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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"For the past several months, I have sensed a shift in the wind of elite opinion on the future of the U.S. economy and on the broader issue of American influence and hegemony. It has long been the conventional wisdom that the U.S. economy is the world's most resilient and innovative and that it will always bounce back to maintain the American standard of living as the world's highest along with American global power as the world's greatest. The challenge of Japan in the 1980s was thought to have been turned aside in the 1990s by a combination of the collapse of Japan's great asset bubble and the dot.com revolution emanating from , where else, the United States. By the same token, the collapse of what was eventually revealed to have been the dot.com bubble, was understood to have been overcome by the dynamic U.S. real estate and services economy led by the rapidly expanding and sophisticated banks of, where else, Wall Street. The tone of commentary and analysis tended to be optimistic if not triumphalist. The American Enterprise Institute established its Project for the Next American Century. Even Fareed Zakaria's best selling book The Post American World argued that globalization would have the world continuing to imitate the American model and that the United States would long maintain its hegemonic role. In particular, those like the author Pat Choate, The Atlantic Washington editor James Fallows, Harvard Professor Dani Rodrik, and others who called for more attention to America's competitiveness and for some forms of industrial policy were dismissed and banished to nether darkness. Now, however, Zakaria has just written a quite pessimistic Time magazine article on America's future and his The Post American World 2.0 is going into the book stores calling for new programs that sound a lot like an industrial policy. TheWall Street Journal, long reliably triumphalist, ran a special report in its June 2 edition entitled Get Ready: Here Comes the Yuan, David Pilling wrote also on June 2 in the usually optimistic-about-America Financial Times that 'U.S. regional [in Asia] influence will surely wane', in the same editionFT Washington correspondent Robin Harding cited research by ITG Investment Research economist Steven Blitz showing that at an accelerating rate since the 1970s fewer and fewer Americans expect their incomes to be higher in six months (Blitz says the decline is 'inextricably linked to the rising U.S. trade deficit.'), and in yesterday's Financial Times economics editor Alan Beattie noted America's declining influence as an established fact." (ForeignPolicy)


"Christian Marclay is a ground-breaking artist who thrives on surprising juxtapositions, so it’s only fair that a dinner in his honor would throw everyone from outrageously comic actor Will Ferrell to low-key Swiss bankers, well-known restaurateurs Michael and Eva Chow, art collector Jean Pigozzi, and billionaire philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen into the same crowded room—and stir the steaming pot into a tantalizing social brew. So it was Wednesday night in Basel, Switzerland, where Tina Brown, editor in chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, combined forces with News Corp. first lady Wendi Murdoch and Russian-born socialite and art entrepreneur Dasha Zhukova—with co-host Credit Suisse—to showcase the much-honored Marclay’s work and merge art lovers, artists and financiers amid the planet’s premiere visual-arts bazaar. Marclay has won the Golden Lion as best artist at this year’s Venice Biennale, and is cited in Newsweek as one of today’s 10 most important artists, by critic Blake Gopnik. Art Basel has become, in its 42nd year, an over-the-top carnival of conspicuous, if discerning, consumption, and the dinner-goers converged on the Foundation Beyeler, Basel’s spectacular private museum of 20th Century art that was designed for a maximum wow factor by architect Renzo Piano." (TheDailyBeast)

"Last night Alex Twersky, Vice President of Finesse Diamonds, and Prince Dimitri hosted a cocktail party at 949 Park Avenue, a new development (between 81st and 82nd Streets), of six duplexes, starting at $4.4 million and exclusively marketed by Leonel Piraino of Douglas Elliman to showcase a small collection of four Fancy Colored Vivid Diamonds accompanied by original designs created by Prince Dimitri.  The diamonds on display were: an Ashcher cut vivid yellow diamond of 21.2 carats, a Round Cut Vivid Purplish/Pink diamond of 2.02 carats, A Radiant cut Fancy Blue diamond of 3.02 carats, and a Pear Cut Fancy Vivid Orange diamond of 3.84 carats ... A percentage of the evening’s proceeds were donated to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. Among the guests were Anne Hearst McInerney (who is a board member of the Alzheimer’s Foundation) and her husband Jay McInerney, Howard Lorber, chairman of Douglas Elliman, Bettina Zilkha, Peter Bacanovic, Robert Couturier, Barbara de Kwiatkowski, Gene and Christine Pressman, Prince Cyril of Bulgaria, Cornelia Guest, whose catering company Cornelia Guest Events provided the delicious hors d’oeuvres, Nina Griscom, Donna Solloway, Emilia Saint Amand, Roberta Sanderman, plus the distinguished looking discreetly armed bodyguards who never wandered far from the precious wares on display." (NYSocialDiary)


"The Transom spun around as a feminine (but firm) hand slapped our ass. 'You’re a reporter, obviously?' said a woman well into her second of something strong, in a first-floor room of the University Club on Tuesday afternoon. We answered in the affirmative and then were told that an introduction to E.F. Hutton’s 84-year-old daughter was available if we wanted. And that Tommy Tune was standing right over there (he was). We then asked: 'Is this the Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association luncheon?' It was a reasonable question. After being answered by laughter, we moved briskly out of the room across the club’s lobby and into another space, where The New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, he largely of Dealbook fame, was about to speak at the association’s monthly gathering. The real estate types greeted Mr. Sorkin like a rock star. Most of them, we gathered, had at least seen the recent HBO version of Too Big to Fail. Mr. Sorkin talked about the birth of the book that begat the movie. 'I had just gotten home,' Mr. Sorkin said of the wee small hours of Sept. 16, 2008, the day after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. He had just finished a front-page story for The Times. 'And I was very desperate to talk to somebody about it—I just couldn’t believe what was going on—and given the hour, and given I had nobody to talk to, I woke up my wife.'
An excitable Mr. Sorkin recounted to his love all the machinations involved in the financial world’s collapse, replete with his heroes, villains and plot arcs. 'You’re not going to believe it. It’s like a movie!'" (Observer)

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