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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Media Whore D'Oeuvres


"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a scalding critique of Arab leaders here on Thursday, saying they badly needed reforms to jump-start their economies and overcome dwindling natural resources, or risk having extremists take root in their societies. Speaking at a conference in this gleaming Persian Gulf state, Mrs. Clinton said, 'In too many places, in too many ways, the region’s foundations are sinking into the sand. The new and dynamic Middle East that I have seen needs firmer ground if it is to take root and grow everywhere.' Mrs. Clinton ticked off a familiar litany of criticism: corruption, repressive political systems, and a lack of rights for women and religious minorities. But her remarks were notable for their vehemence, especially before an audience of Arab diplomats, business people, and human right groups." (NyTimes)


"If you are a New York City history buff, then a visit to the venerable Players Club is mandatory. Founded in 1888 by the pre-eminent Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth (Yes. The brother of Lincoln’s assassin) and fifteen other notables, including Mark Twain, this was the first 'American gentleman’s clubs modeled after London’s famous Garrick Club ... dedicated to the promotion of social intercourse between members of the dramatic profession...' The founders occupied the historic, dark wood paneled, Greek Revival townhouse, located on Gramercy Park. Today the Club’s walls are anointed with sconces illuminating oil paintings of celebrated dramatic figures, and theatrical memorabilia. It is peopled with a lively group dedicated to the acting arts. This past Tuesday eve the renowned actor, director, screenwriter, producer Kevin Spacey, was awarded with the prestigious Edwin Booth Lifetime Achievement Award." (NYSocialDiary)


"There will be chicken and egg debates for a long time to come about whether that was because he was influenced the culture of hatred, threats and gun-wielding bravado that has for a long time infected U.S. politics or whether he was a just a catalyst seized upon by political opportunists grasping for any stray event that supported a point they long wanted to make. Both are no doubt true to some extent. It is impossible to ignore however, that the attack happened in a part of the country where the discourse had gotten particularly ugly, in a congressional district on which someone had drawn gun sights and to a Congresswoman who had made a point of decrying the tenor of the partisan screaming match that had seemingly drowned out any possibility of reasoning together on the American public stage. These factors may have been unrelated but events and context fuse together as they happen and the bond cannot be undone. As a result, like it or not, it is already impossible to imagine that failed Nevada Senate candidate Sharon Angle would this week discuss 'second amendment solutions' with the glibness she once did even if she condemns, as she does, those who try to make the connection between the attacks and the gunsmith-crafted rhetoric of populist politicians of both parties. For the same reason, it is also unlikely Joe Manchin will again be wielding a rifle in another campaign advertisement any time soon. Beyond this seeming and much-to-be-hoped-for shift toward more civility ... one that both President Obama and Speaker Boehner have appropriately embraced ... events such as this also have individual impacts on different individual politicians based on how they handle themselves. For this reason, even though six out of ten Americans see no connection between the shootings and hate politics, it seems likely that in the past several days the U.S. politician who has seen their future prospects as a candidate diminish most is Sarah Palin." (David Rothkopf)


"Despite warnings of a Gotham City blizzard, the Waldorf Astoria was buzzing last night for the 45th Annual YMA FSF Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards Dinner hosted by Mary Alice Stephenson. The glitzy soiree honored over 100 scholarship-toting students along with Manny Chirico, Jeff Kantor, and Visionaire founders Cecilia Dean, Stephan Gan, and James Kariliardos. Dani Stahl, Annabel Tollman, Zanna Roberts, Glenda Bailey, Ruben and Isabel Toledo were all in attendance while a frazzled Diane von Furstenberg slipped in during dinner." (Fashionweekdaily)


 
"A number of media outlets have picked up on the debate between Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing and Ron Kurtz of the American Affluence Research Center (AARC) concerning the future of the luxury market. Let me boil it down for you. In a recent AARC report Kurtz recommends that: 'Luxury brands and luxury marketers should be focused on the wealthiest one percent because they are the least likely to be cutting back and are the most knowledgeable about the price points and brands that are true high-end luxury.' Danziger fired back 'This is just plain dumb advice for luxury marketers.' She goes on to suggest that 'the top one percent of the market (about 1.2 million households with average incomes of $500,000 and above) simply can’t carry the entire weight of the luxury industry.' Instead, she recommends that the luxury industry cast a much wider net, aggressively going after the so-called HENRY’s (High Earners Not Yet Rich) to energize significant future growth. So who’s right? Well, neither one, exactly. Kurtz is right that the most elite segment has the greatest capacity and willingness to spend on luxury. But for virtually all but the most rarefied luxury brands, it would be an unmitigated disaster to focus only on the top 1%. As the former head of strategy and marketing at Neiman Marcus, I can assure you that customers outside the top 1% contribute a very significant percentage of sales and profits. And if you are Saks, Net-a-Porter, Gilt Group, Louis Vuitton or Gucci, I doubt it’s much different. Most luxury brands need the truly rich and the merely affluent." (StevenPDennis)

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