blog advertising is good for you

Friday, August 17, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The story of WikiLeaks, once an exciting tale of overcoming government secrecy and empowering online activists and journalists, is now a story primarily concerned with the vagaries of diplomatic immunity, British-Ecuadorean relations, and Swedish rape laws. It's a safe bet that it's not the scenario that Julian Assange -- who is reportedly now holed up in a windowless backroom of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, sleeping on an air mattress -- had in mind when he founded the whistle-blowing website six years ago. As Assange remains in international legal limbo, granted asylum in Ecuador but with no foreseeable way to get there, and as WikiLeaks struggles to stay afloat in the face of money problems and denial-of-service attacks, it's worth reflecting on how we got here. How did an organization that once touted itself as the future of journalism -- and for a time seemed to have a credible case for the claim -- devolve into one man's soap opera? If one looks back, several key tactical errors landed WikiLeaks in its current predicament. One mistake WikiLeaks has made is that, over time, it has allowed itself to be associated with a particular political agenda -- notably Assange's. Obviously, leaks including the'Collateral Murder' video, the Afghanistan war logs, and, of course, the tens of thousands of secret U.S. State Department cables were going to provoke the ire of the U.S. government no matter what the site did. Assange has claimed that he doesn't see the site as anti-American, but, rather, as universally anti-secrecy, and to be fair, it hasn't targeted the United States exclusively; his first leak that brought major international attention was a report exposing government corruption in Kenya. And it has deviated at times from left-wing politics, notably in publishing the 'Climategate' emails from researchers at Britain's University of East Anglia." (ForeignPolicy)


"BREAKING NEWS (well, sort of—it happened over a month ago)—The world’s largest sailing yacht has caught fire. Barry Diller’s Eos, named after the Greek goddess of the dawn, is a clipper-bowed Bermuda-rigged schooner. Built by the German Lürssen yard in 2006, Eos is 305 feet long. The old salts at the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills say it cost more than $200 million to build.
Eos has been an unlucky ship from the start. Already she had twice been moored at various yards for repairs, having hit a storm five years ago that damaged some of her tech equipment. Diller is not very lucky in maritime matters. About ten years ago he was rescued by Johan Eliasch, chairman and CEO of Head, the global sporting group, when his previous boat caught fire somewhere off Sardinia. Imagine Diller’s poor wife Diane von Fürstenberg having to swim for it, soggy wrap dresses in hand! 'How could such a clever guy be so dumb?' This time they were luckier: Barry and Diane were in the Oslo Museum. Suddenly Diane thought Barry was emulating the man in Munch’s Scream, and then she realized he was talking to his captain. Apparently the wiring behind a panel in her shoe closet had short-circuited and created a fire. Quelle ennui! Summer on the Eos was not to be. A finger-pointing war ensued. Not surprisingly, no one stepped forward to claim responsibility for the fire. The Dillers are supposedly still awaiting their payout from the insurance company. Silly Dillers!" (Bruce Cochran)

"John Kasich's seen a remarkable improvement in his image over the last year. When PPP polled Ohio in August of 2011 Kasich's approval rating was just 36% with 53% of voters disapproving of him and he trailed Ted Strickland 54-39 in a hypothetical rematch of their 2010 contest. Now he's pulled even on his approval numbers, with 41% of voters both approving and disapproving of him. And he leads a generic Democrat by a 43-39 margin in head to head contest. Florida's Rick Scott and obviously Wisconsin's Scott Walker have also seen their poll numbers improve a good deal this year. The 2010 GOP class of Governors is seeing some improvement as it goes along.-Rob Portman didn't get picked as Mitt Romney's running mate, but the public speculation about him may have helped his image in Ohio. 38% of voters approve of the job he's doing, the best number we've found for him since he took office, to 31% who disapprove. He's gained 6 points from a 32% approval rating when we last polled the state in late June. Portman's seen a particularly large rise with Republicans from +31 (50/19) in June to now +45 (59/14)." (PPPolling)

"I have not set foot in a Swiss city in a long time. I drive by them en route to an airport, and that’s it. Call it escapism or cowardice or whatever. As someone once wisely asked, 'Why eat at McDonald’s when you can have caviar at home?' (It was actually Paul Newman referring to his wife as steak and all other women as hamburger.) Speaking of caviar, I threw myself a birthday party at home last week, one that might not have matched the elevated gastronomic estate of Talleyrand dining with the Congress of Vienna’s ministers, but it came close. The mother of my children organized it, disobeying my orders to offer little to weight-watchers but dried fruit and retsina. Being an Austrian, she tried to emulate the dining habits of the aforementioned Vienna ministers, and to my horror she almost succeeded. What is lousy about birthdays at my age is obvious. What is great is that you celebrate only with good friends at home. There’s none of that super-phony air-kissing parody of the grand manner that is the celebrity bash nowadays—no hookers, touts, fakes, wannabes, pretenders, or posturing nobodies. Thirty-five of us had dinner under the stars, and on August 11 it was the night of falling stars, like the birthday boy himself. I sat next to Lara Livanos, wife of Peter, who’s a great friend and brought me a sculpture of a samurai to go along with his priceless gift of a samurai sword. Peter and Lara Livanos live just above me in a wonderful chalet that houses part of his classic car collection and other goodies. Gstaad could use more men like Peter. He bought the Kennedy School and has turned it into a first-rate place of learning." (Taki)
"A couple of years ago, the Times ran a piece by Edward Wong with a headline that stays with you:'18 ORGIES LATER, CHINESE SWINGER GETS PRISON BED.' It was the profile of a computer-science professor named Ma Yaohai who was in his early fifties, lived with his mother, and was best known by his Internet handle: Roaring Virile Fire. To his chagrin, Roaring Virile Fire had become a dissident of sorts when he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for joining clubs that promoted partner-swapping and group sex. He had been convicted of the little-known offense that the Chinese government calls 'crowd licentiousness,' a relic of the days when the government charged people with 'hooliganism' for sex outside of marriage and other flights of turpitude. The professor insisted that his efforts to organize and participate in eighteen orgies was nobody’s business but his own, as long as he was not causing a disturbance. 'Privacy needs to be protected,' his lawyer, Yao Yong’an, told the Times. Orgies are back in the news in Beijing, but this time it’s the Communist Party that has found itself in an uncomfortable position, and it is now praising the virtues of privacy. A leaked batch of photos swept across the Chinese internet this month, depicting a festive gathering of five, arrayed in various numerical combinations. Of more than a hundred photos, the ones that attracted the most attention were not the most acrobatic; they were the group portraits in which participants posed for the camera so clearly that it was not long before they were identified by Chinese Web users and discovered to include several government officials. Soon the group shots had been appended to portraits of the participants in their familiar poses—at official conferences, in tweeds, behind name plates—and the Internet swarmed. As the state-run Global Times put it, “it seems that Internet users do not want officials to be perceived as being akin to common mortals. They regularly show a great interest in burrowing away at government officials’ privacy.”
It’s tough to spin an orgy." (TheNewYorker)


"Donna Karan still remembers feeling absolutely terrified when fashion arbiter John Fairchild, the tyrannical editor of Women’s Wear Daily, visited her showroom to see one of her early collections. 'I thought I was going to faint, I was so scared,' she says. “John was larger than life—he intimidated me.” With good reason. The Citizen Kane of the fashion press delighted in making mischief, anointing winners and losers, and encouraging his writers to tweak the powerful with witty and often mean-spirited barbs. “He made the paper very exciting,' says Oscar de la Renta. Adds his wife, Annette, 'And naughty!” Oscar laughs and continues, 'If the story was about you, you hated it, and if the story was about somebody else, you enjoyed it.' The Princeton-educated Fairchild, who transformed the sleepy publication that his grandfather had founded in 1910 into a lively must-read, trained his critical eye not just on the designers but also on the society women who wore their clothing. He popularized the phrase 'fashion victim' and created the capricious and much-copied 'In and Out' list. As Diane von Furstenberg puts it, 'John took a trade publication that belonged to his family and turned it into a fashion publication that is incredibly influential—it really made people, and destroyed people.' Chairing a Council of Fashion Designers of America (C.F.D.A.) gala several years ago, she spotted Fairchild and announced his presence to the crowd, saying from the microphone, 'Even though you are retired, we are still afraid of you.' It’s been 15 years since John Fair­child left his office at Fairchild Publications, on his 70th birthday, March 6, 1997, vowing that he would never return to the workplace or go to another fashion show. And he’s been true to his word, insisting that he is following the example that his own father set upon retiring from the company, at age 65. 'My new life is being with my wife without any interference, and the children come see us every once in a while. I’m very happy,' he says. 'I think when you’re out of something, you should stay out. Don’t you?' These days he and his spouse of 62 years, Jill Fairchild, have become expatriates—holding on to their two-bedroom Sutton Place apartment, in New York, and their sun-dappled Nantucket house but spending seven months a year in luxurious exile overseas." (VanityFair)
"Financially, the sex industry in Toronto is fairly self-regulated. There’s little variation of pricing between agencies. The first couple agencies that pop up on Google charge between $240 and $270 an hour. That’s not a lot, you might think. What about the Ashley Duprés and Sophie Andertons of the world? What about the filthy lucre that’s supposed to justify the appeal of this ‘whoring’ business? If not money, what else does it take for somebody to do something like this? I ask her what was the most extravagant thing she’d bought herself with her earnings. 'Gold medal ping-pong game at the London Olympics, baby.' She insists she’s good with her money, and I believe her. Her earnings are split into fours: one for bills, one for her travels, one for long-term savings, the last for instant gratification. I ask her how much she earns. 'About a grand a week.' Her clients pay $260 an hour. From that, the agency takes 40 pecent for advertising, photographers’ fees, gas if they’re an out-call agency, rent and utilities if they only do in-calls ... If you consider Mary’s resume, escorting doesn’t seem too far of a stretch. She had been a waitress, an actress, a barista. 'They were all the same thing—jobs that rely on a woman teasing men—just socially accepted. And aren’t we all whores, to an extent? We’re selling energy, talent, time for cash. With this?' She gesticulates towards Meyer-esque breasts. 'I’m just getting straight to the point.' At the height of her sex-work daydreaming, she had been working at a restaurant that had introduced its employees to a new uniform. It was a t-shirt that said this is a rawlicious body. She had refused, politely, with an eloquently worded e-mail. And was then promptly and unceremoniously fired. 'I thought that was wrong on so many levels,' she says. 'I’m fine with sexualization. Obviously. But that message on the t-shirt was not something I consented to. I did not want people ordering food by looking at my tits and thinking, oh yeah, I really like where this is going.' I ask her how much she was earning as a server. She says minimum wage. She hated it—hated the smallness of that amount, the smallness of the validation, the smallness of her importance. 'Every table was a battle,' she recalls." (Billfold)

No comments: