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Friday, September 03, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Who would want to be in the shoes of Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman, or for that matter, in those of Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank? They are grappling with a fiendish dilemma. As concern about a double dip grows, there is rising pressure for more stimulus. But the more addicted western economies become to aid, the harder it will be to implement exit strategies. No wonder markets seem uneasy; squaring this circle looks extremely hard. As the policy debate intensifies, investors might spare a thought for Korekiyo Takahashi, Bank of Japan governor from 1911 to 1913. He also served as finance minister and prime minister in the 1920s and 1930s. Outside Japan, few western investors know the name. For while there is discussion about what can be learnt from Japan’s lost decade, little attention has been paid to earlier periods. The experience of 1930s Japan is thought-provoking. Not only does it help explain the decisions that Tokyo leaders took during the lost decade; it offers a cautionary tale about exit strategies." (FT)



"To celebrate 25 years of British ELLE, I was invited to join them in their biggest editorial ever. The inspiration for the shoot was a 1969 Jane Fonda movie called 'They Shoot Horses, Don't they?'. The premise of the film and of the shoot was a depression era dance competition in which couples literally danced until they dropped, sometimes for days on end with little to no sleep. The Elle team and I set up in a giant warehouse in Brooklyn to reenact this movie. For three days the other models and I pushed ourselves past the point of exhaustion to dance all day, every day in a space that was probably over 100 degrees in temperature. This was method acting at its finest as we were literally living the movie. The shoot was probably one of the most intense I've ever experienced, but the pictures that resulted were worth the effort." (OhSoCoco)



"Sales-Week Ending 8/29/10. 1. Katy Perry 'Teenage Dream.' Sales this week: 192,122. Debut. She's got no fans. People want to bump their asses to her hits, want to download and delete them, but they don't care about this two-dimensional icon playing by rules that comport not a whit with reality. Put her on tour. See how many tickets she can sell. Bupkes. Do not equate media coverage with fandom. And today, only fandom counts, there's not enough money in record sales, and without fans, you've got no longevity, and the big revenue comes from longevity. This is hardly different from The Jersey Shore. No-talents surrounded by professionals creating a sleek product wherein you laugh and have contempt for the players. If Katy Perry wanted to gain our trust, she'd make a video of herself at the piano, or playing an acoustic guitar, warbling her composition sans backup. This is what cemented GaGa's cred and career, that video that illustrated she truly had talent, when she played alone at the keyboard. We're still waiting for Katy to prove she's talented. Many people trade on their sexuality." (LefsetzLetter)



"John Boehner is in dress rehearsal to become the Speaker of the House for the putative Republican Congress, and what the feverish partisans among us need to accept is that this chain-smoking, conflict-averse, glad-handing and peculiarly orange-tinged golfer is the pay-off for the last two years of Lilliputian turmoil. No matter how successful the Tea Party and Club for Growth vote on Election Day—60-seat swing! Coup de main!—all the king's horses cannot do more come January and the 112th Congress than to wait on the modest brainpower of a 61-year-old professional Ohio pol who, on his best day, is described by a wag as so out of touch with the American culture that he thinks of himself as cool, just like Dean Martin. What does John Boehner say of his plans for the No. 3 job in the Republic? Two of his recent policy speeches in Cleveland and Milwaukee are so stunningly facile that there is an open question whether the guileless Mr. Boehner is putting us on. Boehner warned with a mighty trumpet, 'Never before has the need for a fresh start in Washington been more pressing.' Boehner cried out like a blue-eyed Jeremiah for 'a series of immediate actions to end the ongoing economic uncertainty…' Boehner proposed with drum-rolling militancy, '…We must focus on working together to identify our national security priorities …' What explains this colossal banality? Grant that Boehner is a foreign-policy tenderfoot after two decades of kissing the hem of the domestic Abramoffs. Still, his remarks on the economy suggest, as Mark Twain taught us to repeat, that he is an idiot as well as a member of Congress. It may be possible that Boehner, one of 12 children of a modest tavern keeper in Cincinnati, has worked so hard at being an anonymous footman since entering Congress in 1990 as part of Newt Gingrich’s dynamiters that he's incapable of the cogency associated with historical memory." (TheDailyBeast)



"Alexandra Lebenthal’s The Recessionistas has pegged the atmosphere in her portrait of the well-heeled now finishing out their summer at their seaside villas, because although the story takes place in 2008, the air today is full of gnawing uncertainty. Me, I’m enthralled reading THE SUGAR KING OF HAVANA; The Rise and Fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba’s Last Tycoon. Julio Lobo is an unknown name at the beginning of the 21st century, except in Cuba where fifty years after his departure, their term for 'rich as Croesus' is ser rico como un Julio Lobo ('to be as rich as Julio Lobo'). This is after fifty years of communism and Fidel. He was known as The King of Sugar, the magnate who handled half of Cuba’s annual sugar production. He possessed a fortune of $200 million, or $5 billion in today’s dollars. He was also one of the great supporters of the revolution of Fidel Castro. In the 1950s, he responded to the need to get rid of the corrupt Batista government by backing Castro. After Castro succeeded, Che Guevara offered him the position of running the Ministry of Sugar for the new regime. They needed him although they had taken all but one mill from him." (NYSocialDiary)



"Some Jewish fashionistas are peeved they have to work on Rosh Hashanah at the Vogue-championed Fashion's Night Out on Sept. 10. Though the shopping event was scheduled to accommodate the holiday's start at sundown on Wednesday, the nightime retail extravaganza takes place next Friday and begins before the end of the High Holiday. 'No one would dare ask us to work on Christmas,' one fashionably observant Jew snipped. Some are working around the event: Ivanka Trump, now married to an Orthodox Jared Kushner, will not make personal appearances at Fashion's Night Out, and Yigal Azrouel will appear only for a short time Friday night at his West 14th Street boutique. Azrouel also moved his runway shows from Friday to the following week, on Sept. 14 and 15." (PageSix)



"It increasingly seems that French statesman Charles de Gaulle was right when he proudly claimed in 1952 that 'everyone has been, is, or will be a Gaullist.' Certainly, France is experiencing a surge of interest in its former president: The country has just lavishly celebrated the 70th anniversary of de Gaulle's launch of the French Resistance on the BBC airwaves, and the public has been bombarded with conferences, exhibitions, radio and television programs, and publications of all kinds, from hagiographic works to novels (BenoƮt Duteurtre's Return of the General, in which de Gaulle comes back from the dead to save France once again) to comic-strip adaptations (Jean-Yves Ferri's De Gaulle at the Beach). The third volume of de Gaulle's War Memoirs has even been put on the standard high school curriculum. But France is not alone in actively kindling admiration for its former president; political leaders around the world have long looked to de Gaulle's stalwart style of statesmanship for inspiration and guidance, and the last few years have seen a flowering of their interest in the old general. His memoirs have been translated into 25 languages, and statues have been erected in his honor in Brazzaville, Bucharest, London, Moscow, Quebec, and Warsaw. Along with Mahatma Gandhi and Che Guevara, de Gaulle is one of the few truly global historical figures from the post-World War II era: His fervent admirers include monarchists and conservatives in Europe, nationalists of various hues in the Arab world (Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi posthumously decorated de Gaulle with the highest medal of the Libyan state), and Marxist revolutionaries (Fidel Castro waxed lyrical about the general in his recent autobiography)." (ForeignPolicy)



"Robert Rodriguez’s blade-wielding ex-federale should win what is shaping up to be a sluggish holiday weekend weekend at the box office -- but just by a knife point. With its ultra-violence and clever viral marketing campaign, the Fox film bursts in with the most heat, but its primary competition, both of which appeal to markedly different demographics, should be close behind. That would be Warner Bros.' rom-com 'Going the Distance,' with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, and Focus' George Clooney-starrer, 'The American,' which debuted on Wednesday. Opening in 2,669 theaters, 'Machete' should bring in between $12 to $15 million over the four day weekend, according to pre-release surveys. 'Even though it's a hard 'R,' it’s a hoot and will appeal to a broader audience than just young males,' Chris Aronson, executive vice president of distribution for Fox. told TheWrap." (TheWrap)

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