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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"By most accounts, they fell for each other at first sight. They were inseparable after NBC anchor Tom Brokaw played matchmaker at a charity tennis tournament in 1977. They were married nine years later at a star-studded Kennedy wedding in Hyannisport. Maria, by all accounts, was instrumental in helping Arnold succeed in Hollywood—offering savvy career advice and vetting his scripts. Later on, she was equally indispensable as a strange political bedfellow; the fact that she was a liberal Democrat and he was a moderate Republican played well in the blue state of California. For the Newsweek piece, former assembly speaker Willie Brown told me Shriver had contributed mightily to whatever success her husband can claim: 'Maria has been much more of a benefit to Arnold than Arnold has been to Maria.' Late last year, as his second term as governor was coming to an end, Schwarzenegger acknowledged as much when he self-published a lavish coffee table book about his adventure in politics as a keepsake for friends and supporters. The 407-page volume contained an admiring, 50-page tribute to California’s First Lady, Maria Shriver, An Architect of Change. An accompanying essay noted that 'Maria challenged the role of First Lady, assuming it as a job with real purpose and a platform to make a difference. She used her journalist’s eye to spot the needs of real people and combined that skill with a deeply ingrained passion for activism and service.' And yet, he ran for public office against her wishes. When he announced his candidacy for governor on The Tonight Show—without telling her what he was going to do—he knew that Shriver and their four children didn't want him to run, largely because of the Kennedy family's tragic experience in politics. On March 31 over lunch in London, I asked Arnold if Maria was annoyed that he’d declared without letting her know in advance. 'What else is new?' he answered with a chuckle." (TheDailyBeast)




"It's time to return to the fundamentals when it comes to U.S. interests in Pakistan. Ultimately, Washington desires a prosperous, sustainable, and secure South Asian region that does not remain a base for al Qaeda and its affiliates, or a likely flashpoint for a nuclear exchange. Understood this way, U.S. interests are broadly shared by China, Pakistan's primary ally and a major investor in the country's economic success. That's a point President Barack Obama should drive home to Chinese officials this week, as Washington hosts the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Indeed, the late Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke made a similar case to the Chinese in Beijing. To date, China's relationship with Pakistan -- with which it has shared military technology and invested in major infrastructure projects -- has only enabled that South Asian nation's unstable status quo. When it comes to military hardware, China has shared ballistic missiles such as the short-range DF-11, is jointly producing the JF-17 advanced fighter with Pakistan, and has provided its ally with anti-ship cruise missiles, among other weapons. China also built the massive multimodal port in the southern city of Gwadar, along with a highway and rail link connecting it to China. Indeed, the relationship is so strong that, at the request of Beijing, the Pakistani military stormed Islamabad's Red Mosque in 2007 to liberate 10 Chinese nationals, a move that crystallized the Pakistani Taliban as an anti-government movement. Nevertheless, there are two important points of convergence between Beijing's long-term interests and Washington's." (ForeignPolicy)



"Last weekend, European society lost one of its most noteworthy veterans. The legendary German playboy and accomplished photographer Gunter Sachs committed suicide on Saturday at his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland. Reports say Sachs, 78, took his own life to escape the symptoms of an incurable degenerative disease, believed by many to be Alzheimer’s. In the mid-1960s, Sachs suddenly gained a reputation around the world as the very picture of a modern Don Juan. His marriage to Brigitte Bardot, whom he famously courted by having a helicopter drop roses onto her home, made him a fixture in tabloids and social columns, a position his good looks and family wealth naturally reinforced. Sachs appeared regularly among the jet-set crowd on the French Riviera, where he partied in grand style with cinema icons and captains of industry. It seems there was hardly a bold-faced name he failed to impress during his colorful life. Stories of his social prowess persist on the Riviera even today, and he is credited with creating a lifestyle of such strong appeal that even today—almost a half century after he pioneered it—scenesters flock to the region each summer, trying to recapture some of his fabled glory. The veteran Riviera man and journalist Taki Theodoracopulos, who first met Sachs onboard the late shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos’s yacht Creole, once described Sachs to me as 'a great gambler, a good skier, and bobsleigher.' I was questioning Theodoracopulos for a film I was trying to make at the time about playboys. One of the themes that emerged in our conversation was the playboy’s capacity to savor life’s pleasures in an unqualified way. Theodoracopulos explained that for these men life was purely about living for the delight of good times without distraction. That achievement became the highlight of a satisfying existence." (Vanity Fair)


"Lit It girl Sloane Crosley has been busy making the rounds for the paperback launch of her 'How Did You Get This Number?' Last week, Fiona Thomas and Allison Sires hosted a party for Crosley at the NoLIta shop Thomas Sires, where a dressing room served as a bar. Guests included Peter Som, GQ's Mickey Rapkin and Elizabeth Spiers. Crosley next appeared at McNally Jackson Books with writer Ed Park. 'Humor works a bit like getting dressed,' Crosley told a crowd of 100. 'You should put on everything you want to, then stand in front of the mirror and take one thing off before you overdo it.'" (PageSix)


"I went to lunch at Michael’s with Caroline Weber, the professor of French Literature at Columbia, author of What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution. Caroline is a newer friend (years now, although), an example (in its most ideal form) of the advantages of city life where we are exposed, have access to people whose meetings are like discoveries. Caroline and I have the ideal form going. And there isn’t a moment of verbal silence between us. Aside from our own conversation about people we know, have met, knew, Michael’s is a conduit for that sort of thing. For example, across the way Sir Derek Jacobi was lunching with his friend Micky Ateyeh. Across the room, Richard Leakey, the guest of honor at a dinner I went to last week, was lunching with a friend." (NYSocialDiary)


"Host Katie Couric tried to insert some levity (and brevity) into last night's extended awards ceremony for the American Society of Magazine Editors, where the iconic Alexander Calder–sculpted "Ellies" were handed out. After a particularly long speech by GQ design director Fred Woodward, she cracked: "No offense, but now I understand why none of you guys went into television." National Geographic took top honors, with Magazine of the Year and Best Single-Topic Issue. Poetry, Women's Health, Garden, Scientific American and Los Angeles won the top honors in each of their magazine categories. New York won in a new category, "News, Sports and Entertainment Magazines." (We also took home the award for best magazine section for "Strategist.") And in what was regarded as an upset by some in the reporting category, Harper's' 'The Guantanamo Suicides' won over Michael Hasting's controversial Rolling Stone story on Stanley McChrystal, which got the general fired by President Obama. Jane Mayer's New Yorker story on the Koch brothers was also considered a contender for that prize.  The Paris Review won for Essays and Criticism, Vanity Fair for Christopher Hitchens's columns, and the Virginia Quarterly Review for fiction. (The rest of the winners are listed here.) We caught up with author Tom Wolfe, who himself was honored last night, during the cocktail portion. 'I myself, if I ever had the chance, was going to start a magazine called Status,' he told Intel. 'It would all be about social distinctions, even minute ones, such as there are a lot of things people do completely by themselves that are status-driven.'" (NewYork)

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