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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"There was some good news for US taxpayers from the US Treasury last Tuesday. They were told that the cost of bailing-out US banks had been much lower than expected. The $700m troubled assets relief program (TARP) has cost a mere $50bn, down from an estimated $341bn in August 2009. And the cost may fall to $30bn if the government is successful in selling its stake in insurer AIG. Treasury secretary Tim Geithner trumpeted the fact TARP had reduced the severity of the crisis and stabilized the financial system telling Daniel Gross that it 'worked only because combined with the creativity and the force of the Fed.' The economist Joseph Stiglitz begs to differ. Writing in Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy Stiglitz described the bank rescue plan as 'among the most costly mistakes of any government at any time.' At an event to launch the paperback version of Freefall, Stiglitz pointed out that for a fraction of TARP's cost the US government could have created a whole new set of financial institutions, unencumbered by past wrongheadedness - and willing to lend." (QFinance)


"Bob Woodward's books have an uncanny ability to create palpable nervousness in Washington. They almost always expose some government officials in a poor light. But though many figures in his latest, Obama's Wars, don't come off particularly well, there is one clear, overwhelming, and irreconcilable villain. It isn't a member of Barack Obama's administration, the Taliban, or even al Qaeda. In fact, it's not a person at all. In the opening chapter, Woodward introduces his bad guy: 'the immediate threat to the United States [comes] ... from Pakistan, an unstable country with a population of about 170 million, a 1,500 mile border with southern Afghanistan, and an arsenal of some 100 nuclear weapons.' Never mind the Woodward effect in Washington; in Obama's Wars, the villain is an entire country. Relations between the United States and Pakistan have never been more fraught." (ForeignPolicy)


"I'm told that 20th Century Fox has begun talks with Darren Aronofsky for X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2. Deadline revealed back on August 31st that Aronofsky and David Slade were the chief competitors for the job. Aronofsky and Hugh Jackman already have a close relationship after they made The Fountain, and Aronofsky recently met with Fox chief Tom Rothman seeking the kind of creative control he's accustomed to. There was a lull in the talks when Aronofsky briefly flirted with directing Superman, but that job went to Zack Snyder. Meanwhile, Darren has developed some serious heat off festival showings of Black Swan. I'm not sure if he's going to do Wolverine 2, but it's his job if he wants it -- and they are talking." (Deadline)


"Michael’s was its busy self. The proprietor himself was there (he divides his time between New York and his restaurant in Santa Monica, if you didn’t know). Harvey Keitel was at the table in the bay with Toni Howard, actor’s agent from Los Angeles. JH was taking pictures of Carol. Finally I asked him why so many? He was trying to subtly get a shot of Harvey Keitel in the background. Later he did the same thing with me, going for a picture of the only infant in the room. He liked the idea of 'behind the scene' at Michael’s from infancy to Harvey Keitel. Never mind, you had to be there: JH has what I call a camera-eye. It was a long lunch without a moment of silence. " (NYSocialDiary)


"I'm just back from the Printemps Loves New York Party thrown by the Parisian department store and V Magazine. The soiree was DJ'd by New York's finest, Lady Bunny, and another legendary blonde, Courtney Love, who serenaded the crowd and prved she's an amazing rock star. Okay so she might be a bit messy and slightly crazy but isn't that what makes a great rock star? Keith Richards, Sid Vicious, Judy Garland: also all great rock stars! Courtney looked great and sounded great -- although she talked a little gibberish through out her set." (Mr.Mickey/Papermag)


"This movie is SO good, I want you to drop what you're doing and run to the theatre IMMEDIATELY to see it! Forget the issue of accuracy. The reason I loved this film wasn't the story, but the essence, the inherent kernel, that one person with a great idea can change the world! Well, maybe it wasn't Mark Zuckerberg's idea. But you can credit him with great execution. And navigating the gauntlet of friends and hangers-on to ultimately triumph. Mark may be an asshole, but if you don't think you have to sacrifice friendships, do what's expedient in order to make it, you don't know the history of Madonna. And isn't that just the point. In the twentieth century, the way you gave the middle finger to the establishment was being an entertainer. You achieved notoriety, made a ton of dough from your fans and went your own way. Now, entertainers are the most sold-out, whored-out people on the planet. Tell me what to do, oh great record company President! I need to tie in with corporations to get my message out. It's not good enough to stand on its own. I need help in order to make it. Use me, abuse me, because my only goal is to become famous. Sure, I'd like to make some coin along the way, but never enough where I can throw my weight around, where I can truly mess with the fat cats that run this country. That's what rock stars used to do." (LefsetsLetter)

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