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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Blake said of Milton that the author of Paradise Lost 'was a true poet, and of the Devil’s party without knowing it.' While in those precincts of the American Right where the wild id roams free, Barack Obama increasingly is viewed as the devil incarnate. But even in the calmer regions of American conservatism, a view of the president startlingly analogous to Blake’s of Milton holds sway. 'We do not question the sincerity of his, or their [e.g. American liberals] desire to better the lot of his countrymen,' write the National Review’s editor-in-chief, Richard Lowry, and the conservative columnist and anti-abortion activist, Ramesh Ponnuru. 'But modern liberal intellectuals have a notoriously difficult time coming up with a decent account of patriotism even when they have felt it. From Richard Rorty to Todd Gitlin, they have proclaimed their allegiance to a hypothetical, pure country that is coming into being rather than to the one they inhabit.' In 1964, a man called John A. Stormer published None Dare Call It Treason. It was immensely influential with the harder line sections of the American Right. 'Is there,' Stormer asked rhetorically, 'a conspiratorial plan to destroy the United States into which foreign aid, planned inflation, distortion of treaty-making powers and disarmament all fit in?' For a time, that kind of thinking seemed to have faded along with groups like The John Birch Society. But today, the Birchers are one of the sponsors of last week’s CPAC meeting, which among other things, was attended—without any public demurral over the Birchers’ presence—by all the major likely Republican contenders for 2012 (with the exception of Sarah Palin), not to mention Beck, Limbaugh, Cheney, etc., whether in person or via satellite. Lest there was any doubt that cooler heads (let alone—I might as well say it—reason) might prevail, Lowry and Ponnuru’s broadside confirms that in the year of the tea parties, the American Right returns to what is, historically, its default position—that the only serious and, above all, coherent patriotism is its own. On this account, liberals, whether they know it or not (there’s that ‘Devil’s party’ again), cannot espouse a love of their country that is faithful to the core traditions of the United States." (David Reiff/ World Affairs Journal)



"Supermodel Naomi Campbell will celebrate her 40th birthday in style -- with a lavish party on the French Riviera thrown by her billionaire Russian boyfriend, Vladimir Doronin. He's planning 'the party of the year' for the fiery beauty, who recently said she thought she'd be dead by 40, to coincide with the Cannes Film Festival in May. Sources say Doronin will spend millions to mark the milestone with Campbell's glamorous fashion friends, as well as Hollywood stars in town for the festival. 'Naomi's birthday is going to be as lavish as other recent big celebrity 40th birthdays, such as Sean Combs, Jay-Z and Simon Cowell. Invites are already being sent out and people are expected to jet in from New York, London and Moscow,' said our source. 'Vladimir is planning and paying for the whole event, which is slated for May 22 in or near Cannes. There will be a series of events for Naomi leading up to the big party at a secret location, which is believed to be on a super-yacht.' The party will also be poignant because Doronin -- who is sometimes called 'The Donald Trump of Moscow' -- and Campbell met at the 2008 Cannes fest at a party held on a yacht moored off St. Tropez." (PageSix)



"A couple of months ago, reps from the swanky St. Regis Hotel on Fifth Avenue asked for my favorite restaurants and neighborhoods for some promotion they were doing, promising a free, ritzy weekend there as a reward. I was sure this was one of those large-scale scams, like when I almost went to Liberia to close a multi-million dollar financial transaction that would set me up for life. But I dutifully answered the questions just in case. And the result was that my movie club just had our regular session in a gorgeous suite at the St. Reeg! It was gilded and lovely and the TV was much bigger than in my house--and it worked--and the chairs were plush and there were two bathrooms, so there was none of the usual cueing up outside the bowl. And speaking of bowls, the hotel left me a wondrous batch of fruit! And a bottle of Alain Ducasse's best champers! It was all so magical it pained me to go back to my luxury co-op the next day!" (Musto)



"Hold the phone, Martha. Congressional Republicans may give Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and President Barack Obama a big present with a beautiful bow wrapped around it. Apparently unaware that Americans who strongly oppose the Democratic health care overhaul are already poised to vote Republican in November, many GOP officeholders and candidates have decided to focus their energy on repealing the recently enacted law. Even before the Democratic bill passed the House, some Republican campaigns unleashed a blizzard of e-mails promising to repeal the measure. Within 24 hours of the bill’s passage I had received 'repeal' e-mails from New York congressional hopeful Chris Cox, Missouri congressional candidate Bill Stouffer, Kansas congressional candidate Wink Hartman, Louisiana Sen. David Vitter , Arizona congressional hopeful Jim Ward, Connecticut Senate candidate Rob Simmons, Texas congressional candidate Quico Canseco, Wisconsin Senate hopeful Terrence Wall, Arizona congressional candidate Jesse Kelly, Arkansas Senate wannabe Gilbert Baker and New Hampshire Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte. No, that’s not the whole list. But you get the gist." (Stuart Rothenberg/CQPolitics)



(image via JH/NYSD)

"The Sun came out yesterday in New York, but the air was that very early Spring chill. At six-thirty I went down Dr. Bill Haseltine’s skyline aerie across from the UN to a book reading he was hosting for Norris Mailer and her newly published memoir A Ticket to the Circus. I got there just as Norris had begun her reading. Norris is, as you probably know, the widow of Norman Mailer, his fifth or sixth and definitely last wife of almost 30 years. She was much younger than he, and when you look at the pictures in the book you see what Norman no doubt saw also: a very beautiful young woman with the face of a real angel ... Last night Norris read a piece of a chapter about that first meeting. There were fifty or sixty people standing around Norris in Bill Haseltine’s dining room (with the tables and chairs removed), listening to her read. Norris has been battling cancer for the past nine years, I should add, and while it has taken its toll of her time, it has not hindered her progress or productivity as a writer and artist. Her friends are all well aware of this, and are listening to, and hearing the words of, a plucky woman. The reward is, as it was last night listening to her FRANKLY describe her first meeting of Norman Mailer – he the star, she the kid from Arkansas. She’s so frank in putting it out there that the most intimate details brought roars of laughter from the crowd ..Norris had written two autobiographical novels. Ebershoff suggested she write a memoir. Norris took his suggestion. After he read the first thirty pages about her growing up, he knew he had a good book. After reading her pages about Bill Clinton, he knew he had a hit on his hands." (NYSocialDiary)



"The 'fin de saison' feeling is like the end of term in boarding school. Bittersweet. At school one was cocooned from the big bad outside world, here in Gstaad, far from the crowds and bustle, one has time to ponder the melting snows and dream about one’s youth. Closing day at the Eagle club was fun. At the Taki Cup presentation—the overall winner and new record holder was John Taki, in 36 minutes—I reminded the members that the Taki Cup has lasted longer than both world wars combined, which means it is a far more important historical event. Some Belgian people agreed." (Takimag)



"Here’s what we can reveal about The Las Vegas Courtesan: She is about to turn 29, but looks a few years younger. She is almost five-foot-nine, and her shoulder-length blond hair frames an unlined, oval face. She wears little makeup, her eyebrows are groomed, and her bust has not been cosmetically enhanced. Above all, she does not stand out—a strategic decision when much of Vegas would like to figure out who you are. As the anonymous author of The Las Vegas Courtesan, 'Cali,' as she’s told me I can call her, has chronicled the sex-for-cash scene in America’s prostitution capital since November 2006. For years, she blogged to a core audience of cult followers. But recently, her profile has been elevated by an active Twitter account, and requests from producers from brand-name media outlets are beginning to show up in her inbox ... It’s a particularly touchy subject these days, when many of the city’s hookers are willing to do more for less. 'You have to negotiate more,' Cali says. She also says that since the recession began she’s seeing more clients in their twenties—guys who came to Vegas and want a sure thing, not a girl in a nightclub who’s going to refuse to put out after he buys her fifty dollars worth of drinks. 'I prefer the older clients,' she laments. 'Young guys say stupid things like, 'I should get a discount because I’m good looking.' She says this is precisely why she writes her blog—as a tip sheet for people who want to hire an escort, and as a guide for people curious about the industry." (TheDailyBeast)



"WHAT: Book release Skulls and Shit. WHERE: Billy Mark's West. WHEN: Tuesday, March 23. WHO: Authors Donald Baechler and Wes Lang and guests Eric Goode, Justin Theroux, Heidi Bivens, Glenn O'Brien and Gina Nanni." (Papermag)



"China committed today for the first time to engage in substantive talks on a U.S.-backed initiative to sanction Iran for defying U.N. demands to halt its enrichment of uranium, according to Britain's U.N. ambassador. But diplomats here predicted at least several weeks of further talks before the council will adopt sanctions on Iran. Liu Zhenmin, China's newly appointed negotiator on the Iranian nuclear crisis (shown at right), participated in a conference call on Iran's nuclear program Wednesday morning with the political directors from the United States, Russia, France, Britain, and Germany. Liu pledged Beijing is prepared to begin discussions on elements of a U.S. text outlining a set of proposed sanctions against Iran. 'My understanding is that they have agreed to engage substantively,' said Britain's U.N. ambassador Mark Lyall Grant. The key U.N. powers are pursuing a dual-track policy with Iran, offering incentives to Tehran for allowing greater outside scrutiny of its nuclear program while threatening economic sanctions if it fails to halt its enrichment activities. The U.N. Security Council has already imposed sanctions on Iran three times, but Iran has refused to comply with the council's demands." (ForeignPolicy)



"Sarah Silverman will not be walking down the aisle anytime soon. 'I'm not against marriage, but it's just not for me,' the comic tells Playboy. 'I'm a vegetarian, but I don't have a problem if you want a hamburger. Marriage to me is like eating meat. I think it's gross and [bleep]ing crazy.' Because gays and lesbians can't get married in most states, Silverman said, 'If you're getting married today, it's the equivalent of joining a country club that doesn't allow blacks or Jews.'" (PageSix)

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