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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"How will it feel when China becomes the world’s largest economy? We may find out quite soon. A few weeks ago, the International Monetary Fund issued a report that suggested China would be number one within five years. The projection that the Chinese economy will be larger than that of the US by 2016 included adjustments for the domestic purchasing power of the two countries’ currencies. Some regard this interpretation of IMF data as a dubious move that artificially boosts the size of the Chinese economy. But even using real exchange rates does not defer the day when America is knocked off its perch by very much. A projection by The Economist, made just before Christmas, foresaw China becoming number one in 2019. The ascent of China will change ideas of what it means to be a superpower. Over the course of the American century, the world has got used to the idea that the world’s largest economy was also the world’s most obviously affluent nation. The world’s biggest economy housed the world’s richest people. As China emerges as an economic superpower, the connection between national and personal affluence is being broken. China is both richer and poorer than the western world. It is sitting on foreign reserves worth $3,000bn. And yet, measured at current exchange rates, the average American is about 10 times as wealthy as the average Chinese. The relative affluence of US society is one reason why China will not become the world’s most powerful country on the day that it becomes the largest economy. The world’s habit of looking to the US as the “sole superpower” also makes it likely that America’s political dominance will outlast its economic supremacy. America has an entrenched position in global institutions. It matters that the United Nations, the IMF and the World Bank are all situated in the US – and that Nato is built around America. The US military has a global reach and a technological sophistication that China is nowhere near matching. The US is also ahead on soft power. China, as yet, has no equivalents to Hollywood, Silicon Valley or 'the American dream'." (FT)


"At noontime yesterday, over at the Museum of the City of New York they held their “Spring Lecture Symposium” with Gloria Vanderbilt, Wendy Goodman, and Matthew Patrick Smyth. I’d never been to one of these symposiums before but Gloria Vanderbilt was the draw. In fact, seeing her name on the invitation, I knew what it would be about. Both Goodman and Smyth have had close working relationships with Gloria, as well as friendships. I first met Gloria a little more than 20 years ago when I was in New York from Los Angeles working on a project. I don’t recall how we connected (who our conduit was) but I interviewed her about the principals in my story. She was helpful and gracious. She also has a writer’s curiosity about people ... Yesterday’s luncheon event began at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine auditorium across the street from the Museum of the City of New York, which is now undergoing an expansion and renovation. On stage were the three participants: Gloria, Wendy Goodman, Design editor at New York magazine, and Matthew Patrick Smyth. The subject was The World of Gloria Vanderbilt by Wendy Goodman with a Foreward by Anderson Cooper. " (NYSocialDiary)


"There's several proven tactics to conducting a press conference with humiliating personal admissions and one of them is exhausting everyone, which was pretty successful with Anthony Weiner's confession of sharing "personal photos" with women he did not know (six in three years, most before his marriage) online. Everyone was exhausted, except maybe the New York Post's Andrea Peyser, who really, really wanted to know where his wife Huma was. (At least that's what she kept screaming.) But the press conference also ran counter to many of the prevailing ideas about crisis PR: one is to keep it short; another is have your wife with you." (Choire Sicha)


"One of the significant problems the Palestinians had always had was the hostility of the Arab world to their cause, a matter insufficiently discussed. The Egyptians spent this period opposed to Hamas as a threat to their regime. They participated in blockading Gaza. The Jordanians hated Fatah, having long memories about the Black September rising in 1970 that almost destroyed the Hashemite regime. Having a population that is still predominantly Palestinian, the Hashemites fear the consequences of a Palestinian state. The Syrians have never been happy with the concept of an independent Palestinian state because they retain residual claims to all former Syrian provinces, including Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. When they invaded Lebanon in 1976, they were supporting Maronite Christians and trying to destroy the PLO. Finally, the constant attempts by Fatah and the PLO to overthrow the royal houses of Arabia — all of which failed — created massive mistrust between a number of Arab regimes and the fledgling Palestinian movement. Therefore, the strategic position of the Palestinians has been extremely weak since the end of the Cold War. They have been able to put stress on Israel but not come anywhere close to endangering its survival or even forcing policies to change. Indeed, their actions tended to make Israel even more rigid. This did not displease the Palestinians as an outcome. The more rigid the Israelis were, the more intrusive they would be in the Palestinian community and the more both Fatah and Hamas could rely on Palestinian support for their policies. In a sense, the greatest threat to the Palestinian movement has always been the Palestinians losing interest in a Palestinian state in favor of increased economic wellbeing. The ability to force Israel to take aggressive measures increased public loyalty to each of the two groups. During a time of inherent civil conflict between the two, provoking Israel became a means of assuring support in the civil war. ( STRATFOR )


"Put it down to the presence of the phenomenon that is Lady Gaga, but the CFDA Fashion Awards had a welcome sense of heightened energy this year. There weren't one, but two standing ovations, the first for Board of Directors' Special Tribute honoree Arthur Elgort and the second for Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award winner Marc Jacobs. Celebrity presenters came thick and fast and included a pregnant Jessica Alba, Gerard Butler, and Naomi Watts, the lattermost of whom gave the Womenswear Designer of the Year prize to Proenza Schouler. The $10,000-a-seat tickets raised $1.3 million for the Council of Fashion Designers of America's programs. And all that was before Lady Gaga took to the stage to receive her Fashion Icon award in staggering 12-inch platforms and a studded G-string." (Style)


"As political pundits hyperventilated on Monday over whether Anthony Weiner could hold onto his job, not a few Washington insiders were more curious about whether he could hold onto his wife—Huma Abedin, the legendary and enigmatic close aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Not surprisingly, Abedin was no where near the painful press conference when the brash Queens congressman twice tearfully apologized to her for sending lewd photographs of himself to women he met online. They were married 11 months ago in a ceremony officiated by Bill Clinton. Weiner, 46, said he and Abedin, 34, 'have no intention of splitting up over this' and maintained that he had not met the women with whom he corresponded ... Abedin has long been considered one of world’s most intriguing women. Stunning, smart, fluent in Arabic and notoriously discreet, she has for the past 15 years had held a firm place in the Clintons powerful orbit, mostly as Hillary Clinton’s 'body person' On the surface, Weiner and Abedin would seem like an odd match. She is a practicing Muslim and he is Jewish. He actively courts the media—while she has been a reluctant media star. The congressman was known to have had a pretty active bachelorhood, but he courted Abedin tenaciously despite her early ambivalence toward him. There was never a shortage of powerful men drooling over her, and she was considered quite the catch when Weiner started pursuing her a few years ago." (TheDailyBeast)


"Governor's Island witnessed a barrage of bare shoulders, plumed hats and pocket squares when the fourth annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic arrived yesterday afternoon ... Kathy Griffin was hoping to see Hugh Jackman's pants fall off at some point, and explained the origin of her new Bravo show, Girl Down. "It's when you've been in your heels too long and you're walking home and then your ankle starts to go. If you actually take the fall then one of your friends will say, 'Girl down!'' When asked if she'd lend a hand to a girl going down, Griffin exclaimed, 'Nooooo! Of course, this is a drag queen expression so we drag queens will just let each other fend for ourselves.' As for the rest of the afternoon, Griffin was there for the sights: 'One of my favorite things is to just watch drunk people. I'm hoping the Olsen twins get hammered or some of the society chicks. I'm really hoping that we'll see a society-girl-down!'" (Papermag)


"Last night's MTV Movie Awards drew 4.5 million viewers on MTV, down a fraction from last year's audience of 4.6 million. In MTV's core demographic of persons 12-34, it posted a 3.9 rating, down 5% from last year's 4.1 rating. Driven by Twilight, which dominated the awards show, the film's core female teen audience tuned in in droves for a 8.3 rating, up 46% from last year's 5.7 rating. On all 4 MTV networks that carried the Movie Awards, MTV, MTV2, VH1 and Logo, the awards show averaged 5.4 million viewers, down 7% from last year's 5.8 million. For a second straight year, MTV used the Movie Awards as a launching pad for a new scripted series. Last year it was The Hard Times of RJ Berger, this year it was Teen Wolf." (Deadline)

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