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Friday, November 12, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"A major strategic challenge for the United States in the coming decades will be integrating emerging powers into international institutions. The dramatic growth of Brazil, China, and India -- and the emergence of middle-tier economies such as Indonesia and Turkey -- is transforming the geopolitical landscape and testing the institutional foundations of the post-World War II liberal order. The Obama administration promotes developing cooperative relations with emerging powers, believing that countries with a stake in world affairs will become responsible global actors. But the United States should be under no illusions about the ease of socializing rising nations. Emerging powers may be clamoring for greater global influence, but they often oppose the political and economic ground rules of the inherited Western liberal order, seek to transform existing multilateral arrangements, and shy away from assuming significant global responsibilities. Over the next ten years and beyond, the United States will have to accommodate new powers in reformed structures of global governance while safeguarding the Western liberal order it helped create and defend. The world is entering a chaotic era." (ForeignAffairs)


"Let’s have a look at another exotic: the bullshot. This cocktail is a clear class indicator. If you order one and the bartender looks at you quizzically, you’re in the wrong joint. A proper bullshot, and it’s taken before lunch only, is made of Campbell’s double-strength beef broth, the juice of one half a lime, a liberal dosage of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, and a shot of vodka, shaken over ice, served straight-up in a Kelly glass. No garnish. It has to be beef broth and only Campbell’s. Consomm√© won’t work because it jellifies. Only one New York club makes the pukka version, but I’m not going to tell you which one. Believe it or not, you used to be able to get one at Mark’s Club in London and at the Travellers in Paris. Mark Birley shipped the Campbell’s from America, and the Travellers secured theirs from a U.S. Army PX before the Frogs dismissed our troops. A word on the Bloody Mary. This is a barely OK drink much favored by pseudo-sophisticates and suburbanites, often adulterated by celery salt, horseradish, Tabasco, celery-stalk garnishes, and for all I know, little umbrellas. If you insist on doctoring up a bullshot’s fecal color, add some V8 juice. It’s known as a Bloody Bull." ("Bunky Mortimer")



"The first body was found in a patch of weeds in L.A.'s industrial wastelands. The victim, a woman, was naked; her feet and wrists had been bound. The second body was discovered in a vacant field near a school sixty miles east of the city. The woman, also naked, lay facedown, in a semi-fetal position. The third body was found, partially clothed, in a dirt gulley of a desolate area miles away in the county of Riverside. She, like the others, had been strangled. The murders were 20 years apart yet police believe they were committed by the same person—a serial killer still on the loose." (TheDailyBeast)


"After David Letterman in the last week of October posted his first demo win over Leno since Leno's return to The Tonight Show, Leno bounced back to reclaim the lead in both 18-49 and total viewers for the first week of November. This marks Leno's first solo first-place finish at the top of the 18-49 rankings in 5 weeks, as Leno and Letterman were tied for 3 weeks before Letterman won outright the week before last. In 18-49, Leno averaged a 1.0 rating vs. a 0.9 for Letterman. The same week last year, Letterman and The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien were tied at 0.9. (In 18-49 viewers, Leno's average was 1.26 million vs. 1.21 million for Conan last fall; Letterman's was 1.20 million vs. 1.22 million last year.) The two may switch places again this week as Letterman dominated Leno on Monday night. Among total viewers, Leno averaged 3.9 million for the week, up from 2.3 million for Conan last fall; Letterman drew 3.7 million vs. 3.9 million last year. As for the third airing of Conan's new latenight show on TBS, his ratings drops were far more moderate than the 33-42% between the premiere and night 2. Last night, Conan drew 2.7 million viewers, down only 3% from the night before." (Deadline)


"U.S. President Barack Obama tried hard to avoid saying the 'P' word -- Pakistan -- on his recent trip to India. He didn't mention Pakistan once during his brief remarks commemorating the 2008 Mumbai attacks, to the chagrin of Indian pundits. He treaded carefully on the subject during a question-and-answer forum with Indian students. And in his address to the Indian Parliament two days later, he got scant applause for challenging Indian legislators to support a Pakistan 'that is stable and prosperous and democratic.' For all Indian commentators may feel that the United States is hopelessly biased toward their northwestern neighbor, they are missing a key development: As the endgame in Afghanistan approaches, relations between the United States and Pakistan have plunged to their worst depths since 2001. At the heart of this crisis are years of American neglect and drift -- and the Pakistani military's determination to outlast U.S. pressure aimed at ending its ties to the Afghan Taliban. For nearly a decade, there has been no progress in U.S. aims to improve relations between India and Pakistan or U.S. attempts to persuade the Pakistani military to treat all terrorist groups as equally culpable. The military's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate still allows Afghan and Central Asian terrorist groups to operate from Pakistani soil and refuses to clamp down on the anti-Indian terrorist groups operating from Punjab province, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which launched the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The Pakistani Army admits that it has not gone after al Qaeda in Pakistan since 2006.  This malign neglect has allowed foreign militants to radicalize Pakistani Pashtun tribes, which have now linked up with militant groups in Punjab -- with the aim of overthrowing the Pakistani state. Yet Pakistani strategists still think they can crush the homegrown militants while maintaining the Afghan Taliban as a proxy force for a final settlement in Afghanistan. If that sounds delusional, so does the U.S. failure to address this crisis honestly." (ForeignPolicy)


"From 1991's Point Break to last year's Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow has blended adrenaline and artistry as well as any film director over the last few decades. MoMA is the latest institution to take notice; the museum honored Bigelow (a former painter) last night at its third annual film benefit, which also looked forward to the retrospective of her work this coming June. On her way in, performance artist Marina Abramovic was happy to insert herself among Bigelow's many admirers. 'I don't believe in female art or male art—I just believe in good art and bad art,' she said. 'I think she actually took this male part [of herself] to do blockbusters, which is fantastic, because it's so hard. You have to operate with an enormous amount of cool, and you really have to understand how infrastructure works and be at the top of everything, and she is. That's what is fascinating' ... Before dinner and an acoustic performance by Canadian indie rockers Metric, Jodie Foster gave a thoughtful summing-up of Bigelow's oeuvre. 'What I see, strangely, is a real question about male connection—what do men do, what brings them together,' she said. 'These are questions that Kathryn Bigelow is fascinated with. That may change—she may make a movie about women some day!'" (Style)


"Alexa Hampton’s new book, Alexa Hampton: The Language of Interior Design (Clarkson Potter) makes no bones about the fact that, in Ms. Hampton’s view, interior design follows rules, has its own grammar and is something that, if worked at with sufficient diligence, can be learned. She herself, not always a willing pupil, was 'dragged' by her famous father, Mark Hampton, all around every important house in Europe but despite throwing up at Giverny, says she is indebted to him for a formidable bank of knowledge upon which she now draws for her own very successful design career." (NYSocialDiary)


"'This is like a fashion show stuck in a Baz Luhrmann film,' grinned Adam Levine, taking in the Victoria’s Secret set at last night’s primetime extravaganza at The Armory. 'There's lots of pink, lots of glitter, and lots of important fashion people!' And that was before the first model (Adriana Lima) even hit the runway. Even by VS’s standards of excess, last night’s show was an epic, bombastic production. The parade featured the entire US men’s gymnastics team, three sets of dancers, five set changes, hundreds of oversized balloons, adjustable chandeliers, and, of course, Katy Perry, who played along with the long-legged Brazilians and Eastern Europeans ...Serena Williams arrived on crutches (she recently had foot surgery). 'I had to see my best friend Selita do her thing,' she said. 'I was dancing in my imagination!' After the show, practically the entire cast headed to Lavo, where Jessica Stam, Chanel Iman, and Lily Donaldson held court at the after-party. Caroline Winberg was already dreaming of normalcy. 'I can’t wait to get home, take a shower, take the extensions and make-up off, and be myself again,' she smiled." (DailyFrontRow)

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