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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"G-Zero and the Middle East -- The inability/unwillingness of major powers to bolster the region's balance of force will generate greater turbulence across North Africa and the Middle East as unresolved religious, sectarian, and ethnic tensions threaten more unrest. The lack of a viable regional security framework, continuing protests, autocracies at risk, and enormous challenges facing newly democratic regimes will add to the potential turmoil. As this dynamic plays out in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, regional heavyweights -- Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey -- will generate friction as they vie for proxy influence." (ForeignPolicy)


"If you were watching C-SPAN last night for the Iowa caucuses, as you should have been, but likely were not, you missed a very brief appearance by an American hero. I can't yet find video of it, and it seems it was only noted by a friend and by one lone Livejournaler, but in essence, some punky-looking kiddo got the microphone at a caucus meeting and made a plea for Newt Gingrich: 'Even though he has been married three times, he is a strong defender of marriage. He still stays in touch with most of his kids.' Ha! Then he got booed loudly by the caucus and stormed off, yelling 'I don't have to take this anymore!' And then C-SPAN cut immediately back to the boring stuff." (ChoireSicha)


"At a dim Park Slope bar named for a neighborhood in Paris, George Gurley took a pad of Post-Its out of his breast pocket. In a tiny hand, he had written a to-do list of tasks on the scale of buying paper towels, returning a Netflix disk and exercising. That one was circled. 'Sometimes I do things just to write them down and cross them off,' Mr. Gurley said of the daily ritual. He crossed off 'exercise' with a red felt tip pen. 'It’s very satisfying.' Satisfaction is not a sentiment one expects from Mr. Gurley, a journalist and writer whose personal columns (published in this paper) were animated by his impertinence, self-loathing, libido and exhibitionism. For more than a decade, these traits fueled all-night journalistic odysseys during which he sought satisfaction in debauched dens like Siberia or Bungalow 8 (whichever one he wasn’t already at). He played word association with Kate Moss and talked pansexuality with Liv Tyler. He got high with Hunter S. Thompson and was once called Ann Coulter’s handmaiden. He met everyone he ever wanted to, except Ken Kesey and Jerry Garcia. That version of Mr. Gurley had no business in Brooklyn, let alone Park Slope." (Observer)


"Spike Lee will throw a fund-raising dinner for President Obama in New York on Jan. 19, Page Six has learned. The film-maker, who has been both supportive and critical of Obama’s presidency, and wife TonyaLewis Lee will host the commander-in-chief at their Upper East Side brownstone with an intimate 6 p.m. reception for 60 guests paying $38,500 per head or $71,600 per couple, and have stipulated the event will be 'no more than six tables and 60 people.' It won’t be Obama’s only stop in the city that day. His fundraising will begin late afternoon at four-star restaurant Daniel on the Upper East Side for a discussion with leaders in the Jewish community organized by Dr. Daniel E. Fass and Alexandra Stanton, among others. Tickets cost $25,000 for an Obama-greet and photos or $5,000 for a regular ticket. Also at Daniel, scheduled for the same time, is a small cocktail reception with the president at $15,000 per ticket, including candid photos. Invitees can become hosts if they sell five tickets for $75,000. A source told us, 'Daniel has hosted so many fund-raisers for Obama, it has become New York’s official Democratic dining room.' The White House didn’t comment last night." (PageSix)


"A good time to run one of those wonderful obits from the Daily Telegraph in London. Today’s is about Maureen, the Countess Dudley who died this past November 16th. I knew Maureen and her husband Billy, the Earl – albeit casually -- having met them years ago during one of their frequent visits to New York. I never knew, until I read her obituary that in her younger years she had a career as an actress and a ballet dancer. Both she and her husband were very congenial company and she seemed to this American, more American in her self-presentation than a lot of her countrymen, especially those from the aristocracy. She was just open and friendly. Rather than titled and titular. Anytime we ran into each other, it was like running into an old friend. I knew nothing about their marriage also except that when they were together – at dinner, at a party – they were great company. In the social life that I cover, especially among the members of the 'elite,' especially those who regard themselves thusly, that is a distinct pleasure (versus a crashing bore). Now, having read this obituary, I realize that Maureen was at heart an actress, a performer, and the talent to amuse was always in her portfolio. Her husband, the Earl with close family ties to peerage extending back several centuries, seemed very much like his wife – friendly, outgoing, and kind (at least to those I saw around them). It was that quality that led me to believe they probably had a good marriage. It was a long one – they were married for fifty years at the time of Maureen’s death; and so it must be a great loss to her husband who turns 92 this week." (NYSocialDiary)

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