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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"In contrast to its inept response to the upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt, Nicolas Sarkozy's government was out in front in its response to Libya -- condemning the Qaddafi regime, recognizing the rebel government, and pushing for a no-fly zone. The Qaddafis' response? We want our money back ... 'Saif al-Islam: 'Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything. The first thing we want this clown to do is to give the money back to the Libyan people. He was given assistance so that he could help them. But he's disappointed us: give us back our money. We have all the bank details and documents for the transfer operations and we will make everything public soon.'" (ForeignPolicy)


"I had a luncheon appointment yesterday with a man who runs a hedge fund. He called me in the late morning to tell me that because of the tentativeness of the situation in Japan, he needed to stay in the office and monitor. Concern. Coincidentally a few minutes later I got an email from a longtime reader in the Pacific Northwest encouraging me to address the situation, that it was a moment in the lives of millions of people that was more important and crucial than any party I might cover or any public event/celebration that might crop up. I understood. Although what does one say when Mother Nature speaks. Remember the Earth, She is thy Mother. Honor thy Mother. And Father ... " (NYSocialDiary)


"On a recent Friday night, a 22-year-old in his first year of living in New York hosted a late get-together in his Little Italy apartment. Everyone there would call it a good party, but it decidedly lacked a climax. Until 10 in the morning, a dozen attractive men and women—day laborers in film, public relations, media, fashion—drank Peroni, smoked cigarettes and indulged in cocaine as someone with an iPhone 4 blasted songs through the speakers. A girl sitting next to a Harvard M.B.A. student looked through a coffee table book of Todd Selby’s photography. There was a conversation going on about Twitter—most of those present kept a vigorously updated account. Then came the sun—the traditional cue that one should choose a member of the opposite sex and set off for his or her apartment, to sleep together. Instead attendees departed alone. They peeled off instead of pairing up. No one at the party got laid that night and, even worse, no one gave a fuck. YOUNG NEW YORKERS no longer care about having sex. It’s not the endgame, nor even the animating force of social interaction. Men and women still get dressed up, but not for the purpose of taking off their clothes in another’s company. What used to signify desire or the desire to be desired now boils down to narcissism. How will I look on Patrick McMullan tomorrow? Or just on Facebook? The Observer spent a few weeks at parties and gatherings fraught with abstinence but slack of any sexual tension, and we heard a repeated sentiment, often delivered with uncharacteristic fervor: 'We are a self-obsessed generation.'" (Observer)


"South by Southwest begins in the security line of whatever airport you're flying out of; you can already tell who’s going to the festival, and why, and how they feel about it. There's live music on arrival in Austin, and the terminal is full of people with shaggy hair and skate shoes. By the time you're off to your hotel, you're hopelessly immersed. On one shuttle there's a couple rocker kids making a series of phone calls that sound like Entourage with all the Hollywood names switched to music-biz ones. ('What up, son? Please tell me you're in Texas and not L.A. You're killing me. My birthday falls on the 18th this year, we're gonna get rowdy.') They rapidly meet another guy with an upcoming birthday, who's here to take some meetings about his web startup. Almost everything I've read about SXSW this year — including this, from NPR's Ann Powers — revolves around anxiety and stress and the fear of missing out, the pure logistical pressure of picking a path through a ridiculously outsized mega-mega-festival that's basically like 50 regular-sized festivals all happening at the same time. The only person who seems undaunted by this is a critic who tells me he's a monster, that he would go to this every other week, if he could, and see sixteen bands a day while bashing out reports with his fists." (NYMag)


"I've got the end-of-season blues. I know I say this every year, but this has been a particularly fun winter, with friends throwing goodbye parties, dinners, and lunches since the beginning of March. My liver has done a Gaddafi and taken a brutal revenge on my body. The right ankle is doing a Saif as I write. If I stand on it—or, worse, try to walk—it feels what it's going to feel like when the ghastly Gaddafis get through with their opponents. I've had this lower leg problem for a year. About a month ago I couldn't stand it any longer and had an X-ray taken. The cartilage has done a Bin Laden and disappeared. Hence the pain as bone touched bone. I also have crystals—not the good kind, but those that form from congenital gout—and they are embedded where the cartilage once was. It was a very easy diagnosis to make. 'If you want less pain stop eating rich foods and stop drinking anything except water,' said the good Dr. Mueller. That was unacceptable, as my personality improves with drink, and at my advantaged age personality is all I have left ... Last week my friend John Sutin served the best wine ever at a great dinner party for Sean Connery and his wife. The next morning, desperate to get to the loo, I had to crawl on all fours as the ankle had erupted like Vesuvius. Sir Sean and Lady Connery were not only charming and gracious, they also revealed themselves to be longtime Spectator readers. 'Never go anywhere without it,' said the great man. He also told me a story about filming Dr. No. It started in Jamaica, and Noël Coward (who had a house on the island) approached him and asked him to dinner. Once at the famous house, Connery noticed there were only two placements for dinner." (Takimag)


"Tampa's Dominique Young Unique traipsed onstage at Spill last night with a gleaming smile, and right on time -- at 1 a.m. -- in the midst of an East 6th Street rampage that felt distinctly more like Mardi Gras in New Orleans than, say, a music festival. The 18-year-old rapper's headlining slot followed an infectious performance by Toronto's Diamond Rings, who borrows from the '80s as much as Dominique and her crew. Dominique specializes in witty, fast-paced rhymes about annoying girls and confusing relationships, and there's a little of M.I.A. in her style. Her backup comes in the form of two men who, last night and probably every other night, were dressed for a party thirty years ago, sporting t-shirts that said 'Hot Girl Young Unique' and 'FANTASTIC,' the latter decorated with a picture of a woman made with sequins, glitter, and possibly puff paint." (Papermag)



"Call off the coronation—the media's caught on to the slow motion implosion of Sarah Palin's popularity, and with it her prospective presidential campaign. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that Palin's approval ratings among Republicans had declined by double digits since October, while her 'strongly unfavorable' rating reached 17 percent among the GOP and 28 percent among Republican-leaning independents. This shift in the conservative populist tide provoked a series of memorable (and frankly enviable) headlines like 'The Incredible Shrinking Sarah Palin' from Politico and other outlets. But the real story is the continued erosion of support for Sarah Palin." (TheDailyBeast)

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