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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"President Obama hosts a town-hall at Facebook headquarters today, a sign of the social media giant’s growing political power and its oddly symbiotic relationship with the president: he needs Facebook for reelection, the company needs him to stay in Congress’ good graces. When President Obama visited with some Silicon Valley big shots in February, the tech blog Business Insider ran a photo of the president chatting with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Below the photo, a commenter called 'pauldeba' posted: 'I gotta say, it must feel impressive meeting the most powerful man in the world. I wonder how Obama feels about it.' Think about it. Zuckerberg’s company has 600 million members, making it about twice as big as the United States. So the true significance of Obama’s visit Wednesday to Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California, won’t involve anything the president says. Simply by doing this event, a town-hall meeting that will be broadcast on the Internet, the White House is recognizing Facebook’s growing power and influence in politics and the culture at large. What TV was to John Kennedy, Facebook is to Obama. Social media in general, and Facebook in particular, have become so important to politics that you almost can't run for president without mastering the new medium. The event also reflects the way that Facebook, from the very beginning, has learned how to curry favor in Washington." (TheDailyBeast)

"President Barack Obama hits the road today to sell his deficit reduction plan, drawing lines with his Republican opposition over values in a cross-country trip that has all the markings of a campaign swing. Along with driving his message on the federal budget, Obama, who announced his re-election bid less than three weeks ago, will be attending to essential tasks of a political candidate: raising money, touching base with a core constituency of younger voters and visiting critical states on the electoral map. In an appearance yesterday in Virginia, a state where in 2008 he was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Obama cast his differences with Republicans over the deficit as an elevation of national needs over tax cuts for the wealthy." (Bloomberg)


"I met Ayesha Jaipur at a little dinner at Lady Sarah Churchill’s in Beverly Hills in 1980. I knew that she was a very famous woman by name on the international scene -- especially after she was jailed for several months as a political prisoner by Indira Ghandi. She was also the widow (and the third wife) of Jai, the late Maharajah of Jaipur. That was all I knew. Thinking back on it, she was sixty-one years old at the time, a contemporary – two years older – of her hostess, our friend. She possessed the self-confidence of a beauty, but she wore her age matter-of-factly and with grace. It gave her an air of distinction that some might interpret as royal. Her dark hair now heavily streaked with grey, her makeup thorough but subtle against her pale tawny complexion, she was dressed in a chiffon sari of a pastel print of pinks, whites and bright green ... I had no idea of the splendor in which she had lived all her life, first as a daughter of the Maharajah of Cooch Behar and later as the Maharani of Jaipur (3rd wife). And there was nothing about her presence, despite her almost legendary persona, to indicate it. Sarah had first met Princess Gayatri Devi (always known as Ayesha) forty years before in 1939 at a coming out ball given for Sarah at Blenheim by her father and mother the (10th) Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. During that evening which historians now refer to as 'the last great party in England before the War,' the young maharajah’s having a dance with the 18 year old Lady Sarah alarmed the duchess. She demanded to know 'who that black man dancing with Sarah' was. When told that he was the Maharajah of Jaipur, (he and Ayesha were about to become engaged), the duchess was not impressed and remained alarmed. Sarah, who was very impressed – and charmed – by the handsome maharajah, years later loved telling the story as an example of how the world had changed in one lifetime even for the high and the mighty." (NYSocialDiary)


 "In 1975, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, widowed for the second time, was confronting the long and desolate road of leisure that unfurled bleakly before her. She decided to dabble in work. According to a recently published history, Jackie as Editor, by Greg Lawrence, a friend in the publishing business told her she might be able to get a job in books, despite the fact that she was not 'really equipped' for the profession. There was a prospect, the friend said, that privileged the skill set of a well-connected woman of means: to be a consulting editor, the primary task of which was to conceptualize and acquire books, a profession that did not require Onassis, then 46 years old, to do an internship. She started at Viking on a four-day work week at a salary of $200 a week, moved to Doubleday in 1978 and worked in publishing until her death, in 1994, a total of 19 years. She published a list of more than 100 books. Their subjects ranged wildly but they were weighted heavily in the fields of dance (I Remember Balanchine, by Frances Mason), royalty (Secrets of Marie Antoinette, by Olivier Bernier), celebrity memoir (Michael Jackson's Moonwalk), children's stories (Carly Simon's Amy the Dancing Bear), home decorating (John Loring's The New Tiffany Table Settings) or various combinations of the above (Fred Astaire: His Friends Talk, by Sarah Giles). Last month Random House hired another editor with no prior publishing experience who, at least in some circles, might be called a celebrity. Dana Perino, Fox News commentator and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, will work for the conservative imprint Crown Forum under the title of editorial director." (Observer)

"Which Hollywood actress went on a recent Ralph Lauren shopping spree in New York and flipped out when the store didn't give her the discount she wanted? She even demanded the staff get Lauren himself on the phone, but ended up storming out in a huff without her dress . . . WHICH high-profile New York restaurant has an underground lair where owners tell special guests that 'anything goes' -- and they do really mean anything. . . WHICH New York book agent screamed at a literary lioness he loathes to leave a private party in front of a gob-smacked crowd? He then upped the ante and told her to leave New York City." (PageSix)

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