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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"'I think a lot of punditry on this thing doesn’t make any sense,' said Bill Carrick, a veteran Democratic consultant who grew up in Aiken as a contemporary of Lee Atwater’s and now plies his trade in Los Angeles. Carrick hasn’t lost his drawl, or his familiarity with the state. 'With all its conservatism, South Carolina is still a pretty orderly place, and the truth is the most established, front-runner type usually wins. That was true for Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, and John McCain—and Carrick expects it will be true again this year for Mitt Romney, despite his well-established difficulties in exciting the hard-core conservatives who make up the Republican Party’s base. 'With the exception of Nikki Haley'—the upstart incumbent Republican governor who won with Sarah Palin’s strong support—'most of the Republican candidates who succeed are the ones who are next in line. Both the current Senators were Congressmen first. It’s not like they’re people who come out of nowhere and get elected.' All of that is not to say that Romney doesn’t face distinct challenges in South Carolina, as he has elsewhere. The wily Newt Gingrich, from neighboring Georgia, knows the regional folkways and hot buttons like the back of his hand, and he seemed to be having a grand time in Sunday night’s candidate debate. Rick Santorum, with his appeal to the Christian conservatives who are strong in South Carolina, 'has everything but money,' as Carrick put it. Even Rick Perry is bumping along, helping to guarantee that Romney faces splintered opposition.And Ron Paul continues to draw the sort of double-digit support that all but guarantees he can be a thorn in Romney’s side—and a threat that will have to be delicately handled—all the way to the Republican Convention in Tampa." (VanityFair)


"'Mick Flick Invites you to the Roaring Twenties,'read the black-and-white invitation card. A flapper and a Rudolph Valentino type in white tie and tails flirted in the old-fashioned manner—she dreamlike, fluttering her eyes upward, he looking swarthy and passionate while standing over her. In the background, a roomful of swells tripped the light fantastic. It is rare for a party to live up to expectations, especially one which people travel long distances to attend. I’ve given a few in my life and none of them has ever truly clicked. Mainly it has to do with preparation. I haven’t got the patience, but Mick is a German Mercedes-Benz heir who’s very thorough. It was a sublime pleasure walking into the great room of the Palace Hotel, which was decorated into a kind of twenties speakeasy, with nothing to remind me of today’s brutal culture ... Mick’s ex-wife (and mother of his three children) Maya Schönburg had the brilliant idea to have only tables for two or three or four people, like nightclubs tend to do, and the trick worked. Two great bands played their hearts out, can-can girls danced and ooh-aahd, and 290 of us quick-stepped Gatsby to shame.One’s guests have always been the main ingredient for a successful party. In this case, half of them were in their twenties, the age of Mick’s children. Alexander Flick is a talented documentary maker while his younger brother Moritz works for the best and only responsible newspaper in Israel—Haaretz. No hedgies they. I sat with old friend Peter Livanos, Donatella Flick, and Kirsty Bertarelli, the young and beautiful English wife of Switzerland’s richest man and past America’s Cup winner. The partying had begun on a tiny alpine hut the day before during lunch. I had a full chalet and something like fourteen people staying, all of them young except for my close buddies Leopold and Debbie Bismarck. With them and the mother of my children we went skiing early Friday but spent most of the afternoon in the sun, downing pure Swiss wine. By the time we got down I was thoroughly crocked and stayed that way during dinner with more German friends, Heinrich and Milana Fürstenberg." (Taki Theodoracopulos)


"Michael’s was its ole Wednesday self. At Table One Barbara Walters was with Sir Norman Foster, Princess Firyal, Robert Silvers of the New York Review of Books (with the latest issue under his arm), and Gil Shiva. Sir Norman is the famous architect (or rather the architect of famous buildings). New Yorkers know his work: The Hearst Tower on West 57th Street. At the table next door, Joe Armstrong, back after a working sojourn in Israel to work on the Paul Newman project for children, was hosting Katy Dobbs, Bourne Welsh and Fred Newman of Prairie Home Companion. Next to them Barry Diller was at his regular corner table; and next to him Herb Siegel was lunching with his pal, the Giants legend Frank Gifford. Across the aisle from them (see how clubby it is), the not-always-serious Four, Five or is it Six: Dr. Gerry Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield, Andy Bergman (missing: Michael Kramer, the playwright)." (NYSocialDiary)


"Obama is purposely targeting the all-important Central Florida area — rich with the state’s independent voters and a growing Hispanic population — because it’s key to his winning reelection.
A victory in Florida would make it very difficult for the Republican candidate for president to defeat Obama. The GOP would almost surely need to win a number of states Obama took from Republicans in 2008, in addition to some states that have remained in the Democratic column through a few elections. Yet a victory for Obama in Florida, where his approval ratings appear to have dipped, is no sure thing, and the president will need to get to work in the struggling state if he wants to win its 27 electoral votes in November. A Quinnipiac poll out last week shows Obama trailing GOP presiential frontrunner Mitt Romney 46 percent to 43 among registered voters in Florida. The president also has an overall favorability rating of 45 percent, with 50 percent of voters surveyed saying they had an unfavorable view. Romney, still campaigning in South Carolina, greeted Obama's trip to Florida on Thursday with an open letter to the president in the Tampa Bay Times. 'Dear Mr. President, Welcome to Florida. I have a simple question for you: where are the jobs?' Romney wrote in the ad. 'Unemployment here was 8.5 percent when you assumed office. Today, as we enter the fourth year of your term, it is 10 percent. Nearly a million men and women here are fruitlessly seeking work. Many others have simply given up looking. They’ve given up hope.'" (TheHill)

"This week, Pew Research Center found that 54 percent of registered voters had heard of Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling that allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited money on political ads as long as they didn’t coordinate with campaigns. And a solidly bipartisan 65 percent believe the new rules on independent expenditures were having a negative effect on the 2012 campaign. Colbert himself has been coy about whether he intends to be throwing his weight behind the reformers’ cause, or has simply been out for laughs over the last eight months as he has gone about starting a super PAC, filling it with money, using it to buy ads in early states and now, most recently, transferring it to Stewart as he explores a presidential run. His previous forays into the political process – an attempt at a presidential run in 2008, and congressional testimony on behalf of undocumented farm workers in 2010 – seemed sillier, with any message deliberately undercut by ridiculousness. This time around, he’s playing with real money — though his PAC, like those it parodies, has thus far avoided disclosing just how much money it’s raised and from whom — and making the real rules the source of the comedy. But he told the New York Times magazine in one of his infrequent interviews that his aim is humor, not education. Colbert created his super PAC in June, after petitioning the Federal Election Commission for a media exemption that would let him talk about it on the air without getting his employer, Viacom, in trouble. As the Republican primary has heated up, he’s used it to meddle in the political process, buying ads urging Iowans to write in Rick Perry 'with an a' in the Ames straw poll and, most recently, running ads in South Carolina accusing Romney of being a serial killer (since he believes corporations are people and used to chop them up while at Bain Capital)." (Politico)


"Last night, The Observer stepped into West Village hotspot The Lion for an intimate dinner. A hostess promptly took us up a claustrophobic staircase, opened a ptomken wall and ushered us into a dimly lit chamber. Amidst the suit of armor, taxidermies, and leather chairs were Mark Feuerstein and Matt Bomer, the stars of two USA network shows. A circle of young female reporters were shamelessly batting their eyelashes in the dimly lit room as Mr. Feurstein, who plays Hank Lawson, on Royal Pains, introduced himself and made small talk. Matt Bomer the felonious protagonist in White Collar made the requisite hand-shaking room tour in his pin-striped suit.  Many guest introduced themselves to the actors with a convivial, 'Hiiiiii! I met you last year, remember!?!' to which both actors would smile and, with sympathetic eyebrows raised, reply 'Oh.. ..yes, yes, yes!'
After martinis were downed, guests were shown into a small dining room set with two tables, one actor beau seated at each. The pair would switch places halfway through the meal. We were initially seated at Mr. Bomer’s table, and, after briefly discussing the mythology of his White Collar character, the conversation quickly devolved to a bawdy discussion of his latest film, Magic Mike in which he plays a male stripper alongside Channing Tatum. 'Did you go to strip clubs for research?' one guest asked. Affirming, Mr. Bomer described sitting in the 'hot seat' at a Los Angeles area club. Perspiring slightly, we listened with rapt attention, taking a swig of wine for good measure." (Observer)


"Mexico's submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar race, Gerardo Naranjo's Miss Bala literally spells out the destiny of its would-be beauty-queen heroine in its first shot, a collage of glamour magazine clippings on her bedroom wall built around the conspicuous headline 'Fashion Victim.' The bedroom belongs to Laura (Stephanie Sigman), a 23-year-old living in a wood-slat shack in Tijuana with her dad and younger brother. Laura and her best friend, Suzu, enter the Miss Baja California pageant, and the night before rehearsals begin, Laura follows Suzu into a nightclub to hang out with a sleazy-looking DEA agent who, Suzu says, can help their chances in the beauty contest. Then gunmen invade the club. Laura gets away, but loses Suzu in the process, and when she asks a cop for help finding her friend, he delivers her into the hands of the thugs who raided the club. The gang's leader, Lino (Noe Hernandez), takes a liking to Laura and forces her to collaborate on a variety of crimes. In exchange, he fixes the pageant to make her a winner.Inspired by a true story, Miss Bala is a work of impressionistic reportage, built out of artfully crammed widescreen compositions and bravura long tracking shots." (Karina Longworth)

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