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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Between 2008 and 2010, several things went wrong in Europe, the biggest of which was Greece’s financial crisis. For years, Greek fiscal policy had been unsound. Although private debt had been rising, the country’s overall debt-to-GDP ratio had not ballooned, because the Greek economy was growing. But that growth turned out to be unsustainable. When the global economic crisis hit, Greece’s deficit more than doubled. The problem was compounded by revelations that the government had grossly falsified and padded its budget in the run up to the 2009 parliamentary elections. Unlike countries with national currencies, Greece could not address its problems through monetary policy. It can neither print money to inflate its debt away nor depreciate its currency to recover the international competitiveness of Greek goods and grow the economy out of debt. And unlike a subnational federal region in trouble, Greece, as a sovereign unit itself, could not have its falling revenues and rising social expenditures offset through simple fiscal transfers from the rest of Europe. Its labor force, moreover, is not mobile enough for excess to be exported elsewhere in the eurozone. As far as the euro’s architects were concerned, this kind of problem should never have arisen." (ForeignAffairs)


"The man of the week, Andre Balazs, hosted another party with Jefferson Hack for the artist Marco Brambilla, whose amazing video greats you in the elevator on your way to Balazs’ Boom Boom Room. For the screening of Brambilla’s newest creation and his first 3D video, Evolution (Megaplex), Armani designed 3D glasses that were seen on everyone from Bob Colacello to John Demsey to Leigh Lezark to Michael Stipe. 'I used over a thousand video and music clips from a variety of movies to create the work,' Brambilla explained when asked about his crowd-mesmerizing new video. At the Rubell Family Collection, Albert Elbaz and Stefano Tonchi hosted an art decadent dinner in honor of Miami mega-collectors, Don and Mera Rubell. The very glamorous crowd, with many not surprisingly in Lanvin, included Princess Firyl of Jordan, Adam Lindeman and Amalia Dayan, Eva and Michael Chow, Ingrid Sischy and Sandy Brant, Jeannie Greenberg Rohatyn, Lisa Perry, and Larry Gagosian, explored Rubell’s art treasures while enjoying Nobu delicacies." (Lisa Anastos)


"Trying to track down a half-remembered nugget of trivia, I recently entered the words 'history of gossip' into a search engine. The top result — generated by one of those online content companies journalists hate so much — had all the flaws of its subject (speculation, lack of facts) but none of its virtues (pizazz, celebrity names). It won’t do. In an attempt to take back the S.E.O. (that’s search engine optimization, for those lucky souls who don’t need to know such things), here’s my own brief and highly selective attempt to provide a better answer for the Internet query 'history of gossip.' The earliest recorded piece of gossip — which was the factoid that originally sent me to Google — is roughly 3,500 years old, according to the author Roger Wilkes. 'Cuneiform tablets dating from 1500 B.C. chronicle a Mesopotamian mayor having an affair with a married woman,' he wrote in a 2002 book, 'Scandal: A Scurrilous History of Gossip.' Modern gossip writers trying to connect themselves to a literary tradition might want to claim the ancient Greek epigram. Worn out by long-winded Homer, Archilochus, a poet in the seventh century B.C., realized that there was a market for short, snappy verse that dispatched its subject with a little snark." (TMagazine)


"The New York Women’s Foundation®’s (NYWF) hosted its 23rd Annual Stepping Out and Stepping Up, honoring Agnes Gund as well as Grace Hightower De Niro and Robert De Niro at New York City’s Gotham Hall. Good Morning America’s Juju Chang hosted the special evening, which began with an address by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to the nearly 300 guests in attendance, which included filmmaker Jane Rosenthal, Muffie Potter Aston, philanthropist Anne Bass, Mexico’s Deputy Consul General in New York Ismael Naveja Macias, as well as Gala Vice Chairs Jean Shafiroff, Susan R. Cullman, Carolyn Buck Luce and Gala Co-Chairs Hyatt Bass and Somers Farkas with husband Jonathan Farkas. Mayor Bloomberg praised Agnes as having 'singlehandedly changed our city’s cultural landscape,' and the De Niros, saying 'these two New Yorkers really couldn’t be more deserving ... they care deeply about this city.'" (NYSocialDiary)


"By accepting his own reduced political standing and admitting Republican thinking into his own policy formulation, President Obama has plunged headlong into the political calculus known as triangulation. That's what we called it back in the mid-1990s, when President Bill Clinton tried to save himself (and the last power the Democrats had in Washington) by posing himself against both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. All the tough talk in the president's statement Monday night was directed at Republicans, who over the weekend blocked the president's effort to extend current tax rates except on income above $250,000 per family. They even threatened to filibuster an attempt to raise rates only on incomes of $1 million or more. The GOP was ready to let taxes go up on everyone Jan. 1 (when current rates revert to higher rates from the 1990s) rather than permit a policy change unfriendly to the wealthiest. But after the tongue lashing for the Republicans, the president proceeded to outline a deal that lacerated the Democrats. By agreeing to a two-year extension of tax cuts for the wealthy — sacrificing his own long-held position — the president can be seen as embracing the centerpiece of Republican orthodoxy. By doing so, the president is putting considerable distance between himself and the convictions of progressives everywhere." (NPR)


"Best Actress. Likely Nominees: This is perhaps the year's most exciting category. There are so many great performance competing, but only one can win. The war will definitely be between Jennifer Lawrence for her mumble-mouthed determination in Winter's Bone, Annette Bening for her red wine-swilling doctor in The Kids Are All Right, and Natalie Portman for her crazytown high-wire act in Black Swan." (Gawker)

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