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Monday, July 30, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The death of Osama bin Ladin and the fall of Arab dictators have left al-Qa'ida's leadership in disarray, its narrative confused, and the organization on the defensive. One silver lining for al-Qaida, however, has been its affiliate organizations. In Iraq, the Maghreb, Somalia, Yemen, and elsewhere, al-Qa'ida has used local groups to expand its reach, increase its power, and grow its numbers. This string of mergers is not over. In places as diverse as the Sinai Peninsula and Nigeria, al-Qa'ida-linked organizations are emerging. However, the jihadist world is more fractured than it may appear at first glance. Many Salafi-jihadist groups have not joined with al-Qa'ida, and even if they have, tensions and divisions occur that present the United States and its allies with opportunities for weakening the bond. The role of affiliates is perhaps the most important uncertainty when assessing whether or not the United States and its allies are 'winning' the struggle against al-Qa'ida. If affiliates are really part of the al-Qa'ida core, then the overall movement Zawahiri champions is robust and growing. But if the affiliates are al-Qa'ida in little more than name, then Zawahiri's organization, the core of which has been hit hard in recent years, may be close to defeat." (ForeignPolicy)




"Jonah Lehrer, the staff writer for The New Yorker who apologized in June for recycling his previous work in articles, blogs and his best-selling book 'Imagine,' resigned from the magazine, he said in a statement." (MediaDecoder)


"Long story short, over the last three weeks, widely ballyhooed author, contemporary thinker, and erstwhile New Yorker writer Jonah Lehrer has been questioned for what one reporter suspected were fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan—of all people—in the first chapter of Lehrer’s new book. The book, ‘Imagine,’ has been promoted everywhere from the Colbert Report to The New York Times and beyond. This morning, the post about Lehrer’s fabricated and re-contextualized quotes was published. Lehrer has since confessed to having fabricated the quotes, and resigned from his job at The New Yorker. His book was put on indefinite hold by its publisher (also, a Fake Bob Dylan Quotes Twitter emerged).  The guy who started all of this? A Tablet contributor, former VICE editor, and Wall Street Journal freelancer, Michael C. Moynihan. The Observer reached Moynihan by phone this afternoon, and spoke with him about how he got started on this story, whether or not he thinks Lehrer is truly remorseful, and why he’s motivated to cover stories like these. Also: What it’s like to cause one of the more stunning turn-of-events in media this year." (Observer)



"Late in the afternoon of Dec. 1, 2010, I got a call from a features editor at Vogue. She asked if I wanted to go to Syria to interview the first lady, Asma al-Assad.'Absolutely not,' I said. 'I don’t want to meet the Assads, and they don’t want to meet a Jew.' The editor explained that the first lady was young, good-looking, and had never given an interview. Vogue had been trying to get to her for two years. Now she’d hired a PR firm, and they must have pushed her to agree. 'Send a political journalist,' I said. 'We don’t want any politics, none at all,' said the editor, “and she only wants to talk about culture, antiquities, and museums. You like museums. You like culture. She wants to talk to you. You’d leave in a week.' A week: clearly my name was last on a list of writers that the first lady had rejected because they knew nothing about Mesopotamia. I didn’t consider the possibility that the other writers had rejected the first lady. 'Let me think about it,' I said. I had written four cover stories that year, three about young actresses and one about a supermodel who had just become a mother. This assignment was more exciting, and when else would I get to see the ruins of Palmyra?" (TheDailyBeast)


"Anything would work, because I was attending Robert Wilson’s 19th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit, this year entitled, ‘Big Bang’. Every year, Bob brings together artists of all persuasions, medium and origins, to work, cook, live and create together at his Center. The party presents and celebrates their work. People who look like they understand all, like Christophe de Menil, Beth DeWoody, Maja Hoffman, Hannah Bronfman, Renaud Dutreil, Richard Meier, Cindy Sherman and Tom Sachs, moved in to the tent, spectacularly glowing with a giant jellyfish like orb. Later, Jay McInerney would introduce Bob, who would then spend a contemplative moment in said orb, before bursting forth with characteristic drama, and announcing 'We have to do what no one else is doing!' That included the Mike Kelley exhibition about which, ‘The board said we couldn’t afford to do. We couldn’t afford NOT to do it!' The pace picked up, as the 60 or so artists in residence marched to the jellyfish, surrounding it and chanting ‘TIME BOMB’, in shirts that reflected that message. " (Debbie Bancroft/NYSD)


"With a full schedule of art, shopping, and film events in the Hamptons this weekend, the fashion set made its way out east despite the wet weather forecast. The crowds stayed mostly dry at the 15th annual Super Saturday charity event, which raised over $3.6 million for ovarian cancer research. But just as the likes of Cindy Sherman, Lou Reed, and Rufus Wainwright began arriving at the Watermill Center for its summer benefit, The Big Bang, it started to pour. 'The rain is a little unfortunate, right?' said Klaus Biesenbach as he made his way up a long entryway lit with tiki torches and marked by a large-scale recreation of Paul Thek's work Big Bang Painting. The MoMA curator's favorite installation of the evening—an exhibition of the work of the late artist Mike Kelley—was on view inside, but there were plenty of additional distractions on the the six-acre site. Kembra Pfahler and a crew of other almost-naked women dipped in various shades of paint performed in front of a 60-foot inflatable phallus by Paul McCarthy, and Janice Lancaster Larsen rolled in the mud in what was originally a white wedding gown. 'I hear if you're looking for something to do, you're welcome to join her in there,' someone remarked as Harry Brant, Michelle Harper, and Bob Colacello huddled around the performance artist." (Style)


"Tomorrow evening at their chic Kalorama residence, the French Ambassador, Francois Delattre, and his wife, Sophie, will host a party for one of Washington's most popular men, Roland Celette. It will likely be a fabulous party, but it will also be sad, too, because Celette is leaving his post as the embassy's cultural attaché to return to France. Le tout Washington, such as it is in the depths of summer, will be there to say 'au revoir.' The story below earlier appeared in The Washingtonian (http://www.washingtonian.com/), where I'm now editor at large, but it seemed a natural to replay here on my beloved former home, NYSD. " (Carol Joynt/NYSocialDiary)

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