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Monday, April 25, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"In the first months after the Arab revolutions began, the world's televisions were filled with instantly iconic images of a crumbling old order: the Ben Ali clan's seaside villa on fire in Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak's stilted pre-resignation speeches in Egypt, Muammar al-Qaddafi's rambling, defiant diatribes from a bombed-out house in Libya. They were a reminder that one of the most enduring political archetypes of the 20th century, the ruthless dictator, had persisted into the 21st. How persistent are they? The U.S. NGO Freedom House this year listed 47 countries as 'not free' -- and ruled over by a range of authoritarian dictators. Their numbers have certainly fallen from the last century, which brought us quite a list: Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Pinochet, Khomeini, and a host of others now synonymous with murderous, repressive government. But invoking such tyrants, while a useful shorthand in international politics, unfortunately reinforces a troublesome myth: that dictatorships are really only about dictators. The image of a single omnipotent leader ensconced in a mystery-shrouded Kremlin or a garishly ornate presidential palace took hold during the Cold War. But dictatorships don't just run themselves. Performing the basic tasks expected of even a despotic government -- establishing order, levying taxes, controlling borders, and overseeing the economy -- requires the cooperation of a whole range of players: businessmen, bureaucrats, leaders of labor unions and political parties, and, of course, specialists in coercion like the military and security forces." (ForeignPolicy)


"The ridicule heaped on Scott Adams after being caught using a pseudonym to defend himself on message boards has left an indelible impact on the Dilbert cartoonist. He is now a defender of all famous people from the internet's smears. Let him explain why a black woman blogger has no right to criticize Gwyneth Paltrow's privilege, because she's a black woman." (Gawker)


"Topping the list of tyrants invited to watch the couple wed is the crown prince of Bahrain, whose Persian Gulf state cruelly crushed anti-government protests last month by declaring martial law and inviting Saudi troops to help quell the unrest. But after human-rights watchers cried foul, Sheik Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa cried uncle -- and announced he'd be a no-show. Not that he'll be missed. Other guest-list low-lights still include Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz and Princess Fadwa bint Khalid bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman of Saudi Arabia, where hundreds have poured into the streets to call for human-rights reform, freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners. There's also King Mswati III of Swaziland, who's been blasted by Amnesty International for using security forces to crush demos in his poor country, where in 2008 he celebrated his 40th birthday with a huge party at a football stadium filled with 10,000 half-naked women. 'The invitations are a massive misjudgment by the monarch,' fumed human-rights activist Peter Tatchell. 'They show the queen is out of touch with the humanitarian values of modern, liberal Britain.'" (Cathy Burke)


"Over the weekend I watched L’Amour Fou, the new documentary about the sale of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Collection at Christie’s two years ago. Actually it’s the story of Yves Saint Laurent’s rise and fall. Actually it’s the story of the relationship of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Actually it’s the story of Pierre Berge’s life. Actually Yves Saint Laurent is the story of Pierre Berge’s life. Period. Modern documentaries are more and more like movies. And frequently much more engaging and interesting (and satisfying). They tell stories and the good ones touch you. The subjects and narrators are the actors ...  It is interesting to see the young men at their beginning and to compare it to what age and lifestyle can do. The young Bergé is handsome with a shrewd, bantam-like energy. You can see he was not someone to mess with. Yves is tall and skinny and equine. And painfully shy. They had met a small dinner given by a friend in a restaurant in Montmartre and there was a mutual attraction. Soon after they were living together." (NYSocialDiary)


"Howard (Stern) said on Friday he got to Los Angeles and he can't take pictures at the big party out there. It was 85 degrees out there and he wanted to swim but he wouldn't because every fuck nut was taking his picture out there. He said he's 10 pounds too heavy to be photographed. He said that he and Beth (Ostrowsky Stern) just stayed out of the pool. He said they all had their phones out by the pool. He said they pretend that they're doing work but they're taking pictures. Howard said he ran into Jimmy Fallon out there. He said he's a really nice guy. He said he got up at one point and said he just had to go. He saw that Mario Batali there and ran over to him. Howard said Jimmy ran over to this power meeting with him and with Lorne Michaels. Howard said he saw David Beckham out there too. Howard said Beth saw him and wondered who the really hot guy was. Howard said he thought he knew it was Beckham. He said the guy was wearing a wool cap and it was 85 degrees out. He said the guy has a look and he won't give it up even for the heat. Howard said that dude is a good looking guy. He said he wants to look like that. Howard said he went to the Kimmel party on Friday night. Then on Saturday he went to Brad Grey's wedding ... Howard said he thought about having a vodka at Jimmy's party but he didn't. He said he did have one at the wedding. Howard said the wedding was wild. He said he almost felt acceptable. He said he had a nice conversation with George Clooney and his girl. He said that she was very hot. He said George was a very nice guy. Howard said he was fixated on Clooney's girl's arm. He said that he was telling him to come to Italy and visit ... He said that Brad Grey and Cassandra got married. He said that all of Hollywood was there. He said they all have to suck his dick. " (Marksfriggin)


"While Kai says he's 'lucky to make $100 in a day,' Andrew claims to sell about $8,000 worth of Adderall every month, but only clears about $2,000 in profit. He says that his clientele is '60 percent female,' made up of "mostly students and professionals between the ages of 23 and 45." He suspects that many of his customers use the amphetamine as an appetite suppressant. 'I guess the idea came to me when I was on the site constantly looking for a job,' Andrew says with a hint of frustration in his voice. He moved to New York eight months ago and has been unable to secure steady employment despite his college degree. He says a friend of his offered to pay him to get an Adderall prescription from a doctor and supply him with the pills. When he realized that what his friend was doing was lucrative, he turned around and enlisted some of his own friends to do the same thing. He sends them all to the same 'cool doctor,' who is both loose with the pen and 'actually cool.'" (VillageVoice)
 
 
"Melissa Barthelemy was last seen on July 12, 2009, sitting on a curb outside the Bronx basement apartment she shared with her five cats. The 24-year-old Buffalo native had a 'date' that night, but she wouldn't tell her on-again, off-again boyfriend with whom. Had she done so, it might have provided a critical clue to her murder. Barthelemy, who moved to New York from Buffalo in 2007 to work as a hairstylist, kept lots of secrets. She told her family she was stripping at a club, but business was slow. Her goal was to make enough money to return to Buffalo and open a hair salon. Along the way, she had her boyfriend's nickname "Blaze" tattooed on her upper back. 'She was pretty fearless,' said her mother, Lynn Barthelemy. 'She moved to New York all by herself.' Her mother had no idea Melissa was advertising on Craigslist, selling her body on the streets of New York City, and working, on occasion, for an escort agency called James Bond Entertainment under the pseudonym Chloe. She also didn't know that on the night her daughter disappeared, she had lined up a date to the tune of $1,000. Earlier that evening, the blond beauty told her boyfriend that she might be going to Long Island, a frequent haunt of hers. She regularly hung out there with a girlfriend who also worked as an online escort, as well as at the home of a regular client. Her boyfriend said he would oftentimes pick her up from the john's house. 'She would go to Long Island a lot,' said her boyfriend Johnny Terry, who spoke exclusively with The Daily Beast. 'She had some older man she was chummy with.' Terry, who law-enforcement sources say was Barthelemy's pimp, said she was very secretive about her plans that night and declined an offer for a ride. 'This time she said no,' said Terry, who denies that he was her pimp. 'I woke up in the morning and she wasn't there.'" (TheDailyBeast)

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