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Friday, October 01, 2010

Media-Whore d'Oeuvres


"Yesterday the Jerusalem Post reported that the Obama administration has offered Israel a generous package of new benefits if it will just extend the settlement freeze for another two months. The source for the report was David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a key organization in the Israel lobby. Makovsky is also a co-author with Obama Middle East advisor Dennis Ross, so presumably he has accurate knowledge about this latest initiative, which is said to take the form of a personal letter from Obama to Netanyahu. Assuming this report is true, it marks a new low in U.S. Middle East diplomacy. Just consider the message that Obama's team is sending the Netanyahu government. Netanyahu has been giving Obama the finger ever since the Cairo speech in June 2009, but instead of being punished for it, he's getting rewarded for being so difficult. So why should any rational person expect Bibi's position to change if this is what happens when he digs in his heels?" (ForeignPolicy)


"Tony DiSanto, the head of original programming at MTV and the man who helped transition the company from a music video network to one that relies on in-house shows, will soon leave the company to pursue other endeavors, The Wall Street Journal reports. Mr. DiSanto is leaving so that he can focus more on production. 'That's what's in his heart,' MTV President Van Toffler told the paper. The 20-year network veteran won't stray far, though. He'll continue to produce shows with MTV, and is reportedly considering joining Electus, Ben Silverman's new production company that's working on an interactive telenovella with MTV." (Observer)



"There is a theory making the rounds these days that society in New York is no longer what was because of the Women’s Movement. This Diary has proposed several times that all the changes in our society over the past half century are the result of ALL the Liberation movements, beginning with Civil Rights and moving right along into feminism and gay liberation. That and digital technology, lest we forget whence it came. Society of the eras of the Mesdames Astor was defined, however, by none of the above, but by groups where the Mesdames reigned over a select few (or many). You, you, and not you. At the beginning of the 21st century, there is a society in New York but much of it is motivated not by the desire to “belong” as it was in the days of the Mrs. Astors, but by the desire to be seen and noticed, which is best achieved by the photograph. The motivation is often couched in terms of being a volunteer for a good cause -- and it is true that many women (and men) are motivated to volunteer for a good cause – but mainly it’s for the attention, not unlike the attention you get when you look in the mirror. Which could even lead you to conclude that the answer to New York magazine’s question: 'Who Runs New York?' might be: the bathroom mirror." (NYSocialDiary)

"I've always been a firm believer in the notion that art doesn't have to be serious to be taken seriously, and perhaps no show has better resonated with this idea than Divine Comedy, on view now through October 19 at Sotheby's. Curators from the uptown auction house have placed contemporary work in dialogue with antiquities, African art, old master paintings, 19th century European art, modern and surrealist works, and Latin American paintings to explore how artists have harnessed the power of humor in their works. Having attended last night's glam-glam private opening alongside Julianne Moore, Padma Lakshmi, Emily Mortimer, and Alan Cumming, I can vouch that many of the 80 or so works are indeed very amusing. The works are organized into three sections to mimic Dante's journey through the afterlife: upon exiting the elevators, viewers step into 'purgatory,' a grey-walled room lined with the likes of Keith Haring, Martin Kippenberger, and Frans Francken, to name a few. From there, it's on to 'paradise,' an inviting cerulean room with a towering bronze Rodin and a dazzling Damien Hirst made of butterfly wings." (Papermag)


"Today marks the end of the second week of the 2010 broadcast television season. But you can be forgiven for not knowing that, because it appears that many of you aren't watching new programs on the networks anymore. Fox has already canceled its highly touted serial drama Lone Star, and a number of its other new shows have gotten a tepid initial reaction—ABC and NBC are facing the same problem. Indeed, if you watch the Emmys, read the blogs, or simply listen to co-workers at the office, you know that almost anything worth paying attention to on TV is on cable—it's all Mad Men, Jersey Shore, Monday Night Football, and the Real Housewives of this or that city. And because the buzzy shows are on cable, the value of cable networks has increased exponentially over that of their broadcast counterparts. There are many reasons for why cable channels are worth vastly more than their broadcasting brethren. Chief among them is that cable networks benefit from two revenue streams: advertising and licensing fees (the payments distributors make for the right to offer the channel to their customers). Other factors include growth potential, amounts spent on original productions, and whether the network is independent or part of a larger group that can be bundled together and offered as a package." (TheDailybeast)


"It's a lesson from high school civics class: Senators represent entire states, representatives just a portion of their states. But it's not true for seven representatives who serve everyone in their states. As the sole House members from their states, the at-large representatives of Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont, Alaska and Wyoming must balance the diverse needs of their constituents, often spanning vast geographical and cultural divides, to find a middle ground. In a way, they're the House's senators. 'My job is to put it all together in one package,' said Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska). Young represents more than 698,000 people, slightly higher than the 646,952 average population of a congressional district. 'There are some that probably don't agree with me but they know I'm representing the area and what's good for the state as a whole,' he said. 'I have to be a generalist,' said Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) adding that his stance on certain issues depends on what would help the most Montanans. 'We're kind of a big extended family,' said Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota, which she represents. '[My constituents] recognize that I prioritize what's best overall.'" (CQPolitics)

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