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Monday, December 05, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"On the one hand, elections like these do matter, because they dent the veneer of an effective authoritarian being in control. Despite rigging the game, it appears that Putin and his loyalists couldn't secure the desired result. Any time an authoritarian aparatus demonstrates fallibility is not a good day for the authoritarian apparatus.  On the other hand.... Putin and his cronies have two three serious advantages going into the presidential elections. First, they can use this election as a wake-up call. By turning up the public spending taps (which high oil prices will allow them to do) they can probably buy some more loyalty. Second, they can be more ruthless in rigging the electoral game to ensure Putin's victory. In trading off the international legitimacy of elections vs. winning, I sspect Putin will opt for winning. Third, and most important, Russia is not like the Middle East, in which a grass-roots organization has been waiting in the wings to challenge the corrupt authoritarian state. I suspect that what will save Putin is the existing alternatives to Putin -- namely, the communists and nationalists. Russians might not like the status quo, but it's not like the opposition has covered itself in glory either. The Liberal Democrats have done no real governing, and the Communists have done way too much governing in its past. These are not really desirable alternatives." (ForeignPolicy)


"A few hours after Herman Cain announced the end of his presidential campaign, Ginger White drove to her lawyer’s office in downtown Atlanta to discuss her role in the debacle. 'I’ve never been more exhausted,' said White, who seemed drained and on the edge of tears despite her artful makeup and snappy outfit. 'It’s been an emotional rollercoaster; it’s been embarrassing, humiliating, humbling.'White can’t be said to have cost Cain his shot at the presidency; his unexpected ascent in the polls was reversed by his own political gaffes and allegations of sexual harassment by several other women. But when White went public with her story of a 13-year affair with Cain, many analysts credited her with delivering the death blow to his political prospects ... White said that over the years, her arrangement with Cain took an emotional toll. 'One time we were having sex, and I was looking up at the ceiling, thinking about, ‘What am I going to buy at the grocery store tomorrow? What am I going to do with my kids tomorrow?’ she recalled. 'One time after we had sex, I cried. He said, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t do this for a while.’ So maybe he did have a heart—or half a heart. But I knew I needed his financial help.'" (TheDailybeast)

" .... (W)hen Elizabeth was a young woman and now a big star, and still under contract to the studio, she had an affair with a prominent up and coming director. Her brief unhappy marriage to Nicky Hilton had ended and the studio was promoting the relationship to keep her happy.  The director knew Elizabeth loved jewelry, and so occasionally he would pick up something from Cartier or David Orgell or Tiffany, and presented them to his star girlfriend. It was a great love affair for both the director’s career, and for the young woman’s eventual great collection of jewelry. The director also got carried away from time to time in his fervor, and bought Elizabeth things that cost more than he had in his checking account. Way more. When the truth came out (the checks bounced), the studio had a new problem. They didn’t want the publicity attached to their star. They couldn’t very well ask Elizabeth to give the rings and bracelets back. So they covered the checks and no one was ever worse for it. Nor did it harm the director’s career." (NYSocialDiary)



"In a three-way race that saw votes going to FX and a revitalized HBO, AMC thrived on the strength of its dead. Seething with self-righteousness and desperate for deliverance, the human survivors that populate The Walking Dead are becoming harder to distinguish from the ravenous corpses roaming the post-apocalyptic countryside—and viewers are eating it up. The most-watched series in cable history among the 18-49 set, The Walking Dead represents the apotheosis of AMC’s antihero stance-- the literal evocation of spiritual rot. Don Draper and Walter White would be very much at home here. Not since HBO aired new installments of The Sopranos and The Wire has a network so faithfully (and relentlessly) captured the moral compromise of an age." (ADAge)



"Niall Ferguson arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art breathless with apologies for being 30 minutes late. He’s going to use the museum’s exhibits to illustrate the arguments he presents in his new book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, which describes how Western culture came to dominate over the past 500 years. But first, he must remove his mascara. 'Civilization is as much about good plumbing as it is about art,' the debonairly dressed Harvard professor says, emerging fresh-faced from the bathroom under the museum’s grand staircase. 'Which is why I went to the loo first. It was quite deliberate.' Despite his fearsome vitae—a chair at Harvard, fellowships at Oxford and the Hoover Institution—there’s something of the rogue about Ferguson, who’s said to have inspired a character in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys who was more style than substance." (NYMag)


"This 1969 version of the Greek myth Medea stars legendary singer Maria Callas in the lead and was directed by the visionary director Pier Paolo Pasolini. Filmed in Turkey at the gorgeous Goreme Open-Air Museum, Pasolini creates unforgettable visions onscreen. This includes a haunting early sequence where a young man is sacrificed and his blood is sprinkled on the crops (more disturbing, he has a look of bliss on his face as he is led to slaughter). Callas' regal beauty and command are also thrilling to watch, particularly when she exacts her nightmarish revenge on Jason (Guiseppe Gentile) who left her abandoned and in exile with her two sons." (Dennis Dermody/Papermag)

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