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Monday, November 08, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The tabloid-ready trial of the year opens November 8 in New York State Supreme Court: Casa de Meadows, Inc. v. Zaman, pitting a member of Brunei’s royal family against legal advisers who, he says, bilked him out of millions while managing various assets on his behalf. Herewith, some background: The Prince Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei, age 55 or so (his birth date is hard to confirm); brother of the Sultan of Brunei. Prince Jefri was Brunei’s Finance minister—the royal family’s money manager—until his brother got fed up with his … lifestyle choices. In 2000, after he was accused of misappropriating billions in funds over fifteen years, a settlement was reached that required him to return most of his assets, including a controlling stake in Asprey—the British jeweler—which cost him nearly $400 million to acquire, and his$500 million yacht called Tits ... His Alleged Harem In another lawsuit, the prince was accused of keeping a 40-girl harem at the Dorchester Hotel, not far from his $55 million home in London. (NYU dropout Jillian Lauren wrote a book about her time with Prince Jefri, entitled Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, in which she declared: 'I knew I was a hooker, but somehow I felt like Cinderella.') " (NYMag/Intelligence)


"The truth is that voters have not turned against the old-fashioned social democracy of the mid-20th century. In Europe as in the U.S., universal social insurance programs for the middle class, as opposed to means-tested welfare programs for the poor, remain popular among voters on the right as well as the left. Voters in Europe are not voting against public pensions and universal healthcare. Instead, they are tossing out a more recent generation of social democrats who went too far in their embrace of markets. The greatest assault on traditional social democracy in the last generation has come from 'Third Way' leaders of center-left parties like Tony Blair, and their continental European counterparts. Like the Clinton Democrats, these 'modernizing' social democrats embraced free markets with a convert’s zeal, celebrating globalization and deregulating finance, while seeking to privatize or dismantle parts of the older welfare state. The politicians of the Third Way were far more libertarian than the voters in their own parties and their actions helped to make possible the global economic crisis. Having given up traditional social democratic economics for a watered-down version of libertarian conservatism, the Third Way social democrats in Europe, like the Clinton and Obama Democrats in the U.S., sought to replace the traditional bread-and-butter concerns of working-class voters with idealistic campaigns about multiculturalism, climate change and obesity that appealed to more affluent, college-educated voters." (Michael Lind/Salon)


"So here was Ms. (Courtney) Love, 16 years later, the toast of fashion. At one point, she took me upstairs to her room to show me some clothes. The bed was unmade, and there was an overflowing ashtray on the night stand next to five prescription bottles and some junk food. 'These are my wakeup cupcakes, some anti-depressants and a cellphone book,' she said without embarrassment. 'I speak to you as someone who doesn’t want to be perceived as a train wreck,' she said. 'Living in L.A. had a really bad effect on me in particular,' she said, describing what sounded like obsessive behavior regarding the legal cases regarding the rights to Mr. Cobain’s estate and allegations of financial wrongdoing. 'I didn’t realize where my reputation had gone. In New York, you can attack the source of what’s gone wrong. Like what Russell (Simmons) did today — I called him and said, ‘You know, Russell, you are a little older than me and you should know by now, with all your crazy money and your good credit and your RushCards, to not mouth off.’ ” (NYTimes/Style)


(image via la-grenouille.com)

"The Marathon was in town, and traffic was heavier than usual because of all the out-of-towners coming in for it. On Saturday, I went with two old friends to dine at La Grenouille, which was packed. Borne of the tradition of haute cuisine in New York mid-20th century, the lighting, the flowers, the service, the food at La Grenouille is elegant. You are transported and with assurance. It’s not just a discipline but also a sensibility. Partaking of it is one of the remaining luxuries of that era, this time, and way of life in New York. Which is why it’s packed. La Grenouille clientele is well aware. Betsy Bloomingdale, in from Los Angeles, was there with friends and family. At a table nearby Casey Ribicoff and Gil Shiva were entertaining Anne and Kirk Douglas, also in from Los Angeles. It was a mid- to older crowd at the 8 o’clock dinner hour and then after ten, a much younger, well dressed crowd, and taking it all in, having the experience. It was a lovely New York Saturday night." (NYSocialDiary)



"Nora Ephron's new book, I Remember Nothing And Other Reflections, hits bookstores next week. On Friday, at a breakfast co-hosted by Credit Suisse and The Daily Beast, Ephron took questions from Tina Brown and a small audience about her illustrious, shape-shifting, constantly surprising career, and the great loves (and great disappointments) in her life ... 'On some level, my life has been wasted on me. After all, if I can't remember it, who can?' goes a line in the new book. Ephron's trenchant, witty style shines in her numerous hit films: Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally…, Sleepless in Seattle, Julie & Julia, among many other charming, classic comedies ... Before she was a thrice-Oscar-nominated screenwriter, Ephron was a journalist, who came up through the ranks at a time when women were not exactly welcome, let alone mentored or promoted. 'Girldom,' Ephron called female ascension at Newsweek—where women weren't writers 'because that's just the way it's always been," as one powerful newsman had explained, complacent or complicit ... In her writing and her comic recounting, Ephron's disappointments—politicians, ex-husbands, her 'Aruba' hair issue (read the book)—never seem to truly embitter her; they're just fodder for calmly satiric material. After breakfast ended and the audience departed, she took some additional questions with The Daily Beast. (Ephron's son is a reporter at The Daily Beast.) When asked what, if anything, makes her truly angry, she paused. 'You know, I have to think about it. I don't want to not answer the question.' But in short order, the conversation circled right back to a hot button: she was pissed about that business at Newsweek back in the day!" (TheDailyBeast)


(Janollari via Deadline)

"I hear MTV is finalizing its succession plans in light of the pending departure of the network's president of programming Tony DiSanto. I hear that the bulk of DiSanto's responsibilities will be divided between EVP scripted development David Janollari and EVP MTV Production Chris Linn. Janollari will continue to oversee all scripted development for the network and may take over some unscripted responsibilities as he is expected to oversee all West Coast development. Chris Linn, who has been the current executive on MTV's biggest series Jersey Shore while also heading development and production of TV movies and production of pilots and series, is expected to take oversight of East Coast development." (Deadline)


"TheDailyBeast: Is all of that really book-worthy? It’s true that in 394 pages, Carter doesn’t much alter the narrative as we know it, which is that Conan got royally screwed. But he adds reams of blind quotes about all the key players and compelling stories of grasping TV executives. The book is remarkably good given that America already watched the whole thing play out on YouTube. TheDailyBeast: I always liked Conan. How does he come off? Smart, sympathetic, and a bit na├»ve. Carter supplies some key contextual scenes. As a young Saturday Night Live writer, Conan sneaks into Letterman’s Late Night studio and sits in his hero’s chair, imagining himself as Dave’s heir. We also see Conan balking at a lucrative writing career on The Simpsons because he wants to be a performer. In 1993, he infuriates SNL capo Lorne Michaels by turning down a job as producer and writer on NBC’s new, post-Letterman Late Night show, leading Michaels, after a time, to tap Conan to host the thing." (TheDailyBeast)

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