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Friday, February 24, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"I actually wouldn't be shocked if Ban Ki-moon took him up on the invitation. Ban's a second-term chief, so he need not worry about angering key UN members (namely, the United States). And if he were to come out with a strong statement against the legality of a strike, he'd win praise for having tried to help avert a conflict (without actually having done so, of course). On the substance of the legal question, Israel has a steep hill to climb. The basic UN Charter structure has been broadly interpreted to provide that a lawful use of force must either be in self defense or authorized by the UN Security Council. There's almost no possibility of the latter, so Israel would have to hang its hat on self defense. And Israel could marshal an impressive body of statements from Iranian leaders suggesting that Iran is functionally in a state of war with the Jewish state. Consistent Iranian support for Hezbollah and other militants attacking Israel bolsters the case. The argument here wouldn't be preemptive self defense (which would be a real stretch); it would be that the two countries are already effectively in a state of war, and that a strike against Iranian nuclear facilities would be another phase in that ongoing conflict. Israel might be able to make a distinct argument that a strike would be legal. Pointing to the actual practice of states--and with particular emphasis on the post-9/11 period--Israel could argue that a strike does not violate the UN Charter's key provision restricting the use of force, Article 2(4)." (Foreignpolicy)


"Who is worse—the pusher or the addict? I’d say it’s fifty-fifty as they sustain each other, although the addict has the moral high ground. Greece is the addict. The German and French banks are the pushers, with Brussels the Godfather shipping the stuff in from Afghanistan. The Godfather is not the cuddly Brando type, but rather an autocoprophagous degenerate who managed a coup d’etat while Europe slept. The Godfather is now defending his turf with Caligulan levels of depravity. If I had one wish, it would be to see Europe’s dregs—dwarfs such as Barroso, Draghi, Rehn, Van Rompuy, and the rest of the scum—in the dock the way the Greek colonels ended up. At least the brave Greeks who pulled the coup on April 21, 1967 had the courage to roll the tanks out and take their chances. One of them, Costa Papadopoulos, brother of the leader George Papadopoulos, is still in prison, the junta having collapsed in 1974. 'What Brussels demands of Greece is as realistic as asking a middleweight boxer to bulk up to heavyweight while on a starvation diet.' I am very serious. These midgets who have done away with democracy in the name of democracy need to be tried, convicted, and jailed for life." (Taki Theodoracopoulos)


"With a slate of small, arty movie nominees and an old-school host who is more reliable than buzzy, this year's Academy Awards broadcast may not set any television ratings records. But it's poised for a shot at another title: It could be the biggest night yet for social media. The awards show is working hard to pump up its social-media clout as it tries to leverage a growing phenomenon: More and more viewers are supplementing the experience of merely watching their favorite TV shows by joining in simultaneous running commentaries on Twitter and Facebook. ABC, which will broadcast the awards Sunday, will have at least two people tweeting about what is happening backstage, including Shira Lazar, a Web-broadcast personality. The preshow red-carpet hosts will be asking celebrities questions that viewers have posted to Twitter. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the awards, has a new feature available on Facebook that lets users choose which films and actors they expect to win, and share their picks with friends. In addition to the official cameras trained on the stage and audience, 20 cameras will be stationed in the red-carpet area and throughout the theater, including one at the lobby bar and a backstage 'Thank You Camera' where winners can extend their acceptance speeches. Video from these cameras won't be part of the TV broadcast but will be streamed on Oscar.com and the free mobile Oscars app. A ticker on the site and app will let followers know in real time who is appearing on which camera. The idea is to give people more access to live celebrity footage that they can chat about online." (WSJ)


"Cindy Sherman (b. 1954) is widely considered to be one of the most important and influential artists of our time. Masquerading as myriad characters, she invents personas and tableaus that examine the construction of identity, the nature of representation, and the artifice of photography. To create her images, Sherman assumes the multiple roles of photographer, model, makeup artist, hairdresser, and stylist. Whether portraying a career girl, a blond bombshell, a fashion victim, a clown, or a society lady of a certain age, for over thirty-five years this relentlessly adventurous artist has created an eloquent and provocative body of work that resonates deeply in our visual culture. This mid-career retrospective spans 11 galleries and includes 180 key photographs from the artist's significant series, including the complete Untitled Film Stills (1977-80), the centerfolds (1981), the celebrated history portraits (1988-90), the breakthrough sex pictures of 1992, the clowns (2003-04), and the society portraits of 2008.  Curated by Associate Curator Eva Respini, with the assistance of Lucy Gallon, the exhibition features the American premiere of her 2010 photographic mural outside the galleries on the sixth floor." (NYSocialDiary)


"'The word ‘mogul’ actually comes from ‘Mughal,’' curator William Dalrymple explained to Vanity Fair last night at the opening of his new exhibit, 'Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi, 1707-1857,' at the Asia Society in New York City. “When you consider an Oscar-winning Hollywood mogul, unthinkingly you’re coming across a word that started off with an Indian dynasty, which was so redolent of power and luxury that even to this day, people who have never heard of Mughal use the word to describe power, like Harvey Weinstein.' Wandering through the gorgeous exhibit—paintings of Coliseum-style elephant fights cheek by jowl with harem ladies partaking of the hookah—in a daze, we stumbled onto literary mogul Salman Rushdie. The Satanic Verses author graced us with his thoughts on this Sunday’s Academy Awards (Weinstein’s The Artist and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo are favorites) and turned his gimlet eye toward socialites in 'Page Six' and the general absurdity of the G.O.P. race ... I don’t get the Post. I don’t see it. If somebody calls me and says, you’re in 'Page Six,' then I find out. But I dislike it. I’m a rather serious person." (VanityFair)


"Vanity Fair magazine and luxury brand Ermenegildo Zegna hosted a star-studded dinner Wednesday night in Hollywood to celebrate two charitable causes, international relief organization Oxfam America and the Green Carpet Challenge. Guests included Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Gary Oldman, Demian Bichir, Emily Blunt, John Krazinski, Kimora Lee, Kenneth Branagh, Djimon Honsu, Kristen Davis and Vanity Fair editor in chief Graydon Carter. The event was part of Vanity Fair's 'Campaign Hollywood,' a weeklong series of charity-related events leading up to the Oscars on Sunday." (LATimes)

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