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Monday, June 13, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly warned African leaders on Monday that authoritarian governments ruled by aging depots were 'no longer acceptable,' saying that those who refused democratic reforms would find themselves 'on the wrong side of history.' She also urged the African Union to end its lingering relations with Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. American officials have been deeply frustrated by the union’s efforts to mediate on behalf of Colonel Qaddafi, who for decades lavished support on African leaders — many of them autocratic — and led the union itself two years ago. 'Too many people in Africa still live under long-standing rulers, men who care too much about the longevity of their reign and too little about the legacy that should be built for their countries’ future,' Mrs. Clinton said in a speech that echoed one in mid-January, just before the president of Tunisia was ousted in the first salvo in what became a wave of regional revolts. Then, she warned Arab leaders that their governments risked 'sinking into the sand' if they did not change. 'The status quo is broken,' she said Monday." (NYTimes)


"If there were an award for Worst Week, Huma Abedin’s would be a definite contender. On Monday morning, her husband, Representative Anthony Weiner, told her he’s a lying tweet. On Monday afternoon, she endured his rambling, tearful admission of same to the masses. On Wednesday during the day, she left on a grueling Africa trip with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And on Wednesday evening, her pregnancy is disclosed—and not by her—to the world. On Thursday and Friday, this meant she was photographed wherever she went, with zoom lenses searching equally for her bump and her wedding ring. Not great for someone who claims to be intensely private. So what should she do? We’re not here to weigh in on whether she should stay or go. In fact, we’re going to skate right past the fact that we don't know what she saw in the mean-mouthed, widely unpopular congressman in the first place. We’ve never been able to fathom the laws of attraction, and we haven't a clue what goes on in other people’s relationships. She says she’s staying. So we'll take it from there, and give her some tips to help make it work." (Vanity Fair)


"It's encouraging to see an original summer movie overperforming at the North American box office, especially after Hollywood has spent the past month relentlessly beating up on not just the secretive marketing campaign but also what it's been deriding as a throwback to ET meets Close Encounters meets Jurassic Park. After making $12.2M on Friday, the movie did an even better $14M Saturday -- +15% uptick reflects great word-of-mouth -- for a weekend of $37M. That puts Super 8 right in the range of the U.S. opening of District 9's opening of $37.3M, another well-pedigreed original movie deemed a success. 'I bet no one outside of Paramount or the filmmakers thought that was possible,' a studio exec emailed me. International opens also started very strong. It opened in 9 markets, including Australia where Super 8 took in $2.7M which was 50% higher than District 9. Super 8 received an overall 'B+' CinemaScore which broke down as follows: 29% of the audience under age 25 gave it 'A-', 71% over 25 'B', 56% of males 'B+', and 44% of females 'B+'. Moviegoers spent $12 million Friday on the the Bad Robot/Amblin/Paramount movie Super 8 from JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg for what should be $35M from 3,379 locations. 'Sweeeeeeet,' a Paramount exec emailed me tonight." (Deadline)


"In 2008, Barack Obama was the candidate of choice for Wall Street, even from the earliest days of the campaign. This time around, cash from wealthy donors in the financial-services industry isn't going to be flowing his way quite as easily — consider the anti-finance, base-courting rhetoric Obama has adopted from time to time; the post-bailout investigations and curtailing of banks' activities that's taken place under this Democratic administration; not to mention the plain old rotten economy, which bugs Wall Street just as much as Main Street. So President Obama has begun a push to recapture some of that crucial Wall Street support, reports the New York Times. The problem is that Mitt Romney looks like a very attractive option to many of those same people Obama hopes to court. In the last week alone, the paper details, Romney has held three fund-raisers in New York and Greenwich, Connecticut, including one hosted by hedge funder (and ex-Obama donor) Anthony Scaramucci, who has said to Obama, essentially, It's not me, it's you: 'Mr. Scaramucci said he wanted a president who embodied pragmatism and middle-of-the-road solutions. In 2008, that candidate was Mr. Obama, he said; today, it is Mr. Romney.' Meanwhile, Steve Rattner, who played the crucial Wall Street macher role for Obama in '08, is off the scene, post scandal-ridden resignation as auto czar." (NYMag)


"When President Barack Obama arrived at the Sony Pictures lot in April for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser, most studio employees left early and traffic was tricky. Tonight, it's the First Lady's turn. Michelle Obama will attend a fundraiser and discuss the 2012 re-election effort at the home of Michael S. Smith and James Costos. It starts at 6 PM tonight. Among those in attendance will be Linda Lichter, Peggy Lipton, Michael Patrick King ... Brian Grazer, Kevin Huvane, David and Lona O'Connor and Ellen and Portia DeGeneres." (Deadline)


"In the United States, sexual desire is considered a distraction from the hard work of governing. Politicians are supposed to be pure, or at least strive to be. Americans have proved time and again that they see a politician's cheating in marriage as tantamount to cheating on the voters and the country. Even the most innocently playful banter can have negative consequences. [As we've seen in recent days, the salacious online sexual liaisons of Representative Anthony D. Weiner of New York and his subsequent lies about them have prompted several prominent Democrats to call for his resignation.]  In France, the ability to seduce a lover and engage on the playing field of sexual pleasure, in or out of marriage, is regarded by both men and women as a basic male competency, and no male politician dares risk being seen as inadequate. An aura of virility and sexual potency is not merely a plus. It's a necessity. A political man who reveals his sexual prowess is proving his good health and vigor: he is showing his constituents that he is fully and physically capable of running the country.  When asked in 1992 by the popular magazine Actuel whether they had ever cheated on their wives, most politicians showed little hesitation to answer in the affirmative. 'I will not lie to you,' one senator replied. 'In Marseille, everything is known. I do not drink. I do not smoke. I never gamble. But I have one passion, and I repeat one passion: I love women. I have been a very, very, very great womanizer.'" (Foreign Policy)


"The first rain came on late Thursday, almost evening. That was the date for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s annual gala benefit which is always held in the pavilions surrounding the seal pool in the Central Park Zoo at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue.  On beautiful sunset evenings in June, the terraces around the pool are a great venue for a large cocktail reception before dinner. It’s a black tie affair and the last one of the season. This year’s theme for Gala 2011 was Elephants and Ivory. ... They honored Sir Iain Douglas-Hamilton who is the Founder and Director of Save the Elephants. I am always in awe of people such as Sir Iain, who make their life work preserving the life and eco-systems of our planet. Sir Iain has made it his life to understand the elephants, and their decisions -- highly intelligent as they are. His objective is to get us to become more aware and build support to ensure the future of the elephants, never ruling out the possibility that we might learn how to do the same for ourselves." (NYSocialDiary)


"Dylan Lauren married Marblegate hedge fund founder Paul Arrouet at the fashion dynasty's family estate in Bedford, NY, on Saturday. Dylan, owner of Dylan's Candy Bar and daughter of fashion icon Ralph Lauren, wore a stunning fitted dress designed by her father. Guests included Vogue's Andre Leon Talley, Martha Stewart, Stacey Bendet and Eric Eisner. The couple wed in the garden surrounded by flowers, with dinner and dancing alongside the main house, and a candy bar laid out by the pool. Among the groomsmen were Andrew and David Lauren, while the bridal party included Danyelle Freeman, Nicole Levinson and David's fiancée, Lauren Bush. Guests were surprised when Dylan's dogs were also brought up the aisle. She recently said her dogs would be her flower girl and ring bearer dressed in 'Ralph Lauren Couture.'" (PageSix)
 
 
"Hedge fund manager Paul Arrouet tied the knot with Ralph Lauren's daughter, Dylan, on Saturday night. The pair got married at the Laurens' New York estate in Bedford. Someone who was there told People, via the Daily News, it was 'an affair to remember... Every detail embodied the couple from the design of place cards to the place settings to the music and, of course, to the dessert bar. It was a truly special evening. The couple couldn't be more in love with one another.' Guests were served s'mores, strawberry cheesecake and banana splits. Arrouet is a managing partner at Marblegate Asset Management, an affiliate of distressed credit specialist Miller Buckfire, according to his LinkedIn profile. Lauren has her own candy empire, Dylan's Candy Bar." (Business Insider)

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