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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Media-Whore D'oeuvres


"In the coming weeks, the United States may well be joining a new round of nuclear negotiations with Iran. But, rather than working to promote their success, most commentators seem to be consumed with explaining their anticipated failure. And their follow-up policy prescriptions seem designed to do more harm than good. Take Karim Sadjadpour's article, 'The Sources of Soviet Iranian Conduct,' in the November issue of Foreign Policy. Sadjadpour seeks to adapt George Kennan's famous 1947 'Mr. X" article -- which proposed the outlines of the Cold War 'containment' strategy used against the Soviet Union -- for America's current Iran debate.  'Like the Soviet Union, the Islamic Republic is a corrupt, inefficient, authoritarian regime whose bankrupt ideology resonates far more abroad than it does at home,' Sadjadpour writes. 'Also like the men who once ruled Moscow, Iran's current leaders have a victimization complex and, as they themselves admit, derive their internal legitimacy from thumbing their noses at Uncle Sam." It's a clever conceit, but it would be a disaster for U.S. interests if Sadjadpour's piece attains anything close to the level of influence achieved by Kennan's. That's so for three main reasons." (ForeignPolicy)


"Yesterday afternoon Alexandra Lebenthal and I had a discussion about her book The Recessionistas before a group of 45 friends and friends of friends in the 'library' of the Carlisle Collection ... We had originally planned this meeting to take place about six weeks ago when Alexandra’s book first hit the stores. However, her promotion schedule and my daily routine of appointments and events to cover, pushed it off to the point where I was afraid the topic would be old news. However, I was wrong, not having taken into consideration the subject: the girls and boys who make their living and live off of Wall Street. What ensued was a conversation about how the book evolved (beginning with her columns here on the NYSD). A comment published after a recent review in the Wall Street Journal compared it to (and not as as good as) Sex In the City. It’s nothing like Sex In the City except for the mentality of many of the characters. The Recessionistas was the first piece of fiction to describe the backstory to what is an ongoing dilemma in the world today. Its ultimate effect on our lives is far from determined. Much of it was wrought from behavior rife with fraud, but fraud as an accepted way of life and of an agreed nature. People “went along” when it was convenient for their wallet." (NYSocialDiary)


"As Ye Jingzi talks enthusiastically about her business and charity work it is easy to forget that she is a “princeling” – the privileged descendant of one of the founders of the People’s Republic of China. Business in China is famously reliant on guanxi, the concept of personal relationships and reciprocal favours that underpin all deals, from village markets to the commanding heights of the economy. So princelings are much sought-after by domestic and foreign businesses, which hope to leverage their personal networks to get ahead in the cut-throat Chinese market. As a group, Ms Ye and her princeling contemporaries are notoriously shy and almost never speak out in public. But in an extremely rare interview, Ms Ye says that being from an important family can also have its drawbacks. While she ac­knowledges, and is proud of, the “red blood” that affords her all kinds of privileges, she is also keenly aware of the responsibilities that accompany her illustrious name. 'It’s very important to me that people understand I have made things happen for myself and not just been successful because of my family background,' she says. 'It’s also important that I use my position to help my country and my people.'  Her grandfather, Marshal Ye Jian­ying, was a veteran of the Long March and a founder of the People’s Liberation Army." (FT)


"Dino De Laurentiis was a man who loved life, his family, good Italian food and the movies. So said Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Lynch and Baz Luhrmann, who shared stories about the veteran producer at his funeral Monday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. All described the Italian-born producer, who died last week at age 91, as larger than life. 'He fought big, he dreamed big, and that's the way he saw the cinema, as big,' said Lynch, who made 'Dune' and 'Blue Velvet' with De Laurentiis. 'Ten grown athletic men combined, on PCP, would not equal even a tiny fraction of the energy that Dino had every day... Dino was like a steamroller working, dreaming and thinking the movies' ...His grandchildren, including Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, read brief passages during the service. Many guests at the 90-minute service wore red at the request of the family. 'It was Dino's color,' the pastor said. A statement released by the family late Friday explained the legendary producer 'did not want to be met with a sea of black at his funeral.'" (AP)


"Karen Gillan, co-star of BBC TV’s sci-fi show, is to play a spiky New Jersey high school teenager who finds herself trapped Alice In Wonderland-style in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Gillan wakes up in mythical 13th century Verona with all the people she knows from her high school life playing characters in the play. And she wants to get out because she knows how the play ends. Gillian Anderson will play the dual roles of Gillan’s mother and the Nurse, while Robert Sheehan, star of cult E4 TV comedy The Misfits, will play the school nerd who becomes her Romeo. The $7 million Romeo and Brittney will start shooting in May. David Baddiel, writer of The Infidel, will be making his directing debut, producer Arvind Ethan David tells me. Baddiel is well known over here as a novelist as well as a stand-up comedian. David is pitching the project as “Shakespeare In Love meets Clueless.” (Deadline)


"You only turn 30 once, so why not take over Indochine and have an A-list designer make you a dress for the occasion? That's what Julia Restoin-Roitfeld did in New York on Friday night. When you're fashion royalty, you can pull some strings—like those of Pucci creative director Peter Dundas. 'He was the first one I asked, and he said yes right away,' the birthday girl explained, as the initial round of Belvedere shots (it was that kind of party) was poured. 'I said, I want red and I want lace, and I want it very short—the rest, do whatever you want' ... cheer went up as the clock struck midnight, and waiters sought takers for chocolate cake. In addition to Restoin-Roitfeld's brother, Vladimir, and mom Carine and dad Christian, an impressive crowd of well-wishers turned up from various corners of the fashion world—including Caroline Sieber, Helena Christensen, Giovanna Battaglia, and erstwhile Pop editor Dasha Zhukova." (Style)

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