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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Depending on who you talk to, Swedish Web host PRQ could be the Internet's equivalent of Mos Eisley -- a 'wretched hive of scum and villainy' -- or a blessed underground haven for free speech. That's because it agrees to host practically anyone, from Chechen rebels to pedophile support leagues to everybody's favorite transparency organization, WikiLeaks. As Mashable called it last week, PRQ might as well be the Swiss bank of Internet providers. Like real Swiss banks, PRQ's reputation rests on a 'boundless' commitment to privacy and security. The firm, founded in 2004 by a small team of Internet warriors claiming to love the Internet and its possibilities for openness, stops short of publishing 'very obviously illegal' content. But anything goes as long as it doesn't violate Swedish law, and the Web host claims to be prepared to take on bad press, crusading lawyers, boycotts -- even angry mobs. Incidentally, PRQ is run by Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij, the very same people who in 2004 launched a controversial file-sharing index, The Pirate Bay. Though the service merely aggregates links to copyrighted material rather than offering up the media itself, Svartholm and Neij were sentenced to a year in prison after being found guilty of assistance to copyright infringement in 2009. Since then, Sweden's Pirate Party (which holds a single seat in the European Parliament) has offered to take WikiLeaks off PRQ's hands. The political party already hosts The Pirate Bay. With so many options out there, it's a wonder al Qaeda's Inspire magazine is still a print-only operation." (ForeignPolicy)



"Mr. Harman told Mike Allen that he did not buy Newsweek to make money and he would be 'delighted' if the magazine can break even. Mr. Harman called Washington Post Co. chairman Donald Graham 'an old friend.' Mr. Harman got the idea to buy the magazine from Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman, who explained to Mr. Harman that the magazine was worth saving over lunch at the Hay-Adams hotel in Washington D.C., according to Michael Calderone. 'I told him that it's a great nameplate, and it's worth saving for several reasons, one of which is its global reach,' Mr. Fineman told The Daily Beast. 'It really does circulate around the world.' As for Jon Meacham, he has been quiet on the matter." (Observer)



"I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Susan Fales-Hill who has just published her novel One Flight Up. This is her second book. Her first was a memoir about her mother Josephine Premice and was called Always Wear Joy. You know who said that. And did. I’m sure daughter followed because although I never knew mother-daughter together and I don’t/didn’t know either of them well (didn’t really know mother), I can tell by daughter what kind of a mother she had. A good one ...Susan is a born and bred New Yorker. Her Haitian born mother married a New England WASP and had two children who were brought up by their conscientious parents as bi-racial. That doesn’t sound remarkable in this day and age but it still is, according to Susan. The marriage didn’t last but the relationships held firm. Susan grew up in her mother’s big apartment on West End Avenue. In those days, West End Avenue was home to a lot of theatre people who appreciated the big solid rambling apartments near the river and near the theatre district. Like me, she still likes strolling down Broadway on the Upper West Side to smell the coffee that is New York. Because of her bi-racial background and her social and economic background, she was at once an outsider who was 'inside.' This, to her, provided her powers to observe, and like a lot of writers, she’s happiest just taking in the world that surrounds her, wherever that may be. She went to private schools here in the city, then to Harvard, then to The Cosby Show in Hollywood, and now to New York." (NYSocialDiary)



"Anne Rice just gave Christianity the pink slip. In 1998, the legendary author had returned to her childhood faith of Catholicism, announcing she would no longer pen vampire novels but instead 'write to glorify God.' Last week, she announced she had 'quit Christianity.' In a posting on her Facebook page, she said: 'I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being 'Christian' or to being part of Christianity. It's simply impossible for me to 'belong' to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.'" (TheDailyBeast)



"Reps. Chet Edwards (D-Texas, above), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) and John M. Spratt Jr. (D-S.C.) need to keep in mind the fate of former Reps. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) and Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.). Kelly, first elected in 1994, had only one tough race (in 1996) before she was upset in 2006. In the two elections before her defeat, she drew 67 percent and 70 percent. Leach had a tight race in 2002 but coasted to victory in 2004. Two years later, he was upset by Democrat Dave Loebsack , who was widely dismissed by national Democrats. This cycle, Edwards, Herseth Sandlin and Spratt face the same problems that their one-time Republican colleagues did in 2006. Can they swim against the current and win re-election? The prospects of all three Members are less than bright right now." (Stuart Rothenberg)



"Sure, 19 Emmy nominations are nice – but Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan realized another significant job perk recently: A pitch from Paul McCartney suggesting that Glee feature some of his songs. 'I got a mix tape from Paul McCartney a couple of days ago. I thought I was being punked,' Murphy said at TCA. 'It just sort of came out of the blue, in a package, hand-written: Hi Ryan, I am hoping you would consider some of these songs for Glee. I was gobsmacked. I grew up with that guy.' Ryan added that McCartney admires the show because it supports arts education, which is a draw for many artists hoping to have their songs covered by the Glee cast." (Deadline)



"Patrick McMullan is the go-to man for documenting celebrity events with the penetrating gaze of his sturdy yet compassionate camera. If Patrick (or at least one of his minions) isn't there, then it's quite possible your event didn't actually happen and in fact you don't really exist. He's become even more of a brand in the last few years by co-owning restaurants, backing Broadway shows, and doing other delightfully Warholian things. Well, now, I hear, he wants to launch a magazine! I'm thrilled that anyone wants to launch a magazine, especially Patrick. McMullan mag would surely be a dizzying trip through the world of red carpets, buffets, gift bags, and mild hangovers." (Michael Musto)



"The Washington Post announced on Monday an agreement to sell Newsweek, its 77-year-old money-losing magazine, to Sidney Harman, a 91-year-old audio equipment tycoon. Jon Meacham, Newsweek’s editor, concurrently announced that he will leave the magazine after a new editor is named ... a shortlist of possible Meacham replacements, and the odds – completely and utterly subjective – they’ll be hired." (Dylan Stableford/TheWrap)



"According to E!, Bristol Palin has ended her rekindled engagement with freelance nude model Levi Johnston. The cause of the split is reportedly one Briana Plum, a former paramour of Johnston’s. The two recently appeared in a Facebook photograph together, which was enough to prompt Palin to postpone (indefinitely?) the upcoming nuptials. Despite the break-up, there have been no reports that Palin and Johnston will be required to relinquish the $100,000 the two allegedly earned for agreeing to share their story with US Weekly back in July. Sarah Palin, who fiercely opposed the union, has yet to comment on the commotion on her Twitter, although she did criticize President Obama for appearing on The View ..." (VanityFair)

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