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Monday, August 16, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(image via NYSD)

"I had lunch on Friday with Alexandra Lebenthal, author of The Recessionistas, which just came out this past week. Alexandra, as I am wont to boast, began her recent career as a fiction-writer on these pages a couple of years ago. It was after the subprime mortgage crash. I knew her only casually but because of her high profile financial background – coming from a family of three generations of municipal bond dealers and financial management – and considering her high social profile these days, I asked her one night at one of these benefit galas we attend, if she ever thought about writing about what she 'knows' was happening to some of these people. It turned out I asked the right question. Answer: she had ... She had a lot of opportunities to observe those girls and boys you see on the party picture pages of the NYSD. Marie Antoinette had nothing on the Boomers with money. It might be funny because ego trips and greedy behavior have their zany sides. Their have their dark sides as well, however. This is the world of the Masters of the Universe, modern man's replacement of the Divine Right of Kings. Many of these Masters, we came to learn, incredibly, have been flying space shuttles without a pilot’s license. And we’re the passengers. The age range of the characters in The Recessionistas is 28 to 50 range. There are no very young people, nor older people. This parameter of disinterest or exclusion is also another reference to the reality of this world today. The generations are more isolated. Without counselors (only lawyers), or shaman, and no charges (only issue)." (NYSocialDiary)



"I was fascinated by the excerpt of 'The Big Short' I read on a plane back in March, made my yearly subscription to Vanity Fair worth it. But I didn't read the book right away, because it wasn't available in a Kindle edition. And by time it was, months later, the heat was off. Kind of like the Kings Of Leon. You wanted to see them LAST year, only losers are going now. But knowing I had a long flight to Europe, I purchased the book on my Kindle, but I didn't start reading it until ten days ago. Now I know why the book's had so little impact since the '60 Minutes' hype. Despite selling so many copies, almost no one's read it. Otherwise, there'd be an uprising, demanding the heads of all financial institutions, regulation up the yin-yang. You see, reading 'The Big Short' is like gaining twenty years of Wall Street knowledge in one 266 page book. It's like starting law school and having to pass the bar exam in thirty days, and defend a criminal in court thirty days after that. That's what these guys are. Criminals. You don't have to be convicted to be a criminal. Then again, that's the problem, everybody's a criminal today, everyone's cutting corners, screwing one another, trying to get ahead." (LefsetzLetter)



"Hillary Clinton’s future has been a subject of renewed interest in Washington in the past week or two. Some are advising Barack Obama to ditch Joe Biden as vice-president and put the secretary of state on the ticket for the presidential election in 2012. Commentators are enchanted. Issues of substance and tactics are being pored over delightedly. What does the surfacing of the idea tell us? First, that it is August. Far be it from me to flout the spirit of the season by having nothing to say on the subject. Second, the tentative appearance of a draft Hillary movement tells us that Mr Obama is in trouble. (That was no secret, either.) Views about just how much trouble will harden after November’s midterm elections. If the Democrats get thrashed, no rescue strategy for 2012 will be considered outlandish. Anxiety is likely to be mounting in the White House, because the polls keep worsening. Mr Obama took office on a wave of goodwill. His job approval rating – a metric that is followed obsessively – was above 60 per cent and his disapproval rating around 20. In phases, that gap narrowed." (FT)



"Ronald Perelman took the stage with fellow famous CEO Dick Parsons at a Hamptons benefit for Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater and told guests: 'He may be taller, but who's better looking?' He also described Citigroup CEO Parsons as 'my pal, my buddy, my hero.' Guests paid up to $50,000 for a table at the bash at Perelman's stunning 57-acre East Hampton estate The Creeks, a former artists colony that still bears the paint splatters of Jackson Pollock. Performers included soul legend Sam Moore, John Legend and Mary J. Blige. Jon Bon Jovi admitted onstage that his first date with wife Dorothea was a Moore and Dave Prater concert at Asbury Park in New Jersey, 'and 21 years later we're still married,' adding he was flattered that Moore 'even knows my name.' Other guests included Christie Brinkley, who hung out with Russell Simmons, and ended the night dancing barefoot, Richard Gere, Lorne Michaels, CNN's Alina Cho and Niche Media CEO Jason Binn. The night raised more than $1 million for the Apollo and its programs for kids." (PageSix)



"While every major role in director David Fincher's hotly anticipated crime thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has been cast in the last two weeks, the title character remains a mystery. Daniel Craig is set to play the series' protagonist, disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist, Robin Wright as his magazine publisher and occasional lover Erika Berger, and Swede Stellan Skarsgard as businessman Martin Vanger. Production is expected to start in Stockholm by early October. Meanwhile, four actresses are believed to be the top contenders for the role of brilliant Goth hacker Lisbeth Salander, a character who personifies the series. And all of them meet Fincher's criteria: boyish, young, petite, and unknown. There's some speculation that American Rooney Mara, who co-stars in Fincher's upcoming Facebook film The Social Network, may have taken the lead over Australians Sophie Lowe and Sarah Snook and French actress Lea Seydoux, who appeared in Inglourious Basterds and Robin Hood." (TheDailyBeast)



"First, the really big news in the Los Angeles Times story about Rupert Murdoch’s plan to start an all new national newspaper for the iPad and mobile devices: The picture shows that he’s not dyeing his hair anymore. The orange (or sometimes aubergine) is gone. One of the things Murdoch is said to have most disliked in my book about him is that I made fun of his terrible dye jobs. Now his hair is all white and cut short, just like…well, mine. Then, a central point that should not be forgotten when Murdoch talks about newspapers and his vision for them in America: He’s never had a paper here that’s worked. Never. Not one. He may be the world’s most successful newspaper man, with a history of outsized reach and profits (though, now, fading) in Australia and the U.K., but here, in the U.S. newspaper business, he’s only ever been a dud." (VanityFair)



"Even when The Expendables came on tracking, it looked big. And the timing couldn't have been better what with Lionsgate getting beaten up by Carl Icahn on a daily basis, and Sylvester Stallone needing a fresh hit in his dotage. Kudos to Sly for coming up with such an irresistible concept directing and starring with today's and yesteryear's action heroes like Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, and even Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger (for nanoseconds in cameos). 'Are The Expendables wearing Dependables?' one rival studio exec snarked in an email to me. Still, it's the kind of old school camp that the action box office needs -- and received a 'B+' CinemaScore. The audience was 61% male/39% female, as expected, and 60% over age 25/40% under age 25. Older women were 26%, equal to the percentage of men under 25." (Deadline)

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