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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"On October 2nd, the South African website Politics Web published an extraordinary historical document, a 26-page memorandum from then-British Foreign Secretary Selwyn Loyd detailing the issues that he thought would affect British policy in Africa over the next decade. The memo gives a sense of just how much was at stake for a British empire in its twilight, an Africa on the verge of independence, and a wider world riven by Cold War-era rivalries. It's a long and engrossing time warp (would the Southern British Cameroons fall into Ghana's sphere of influence?), a return to a world where colonialism in its actual, classical sense -- as well as Nasserism and Marxism in their actual, classical senses -- were still a factor in international politics. More importantly, it was an attempt to think through 'what kind of world would follow empire,' according to Frederick Cooper, a New York University professor and reigning expert on the imperial history of Africa. According to Loyd, in the Africa of the 60s, the British and French would have to counter the ideological and political encroachment of Nasser's United Arab Republic and the Soviet Union -- although 'ultimately the two Governments may well clash,' as a 'twentieth century version of The Scramble for Africa' unfolded. Loyd writes at length about the new political order that France and Britain would dictate to an Africa that both countries realized would eventually be independent of imperial rule. For Loyd, 'The guiding principle should be that retaining empire in the long run is no longer an option,' Cooper explained. 'The questions are: how is one going to devolve it , at what pace, to whom, and how are British interest going to be protected in doing so?'" (TheAtlantic)

"As the summer officially came to an end this Labor Day weekend, the major studios were in a funk. Theater revenue from early May through early September (when Hollywood traditionally reaps some 40 percent of its annual earnings) was down 3 percent compared with a year ago, leading to a box-office take for the season of $4.27 billion in the United States and Canada; 3-D was showing signs of petering out; DVD sales had all but flatlined; and fewer people went to the movies this past summer than at any comparable time in 20 years. But so what? These are actually boom times in Hollywood, thanks to the American entertainment industry's secret new weapon: foreigners. 'Bingo!' exults Mark Gill, a veteran studio executive who serves as president of Millennium Films. 'Foreign box office has saved Hollywood.' 'International' revenue (that is, anywhere that's not North America) is up 35 percent over five years ago and accounted for 69 percent of the studios' box-office receipts in 2011, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. As of Sept. 13, the studios' income from foreign theaters was running at $11 billion, compared with $7.6 billion domestically, per media data analyst Rentrak. As America has struggled in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Hollywood has gone global, with breathtaking results." (ForeignPolicy)


"Alcohol-fueled teenage arrests. Mob ties. 'Legitimate rape.' Family finances.If you thought the presidential race was veering off the rails with small-ball attacks and Big Bird, the ugliest House races around the country take it to a whole new level. House races are more local, less polished and the candidates often know each other — and have built up a personal hostility palpable in the campaign. Here is POLITICO’s look at the 10 nastiest House races of 2012:" (Politico)


"The main event for the uptown social crowd last night was The Director’s Council of the Museum of the City of New York’s annual autumn 'New York After Dark' party. It’s a big cocktail party – the old fashioned kind where you walk into a room full of people, the canapés (excellent!) are being passed around liberally, there are six bartenders (in business suits) at the bar that was set up in the poolroom of this extraordinary now classic interior by Philip Johnson and William Pahlman. What a great way to wind down your day. The Director’s Council, under the aegis of Mark Gilbertson and his merry band of doers and shakers, have not only kept it alive but grown it, expanded its fundraising abilities for the museum, and now the event has become a traditional destination for a good number of New Yorkers. The evening had a break when Mark assembled the three honorees, Eric Javits, Allison Rockefeller, and Celerie Kemble. There were some very brief speeches (couldn’t hear them), and it was back to the pleasure of the buzz (and the booze) and the fabulous Four Seasons canapés. Even Julian Niccolini was there. The evening was underwritten by Badgely Mischka and Graff. It was a big group – several hundred. The ladies were in cocktail dresses and the men in business suits. Mainly shirt and tie, which gives the room a different sensibility, almost square and old fashioned. Except it’s not; it’s the opposite, and it’s reassuring (or self-deluding, take your pick)." (NYSocialDiary)


"Poor Mike Griffin. All he wanted to do in his first week as a junior analyst at Bain Capital Ventures was learn the ropes, put out some feelers to potential investments, and impress his new bosses with his can-do spirit. Instead, Griffin ended up pitching Gawker Media, Bain's media arch-nemesis, and being publicly shamed for it." (NYMag)


"Losing a presidential election brings out vastly different reactions within political parties, according to liberal pundit James Carville. 'If we lose, we hug each other and sing ‘Kumbaya.’ If they lose, they bludgeon each other,' the former Bill Clinton strategist said during a 90-minute Q&A with Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg at the Hearst Tower on Friday. 'It will be fun to watch: delicious, political porn,' he added of potential GOP in-fighting. Then again, if Mitt Romney continues to surge, Carville might be dusting off his “Kumbaya” sheet music. Editors at the talk included Esquire’s David Granger, Cosmo’s Joanna Coles and Gayle King, whose O, The Oprah Magazine features Winfrey interviewing Romney and President Obama in its November issue." (PageSix)


"BARBARA Walters instituted a Sunday salon dinner. Casual. Chinese buffet. Just your normal moo goo guy pan in a Fifth Avenue floor-through, five waiters, showbiz pianist, hostess in long Oscar de la Renta cashmere plus a trio who rule Barbara’s domain — George, Icodel and four-legged Havanese ChaCha. We’re talking 25 guests like the mayor singing 'Give My Regards to Broadway,' Sarah Jessica sitting on husband Matthew Broderick’s lap, Arianna saying how great her Huffington Post is. They’d still be there if G. Stephanopoulos hadn’t had to leave 9:15 to be up for TV in about 15 minutes. Like I say, just your average everyday evening." (Cindy Adams)



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