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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began her historic 3-day trip to Myanmar this week, the first high-level U.S. official to visit the country in roughly half a century. Unlike her diplomatic predecessors, however, Clinton touched down not in Yangon, the historic captial of the country once known as Burma, but in Naypyidaw, the new seat of government. Clinton's visit marks a sharp change in U.S. policy, as the Obama administration begins its strategic move to Asia and amid signals from Myanmar's leaders that democratic openness may, in fact, finally be coming to the long-isolated country. As Jim Della-Giacoma wrote in Foreign Policy in October, 'After 20 years without a parliament and democratic process, its new leaders are now showing a surprising impatience with the status quo and are changing the way this country is ruled.' But signs of the military junta's authoritarian imprint abound. Naypyidaw, or 'abode of kings,' the pronunciation-defying administrative seat of Myanmar's government, was only a glimmer in the junta's eye as recently as 2005, when construction began in a remote mountain jungle. By the middle of the next year, the capital -- much of it reportedly built underground -- was racing toward completion, when all of a sudden everything from file cabinets to government employees were trucked virtually overnight to the new site (on an auspicious date, allegedly proscribed by former senior leader Gen. Than Shwe's personal astrologer). Today, the partially completed capital boasts both sprawling temples and deserted streets, massive administrative buildings and empty public squares." (ForeignPolicy)


"The lady in the yellow taffeta skirt and black lace top is the famous Naty Abascal, Duchess of Feria. She was a famous model, from a distinguished Seville family, who married into the Medinacelli family. Her husband passed after leading a turbulent life. Their sons are: the current Duke of Feria, Rafael Medina and Luis Medina, who until recently dated Amanda Hearst. " (NYSocialDiary)


"Does Jason Hirschhorn read EVERYTHING? Well, possibly. His Media ReDEFined email / newsletter / twitter feed is a must-scan for every executive in media, entertainment and tech, many of whom feel pangs of anxiety (as in 'I CAN’T KEEP UP!') when his list of personally selected 30-40 'must reads' hits their inbox every day. Jason is omnivoracious. What makes Media ReDEFined work is his insatiable curiosity, joy, and appreciation of the worlds of media and technology. He’s not hawking, not pushing one point or another — he loves the discussion, the ins and outs, the personalities. This past weekend marked the fifth anniversary of Jason’s newsletter. The first subscriber was Judy McGrath (former Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks). Today, it’s a must-read (sometimes the only read) for thousands of media / tech / culture insiders. He and I have been friends for decades. I asked him to share the secrets of Media ReDEFined, which he did over a long and amazingly eclectic lunch discussion. Here’s what I learned, in Jason’s own words (and my headlines)." (Fred Graver)



"Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show is going through dramatic behind-the-scenes changes at the same time it was just sold for a second season. Exec producers Cathy Chermol and Lisa Morin, who joined 'Anderson' in June, have stepped down. Terence Noonan has joined the show from 'Dr. Oz' as an exec producer. Sources said Morin left for personal reasons, and Chermol left after Cooper disagreed with her handling of a Nov. 15 special on the Penn State scandal, called 'State of Shame.' A source said Chermol instructed the audience not to hold back emotion. But Cooper took exception to the instructions. The source added while such a practice would be commonplace on a show like Cooper’s, the host disagreed with it. But a source inside the show said the departures were a natural evolution: 'There’s nothing salacious. In [daytime TV] you are constantly making changes. It’s such a natural evolution.' A rep had no comment. Veteran Jim Murphy remains an exec producer along with Cooper." (PageSix)

"With most of the art world in Miami, Pace Gallery on W. 22nd Street brought in the fashion crowd for the opening of Annie Leibovitz’s 'Pilgrimage,' on view at the gallery December 1-3 before traveling to the Smithsonian. The party was hosted by Vogue and Anna Wintour and super models in evening gowns were sipping white wine among Ms. Leibovitz’s photographs. David Byrne, looking (as usual) a little stressed, scooted out of the building just as we were walking in. The designer Thakoon was sneaking by models and Vogue employees wearing his dresses. Karen Elson, by the way, is paler in person than we imagined. Chuck Close stood out among all the high fashion: he was wearing a jumpsuit plastered with bright green patterns and parachute-type pants that hugged his ankles. He said he’s been collecting African fabrics with his girlfriend. 'This is all I wear now,' he said to Gallerist. 'No more black.' He inspected the outfit and added: 'This is conservative.'" (Observer)

"The first issue of Action Comics, which came out in 1938, cost 10 cents and featured the first appearance of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s superhero Superman, sold at auction today for $2.16 million. That’s a record for a single comic book, breaking the mark of $1.5 million set in 2010 by another Action Comics No. 1 copy, which wasn’t in as pristine shape. The record-breaking issue sold today went for $86,000 in 1992 and $150,000 in 1997, when it was reportedly purchased by Nicolas Cage. But it was stolen in 2000 and assumed lost until it turned up in a storage shed in April. Only about 100 copies of the issue are believed to exist." (Deadline)


"Well, it is fun to run the numbers on exactly what 'sort' of person runs a wedding announcement in Vows (technically now called "Weddings/Celebrations," which is so dull). The numbers are useful and also, sure, about what you'd expect. Harvard. Credit Suisse. Gay. That sort of thing. But two things: our trusty researcher friends here are comparing education and job credentials to the 'average American,' which, oh no. Vows is a section that is for New Yorkers, not average Americans. And New York is a funny place. (Full of gays who went to Harvard.) But then also they're dismissing self-selection in a totally untoward way, writing: "There's also no easy way to rule out a self-selection bias. (Theoretically, 9.4 percent of the people who want to be in the wedding section could have Harvard degrees...)" Um, I would say that that is way more than true? You have to submit to Vows a minimum of six weeks in advance, and the submission form is quite lengthy. In fact, it's so long that as you start to fill it out, you have time to realize that it's all basically for snobby gay a-holes who work at Credit Suisse and then you stop filling it out, if you have any real sense. Once it's like 'AND WHAT DOES YOUR FATHER DO FOR A LIVING?' you're like, oh God, who cares, go pound sand. (Seriously, their sample form goes like this: "(first celebrator's) father, who is retired, was a (job title/I.D. here) in (location here) for (company/organization name here). (his/her) mother is a (job title/I.D. here) in (location here) for (company/organization name here).' Which is so LOL! It's like the worst and least-fitting game of Mad Libs ever.)" (Choire Sicha)



"Charlie Crist, the ex-governor of Florida, sat in Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday morning holding his foxy wife Carole’s metallic rolling bag while she stood before a judge battling her ex-husband, Blue Star Jets honcho Todd Rome, over her alleged failure to pay child support in an emotional showdown. Rome — who spies said chanted 'big d - - k, big d - - k' at Crist on the court steps after the hearing — has accused Carole of abandoning her children, Jessica, 15, and Skylar, 13. Inside the court, Judge Matthew Cooper said, 'I think this is a very interesting legal issue, but why doesn’t the mother want to pay some child support?' a source said. The judge acknowledged a written agreement stating that Carole does not have to pay child support for her daughters if the children live with their father in New York, but added, 'I also can’t make her visit her children.' A witness said Rome started to 'well up,' crying, 'These are my children,' after Carole declined the judge’s suggestion to handle the dispute outside of the courtroom. Carole’s attorney Harold Mayerson accused Rome of manipulating his children by planning to submit a letter from Jessica stating her mother abandoned her and picked Crist over them. The judge wound up rescheduling the hearing for next year because of a technicality. A spy said Rome called out to Crist on the court steps afterward: 'Nice going, Charlie. Nice look. Big d - - k! Big d - - k! Be really proud of yourself, Charlie!'" (PageSix)

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