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Monday, August 08, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The decision by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade America’s credit rating marks the clearest sign yet that we have entered a new era in American politics. In retrospect, the dominant political reality of the Clinton years was the culture war, a struggle over what kind of nation America would be once being anticommunist ceased being a meaningful national identity. Politics in the Bush years was dominated by the 'war on terror,' the right’s effort to reenact the Cold War struggle and the left’s recovery of its own antiwar tradition in response. For liberals, the Obama years were supposed to mark a return to progressive government activism, a latter-day Great Society. But the Great Society, it’s crucial to remember, was launched in the mid-1960s, at the high noon of American optimism about our position in the world. What destroyed it, among other things, was the painful realization, by the early 1970s, that American resources were more finite, and America’s international position more fragile, than Johnson and his whiz-kid advisers had understood. Similarly, it is now clear that today’s political environment is less like the early and mid-1960s, that era of liberal optimism—or even the 1980s, which were dominated by Reagan’s conservative optimism—than by the deeply pessimistic 1970s. President Obama, like presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter, will be defined by how he manages the politics of decline." (Peter Beinart)


"You have to love the Chinese. No sooner had Standard and Poors downgraded U.S. debt than Beijing let loose with a huge scold about how Ameica has to get its debt under control. Normally I'd be lambasting Uncle Sam right along with the Chinese. For more than thirty years I have been urging that U.S. incentives to save and spend be reversed in an effort to weaken the dollar, reduce the U.S. trade deficit, and increase domestic investment, production, and jobs. But in this case, I just can't allow the Chinese gall to go unremarked even though their criticism is technically valid. I mean, let's get real. Even as they were scolding, the Chinese authorities were in the market buying billions of dollars worth of U.S. Treasury debt. And why are they doing this? Well, there are complex reasons, but a main one is to keep their own currency undervalued as a kind of export subsidy. By buying U.S. Treasuries, China's leaders are pushing up the value of the dollar versus the yuan and thereby making U.S. exports more costly and U.S. imports of Chinese goods and services less expensive. In effect, they are devaluing their own currency. This behavior by China has tended to depress U.S. interest rates, subsidize U.S. consumption, and remove any disadvantage to the United States of its over-consumption. In short, China has done everything it can to encourage and induce just the behavior it is now urging Washington to halt." (Foreign Policy)


"This is not the end one would have expected—or perhaps it is—for a man who is arguably the most powerful press baron in history, a flinty, visionary buccaneer whose might and influence span every time zone on earth, as former Telegraph editor Charles Moore noted recently. A scrappy, fiery competitor, (Rupert) Murdoch has spent a lifetime in battle—against the British and American establishments and against innumerable business rivals. His twin tactics of intimidation and support have given him back-and front-door access to decades’ worth of fawning presidents, prime ministers, and other shamans of the world’s stage. In the end, however, the whole elbows-out apparatus was laid low not by the economy or the authorities or an obvious foe, but by a pretty teenage girl who was kidnapped and murdered almost a decade ago." (Graydon Carter)


"When I was on the phone with Lyor I told him that negative feedback comes with the territory, every day people tell me I'm a shithead, that's what happens when you raise your head above the fray, especially when you're handsomely compensated. My original intention was not to print replies. But I got many questioning Lyor (Cohen's) statement that 360 deals used to be de rigueur. I believe he was speaking of his days at Def Jam, and one can make a case all-encompassing deals were prevalent in the early days of recorded music, but I wanted to set the record straight that during the heyday of classic rock, from the sixties until just recently, 360 deals were a rarity at the major label. I assumed most people knew this history and therefore I didn't expand upon the topic in my original report, but now I realize history fades in the rearview mirror and many people just weren't around back then. So... I'm gonna print a bunch of feedback. Lyor's well-paid, he can take it." (Bob Lefsetz)


"I had never heard of Ellen Glendinning Frazer Ordway until Augustus Mayhew came to us with her treasure trove of photographs taken from the 1920s to the 1940s in Europe and America and most specifically Philadelphia, Palm Beach, New York, Bar Harbor, Arizona. Mrs. Ordway, known all her life as Ellen Frazer (her first husband’s name) was a prominent and popular figure in the society of her day. Her subjects were the members of the society of that day, and especially the younger set ('20s, '30s, '40s) ... There is no visual evidence in Ellen Frazer’s photos that they are living during a time which history now calls The Great Depression. Her people 'look' completely unaffected by the crisis that has enveloped the country and much of the world. They are also, by one or two degrees of separation, related to the powers that be, being they political, financial or industrial. This was the new Society that emerged on the Eastern seaboard from the children of the Gilded Age. They were modern. They got around more. Speed had picked up and time had shortened. They’d survived the Roaring Twenties in one piece. They obviously had a lot of time on their hands and it wasn’t related to the unemployment problem ... There are lots of photos of people sitting around talking, smoking, drinking." (NYSocialDiary)



"On Friday, New York’s high-society fled the sticky city heat and ventured out to Water Mill for a cocktail party hosted by Anne Hearst McInerny and Jay McInerny. The fete was in celebration of the upcoming 2011 Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth gala. Guests included Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Lilliana Cavendish, John and Margo Catsimatidis, Rufus Wainwright, Sharon Bush, Dominque Devay and Andreas Weigel." (Observer)

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