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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Media Whore D'Oeuvres


"On a busy afternoon in the West Wing late last month, President Barack Obama seemed relaxed and unhurried as he sat down in a newly reupholstered brown leather chair in the Oval Office. He had just returned from the East Room, where he signed the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 ­— using eight pens so he could give away as many as possible. The act will be his administration’s last piece of significant economic legislation before voters deliver their verdict on his first two years in office. For all intents and purposes, the first chapter of Obama’s presidency has ended. On Election Day, the next chapter will begin ... If there was something incongruous about the president of the United States checking out reviews of his décor by Arianna Huffington, well, let’s face it, he has endured worse reviews lately. The president who muscled through Congress perhaps the most ambitious domestic agenda in a generation finds himself vilified by the right, castigated by the left and abandoned by the middle. He heads into the final stretch of the midterm campaign season facing likely repudiation, with voters preparing to give him a Congress that, even if Democrats maintain control, will almost certainly be less friendly to the president than the one he has spent the last two years mud wrestling." (NYTimes)

"Yes, we’ve got to give Howard Stern credit. He got the story. And there’s no story without David Arquette. And the facts were interesting, but not as great as the performance. David Arquette gave the performance of a lifetime. With Howard Stern as director and Robin Quivers assisting. You just couldn’t turn it off. Every human emotion was evidenced. It was a roller coaster you refused to get off. I would have poured quarters in the dashboard to keep the story going. Because you just can’t get this honesty anywhere else. Oh, you can get it from your buddy. In the bar. On the phone. But when it comes to entertainment, it’s all phony all the time. Fake reality TV shows. Movies made for people who don’t exist. And music so vapid, so whored out to labels and radio and TV and the Fortune 500, as to be impossible to relate to by normal human beings. Sure, some will dance to the track for a while, but then the cuts are discarded, they’re meaningless. The mainstream trots out sales figures, trumps up the story, but no one cares. Otherwise Katy Perry would sell out stadiums, who’s gotten more publicity than her? But it’s dishonest." (Lefsets Letter)


"Madonna has found herself a new toy boy after splitting from her former flame, Jesus Luz -- and he's a choreographer 19 years her junior.  The Queen of Pop was out Thursday night at Meatpacking hot spot SL with her handsome 'Sticky & Sweet' tour choreographer, Brahim Rachiki. 'They came in together and were holding hands in a private area,' a spy told us. 'Madonna got up and was dancing for an hour straight before going back to her man. They immediately started making out in front of other guests' ... Rachiki and Madge stayed late into the night and even chatted with DJ Tiesto, who arrived shortly after they did. A rep for the club couldn't be reached. The duo moved on from SL to the Sullivan Room in Greenwich Village at 1 a.m. for a Libation Party, where they showed off their dance moves before indulging in more public kissing. A spy said, 'After working the dance floor, they found more private seating where they hugged and kissed for the rest of the night.'" (PageSix)



"China has mounted a strenuous diplomatic campaign to block the publication of a U.N. report claiming that Chinese ammunition was shipped into Darfur, Sudan, during the past year, in clear violation of U.N. sanctions, four U.N. diplomatic sources familiar with China's effort told Turtle Bay. The findings by a U.N. Security Council-mandated 'panel of experts'provide some of the strongest evidence to date that the Sudanese government in Khartoum imported arms and ammunition in violation of an arms embargo, routinely channeling them into Darfur, where it is engaged in a military campaign against local rebel groups. The expert panel, which monitors a 6-year-old U.N. arms embargo in Sudan, presented its report in a closed-door briefing to the U.N. Security Council on October 4. The panel claimed that Sudanese forces had used more than a dozen types of Chinese ammunition in battles with Darfurian rebels in north and west Darfur over the past two years. The report does not claim that Chinese arms dealers were aware that their munitions would make their way to Darfur. However, shell casings from Chinese ammunition were found at the sites of numerous attacks against U.N.-African Union peacekeeping forces, carried out by unidentified assailants. The casings show that the ammunition was manufactured after 2009, half a decade after the sanctions went into force. In all, the panel uncovered a total 18 varieties of shell casings, including 12 from China, four from Sudan, and two from Israel." ((ForeignPolicy)


"It's not very often that the CW wins an hour of primetime among adults 18-49. The network accomplished just that last night with the 200th episode of Smallville, which led the competition at 8 PM with a 1.3/5, matching its season premiere demo number and hitting a season high in total viewers with 3.2 million. Supernatural (1.2/4, 2.8 million) was also strong, matching its season premiere numbers and finishing tied for second place in 18-49 at 9 PM behind CSI: NY (1.7/6, 9.5 million)." (Deadline)


"Meeting the scholarly and genial Nicolas Joly in the picturesquely cluttered library of the 18th-century manor that houses his winery, you would be hard pressed to imagine him dancing naked in his vineyard at midnight while burning rabbit skins. This was the image of Mr. Joly purveyed recently by a major French magazine. Mr. Joly is perhaps the world's leading practitioner of biodynamic viticulture, and as such he engages in some practices that may seem unconventional, although none of them involve naked dancing. Mr. Joly is the proprietor of Coulée de Serrant, a domain in the Loire Valley. His property borders the river and encompasses the ruins of an ancient castle destroyed in the wars between the Huguenots and the Catholics. ('Now we just have the war between good farming and bad farming,' he says.) The vineyard was first planted in 1113 by Cistercian monks, and the excellence of its wines has been acknowledged for centuries." (Jay McInerney)


"Mayor Bloomberg’s love affair with fashion (and what it can bring to the local New York economy) continues apace. After cutting the ribbon on the Armani flagship store on Fifth Avenue, celebrating Burberry’s new store on Madison, and opening New York Fashion Week’s new home at Lincoln Center, the Mayor has turned his affection to Ralph Lauren, whom he awarded the key to New York City last night during a celebratory cocktail at the new RL womens’ flagship on Madison Avenue. In front of friends (Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld), clients, and other executives likewise on the receiving end of Mr Lauren’s corporate largesse (the editors of pretty much every glossy magazine based in the city that carries Ralph Lauren advertising, from Harper’s Bazaar to Vanity Fair and In Style) the two men descended the gracefully curving staircase of Mr Lauren’s store like a newlyweds, pausing on a landing to make brief speeches." (FT)


"Francis Ford Coppola wrote it and, very surprisingly for such a good writer, he messed it up. Looking cool and calling everyone a 'sport' was not what Gatsby was about, nor was the hero symbolized by having a hell of a lot of new shirts and beautiful clothes. That was Shapiro’s view, or rather, Evans’s. Many have called The Great Gatsby the best American novel ever written. Something to do with the way it’s structured. I don’t know how one measures such things, but good books to me are like beautiful women; you can’t compare them ... Hollywood types see Fitzgerald’s gem as emerald lawns, silk shirts, golden sunlight, and great mansions by the sea. That’s what drew me in at the start. I had been on the Riviera age 14, had read Tender is the Night, and then came upon the American Riviera in West Egg. I was shut away in boarding school, but during home-from-school breaks I lived at the Sherry-Netherland on 5th Avenue across from the Plaza Hotel. I could imagine Daisy, Jordan, and Jay across the street from me better than anyone. I still can. Writing, you see, does not exist without a consenting reader. And no two readers are alike. I knew Jay better than anyone, except that I knew Dick Diver better. It all seems so long ago now. When I first read about Fitzgerald’s tragic life, his work had begun to be appreciated again. He reached superstardom during the 60s and 70s and is still selling well. But he’d died broke and forgotten decades earlier before he turned 45. Zelda died in a fire while institutionalized." (Taki)

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