blog advertising is good for you

Friday, June 03, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Fate did not deal Obama an easy hand. Taking office in January 2009, the new president faced a country mired in two wars (one from which it struggled to exit, and one it seemed unable to win); an ongoing terrorist threat, ominously accompanied by a standstill in all efforts to reduce nuclear proliferation; a low point in US-Russian relations; and, more generally, a worldview of the US as a go-it-alone actor with whom it was hard to make a deal. His foreign policy was immeasurably complicated by the freefall of the American economy, which had shed 4.4 million jobs in the thirteen months before he took office. To avoid financial collapse, the federal government had committed close to $1.3 trillion of taxpayer money to rescue some of the largest financial institutions. The annual federal deficit had gone from an average $40 billion for the years 1993 to 2000 (with every year showing an improvement over the preceding) to an average deficit of $250 billion for the years 2001 to 2008. Obama’s response on Inauguration Day was nothing if not ambitious. He promised to defeat terrorism, withdraw 'responsibly' from Iraq, make peace in Afghanistan, forge 'greater cooperation and understanding between nations,' pursue a world without nuclear weapons, and 'roll back the specter of a warming planet.' Unsurprisingly, executing this agenda triggered criticisms. Disappointed that he did not end the war in Afghanistan or manage to close Guantánamo, some on the left labeled his policy “Bush-lite.” The right charged that his reliance on diplomacy was naive. It hadn’t stopped Iran’s nuclear program, and it was hard to see it bearing fruit in Mideast peace efforts or bringing an early end to our involvement in the war in Afghanistan. (One might well ask what administration had made progress in these arenas.) The larger complaint was that Obama lacked a grand strategy or a coherent approach—a frequent complaint from some in the think tank community, and one that was also leveled at President George H. W. Bush. A close examination of the president’s words and actions, however, actually reveals a quite coherent approach, one that deftly mixes high ambition, caution, and pragmatism." (World Affairs)


"The Tribeca Grand Hotel was swarming with star power last night for the screening of the digitally remastered 1960 classic La Dolce Vita sponsored by the Cinema Society along with Gucci and The Film Foundation. Hosts Martin Scorsese, Vera Farmiga, and Emily Mortimer greeted the tabloid-heavy guest list filled with the likes of Adrian Brody, John Legend, Helena Christensen, Karen Elson, Jessica Hart, Chloe Malle, Paul Haggis, Gina Gershon, Leelee Sobieski, Jena Malone, Russell Simmons, Samantha Mathis, Michael Pitt, and Patricia Clarkson. Pre-screening, Scorsese ran into good friend Tony Bennett and invited him to his upcoming birthday bash. "It would be my pleasure," he replied. 'As long as I'm not performing.' Meanwhile, Brody and Pitt chatted casually over drinks in the cocktail lounge as Josh Hartnett made his way into the theater to exchange numbers for a future dinner with Sir Ben Kingsley--who was perched next to Clarkson. The knighted acting doyen endlessly praised Scorsese's Film Foundation for its painstaking restoration work. 'This is a very fine program. Martin and I have a lot of warm talks about it, so whenever he wants my services, I'm here to support him. He has such discipline and it comes from here,' Kingsley said, pointing to his heart. As Scorsese took the stage, the self-professed 'square' warned of a long night ahead. 'Don't forget, it's a three hour film and there's no plot,' he shared. Some were more shocked than others. 'What? Three hours? No way. He was kidding. Wasn't he?' asked a baffled security guard." (Fashionweekdaily)

"In glittering Shanghai, known for its hopping night life and influx of Western luxury stores, a VIP cocktail reception last Thursday night, May 26, marked the opening of a new H&M clothing store on upscale Nanjing Road. As a parade of BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes pulled up to valet parking alongside a red carpet unfurled on the sidewalk, an observer might never have suspected that the local government here in China's richest and most urbane city has been struggling with two very basic problems: keeping the water running and the power on. Both problems stem from a drought that has been plaguing central China since January and the related shriveling of the Yangtze River. The Yangtze -- Asia's longest river -- tumbles down from the Tibetan plateau, traversing nearly 4,000 miles across the length of China, before emptying into the East China Sea near Shanghai. The water of its final tributary, the Huangpu, winds along the famed Bund area and sparkles at night under the glow of illuminated skyscrapers and the Oriental Pearl Tower. For centuries a source of inspiration for poets -- and frustration for emperors trying to manage its turbulent flooding -- the Yangtze remains in many ways essential to the modern Chinese economy ... The mighty Yangtze's water level has been dropping for years as new towns crop up along its banks and older settlements, such as Chongqing, grow into vast megacities, with factories and farmers siphoning off their take, often in unregulated serve-themselves fashion. Meanwhile, the phalanx of dams has changed the river's hydrology, and Chinese and U.S. scientists project that glacial melt in Tibet, where the river begins, points to a diminished future. But most troubling, whether related to climate change or not, is that this year's rainfall in the provinces that water the upper Yangtze has been a trickle -- as much as 40 percent below the annual average for January to April. China is facing its worst drought in half a century." (ForeignPolicy)


"Today's announcement that Jill Abramson is succeeding Bill Keller as New York Times executive editor was, in many ways, expected. The handoff to Abramson had been long predicted by Times Kremlinologists, and Keller's moonlighting, highly controversial role as a Times Magazine columnist telegraphed his eventual return to full-time writing. But still, when Keller showed up in Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.'s sixteenth-floor office one day last month to tell him that he was stepping down, Sulzberger was shocked. 'The only people I told were my wife and Jill,' Keller told me. 'He had no reason to see it coming.' 'I want to talk to you about something,' Keller remembers telling Sulzberger. 'Come July, I will have been in this job eight years, and that's enough. I want to get back to writing.' Sulzberger couldn't understand why Keller was giving up his job. 'Why would you want to leave when things are going so well?' Sulzberger asked. The Times has just rolled out its pay wall to encouraging numbers. Advertising is stabilizing and the paper has been flexing its journalistic muscles, garnering two Pulitzers, while The Wall Street Journal's much-ballyhooed foray into the New York market is widely perceived as a bust. It was this uptick that gave Keller the space to step aside. 'I didn't want to leave my successor in the middle of a crisis,' he said. 'She would get plenty of her own crises to deal with.' If there was an awkwardness to the meeting, it was because Keller's relationship with Sulzberger, while improved, was never intimate." (NYMag)


" I had great dinners downtown with Graydon Carter and wonderful ones uptown with Conrad Black, who was in fine form. A cocktail party for Henry Kissinger’s book On China was also fun, the great man having written a hell of a book about a superpower that the more we get to know, the less we understand. And then we have the scandal of the New York Mets, a baseball team hijacked by two real-estate sharks who made their big moolah with Madoff and are now playing the victims because it’s clawback time. Let the poor little Greek boy explain: Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz were two small-time real-estate developers who got lucky in 1980 when Charles Shipman Payson put the New York Mets franchise on sale for a song. In partnership with Nelson Doubleday, Jr., the duo got the team by putting up only 650,000 greenbacks each, with Doubleday financing the rest. When television contracts pushed baseball-franchise values through the roof, the duo bought out the remaining Mets shares from Doubleday—a descendant of the man mistakenly credited with inventing baseball—for $135 million dollars. They had made serious money after purchasing the team from some very shrewd investments with an unknown genius by the name of Bernie Madoff. You all know the rest, but what very few realized at the time is that the duo reportedly contemplated time and again to insure themselves against potential fraud committed by—you guessed it—Bernard Madoff. According to the trustee investigating the Ponzi scheme, Irving H. Picard, Wilpon and Katz’s decision to shop for insurance is proof that they knew Madoff was cheating." (Taki Theodoracopulos)


"Having interviewed so many designers by now, we could probably write a scholarly paper on designers with dyslexia because so many people we interview suffered through school with their intensely visual rather than verbal minds and Brett Beldock is one of them. We happened to be talking about schools and learning issues on the way in to her Upper East Side apartment and our first questions naturally turned to the subject." (NYSocialDiary)

"Fighting to shake off his party-boy image since the success of 'The Social Network,' Facebook billionaire Sean Parker insists rumors of his past drug use mean he's been  'stigmatized by a victimless crime.' The charismatic Facebook founding president, worth about $1.6 billion, is depicted in the hit movie as a hard-partying nerd by Justin Timberlake, whose character parties with others using cocaine. Parker's parties at his $20 million Greenwich Village townhouse named, after Bacchus, the Roman god of intoxication, and a 2005 drug-related arrest (which didn't result in charges) seem to reinforce that image ... He told us, 'There's a certain pressure from the press and even from the people I meet to live up to that reputation that's been created by the film.' Parker hosted a celeb-packed after-party at the Coachella festival in April that lasted until after 4 a.m.'Even if I set out to throw a really small party, there's expectations about what it's going to be like. People assume it's going to be a wild, crazy thing,' he said. He refused to say whether he currently uses drugs but said, "It is an individual decision that doesn't hurt others, and it's a victimless crime as long as you're not hurting yourself. You end up with collateral [reputation] damage because it is stigmatized.' Of 'The Social Network,' Parker said, 'I take less of an issue with the depiction of drug use than I do with . . . [the depiction of my] behavior to other people.' A 'pro-individual liberty' activist, Parker last year donated $100,000 to back California's proposition 19 to legalize marijuana. "It's inconvenient for me to take a stand on this issue," he told us. "I'm certainly not making anything easier on myself [professionally].'" (PageSix)


"A lesson from Karl Lagerfeld: 'It's very dangerous—if you want to get enemies, you do cartoons.' The Chanel creative director shared this little piece of wisdom with Style.com last night at the Gordon Parks Foundation annual charity dinner, where he was honored along with Spike Lee, Arianna Huffington, and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff for being a visionary creative in his respective field. 'If I had more time, I would go back to cartoons and illustrations,' Lagerfeld said as he arrived with Freja Beha Erichsen ... And as for collecting photographs like the ones by Gordon Parks, Renate Aller, and Bruce Weber that were on the block at the auction, the Kaiser 'has no space for photos.' Iman, the mistress of ceremonies for the evening, wasn't buying, either, but her reasoning was a bit different—she already has several Gordon Parks photographs at home. Before performances by Rufus Wainwright and Blue Man Group, the model—who worked with the legendary Parks in the early days of her career—reminisced about the lensman." (Style)

No comments: