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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"When geography changes -- as when the Suez Canal joined Europe to the Indian Ocean, or when the railroads transformed the American West and the Russian East -- old patterns of contact disappear and new ones take hold, turning strangers into neighbors and transforming backwaters into zones of new strategic significance. Entire groups decline or vanish; others rise in importance. Over these next few years, Asia's geography will see a fundamental reorientation, bringing China and India together as never before across what was once a vast and neglected frontier stretching over a thousand miles from Kolkata to the Yangtze River basin. And Burma, long seen in Western policy circles as little more than an intractable human rights conundrum, may soon sit astride one of the world's newest and most strategically significant crossroads. Mammoth infrastructure projects are taming a once inhospitable landscape. More importantly, Burma and adjacent areas, which had long acted as a barrier between the two ancient civilizations, are reaching demographic and environmental as well as political watersheds. Ancient barriers are being broken, and the map of Asia is being redone. For millennia, India and China have been separated by near impenetrable jungle, deadly malaria, and fearsome animals, as well as the Himalayas and the high wastelands of the Tibetan plateau. They have taken shape as entirely distinct civilizations, strikingly dissimilar in race, language, and customs. To reach India from China or vice versa, monks, missionaries, traders, and diplomats had to travel by camel and horse thousands of miles across the oasis towns and deserts of Central Asia and Afghanistan, or by ship over the Bay of Bengal and then through the Strait of Malacca to the South China Sea.  But as global economic power shifts to the East, the configuration of the East is changing, too." (ForeignPolicy)
"I went down to Michael’s to lunch with John Loeb, former Ambassador to Denmark, a long-time collector of Danish art also; a businessman, and a philanthropist with an historical subtext. I’ve known John for a few years now. I got a glimpse of the man when he gave a 75th birthday party for himself at Blenheim Palace a few years ago. John loves history. And because he is a lifelong New Yorker, from a prominent family, with a natural eye for the details and personalities of his environment, we always have much to share and the lunch conversation covers a lot of territory. New York, Europe, Hollywood, Jackie and Lee Bouvier whom he knew 'socially' as a teenager, Presidents, statesmen, and a time and a way of life that has gone, as obsolete as the Bourbon monarchy and only relevant for its lessons, much of which is archived in its style. After lunch, I went home, as quickly as you can travel fifty blocks north and east in heavy traffic everywhere. I took a quick snooze, walked the dogs and changed to head out for the New York night ... I started out last night at the Verdura salon at 745 Fifth Avenue where Ward and Judith Landrigan, Kimberly and Nico Landrigan (son of W & J), and fashion stylist Amanda Ross were hosting a book party for Cherie Burns who has just published a biography of Millicent Rogers: Searching for Beauty: the Life of Millicent Rogers (St. Martin’s Press)." (NYSocialDiary)


"There is so much fascinating material in these new tapes, 'Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy.' I got the book last night and couldn’t put it down.
Also had the chance to talk about it with Caroline Kennedy, when she came by this morning for an exclusive interview on 'GMA.'  The first thing I wanted to know was how tough was it to release the tapes – unedited – knowing that we’d hear Jacqueline’s unvarnished views. Like her description of Martin Luther King as a 'tricky person' and that she couldn’t 'see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, you know, that man’s terrible.' 'I think people really need to understand the purpose of an oral history. And it really – the value of it is it is immediate, it is honest,' Caroline told me. 'I think that was very brave of her to do that and to be honest. But it’s got limitations. It’s just – it’s a primary source document. It’s like a diary or something like that, it’s really a snapshot.' ...
Things such as the former First Lady’s surprisingly traditional view of women, telling Schlesinger that 'women should never be in politics, we’re just not suited for it.' I asked Caroline what her mother would think now about these recordings. 'It was funny because my daughters listened to it too and they were just absolutely horrified…Did she really think that? And of course time has moved on and it shows you both there are many timeless things in here but it really is a snapshot of a world that we barely recognize,' Caroline said." (George Stephanopoulos)

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