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Monday, May 03, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Next week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet in New York with diplomats from more than 180 countries at the eighth review conference of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (pdf), the Cold War pact that determines who can have nuclear weapons and who can't. The nuclear accord obliges the five original nuclear powers to disarm while exacting a pledge from other countries not to pursue nuclear weapons. In exchange, those that foreswore atomic weapons were assured the right to develop nuclear energy programs, under the monitoring of U.N. inspectors. The Obama administration will seek to use the nearly month-long conference to plug gaps in a landmark agreement that has significantly limited the spread of nuclear weapons but enabled a small number of nuclear proliferators, including Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il, to develop clandestine atomic weapons programs under the nose of U.N. weapons inspectors. The nuclear conference has gained increased urgency as concerns about global warming have fueled renewed interest in nuclear power, and the prospects of lucrative international trade in nuclear fuel. The U.S. wants to strengthen U.N. monitoring of nuclear-energy programs and to impose greater controls over the production and trade in enriched of uranium to ensure that Iran and other potential proliferators will not succeed in completing another nuclear weapons program. But American diplomats -- who see the conference as an opportunity to reinvigorate the NPT -- insist that they respect and recognize the rights of non-weapons states to develop peaceful nuclear energy programs. Still, U.S. President Barack Obama is facing a major challenge to his nuclear vision from countries in the developing world that feel the nuclear treaty has been applied unfairly." (ForeignPolicy)



"What can you say about an event that has evolved into the opposite of what its founders intended? In other words, a once serious-minded, sophisticated black tie soiree where Washington’s elite journalists entertained their sources as guests, with an off-the-record dinner and some light entertainment and a few chatty, scotch on-the-rocks after parties? That concept is deader than Kelso’s you know what’s. Instead, what we had here these last several days in your nation’s capital was an unseemly orgy of media self-love and groupie-style fawning that questions the social judgment of the nation’s major media corporations. Are they unaware of the recession, the strife and heartbreak of two wars, the overall economic uncertainty, and the divisiveness that is crippling our political culture? Obviously they are; therefore the only explanation is gross arrogance and insensitivity." (Carol Joynt/WashingtonSocialDiary)



(Colin and Amanpour via VF)

"Despite news of a sobering scare in Times Square and an unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the power elites of Washington, New York, and Hollywood managed to squeeze in an evening of revelry in the nation’s capital. The party, hosted by Vanity Fair and Bloomberg, was held at the French ambassador’s sprawling residence, just blocks from the Washington Hilton, where the White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place earlier in the evening ... Still, this being Washington, there was a central role for political figures and the people who cover them. Senator Chris Dodd, the chief sponsor of the financial-reform bill now making its way through the upper chamber of Congress, chatted with (Rupert) Murdoch while Larry Summers, Colin Powell, Eric Holder, Jane Harman, Richard Holbrooke, and Austan Goolsbee circulated nearby. (Congressman John Dingell, the Dean of the House, parked his 83-year-old frame on a couch and let the people come to him.) Luke Russert of NBC News made nice with the movie people and GQ Washington correspondent Ana Marie Cox squired musician Rhett Miller around the porch, but most of the political press corps seemed content to stick to their beat. Politico savant Mike Allen collected tidbits from the parties he’d somehow missed, ABC News political director David Chalian congratulated Axelrod assistant Eric Lesser on a flattering New York Times Magazine profile, and Jon Meacham, Maureen Dowd, David Gregory, Katie Couric, Walter Isaacson, and Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn mingled with V.F.’s Christopher Hitchens, Dee Dee Myers, Todd S. Purdum, Maureen Orth, Bob Colacello, Cullen Murphy, and Graydon and Anna Carter. More than one guest was overheard to remark on the French ambassador’s enviable living conditions." (VanityFair)



"Marvel’s 'Iron Man 2' kicked off the summer tentpole season overseas this weekend, grossing $100.2 million at 6,764 locations spread across 53 territories. The $200 million sequel, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Mickey Rourke as the baddie this time, finished in the No. 1 spot in 52 of those 53 markets. In the U.K., the film grossed $12.2 million at 528 locations, pacing 49 percent of the original. In Korea, meanwhile, 'Iron Man 2' took in $10.8 million at 855 theaters, which was 79 percent above version 1.0. Other territory highlights included Russia ($8.2 million at 650 locations, 89 percent above 'Iron Man 1'), Mexico ($7.3 million at 492 locations, 26 percent above 'Iron Man') and Brazil ($5.2 million from 350 locations, 56 percent better than the original). The Paramount-distributed movie premieres in the U.S. on Friday." (TheWrap)



"According to my Harvard Friends, a good part of the freshman curriculum is dedicated to emphasizing the good fortune and advantage students have for being able to attend Harvard University. In other words, they are told just how special they are over and over again. For most young adults, even so-called geniuses, these sorts of labels might be deceptive, though this attitude seems to remain with Harvard students beyond their academic careers, and highlights almost everything Harvard. While there is nothing wrong with elitism or a meritocracy per se, this superior attitude undercuts true brilliance, and makes people like me roll their eyes at Harvard folk. Most people with any intellectual pretensions whatsoever believe they are special. A clever angst-ridden teenager with even a single existential thought in his mind is likely to hang on to that distinction for as long as possible. Eventually, one hopes to be knocked back down to earth, though some tend to prize the Jesus-complex for far too long, even when they have little to show off about except that they went to Harvard." (Mandolyna Theodoracopulos)



"Last week, we introduced you to Stephanie Grace, the Harvard Law student who wrote an email suggesting blacks were inherently dumber than whites. New details have emerged: a feud over a boy, a backstabbing friend, and a campaign of sabotage. Here's how Stephanie Grace's racist email went from the in-boxes of a couple friends last year to the pages of the Boston Globe ..." (Gawker)



"Friday nights are usually a veritable Sabbath for the party crowd after a long week of back-to-back bashes. Not when Donatella Versace is in town. Along with co-designer Christopher Kane, Versace and her relaunched Versus line hosted the Art of Elysium’s Bright Lights bash Friday night at Milk Studios, with support from Dasani and MAC & Milk. A downstairs back space entered via a loading ramp on 14th Street was tricked out like an old-school nightclub with long white banquettes, a packed bar and ceiling-high flat screens projecting images of model Ginta Lapina in Versus designs (the model was also in attendance, sporting a cut-out blue number). Joy Bryant, Victoria and Vanessa Traina, Alexa Chung, Mary-Kate Olsen, Alexandra Richards, Alek Wek, Giambattista Valli and Peter Dundas milled around. Kane, who seemed happily overwhelmed by the spectacle, was still beaming from his visit earlier that day to an Art of Elysium workshop (the charity provides creative activities for kids suffering from medical conditions)." (WWD)

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