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Monday, July 25, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"As the horrors of the bombing and shooting spree in Norway become clearer, Americans are both expressing their sympathy and asking whether it could happen here. As of writing, it's still unclear whether these gruesome attacks are the act of a lone domestic gunman, an international terrorist network, or some odd, imagined combination of both. This may yet turn out to be Norway's 9/11 or its Oklahoma City. But the scene of destruction in downtown Oslo does beg the question: why haven't there been more large-scale terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland. Yes, the United States remains vulnerable to violence, whether terrorist or not. School shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech and the deaths that surrounded the attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords are painful reminders of how easy it is for angry or deluded individuals to pick up a gun and kill large numbers of people. Indeed, with this reminder, the relative safety of the U.S. homeland from terrorists since 9/11 becomes all the more remarkable." (ForeignPolicy)



"Two weeks ago, I went to the New York Times’ gleaming, modernist, Renzo Piano–­designed headquarters on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan to discuss some good financial news with Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the paper’s publisher and the chairman of the New York Times Company. Good news has been in short supply in the world of dead-tree media, and for the Times in particular. For much of Sulzberger’s nineteen-year tenure, the paper that his family has controlled for more than a century has been embroiled in one crisis or another, ranging from the Jayson Blair fiasco, which led to the overthrow of Howell Raines, the hard-charging editor who had been handpicked by Sulzberger, to the paper’s reporting on the phantom WMDs in Iraq, which some believed had even helped propel the U.S. into war. Then there were the paper’s financial troubles, which appeared to have pushed it to the brink of extinction. For well over a decade, the Internet had been relentlessly consuming the paper’s business model. On the web, the saying went, information wants to be free; this left institutions like the Times, which invest huge sums in reporting the news, in an existential quandary." (Seth Mnookin)


"Russell Brand usually plays the fool in his movies. But he has written a very smart blog post about addiction, his own addiction, and his friend Amy Winehouse's addiction and death this weekend. I have said it before and I'll say it again: the entertainment industry is not doing enough institutionally to stop enabling its addicted artists and start helping them.This is a town that has no notion of personal responsibility, much less corporate responsibility. (Witness how long it took for the moguls to realize that closing the MPTF's intensive care facilities was not a humane idea even if it made financial sense.) In the mid-1990s, the music industry took a long hard look at its addiction problem and its role before more artists died. But that was back-burnered when National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences president Michael Greene was forced out. The film and TV business has never taken a leadership role on this issue." (NIkkiFinke)


"Saturday night John Irelan and I went to dinner at a Georgetown restaurant named Fahrenheit. It seemed the perfect choice to cap a week of temperatures in the 100s. Fortunately for us, the heat was only in the restaurant’s name ... Our dinner was off the clock and off the record, sort of, which is too bad because as one of the city’s most popular interior designers and dinner partners, especially among cave dwellers and the establishment, he knows lots of secrets, the kind that are great to hear on a Saturday night over a long chatty dinner in a cool retreat ... Part of our dish was about the recent sale of Evermay estate, which sold for $22 million, less than half its original asking price, but still one of the most expensive real estate transactions in Washington ever. The historic Georgetown property had been in the family of the late DuPont Chemical heir F. Lammot Belin since the 1920s, passing from generation to generation. When Harry Belin put it on the market more than two years ago the asking price was an eye-popping $49 million. The only person rumored to be interested was Oprah Winfrey. " (NYSocialDiary)
"Which hip-hop artist drove up to his agent's office in a $200,000 car, wearing a $50,000 wristwatch, to beg for money because he's 'dead broke' and needed $5,000 for child support? . . . Which socialite and her artsy husband are the star students in a New York sex guru's outrageous extended-orgasm classes?" (PageSix)

"This isn’t just a story about the future according to Josh Harris. This is a story about Josh Harris according to Josh Harris. When I was first introduced to the Internet entrepreneur, I scheduled our interview for 2pm on a Friday afternoon at the offices of Morris & King on 5th Avenue. After I watched We Live in Public, a documentary about his life, I emailed him and changed it to the following Tuesday at 5pm, when I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about getting back to my desk. Everything you are about to read was told to me in 5 hours, over 2 beers and a soggy cigar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Only one alarm was set off in the process. In the late 90s, Harris was a bona fide New York City business star when his company, Jupiter Communications, went public. There was a day when he had a liquid net worth of $40 million. During that time, he also ran a second Internet company called Pseudo Programs, Inc., which was an Internet television network. While running Pseudo, he dressed like a clown named Luvvy and began throwing decadent parties at his SoHo loft and running Manhattan’s underground art scene.In March 2000, he rented a helicopter and flew around the World Trade Center filming an art group called 'Gelatin' removing a window from the 91st floor, sliding a balcony through the slot, and one by one each man nakedly stepping out onto air. Harris believes the U.S. Government has been watching him ever since. A decade later, he was the subject of the Grand Jury Prize winning documentary film 'We Live In Public' at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. A year later, he made it into the Museum of Modern Art. In his spare time, the self-proclaimed ‘Ethiopian national’ is an artist, a sports fisherman, a poker player, an apple farmer and he once shot three turkeys dead with one round." (TheNextWeb)

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