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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"'It’s an action-forcing event,'said John Boehner, 'in a town that’s become famous for inaction.'He was speaking at a conference in Washington sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. He was referring to his decision to stage a fight this winter over increasing the federal government’s debt limit, which he confirmed after hoagies with the president the next day. The thing is, it’s not at all clear why he’s doing this, or what he thinks he has to gain by signaling such a fight so far in advance. To put it in the classic Washington formulation: What does John Boehner want?e don’t live in his head or his office, which both seem like stress-filled environments anyway, and Boehner has not been forthcoming with details. So we’ll have to make some assumptions. This is where a game theorist can help. As it happens, we have one right here: Steven Brams worked under former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in the 1960s and has written extensively on game theory, including most recently Game Theory and the Humanities. He says the first assumption is that every actor in a game is rational.So let’s assume that: John Boehner is rational. What’s his game? Brams says that despite what the House speaker says, his game is not called 'Balance the Budget.' 'If it were,' says Brams, 'the question would be, how do we balance it, how great are the cuts?' Boehner isn’t talking about such details or outlining specific cuts. Game theorists think in terms of a matrix, a theoretical square that describes potential actions, in this case with President Obama on one axis and Speaker Boehner on the other. If the two had agreed to play a game that would erase federal budget deficits, says Brams, 'the matrices would involve specifics of where the cuts would be made: ‘Cut this’ is one strategy, ‘cut that’ is another strategy.' That’s out, then. But your intuition probably already told you that, and Boehner is still getting at something. So let’s start with what he can’t avoid, and work our way backward from there." (Businessweek)

"There’s no such thing as a quiet lunch with Cornel West. From the minute he stalks into the Witherspoon Grill in the leafy university town of Princeton, New Jersey, to the moment he sweeps out, he is the centre of attention. 'Sister Anna! I’m so blessed to meet you!' he bellows across the restaurant, embracing me, then putting his hand on his heart and bowing slightly. With his bushy Afro, black three-piece suit and booming Baptist preacher voice, there is no missing the arrival of this celebrity academic and self-appointed keeper of Martin Luther King Jr’s flame. As we sit down in our booth, it seems as if every guest and every waiter stops by to pay homage to West. To each he says, 'Do you know Sister Anna?' West, who will be 59 next month, is one of the US’s most prominent liberal intellectuals but this does not do justice to the breadth of his influence or the boundlessness of his energy. A professor of religion and of African-American studies at Harvard, then at Princeton, he has written more than 20 books and appeared as Councillor West, a version of himself, in two of the Matrix science-fiction films. He has collaborated with Prince and André 3000 of Outkast on spoken word albums, and with the eclectic hip-hop ensemble named in tribute to his teaching The Cornel West Theory. He is also a political activist who regularly gets arrested at leftwing protests, occasionally ending up in jail. Earlier this month West and 34 others were convicted on disorderly conduct charges following a demonstration last October against the New York Police Department’s controversial 'stop and frisk' policy. The policy is aimed at keeping guns off the streets but critics say it amounts to racial profiling. The protesters were sentenced to time served ... Born in 1953, West and his brother grew up 'on the chocolate side of town' in Sacramento, California, where his father was a civilian in the air force and his mother was a school teacher." (FT)

"WHEN you think of the Grimaldi girls of Monaco, you think of Caroline and Stéphanie, the young princesses whose preternatural beauty, jet-setting ways and tabloid-ready romances long made them paparazzi favorites.  So it comes as a shock to learn they are now middle-aged women, with Caroline actually older than their mother, Princess Grace, was when she died in a car accident at age 52.         Now the spotlight is falling on a third generation of Grimaldis, most notably on Charlotte Casiraghi, the 25-year-old daughter of Caroline and her second husband, Stephano Casiraghi, a young Italian businessman who died in a speedboat accident when Charlotte was 4.To flee the relentless eye of the public and the press, Caroline whisked Charlotte and her two siblings off to a sheltered life, first to a country house in southern France, then to Fontainebleau, near Paris, when Caroline remarried. Over the years, Charlotte showed up on the paparazzi radar screen episodically. Like the time a survey declared her one of the most eligible young women in the world — when she was only 16 ... Her life could have turned out differently. She could have stayed in Monaco as an accessory to the court of her uncle Prince Albert II. Even though she is not a princess, she is fourth in line to the princely throne. (Her father was a commoner, and titles in Monaco are not transmitted through the mother.)  'I’m not a princess,' she told French Vogue. “My mother is, not I. I am the niece of a head of state. And with this status, I have some representational duties, nothing very constraining or very exceptional.' As a student, she was considered gifted but failed to make it into the École Normale Supérieure, one of France’s elite grandes écoles. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne instead." (NYTimes)

"This week we cross the Atlantic to take a much grander look at some European nobles on the 50th wedding anniversary of King Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife Queen Sofia. It has long been rumored that the King and Queen are estranged and that Sofia loves the King but that he has never been in love with her. The King is of course a king, and as such he has drawn the admiring gaze of women the world over—everyone knows it’s good to be the King. Juan Carlos is said to have had more than 1,500 girlfriends, though only ever one wife. People say the marriage to Sofia of Greece and Denmark was arranged because the women Juan Carlos liked were never grand enough to be Queen. And so for 50 years Sofia has mothered their three children and stood stoically by his side in state affairs without pulling a Diana. The Queen is worthy of her title. 'Juan Carlos is said to have had more than 1,500 girlfriends, though only ever one wife.'Lately, the people of Spain are not sure their King is worthy of his title. With one in four unemployed, the people made a big fuss when they learned Juan Carlos had been off on a shooting holiday in Botswana. The people might not have heard about his vacation had he not broken his hip while on safari and been flown back to Spain by private plane for surgery. They also might not have heard about his alleged mistress of the past four or so years, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein. Now some are calling for his ouster.The King is said to be smitten with Wittgenstein, an ambitious woman approaching 50 who has done well for herself socially and financially. Wittgenstein is an average girl from southern Germany who became a princess by marrying the black sheep of a noble German family." (Bruce Cochran)
"'I hate to see anyone suffering,'Michelle Harper told The Observer yesterday evening at the Wall Street Journal’s inaugural Donor of the Day gala. Collectively, the assembled crowd shared Ms. Harper’s sentiment, though each chose to express their benevolence in idiosyncratic and often personalized ways.Ms. Harper, the sides of her petite head freshly buzzed for the occasion, explained that she promotes arts education, partly as function of her own upbringing. 'I was always blessed to grow up around art,' she said, her bright lips pursed in thought (or pose, perhaps).Jeff Koons, the evening’s host, explained his personal history with the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 'In 1994 my son was abducted, a parental abduction, and through that experience I ended up always just kind of trusting that everything would work out. That the judiciary would return my son home. It never happened,'  he shared. Mr. Koons was, of course, referring to the knock-down, drag-out court battle between his former wife, adult film star La Cicciolina, who fled to Italy with their son.'I just realized that I couldn’t help my son but I wanted to try to help other children, and so I got involved,' said Mr. Koons, speaking softly as his heavily pregnant wife, Justine, looked on." (Observer)


"On May 14 of last year, between 12:07 and 12:13 p.m., Room 2806 in the Sofitel acquired a place in the annals of tawdriness and in the rich social history of the block, when Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, who was leading the polls for France’s forthcoming presidential election, had a hurried sexual encounter with the Guinean housemaid Nafissatou Diallo as he was preparing to vacate the suite. The circumstances—whether it was consensual or an assault—are disputed, but after Strauss-Kahn was taken off a plane to Paris later that day and imprisoned on Rikers Island on charges that were later dropped because of issues with Ms. Diallo’s credibility, a female journalist in France came forth with a similar account of having been attacked by D.S.K. eight years earlier. His career at the I.M.F. and his French presidential aspirations were finished. If anyone on the block was scandalized by this bit of Euro-loucheness, it would have been farther down toward Fifth Avenue, in the stately neo-Georgian Harvard Club, at 35 West 44th, and next door in the beguiling Beaux Arts New York Yacht Club, at 37, whose windows look like they were plucked from a galleon. But it would be a bit of a stretch for these bastions of the old East Coast Wasp imperium, or what is left of it, to feel like their escutcheons had been besmirched. They probably don’t bear much scrutiny themselves these days, the noblesse oblige and ethos of service and stewardship of the old blueblood ruling class having been hemorrhaging since the presidency of Nixon and being, at this point, pretty much gone. Plus, this block has seen it all. The illicit trysts that have taken place on it would be impossible to chronicle. Back in the 20s, the playwright George Kaufman, who was a member of the Round Table and one of the progenitors of situation comedy, ran into an old flame in the elevator of the Algonquin Hotel, on the arm of a new beau, whom she introduced as being 'in cotton,'  and he came out with a memorable one-liner: 'And them that plants ’em is soon forgotten.'" (VanityFair)


"It’s never easy to re-enter the dating pool after years away — probably especially so if you’re one of the most famous men in the world. But things seem to have worked out for Al Gore. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former VP has a serious girlfriend, we’ve learned.Her name is Elizabeth Keadle — better known as Liz — a well-heeled Democratic donor from Southern California in her 50s with a background in science and a devotion to environmental causes. The relationship is solid enough that she accompanied Gore, 64, and an eclectic group of experts and VIPs (Richard Branson, singer Jason Mraz, actor Tommy Lee Jones) on a trip to Antarctica in January to raise awareness of climate change.Gore’s office declined to comment on the relationship, as did Keadle." (TheReliableSource)


"'“NOT EVEN a strong relationship with God can conquer the demons of addiction.' That was music titan Clive Davis this week at the Caron New York gala in Cipriani 42nd Street. Caron treats and educates in matters of addiction, and Clive was speaking of his dear friend, the late Whitney Houston. Clive, accepting the Richard J. Caron Award for Excellence, appeared to be deeply moved when he said, “I wish with all my heart Whitney had availed herself of the facilities at Caron.' His remarks were brief and powerful. This was the 17th annual event for this remarkable foundation. And the evening, not to be facetious, is rather like a big, dressed-up AA meeting.Newscaster Laurie Dhue, probably best known for her eight-year stint on Fox News, was the emcee. Miss Dhue is blonde, strikingly attractive and admirably emphatic. (Well, those Fox News anchors have a laser-like focus.) Dhue—who also has beautiful posture—told her own tale of addiction. She gave out the terrible statistics. She was powerfully convincing. A few people who were drinking at their tables, stopped. And never picked up their wine glasses again! ...Auctioneer Lorna Kelly was a riot, in her wry, British matter-of-factness. “I don’t mean to be controlling,” she said at one point, “But I’m just going to ask you for money, and I can’t leave the stage until we reach a certain point. No pressure!” (Caron made over $100,000. Lorna, who seemed to have pink highlights in her hair, and almost became Mick Jagger’s girlfriend back in the day,was not to be trifled with.)" (Liz Smith/NYSocialDiary)


"John Catsimatidis hosting a Le Cirque luncheon to celebrate his recently married daughter Andrea Catsamitidis Cox’s graduation from NYU. Also there were his son-in-law Christopher Cox, wife Margo and son John Jr. Asked by a fellow diner what she was going to do next, Andrea pointed to her dad and said, “I’m joining him in the family business.'" (PageSix)


"At the party he co-hosted at the Jitrois pop-up store in Soho, Peter Brant II was saying how much he liked his leather pants. 'I just think their elastic leather is really fantastic,' said the fast-talking elder son of the Brant Publications magnate and art collector Peter M. Brant and the supermodel Stephanie Seymour. 'It looks great on everybody! As you can see,' he said, gesturing to his black-and-silver Jitrois leather pants. The pants cost $2875. 'That’s the main attraction.' 'I sometimes wear women’s pants, because I have very very tiny legs,' said Harry Brant. The younger Brant brother declared his Jitrois pants 'so comfortable. The nylon looks like leather, but it feels like you’re wearing sweat pants.' While guests including Carlos Mota and Keegan Singh milled around sipping sweet, pink champagne, the Brants discussed their summer plans. Peter, an art history student, is going to be working in the jewelry department at Sotheby’s. Harry is looking forward to taking in the couture shows in Paris in July. Especially Dior, where former Jil Sander designer Raf Simons will present his début collection. Both boys say they welcome fashion’s other big news — the announcement that all 19 global editions of Vogue magazine will cease working with models under the age of 16, or who, in the magazine’s words, 'appear to have an eating disorder.' 'I think that it’s a good step to, like, try to regulate the modeling industry,' said Peter II. Stephanie Seymour began her career in Paris at age 14." (Observer)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Peter Brant Jr is a Greek god. He looks so perfect, so sexy, so adorable in those luxury and expensive black-and-silver Jitrois leather pants!