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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Since the 2008 financial crisis, Wall Street has been the perpetual whipping boy for the ensuing recession that has rocked the global economy. In the United States, Manhattan bankers relied too heavily on subprime mortgages, the story goes, sparking the crisis -- in bureaucratic jargon, what is dubbed a 'regulatory oversight failure.' In Europe, the debt crisis -- whichstruck again last week when the credit-rating agency Standard & Poor's stripped France of its AAA rating -- is often blamed on the fact that eurozone governments maintained outsized debt-to-GDP ratios, thereby breaking the rules laid down in the Stability and Growth Pact they signed when they joined the currency union. U.S. President Barack Obama has laid the blame at the feet of Wall Street 'fat-cat bankers,' and he finds himself in the company of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Even Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney criticized Wall Street for 'leverag[ing] itself far beyond historic and prudent levels' in his 2010 book, blaming its 'greed' for contributing to the crisis. The concept of runaway European profligacy, epitomized by 35-hour work weeks and gold-plated pension programs, is also firmly lodged in the popular imagination. But these explanations for the twin crises in the United States and Europe simply ignore the facts." (ForeignPolicy)


"Le Huffington Post has found an editorial director in Anne Sinclair, wife of former I.M.F. director turned perp walk all-star Dominique Strauss-Kahn, reports L’Express. Word reportedly got out because invitations to the site’s launch party on Monday listed Ms. Sinclair as a host. The Huffington Post France, like El Huffington Post, is a collaboration between the AOL-owned blog behemoth and a local paper, in its case, Le Monde. A rich heiress, Ms. Sinclair is widely known in France because she hosted an interview television show in the ’90s. She quit when her husband (whose rape charges were dismissed but, come on, is still definitely a gross guy) was named the country’s finance minister." (Observer)


"Leave it to PAPER to be fashionably late in throwing our office holiday party. And by 'fashionably late' we mean like four weeks late but, still -- twas the season to drink and be merry last night at Lilium Bar beneath the W Union Square, where the PAPER, PAPERMAG and Extra Extra family came together to celebrate a great new year together. Check out Zac Sebastian's photos from the evening above. Happy totally belated holidays, everyone!" (Papermag)


"In this week’s New Yorker I came across Peter Schjeldahl’s piece on Damien Hirst’s global show at the Gagosian Galleries across the world. I read about this exhibition but personally have no interest in seeing Damien Hirst art. It’s a matter of taste. I don’t like looking at the stuff ... I had lunch at Michael’s last Friday with Sally Bedell Smith the author of the newly published Elizabeth the Queen; The Life of a Modern Monarch (Random House). She’d been in town publicizing her new book. When we met she’d just come from an interview on Fox-TV. She was excited because they’d put false eyelashes on her, and it was a first in her life, and she wanted to know what I thought. They were very good. I had to look very closely to see the 'falseness.' You can see in the picture that she looks very natural. And very pretty, which she is. Those eyes are almost bashful but not quite, and the smile is frequent and enjoying the pleasure, whatever that may be. I have long admired her as a writer. She’s been prolific. In the last twenty years, she’s turned out six best-selling biographies of William Paley, Pamela Harriman, Princess Diana, Jack and Jacqueline Kennedy, Bill and Hillary Clinton and now, the ultimate: Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, also known as, Elizabeth II." (NYSocialDiary)


"There could have been lots of forced jokes about Elmo and Big Bird. Or embittered references to Juan Williams and Arab stings and hapless leadership that had left everyone in the room feeling defensive and defenseless. But when Gary Knell made his debut at a staff meeting in October as the incoming head of NPR—in the multi-platform era, 'National Public Radio' had officially ceased to exist—the prevailing feeling was less of anger or skepticism than relief. Under the watchful eyes of three of NPR’s 'founding mothers'—Susan Stamberg couldn’t make it, but Nina Totenberg, Cokie Roberts, and Linda Wertheimer were on hand—Knell, 57 years old, introduced himself to his beleaguered, embattled troops.  Knell (pronounced NELL), who headed Sesame Workshop for the past 12 years, managed almost immediately to fill most of the items on NPR’s lengthy punch card of qualifications. He was a longtime 'NPR groupie,' able to drop names like 'Melissa Block' and 'Neal Conan' effortlessly. He knew his way around the digital world, and Congress, and nonprofits. Though not a journalist, he’d once had journalistic aspirations and seemed to retain journalistic sensibilities. He appeared inspiring, soothing, self-deprecating, politic, and poised, well suited to the spoiled, hypersensitive station managers who control NPR’s destiny and the funders who bankroll it. All might not have been bright after he spoke that day, but all was at least calm. Only time will tell whether Knell, who took over NPR in December, will fare better or last longer than his last four predecessors (including two interim C.E.O.’s), who averaged about a year apiece. But given his provenance—he’d been chosen by NPR’s much-maligned board of directors, which is controlled by its 268 member stations—he seemed far more impressive than anyone in his audience had any right to expect. “He’s already done well,” said Kevin Klose, perhaps the last NPR leader who was widely respected within his own ranks—two weeks before Knell had actually begun. Over the past few years, NPR, which to the millions of commuters and housewives and shut-ins who listen to it every day sounds like a sea of tranquility, has undergone nearly constant turbulence." (VanityFair)


"From the second Keira Knightley shrieks her way into A Dangerous Method for a Carl Jung talking cure that ultimately leads to a spanking session, I was in love with her fiery performance. The 26-year-old British actress—who segues blithely from franchise sequels to art films—plays the troubled Sabina Spielrein in the David Cronenberg–directed look at the early days of psychoanalysis.Her take on the hysteria-laden human catalyst has divided people like Jung himself did, but I admired her guts enough to lay her on my Naugahyde couch for a searing interrogation about it last week.
'I've never done anything like that,' Knightley told me, 'and I was amazed that David offered it to me. I thought, 'If he's going to offer me something like this, I'm just gonna go for it.' I knew nothing about psychoanalysis or Freud or Jung, so I did research to find out what made her behave the way she did.'" (Michael Musto)

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