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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"THE first time the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 12,000, in October 2006, presenters on CNBC, a business channel, almost caught fire with excitement. When it reached that milestone again on February 1st the reaction was more muted, though the recovery from a low of 6,547 less than two years ago is remarkable, and soaring share prices reflect a corporate America that is leaner and stronger than it was back in 2006. The current profit-reporting season is shaping up to be one of the best ever. For non-financial firms in the S&P 500, earnings per share are now higher than they have been for at least a decade. With over half of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported, profits in 2010 were up by 17% compared with 2009. (The year-on-year increase is far greater if financial firms are included, since they plunged in 2009 and then rebounded spectacularly.) The Dow was helped on its way by strong quarterly profits from Alcoa, an aluminium producer, which generated more than $1 billion of cash from its operations in the fourth quarter, and Exxon Mobil, which reported a 53% increase in fourth-quarter profits thanks to high oil and gas prices. Its full-year profit was $30.5 billion, up from $19.4 billion in 2009." (TheEconomist)


(image via NYSocialDiary via FT)

"In last weekend's Financial Times, reporter Lucy Kellaway interviewed Max Mosley, the former head of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile a/k/a Formula One. Mr. Mosley was the client in a headline grabbing scandal involving sadomasochistic sex sessions with several prostitutes in a London flat in March 2008. Referring to it as a 'sick, Nazi orgy,' the activities were splashed all over the tabloid, the News of the World, including photographs and video extracts of the session which the paper implied had 'a Nazi theme or were intended to mock victims of the Holocaust.' The 68-year-old Mr. Mosley subsequently sued the tabloid and was awarded 60,000 GBP in compensation. The judge ruled that there was no evidence of the 'Nazi theme' or mocking of victims of the Holocaust. The News of the World was also ordered to pay Mr. Mosley's legal bills totally close to 900,000 GBP. Mr. Mosley also acknowledged that he had been involved in the S&M scene for decades although claiming that none of his sessions were re-enactments of Nazi behavior. He added that he could think of nothing more 'unerotic.' As a son of Sir Oswald and Lady Mosley, the two most famous British fascists of the 1930s and 40s, he evidently felt compelled to add that he had 'sought to distance himself from his parent's controversial history.'” (NYSocialDiary)


"J. Paul Getty III, a scion of the Getty oil dynasty whose tragedies — mutilation by kidnappers in the early 1970s and an incapacitating, drug-induced stroke in the 1980s — brought into high relief the dysfunctional relations that beset his famously wealthy family, has died in Buckinghamshire, England. He was 54. Getty, who had homes in the Los Angeles area for some years after his ordeals, died Saturday after a long illness, according to a statement from his actor-son, Balthazar. Left nearly blind and a quadriplegic after the stroke, Getty was known to the public largely for his misfortunes ... The most sensational event in the family's history was the young Getty's 1973 kidnapping from a Rome piazza when he was 16. Several days after his disappearance, his kidnappers notified a local newspaper that he was being held by the Mafia. His grandfather and father at first believed the kidnapping to be a hoax and refused to pay any ransom until incontrovertible evidence was provided: young Getty's severed right ear and photos showing him shorn of the body part." (LATimes)


"For 15 years, Marie Caro watched with a mother’s guilt as her daughter starved herself to death. Marie took her own life on January 19, just two months after her daughter Isabelle succumbed to the effects of anorexia nervosa. Once a moderately successful model in Paris, Isabelle Caro catapulted to much greater fame in 2007, when Italian shock-ad guru Oliviero Toscani used dramatic nude images of the then-27-year-old to illustrate just what 'dying to be thin' really means. The billboard campaign ran during Milan Fashion Week across Italy and France—and was banned a week later after residents who lived near the billboards complained that the images were disturbing. The ad—for Italian clothing label No-L-Ita—revealed every inch of Caro’s cadaverous body, which looked like a lab skeleton wrapped in prematurely aged skin. Her breasts were tiny pockets of flesh that hung from her ribcage. Her long fingers looked like broken matchsticks. Toscani’s timely campaign made her the darling of the No Anorexia movement—but also a cult idol in the corner of the blogosphere that promotes dangerous dieting. The notoriety that followed the poster campaign prompted Caro to start a blog and write her autobiography The Litte Girl Who Didn’t Want to Get Fat (both in French)." (TheDailyBeast)



"Oscar night came three weeks early as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hauled out the giant Oscar statues and threw their 30th Annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon  ... Javier Bardem stood next to Natalie Portman, David Seidler, and Mike MedavoyNicole Kidman and James Franco book-ended the big Oscar statue.  Geoffrey Rush stood next to Jesse Eisenberg, while Annette Bening sat on Jeff Bridges' lap ... Speaking of the show, Oscarcast producers Don Mischer and Bruce Cohen spoke to the crowd at the end of the luncheon extolling them to be brief and heartfelt in their acceptance speeches. Mischer introduced a new graphic that will slowly wind down to a warning to 'wrap it up' at the 45-second mark. He said they have done minute by minute research on past awards shows and discover they lose 'hundreds of thousands' of viewers when winners rattle off a list that drags on to long. The producers showed a specially produced DVD by Tom Hanks with instructions on how to make a speech at the Oscars and said it will be sent to all the nominees this year, complete with an interactive feature so they can practice at home." (Deadline)

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