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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"A recent trip to Washington with the dual purpose of attending a reception honoring my former boss, Steve Hadley, and separately meeting with current national security officials put this issue in sharp relief for me. My friends from the Bush era, looking much better rested and healthier than I remember them appearing before, swapped stories of our time in the fox-hole. And my friends from the Obama era shared eerily similar stories with some of the very same complaints: outsiders just don't get it or get distracted by secondary trivialities. One current insider confided to me that when he reads outsider critiques of the Obama team, he is reminded of similar critiques he offered of the Bush team when he was in the shadow government. He thought some of my own analysis missed the boat and conceded that perhaps the same was true for some his earlier analysis of Bush decisionmaking. That is a wise cautionary to remember. Those of us in the loyal opposition may have a better understanding than most about the travails and triumphs of the current team, but our perspective is limited. We should not be surprised to read internally contradictory accounts of what is going on behind the scenes. And we should be willing to give the benefit of the doubt from time to time." (ForeignPolicy)



"In the spring of 1975, Mr. Mailer came to Arkansas for a lecture, and an academic, with whom he served in World War II, threw him a party. Mrs. Mailer heard a famous author was in town and decided to crash the party. The night would end on the floor of her living room. He promised to write; she suffered rug burns. Mr. Mailer did write, but he was still living with Carol Stevens. After he brought his Arkansan pen pal to watch Muhammad Ali beat Joe Frazier in Manila, he broke things off with Ms. Stevens. On the way back from the Philippines, authorities in Hawaii found an old roach in Mr. Mailer’s briefcase, and the couple were detained, though not arrested ... In the late ’70s, the couple were famous for their parties. They hosted a wedding reception for Doris Kearns and Richard Goodwin attended by Woody Allen, Jackie Onassis, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Kurt Vonnegut and Ali MacGraw. Hunter Thompson, among the last to leave, came back and rang the doorbell at 6 a.m., asking for bacon and eggs, which Mrs. Mailer duly served up. Mr. Thompson crashed in a hammock in the Mailer living room, flipping out of it at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. 'Thanks for a great party, Norris,' he said on his way out." (Observer)



"Supermodel Naomi Campbell is set to become a member of United Russia, a source in the party said Thursday, adding that the party saw her as an asset who could become the faction's new poster girl. 'She is a young, sexy, intelligent woman who has shown how the new Russia can attract the best in the world,' said the source, who asked for his name not to be used because he was not authorized to speak to the press despite working in the United Russia press office. 'Once she modernized the fashion world, now she is part of the modernization of Russia,' the source said. The British model, who is engaged to real estate mogul Vladislav Doronin, currently spends much of her time in Moscow and recently guest edited the Russian edition of Vogue, where she appeared clothed in only a big snake." (TheMoscowTimes)



"I sat down to write this Diary with another objective but responded to the date which of course is April Fool’s. I was going to write about my luncheon at Michael’s with Wendy Burden, author of the newly published (today) Dead End Gene Pool, which is one of the best contemporary memoirs I’ve ever read. I liked it for several reasons but what got me and held me was the author’s personality and wit which had me laughing a lot of the time. I was reading a serious life story with a grim subtext that included suicide, alcoholism, drug addiction and rich and famous people who lived in many mansions and in great luxury, along with weirdos who married the parent, and shocking family discoveries, and yet guffawing in some parts. Sort of like film noir in Technicolor." (NYSocialDiary)



"Look who's behind the un-necessarily cruel and mean-spirited In-N-Out April Fool's Joke. Bee Shaffer, how could you do this to us? If you're gonna hang with the lay people, you have to understand how they think." (Guestoaguest)



"I met him in the Hotel du Cap in the mid-Sixties. We became fast friends and spent our time in the cabanas of the hotel playing quiz games about classical music. We had tapes or records, and a stopwatch. The quicker one answered the more points one got. Louis had invented the game and apparently it was popular among certain Hollywood parties, certain being the operative word, according to Louis ...The Jourdans gave a wonderful party for me in LA on my way back from Vietnam, and afterward broke the news that Lulu had died. It was typical of them, thoughtful to the end. Louis is now 91 and I haven’t been in touch since exactly twenty years. Seeing the movie reminded me of our lost youth and old friendship." (Taki Theodoracopulos)



"These are grim times for the academic humanities. Seen as useless frills, which nations can prune away to focus on the 'things that really matter'—by which the speaker so often means “things that contribute to national economic growth”—the humanistic disciplines are being cut at all levels, from elementary school to college and university. Even worse, they are being asked (on pain of extinction) to refashion themselves as tools of profit, demonstrating the (economic) 'impact' of their inquiries. To begin thinking about why this focus on 'impact' is a pernicious business, we can do no better than to pause to honor one of the greatest classical scholars of the past century, who illuminated the world through such unfashionable values as mastery, rigor, and a passion for truth." (Martha Nussbaum/TNR)

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