So I opened it with a couple of thoughts. First of all, Dominick knew this was going to be his last book. He’d visited a famous psychic on one of his travels several years ago, and the psychic told him this book would be his last. He could have rationalized and thought to himself that he had now had a long career and might just retire. Except Dominick was very realistic about his life at that point. He was past his eightieth. He’d had a bout of prostate cancer which he’d pretty much licked, and then there was a new one. He liked his life. He was not an unhappy man. He was grateful for all the great success he’d had in the latter years of his life. Fame and fortune just the way he would have ordered it up in a Hollywood script. He’d lived long enough to know what a reward that was in and of itself. He also knew that at that age, he might be on his way out." (NYSocialDiary)



"Richard M. Nixon appeared on more Time magazine covers (48) than anyone, but Barack Obama -- with 24 covers after just his first year in office -- is on pace to triple Tricky Dick's total if he wins a second term. Only 16 people have appeared on 10 or more Time covers, and all are politicians, though only one, Saddam Hussein (12), was not American, Teqnolog reports. Ronald Reagan was second with 45, followed by Bill Clinton (33), George W. Bush (31) and Jimmy Carter (27). Hillary Clinton, with 16, has appeared on the most Time covers for a female and for a non-president." (NYPost)



"As for the mega-budget, (Guy Ritchie) continues, it did not make him nervous. It was simply a total joy after 10 years of doing independently financed movies, one of which (Revolver) took a long, long time to get distributed in the United States. 'I had deeper pockets and bigger support on this. So if I said, Can I have this scene tomorrow, previously there’d be a pause while you’d ask the line producer and there’d be a bit of biting something interesting under their fingernails going on and then you realized that had answered the question for you, which was no. You couldn’t have that. So obviously that wasn’t an issue this time and that was great.' Making Sherlock Holmes was also cathartic for Ritchie in another significant way—he started shooting the film just as his eight-year marriage to Madonna was ending. Did having so much going on his personal life at the time of the film shoot make things easier or harder? 'Easier,' he says, 'It was just sort of heads down, arms swinging' ... The whole thing is supposed to be ironic,' Ritchie says of the remake, which, although technically a romantic comedy, suggested that what a domineering woman really needs from her man is a good smack. 'It’s about a man that hits a woman, and at the same time, it was her. There were all sorts of irony. If you ask me, everything about it was rather interesting, but it was such a feral relationship between a man and woman and you just can’t get away with that in contemporary society.' His sublimated rage at Madonna notwithstanding, he is happy to defend her as a thespian. 'If you ask me, I think she’s all right. I think she’s perfectly good. I just don’t think people can get her persona out of the way.'" (TheDailyBeast)



"How, after the events of the past year, can anyone believe that politics can or should be taken out of banking? To the contrary, recreating a financial services industry that serves an interest wider than the bankers requires more politics. The immediate cause of the ire in the City of London is the Treasury’s imposition of a 50 per cent supertax on bonuses of more than [US $40,000] (a figure, incidentally. higher than the average annual wage in Britain). Behind the rebellion, though, lies a deeper complaint. Hard as it is to believe, bankers seem to think politicians are interfering too much with the free play of market forces. Another way of putting this would be to say that now that governments have socialised all the losses, they should stand back to allow the banker to re-privatise the profits. In the case of RBS, the retort is obvious. Rescued from bankruptcy, Mr Hester’s bank is largely state-owned. More than four-fifths of the shares are owned by taxpayers; and a couple of hundred billion pounds of RBS assets are insured by the Treasury. The politicians, in other words, are representatives of the principal shareholders. And Mr Hester thinks there is too much 'politics' in the relationship?"
(FT)

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