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Monday, October 04, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The scene in Yemen's capital Sept. 20 was almost embarrassing, according to those who looked on: John Brennan, the influential White House counterterrorism advisor, was trying to leave Sanaa after a fly-in, fly-out visit with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh about his country's burgeoning al Qaeda branch. But Saleh was too busy pleading for U.S. cash to let the 25-year CIA veteran drive away, according to people familiar with Brennan's visit. Clutching Brennan by the arm, Yemen's burly president of 30-plus years stood at the open door of Brennan's limo, pressing his appeals that the United States pay up now, not later, on the $300 million that Barack Obama's administration is planning to give Yemen over the near term to help it combat al Qaeda. (Someone finally eased shut the limo door on the Yemeni leader, allowing Brennan to get away, witnesses said.)  And everyone knows what will happen if Saleh doesn't get more free money, because it's a threat Saleh and his officials use at every opportunity to demand international aid: without an urgent and unending infusion of foreign cash, will lose its fight against the aggressive Saudi and Yemeni offshoots of al Qaeda that Saleh long allowed -- though he doesn't admit that part of the story -- to make their home here in Yemen. " (ForeignPolicy)

"One month before Election Day and this much is clear: Democrats will take a pounding when frustrated (and in some cases unemployed) voters go to the polls. Public opinion polls show a majority of Americans are unhappy with the present course of the country and are impatient for a reversal in the economy’s long, downward slide. The question now is how bad it will get for Democrats. So volatile are the times that evidence supports three distinct possible outcomes on Election Day. Democrats could endure heavy losses but retain governing majorities in the House and the Senate, they could keep the Senate but lose the House, or they could surrender both in a tide of voter fury that Republicans have shrewdly embraced. What follows are three imagined views of these possible Election Day outcomes." (CQPolitics)

"The celebrity-vanity genre of reality TV, in which stars try to create comedy or drama out of what would normally be their off-camera lives, is perhaps the riskiest of all. Although Ozzy Osbourne and Jessica Simpson saw their visibility soar after their shows, many other performers — including Britney Spears, Paula Abdul and Whitney Houston — have done serious damage to their public images by trying to be themselves on tape. Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna’s series 'Harry Loves Lisa' isn’t a train wreck on the level of the examples cited above. The stars’ fame and the damage inflicted are both smaller, and the result is just a little sad ... In a leap of logic that would be made only on a reality show that needs to fill airtime, Hamlin’s acting coach suggests that he try to stretch creatively by doing stand-up comedy. After getting advice from two comedians, he goes to a comedy club and does a short routine involving a gay stereotype that most fair-minded viewers will find offensive. Whereas before viewing the episode, most people would probably think of Hamlin as a handsome actor whose career has slowed down, afterward most will think of him as a handsome actor who can’t get work because he’s strange." (Medialifemagazine)


"This had been a summer just passed that was never titillated by a public private affair out East in the Hamptons, or even somewhere over there on the Mediterranean. No marriages threatened, it would seem. No topic of Saturday night dinner table talk about who and what and how could she, how could he? I attributed the lack of local drama to the current financial situation that has so many people guessing, snd stressing. It is also quite possible, of course, that I just hadn’t heard about it because no one told me. It turns out it was the latter. And as far as I know, this one has remained under the radar for a couple of reasons. It’s unlikely. He’s from one world, she's from another. Both high profile worlds, but far apart. There's also the age difference, which is quite wide and also quite obvious on sight, if you catch my drift. He being the senior. Then there’s the husband whom she is apparently devoted to, and has always seemed so. Even though many have wondered aloud many times in many places how she can take it. Take what? The “abuse” (I use the quotes to leave the definition broad and wide and thorough). And the other women. And his public remarks as to what he plans to do (leave) and what will happen to her (too bad). For a long time, it was assumed that it was the money that drew her to him in the first place, and kept her with him in the long run. She's always been enthusiastic about taking advantage of what she got – a wealthy husband with social connections to keep them at the center of a lot of things going on and a lot of parties being given." (NYSocialDiary)

"Bloomberg Government, a new subscription-based news site in Washington, D.C., will take a unique approach to covering the federal government when it launches in January. In hiring subject-matter experts along with journalists, the news organization plans to provide high-end analysis and government reporting -- in effect, marrying a news organization with a policy consulting group. Analysts and journalists will work together to produce a mix of white papers and stories about legislation and regulation related to topics including energy, labor, transportation and trade policy. 'We want to do exclusive enterprise reporting that quantifies the business implications of government action,' Deputy Managing Editor Ken Sands said in a phone interview. 'When I say reporting, I mean traditional narrative storytelling as well as reporting in a more academic, analytic mode,' continued Sands, formerly the executive editor of innovation at Congressional Quarterly. 'Some of our subject-matter experts will write academic white papers that are quite rigorous, and it'll bring a whole different level of expertise to the product.'" (Poynter)


"At the Woodstock Film Festival this weekend, Keanu Reeves accepted an excellence in acting award and kicked off the American premiere of his bank-robbing comedy Henry's Crime. Meanwhile, all over the Internet, versions of 'Sad Keanu' — Photoshopped riffs on a paparazzi photo of Keanu eating a sandwich on a park bench — are multiplying. Only, Reeves has never seen them. So we spoke to him about his new film, his increasing involvement in his new production company Company Films, but, most important, we explained his meme to him. His thousands of Photoshop-happy fans will be happy to know that Keanu not only approves, he thinks it 'sounds conceptually funny.'" (Vulture)


"E! is looking to expand its slate of celebreality with a docu-reality series starring actress Lara Flynn Boyle. The cable network has greenlighted a pilot presentation for the project, which will follow the Practice alumna as she splits her time between her life in Texas and her marriage to real estate investor Donald Ray Thomas II and her Hollywood-centric lifestyle in Bel Air. Boyle, who is repped by Fortitude and Rugolo Entertainment, is currently meeting with potential showrunners." (Deadline)

"Hohenschoenhausen Prison in Berlin is the sinister reminder that even now, on the 20th anniversary this Sunday, the work to reunify Germany is still unfinished. The complex of drab buildings was the secret detention jail for East Germany’s Ministry of State Security—Stasi—the vast and brutal internal army used to control the population. And Hohenschoenhausen, left untouched since Stasi agents fled when the wall came down, was the center of interrogation and torture. 'This was my cell,' said Vera Lengsfeld, who spent a month there awaiting trial as Stasi agents tried to force a confession to opposing the state. She did not know then that the man who betrayed her was her husband." (TheDailyBeast)


(Jade Jagger via DailyFrontrow)

"'This is like a great concert without all the hassle,' quipped Karl Lagerfeld as he entered the rue de Rivoli's VIP club on Saturday Night, where Fendi O’ hosted an hour-long set of Duran Duran. The Brits took to the gilded stage around 11:30 p.m., and wasted no time in inciting squeals of joy from superfans like Tabitha Simmons and Filipa Fino. 'This might be the prettiest set of people we have ever performed for,' noted Simon Le Bon, taking to the microphone. He wasn't incorrect. The boite was overflowing with supers like a wigged-out Coco Rocha, Constance Jablonski, Anja Rubik, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Dree Hemingway ... Silvia Venturini Fendi watched the entire concert from the balcony with a pantheon of A-list critics—Suzy Menkes, Hilary Alexander, Nicole Phelps, and Tim Blanks—while Jade Jagger and Elisa Sednaoui wove around the dance floor, taking photos." (Fashionweekdaily)

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