blog advertising is good for you

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Oil service companies are not usually found in the middle of African markets, where stalls of dried fish, flip-flops and plastic pots compete for the attention of passers-by. They tend to be hidden far from slums, behind high-walled compounds that replicate western, suburban comforts. Sigma Base Technical Services, however, is a new outfit on a mission, based in Ghana’s salt-scoured port of Takoradi. Company headquarters are on the first floor of a building in the commercial heart of town, historically a point of departure for cocoa and gold, rather than a hub for oil. Fumes waft up from passing traffic, blending with the bitter-sweet smell of fermenting cocoa beans that drifts in on a breeze. In a stairwell peppered with graffiti, young men and women wearing fluorescent hard hats and overalls, tramp up and down in steel-capped boots. They have come to see Ebow Haizel-Ferguson, a director at the joint venture he founded with Nigerian company Del-Sigma. Haizel-Ferguson’s ambition, already part way to realisation at a nearby warehouse, is to train a generation in pipe fitting, welding and other skills that could win them jobs when contracts roll. On December 15, to much fanfare, Ghana became the latest African oil producer, when President John Evans Atta Mills choppered out to switch on production at the Jubilee field – the largest offshore discovery in Africa of the past decade." (FT)




"On Feb. 15, gunmen on a highway in central Mexico stopped a vehicle with U.S. diplomatic license plates and shot the two men inside. Killed in the attack was Jaime Zapata, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent. A second ICE agent was wounded. In response to the attack, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) declared that 'this tragic event is a game changer' that 'should be a long overdue wake-up call for the Obama administration that there is a war on our nation's doorstep.' Should what's happening in Mexico be described as a war? On Feb. 7, U.S. Undersecretary of the Army Joseph Westphal described Mexico's troubles as a 'form of insurgency,' an assertion that immediately provoked a strong rebuke from Mexico's Foreign Ministry. U.S. policymakers need to fashion a strategy in response to a dire security situation across the border that does not seem to be improving. But as Clausewitz advised two centuries ago, before doing so, they would be well advised to first understand what kind of conflict they face." (ForeignPolicy)


"... Kanye West might be there. Kanye is gonna be there. No — Kanye is performing. What confetti machines? They’re going to blow dollar bills through confetti machines. No — they’re gonna blow five thousand dollar bills through confetti machines. At the Mondrian. The Mondrian Soho? That place isn't even open yet. Just go to the hotel lounge, Mister H. No — it's in the entire lobby of the Mondrian... The invitation to Tuesday's VMan magazine party gave away nothing and everything: A Karl Lagerfeld-shot image of Kanye West, mouth open and in sunglasses, with cut-outs of hundred dollar bills pasted between his lips. There was an address in Chinatown. There was a date and time. We arrived at a conservative 11:03 — the party started at 11:00 — and the mob had surpassed a block's length" (The Observer)


"I cannot believe it's already over. My last day of Fashion Week and my last day in the city for a week started off startled -- when I woke up in my party dress! But I got my myself up and at em and went to Marie Robinson Salon where I ran into Jaime Johnson (the girl) whose haircut looked divine! I had a really good time there; everyone was super nice (it was my first time) and I couldn't be happier with my choppy new bob! It's exactly what I was looking for! I met my BFF Cici Ramirez (an inspiring costume designer) at my place for some 'dessert & dressing' and then we headed to the Marchesa show not really knowing what to expect. This presentation was the best thing I'd seen all week. You get into this huge elevator and it opens to a loft where they created such a magical experience. I had to walk around and do the whole thing twice. The details were unreal -- half the dresses looked like they were painted on. I kept thinking 'how am I going to make my wedding long enough so that I can wear each dress?' Harvey Weinstein introduced me to his wife, the extraordinary Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, whose career I greatly admire." (Hannah Bronfman/Papermag)


"Allawi had neither incumbency nor Maliki’s political appetites and acumen, but he did have the advantage of close relationships with some of the country’s most influential politicians — from the Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani to Adel Abdul Mahdi, a leading Shiite figure whom he counts as a childhood friend. In American-sponsored polling over those months, Allawi drew far higher approval ratings than Maliki. A clear majority of Iraqis believed he had earned the right to form a government — and that a government without him would be illegitimate. The negotiations represented the pivot not only on which Iraq’s future would turn but also on which direction America’s legacy would take. In rhetoric at least, and to his supporters who disproportionately came from Iraq’s Sunni Arab and secular segments, Allawi was the answer to all the tumult the Americans unleashed and began institutionalizing with the tragicomic reign of L. Paul Bremer III as American proconsul in 2003 and 2004." (NYTimes)


"It didn’t take long, once the chairman of Time Warner’s magazine group was abruptly booted Friday, for the spinning and counterspinning to begin. Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes had some explaining to do, since he installed Jack Griffin in the job just five months ago. And so details began leaking about what a bullheaded manager Griffin was, a man who didn’t work and play well with others. This led to a response, also passed to reporters with no names attached, that the Time Inc. culture is a tradition-encrusted bastion utterly resistant to the kind of change that Griffin was pushing. Time Inc. insiders tell me that Griffin did in fact push through some changes that will remain, although it’s not the kind of stuff anyone outside the empire would care much about. Griffin, for instance, unraveled a complicated management structure imposed by his predecessor, Ann Moore, that combined such magazines as Time, Sports Illustrated, Money, and Fortune into one news group. Griffin moved SI to a separate sports unit and moved some executives around. He unnerved veteran staffers by flooding the place with consultants, but the insiders say he never tried to encroach on journalistic independence. He had a tough style, these folks say, but Moore was no creampuff either. But there was damage control to be done, by virtue of painting Griffin—a well-regarded executive who had worked for Meredith Corp.—as a royal pain." (Howie Kurtz


"KANYE WEST spent New York Fashion Week under a self-imposed cone of silence, refusing to talk to the news media. Yet somehow, he became a spectacle: his every move was chronicled by a cloud of bloggers, Twitter users, fashion reporters and paparazzi. Here’s how he spent the week, starting on Feb. 10. DAY 1 Mr. West begins Fashion Week at GQ’s Best New Menswear Designer show at the Ace Hotel, wearing a black motorcycle jacket, a white T-shirt emblazoned with an image of Muhammad Ali, and Cartier aviator sunglasses.  Lays down media embargo to a party reporter from Women’s Wear Daily. 'I can’t really... no questions,' he says, at the sight of a tape recorder. 'I’ve been burnt too many times.' Security detail enforces edict. Mr. West lingers at the show, making small talk with fashion executives and mildly excited fans. Afterward, he decamps to the Mercer Hotel where, as The New York Post reported that morning, he is recording an album with Jay-Z." (NYtimes)


"The scene I stumbled upon, however, was something less than a clash of titans: a bunch of guys (and a few women), varying widely in age and personal grooming habits, poring over pages of random numbers and long lists of words. They referred to themselves as mental athletes, or M.A.’s for short. The best among them could memorize the first and last names of dozens of strangers in just a few minutes, thousands of random digits in under an hour and — to impress those with a more humanistic bent — any poem you handed them. Memorizing Names I asked Ed Cooke, a competitor from England — he was 24 at the time and was attending the U.S. event to train for that summer’s World Memory Championships — when he first realized he was a savant. 'Oh, I’m not a savant,' he said, chuckling. 'Photographic memory?' I asked. He chuckled again. 'Photographic memory is a detestable myth. Doesn’t exist. In fact, my memory is quite average. All of us here have average memories.' That seemed hard to square with the fact that he knew huge chunks of 'Paradise Lost' by heart. Earlier I watched him recite a list of 252 random digits as effortlessly as if it were his telephone number. 'What you have to understand is that even average memories are remarkably powerful if used properly,' Cooke said." (NYTimes)


"There was a distinctive cool rock and roll vibe on Third Street on Thursday night as Kelly Cole and his admiring fashion and music flock rolled into Denim Revival to celebrate his new 1,500 square-foot shop featuring vintage jackets, belts, t-shirts, European toiletries, books and more. Naturally the store, named Kelly Cole Extraordinarium, will also carry Cole’s own line of vintage t-shirts and belts, Lo-Fi, (wildly popular among artists including Ashlee Simpson, Ben Harper, Winona Ryder, Johnny Knoxville and more), and will also display rotating art exhibitions in the space. Guests including Joy Bryant and George Kotsiopoulos busied themselves shopping, knowing full well that a portion of the proceeds from the evening’s sales will go to Cole’s charity of choice: P.S. ARTS, a non-profit organization that strives to educate and empower teachers through arts-related workshops to integrate creative expression in the classroom." (Daily)


"J. D. Salinger spent the first third of his life trying to get noticed and the rest of it trying to disappear. He would have hated 'J. D. Salinger: A Life,' Kenneth Slawenski’s reverent new biography, which comes to us just a year after the writer’s death and creditably unearths and aggregates the facts and reads them into the fiction — reanimating the corpse without quite making it sing. If you really want to hear about it, what’s missing — and this is not necessarily Slawenski’s fault — is Salinger’s voice. I was tempted to say his inimitable voice, but of course it’s been imitated more often than that of any American writer, except possibly Salinger’s pal Hemingway, infiltrating the language of our literature and refertilizing the American vernacular from which it sprang. Slawenski is handicapped in part by the legacy of Ian Hamilton, author of 'In Search of J. D. Sal­inger' (1988). As Slawenski recounts, after being stonewalled by Salinger and his small, tight circle of friends, Hamilton tracked down a great deal of unpublished correspondence and quoted extensively from Salinger’s letters and books. When a galley of the book reached Salinger, he called in the lawyers and demanded that Random House remove quotations of unpublished letters from the text." (Jay McInrerney


"I meet Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon al-Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), in a VIP box overlooking the Yas Marina circuit, just a couple of hours before the start of the Grand Prix ... Sheikh Sultan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, is the driving force behind the cultural initiatives in Saadiyat, for which he has received a cultural leadership award from the American Federation of Arts, as well as being appointed a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. The world is watching his experiment carefully. He sees his commitment to the arts as a vital, rather than marginal, force in shaping the future of Abu Dhabi. 'Artists,' he says, 'are often the first people in a society to anticipate future trends.'  He explains that the museums quarter in Saadiyat is only 'part of a bigger story' that aims to make Abu Dhabi a cultural hub in the world. Each museum will have its own specific role: the Guggenheim will examine Arabian, Islamic and other Middle Eastern art in the context of the major developments of the past 100 years; the Louvre will be a world museum, borrowing prestigious pieces from its 'parent' museum in Paris (which will receive a reported $1.3bn in return for its largesse, not to mention its name). The Zayed National Museum, named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, former ruler of Abu Dhabi and founding father of the Emirates, will tell the story of the UAE.  I put to Sheikh Sultan the most commonly expressed sceptical view of the Saadiyat project: how can a small albeit wealthy Islamic country, governed by dynastic succession, that prides itself on order and stability, become a genuine centre for artistic freedom and creativity? Art has a way of becoming a focus for dissent and destabilisation, I say." (FT)

No comments: